Bury the Hatchet, Bedouin Style

By Yossef Rapoport The burying of the hatchets was part of the diplomatic culture among the Iroquois Five Nations of northeastern North America. In negotiating with outsiders, they refer to burying hatchets in a deep hole, over which they planted a tree to symbolize peace. This localized Iroquois custom was encountered by European settlers in … Continue reading Bury the Hatchet, Bedouin Style

On the Disinheritance of Women

By Yossef Rapoport In his introduction to his influential and widely-cited survey on tribal law in the Arab world, Frank Stewart posits that weak pre-modern Muslim states were unable to extinguish the customary laws of the Bedouin, and even allowed these customary laws to take hold in village communities. Following Schacht, Stewart leads us to … Continue reading On the Disinheritance of Women

Whose Custom is it?

By Yossef Rapoport Was custom a valid source of law for Muslim jurists? The straightforward, formal answer is no, as customary practice is not one of the classical four sources. But the historically-grounded answer, based on recent extensive scholarship, is that the Islamic legal tradition developed several mechanisms to grant approval to customary practices, even … Continue reading Whose Custom is it?

Weekend Scholarship Roundup

In "The Problem of Authorship and Pseudepigraphy in Islamic Intellectual History," Journal of the History of Ideas blog, W. Sasson Chahanovich addresses the problem of the author in Islamic intellectual history. Chahanovich aims to fill the gap on the lack of research on the topic of ‘forgery,’ i.e. pseudepigraphy, which is "the much-maligned twin of … Continue reading Weekend Scholarship Roundup

Problematizing Custom and Customary Laws

By Yossef Rapoport Recent scholarship on Islamic law tends to accord a positive value to custom. In Wael Hallaq’s compelling narrative, custom and customary law were the medium by which the universal principles of the Sharīʿa were localized and translated into the social order: "Having evolved over the millennia, and adapting to every political, dynastic and … Continue reading Problematizing Custom and Customary Laws

Tribal Law as Islamic Law: The Berber Example

By Lawrence Rosen Some years ago I went up to the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco. That evening, over sweet mint tea and languorous conversation, I happened to mention to my host that I was curious about the Berber law his people used to practice. ‘I must introduce you to my brother, Said,’ he replied: … Continue reading Tribal Law as Islamic Law: The Berber Example

The Problem of Slavery in Islamic Law: A Review of Possessed by the Right Hand, by Bernard Freamon

For my final guest post on this esteemed Islamic Law Blog, I wanted to highlight the publication of a recent book on a subject that has not received the treatment it deserves in the Islamic world. This is the highly charged matter of slavery, which Professor Bernard Freamon tackles admirably in Possessed by the Right … Continue reading The Problem of Slavery in Islamic Law: A Review of Possessed by the Right Hand, by Bernard Freamon

A Pioneering Workshop on Legal Maxims

By Kumail Rajani Al-qawāʿid al-fiqhiyya – Islamic legal maxims – have received limited attention in the plethora of works on Islamic law and legal theory published in the last two to three decades. With the aim of further advancing the study of Islamic legal maxims, the Exeter-based LAWALISI (LAW, Authority and Learning in Imami Shiʿite Islam) … Continue reading A Pioneering Workshop on Legal Maxims

Reading a Century of Change and Transformation through the ‘Ulamā

The nineteenth century marks a period of major transition for the Ottoman Empire. The changes and transformations that took place during this century differed significantly from those in previous centuries in several respects. First, pre-nineteenth century changes were limited to internal developments that remained within the requirements of the system established by the Empire. In … Continue reading Reading a Century of Change and Transformation through the ‘Ulamā

Jāmi‘ al-Riyāsatayn Shaykh al-Islām Hasan Fahmi Efendi

Jāmi‘ al-Riyāsatayn[1] Akşehirī Hasan Fahmi Efendi was born in 1796 in Ilgın, a district in Konya. He went to Konya to study at the important madrasas of the region and completed his education there. Madrasas in Konya were important centers of knowledge in central Anatolia. Therefore, prominent figures, such as Kara Halil Efendi (d. 1880), … Continue reading Jāmi‘ al-Riyāsatayn Shaykh al-Islām Hasan Fahmi Efendi