Posted on 03/22/2012 by __socrates

CARAVAN. Persian Karwan, Arabic Qafilah. As the roads in the East are often unsafe and lead through dreary wastes, merchants and travellers associate together for mutual defence and comfort. These companies are called both karwan and qafilah. The party is always under the direction of a paid director, who is called Karwan- or Qafilah-Bashi. If a caravan is attacked on the road, the Muslim law allows the punishment of crucifixion for the offence. (Hidayah, vol. ii. 131.) But it is a curious provision of the Muslim law that if some of the travellers in a caravan commit a robbery upon others of the same caravan, punishment (i.e. of amputation) is not incurred by them. (Vol ii. 137.)

Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam