It is in the Aden Protectorate that Shari'a law finds its widest application in the whole region of East Africa,1 for there-in some localities-it holds almost undisputed sway. Yet it is only recently, and under the pax Britannica, that Shari'a courts have been established in any organised form, except in isolated instances: for previously the only authority within each tribal unit was its sheikh and within each confederacy the sultan2 or some local mansab,3 and the law they applied was that of ancient custom. Virtual anarchy was only averted by a system of tribal sanctions between tribe and tribe, tribe and sultan and confederation and confederation; while any litigation was referred to tribal judges or arbitrators. These normally made no attempt to' execute their judgments in the modern sense, for it was the contending parties who sought their aid and deposited hostages or pledges as guarantees of good faith: all they did was to hear their pleas and then declare that it was for this party or that to produce so many witnesses, to swear such and such oaths, or undergo this or that ordeal, whereupon the other party must do so and so; while if, on the other hand, the first party could not produce the necessary witnesses or sustain the ordeal, then the other, in his turn, must take certain oaths, etc. There was even a recognised scale of fines, at least in some localities, for different offences.4 For the rest, blood feuds and self-help held the field. The impact of Shari'a law was felt chiefly through two channels: the general influence of such Islamic teaching concerning marriage, divorce, etc., as had percolated through to the people as a whole and succeeded in amending or even replacing pre-Islamic customs inconsistent therewith-and this would naturally be felt chiefly in the towns; and the " judgments " and arbitration awards of local holy men, whether sayyids5 from the Hadramaut or 'ulama' from the Yemen.