Law in Action, in the Peripheral Vision of the Sources

In my last post I referenced Jack Tannous’s metaphor of “dark matter,” which draws our attention to the scattered traces of the vast majority of premodern Muslims who have left us few direct records of their opinions. In this post I’d like to suggest another metaphor, “peripheral vision.” We can think of the disciplines and … Continue reading Law in Action, in the Peripheral Vision of the Sources

Folk Interpretation and the “Dark Matter” of Pre-Modern Islamic Law

In his recent book The Making of the Medieval Middle East (Princeton University Press, 2018), Jack Tannous draws attention to the overwhelming majority of “simple” Christians and Muslims with minimal exposure to (or interest in) the rarefied doctrinal issues that dominate the received history of Late Antique Christianity and early Islam. He argues that, like … Continue reading Folk Interpretation and the “Dark Matter” of Pre-Modern Islamic Law

:: Muwaṭṭaʾ Roundtable :: Who Are We Writing for When We Translate Classical Texts?

By Marion Katz (New York University)  Perhaps more than any other genre of academic writing, translations of primary sources raise questions about audience and purpose. In a Venn diagram of potential audiences for our scholarly output, our fellow subject specialists would usually occupy (for better or worse) the central position. It is true that in … Continue reading :: Muwaṭṭaʾ Roundtable :: Who Are We Writing for When We Translate Classical Texts?

Law, Narrative, and the Case of Fāṭima’s Chores

Wives’ exemption from domestic labor is among the recuperable elements of classical fiqh most widely cited in modern literature on gender and Islamic law.  Indeed, as I’ve found while researching the topic, it has featured in responses to orientalist stereotypes of Islamic law’s supposed oppression of women since at least the late nineteenth century. In … Continue reading Law, Narrative, and the Case of Fāṭima’s Chores