Weekend Scholarship Roundup

D. Fairchild Ruggles’ Tree of Pearls The Extraordinary Architectural Patronage of the 13th-Century Egyptian Slave-Queen Shajar al-Durr (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020) provides insight into the remarkable life of Shajar al-Durr, an enslaved child who went on to become the Sultan of Egypt in the 13th century. This biography places the rise and fall of the … Continue reading Weekend Scholarship Roundup

Analysis :: The Judge, the Vizier, and the Ruler

By Maribel Fierro This case, recorded by Ibn Ḥārith al-Khushanī, concerns an accusation of apostasy during the reign of the Cordoban Umayyad emir Muḥammad (r. 238–273/852–886). A vizier conspires to confiscate the fortune of a talented state secretary upon the latter’s death by accusing him posthumously of apostasy. The vizier attempts to use a muḥtasib (lay person) … Continue reading Analysis :: The Judge, the Vizier, and the Ruler

Analysis: The Case of the Christian Who Wanted to be Executed

By Dr. Maribel Fierro (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas—Spanish National Research Council) This anecdote offers insight into the historical role of judges during a period of religious dissent in the Umayyad Caliphate, while the author's narrative voice demonstrates past judicial approaches to rationality, humor, and violent penalization. Aslam b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz (d. 319/931), the judge … Continue reading Analysis: The Case of the Christian Who Wanted to be Executed

Historical Primary Sources: The Case of the Christian Who Wanted to be Executed

Cases of religious dissent in courts in the Andalusian Umayyad Caliphate provide insight into how one Islamic judicial system established procedures protecting non-Muslim constituents without undermining the sovereignty of the Islamic government. See tomorrow's blog post for historical context and case analysis.   Ibn Ḥārith al-Khushanī recorded the following case as a ḥikāya, an anonymous … Continue reading Historical Primary Sources: The Case of the Christian Who Wanted to be Executed

Heterodoxy Among Muslim Judges: On Attempts at Jokes and Judicial Constraints

Guest contributor Maribel Fierro examines a scene of heterodoxy in the recently published English translation of The Ultimate Ambition. Translated from Arabic into English for the first time in full by Elias Muhanna of Brown University, The Ultimate Ambition was written in the 14th century by a retired Egyptian bureaucrat named Shihab al-Din al-Nuwayri. Fierro looks at a scene in … Continue reading Heterodoxy Among Muslim Judges: On Attempts at Jokes and Judicial Constraints