The following book reviews are contributed by Ari Schreiber.
Muhammad’s Heirs: The Rise of Muslim Scholarly Communities, 622-950 by Jonathan E. Brockopp (Cambridge University Press, 2017)
- Pedro Machado, The American Historical Review, vol. 123(3) (June 1, 2018): 915-16. “A Sea of Debt provides compelling evidence and arguments that challenge understandings of the intersections between Islamic jurisprudence and economic life through a focus on the everyday practices and mechanisms utilized by merchants… The nuanced examination that Bishara provides of the legal underpinnings of the structures of economic life in important arenas of the Indian Ocean, the Omani sultanate, and East Africa thus marks a vital contribution to Islamic law and jurisprudence, finance, and colonial rule, and their complicated entanglements during a period of great flux across the ocean”
- Beatrice Nicolini, International Journal of Maritime History, vol. 30(2) (May 2018): 367–68. “This is the first time that some important aspects of the economic life of the many different communities in the Indian Ocean have been studied and explained from an inward looking perspective, and not only with (Eurocentric) capitalism in mind, but with Islamic rules and laws… Not only maritime historians will benefit from this legal history of economic life in the Indian Ocean, but it could be interesting and stimulating for simply curiosity driven scholars.”
- J.E. Peterson, Business History Review, Vol.92(1) (Spring 2018): 182–85. “It is often too easy to consider modern national boundaries as forming the distinct lines that separated one community from another. A Sea of Debt is instructive in demonstrating how communities have intermingled and traveled across borders and seas over the course of centuries. Bishara is to be congratulated on bringing this fascinating aspect of Indian Ocean history to light and for doing so in such an authoritative and engaging manner.”
- Topics: Legal History, Contracts & Commercial Law, Āl Bū Saʿīd
- Geography: East Africa, India, Oman: Muscat, Zanzibar
Islamic Law and Empire in Ottoman Cairo by James E. Baldwin (Edinburgh University Press, 2016).
Editor’s Note: Islamic Law and Empire in Ottoman Cairo by James Baldwin adds to burgeoning scholarship on the Ottoman siyasa/shari’a paradigm with specific attention to the legal, social, and political history of eighteenth century Cairo.
What did Islamic law mean in the early modern period, a world of great Muslim empires? Often portrayed as the quintessential jurists’ law, to a large extent it was developed by scholars outside the purview of the state. However, for the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, justice was the ultimate duty of the monarch, and Islamic law was a tool of legitimation and governance. James E. Baldwin examines how the interplay of these two conceptions of Islamic law – religious scholarship and royal justice – undergirded legal practice in Cairo, the largest and richest city in the Ottoman provinces. Through detailed studies of the various formal and informal dispute resolution institutions and practices that formed the fabric of law in Ottoman Cairo, his book contributes to key questions concerning the relationship between the shari‘a and political power, the plurality of Islamic legal practice, and the nature of centre-periphery relations in the Ottoman Empire (Edinburgh University Press).
Tags: Legislation & Regulation, Legal History, Administrative Law, Islamic Government
Geography: Egypt, Ottomans (NW Anatolia, Balkans, MENA, Eritrea), late 7th c.-1342 / late 13th c.-1924