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27 Islamic L. & Soc'y 1 (2020)

handle is hein.journals/islamls27 and id is 1 raw text is: 


                    ISLAMIC LAW AND SOCIETY 27 (2020) 1-4       Islamic Law
                                                                   and
                                                                 Society
BRILL                                                           brillcom/ils



Islam and Politics: From the Margins to the Center



This theme issue, Islam and Politics: From the Margins to the Center, originated
in a workshop  of the same name  that I co-organized with David Powers at
Cornell University in April 2019. The workshop sought to broaden the study of
Islam and politics beyond theories and institutions of Islamic rule by focusing
on a series of concrete practices that have upheld or challenged Islamic law.
Through  this focus on practice, it explored contestations to define public
morality, political legitimacy, and what it means to be a Muslim. During the
workshop, historians and anthropologists examined the capacity of ostensibly
marginal sites and religious practices to shape religious authority and bound-
aries. By emphasizing the far-reaching significance of local practice, this work-
shop offered an alternative template for the study of the relationship between
Islam and  politics and highlighted the continuities and ruptures in these
dynamics  over the past fourteen centuries.
   The four articles in this theme issue seek to answer these and other ques-
tions relating to the theme of Islam and politics. In Islamic Law on the Pro-
vincial Margins: Christian Patrons and Muslim   Notaries in Upper  Egypt,
2nd-5th/8th-uth Centuries, Lev Weitz reconstructs the interaction between
Coptic Christians and Islamic legal institutions in provincial Egypt on the
basis of a corpus of 193 Arabic legal documents, as well as relevant Coptic
ones. He argues that in the 3rd/9th century, Christians began to make routine
use of Islamic legal institutions to organize their economic affairs, especially
inheritance. They did so in preference to the Christian authorities and Coptic
deeds that had been their standard resource in the first two centuries of Mus-
lim rule. The changing character of the Egyptian judiciary encouraged this
shift in practice, as qdads who adhered tofiqh procedural rules increasingly
filled judicial roles formerly held by local administrative officials, Christian
and Muslim.  By eschewing and nudging  into disuse a previously vital Coptic
legal tradition, Christian provincials participated in the Islamization of
'Abbasid and Fatimid Egypt.
   In Scholars, Spice Traders and Sultans: Arguing over the Spice Tax in the
Mamluk  Era, Joel Blecher moves from the religious margins to center, examin-
ing why and how  Mamluk  jurists routinely resisted the sultanate's attempt to
broaden  the collection of zakat, the alms-tax. Many modern scholars argue
that prominent jurists lost sight of the moral stakes of zakat and developed


© KONINKLIJKE BRILL NV, LEIDEN, 2020  DOI:10.1163/15685195-02712P01

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