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Look Inside Law, Society and Culture in the Maghrib, 1300–1500

Law, Society and Culture in the Maghrib, 1300–1500


Part of Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization

  • Date Published: October 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521120593

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About the Authors
  • Focusing on the Maghrib in the period between 1300 and 1500, in this 2002 book David Powers analyses the application of Islamic law through the role of the mufti. To unravel the sophistication of the law, he considers six cases which took place in the Marinid period on subjects as diverse as paternity, fornication, water rights, family endowments, the slander of the Prophet and disinheritance. The source for these disputes are fatwas issued by the muftis, which the author uses to situate each case in its historical context and to interpret the principles of Islamic law. In so doing he demonstrates that, contrary to popular stereotypes, muftis were in fact dedicated to reasoned argument, and sensitive to the manner in which law, society and culture interacted. The book represents a groundbreaking approach to a complex field. It will be read by students of Islamic law and those interested in traditional Muslim societies.

    • Demonstrates how Islamic law was applied in practice in the Maghrib in the period 1300–1500
    • Qualifies common misperceptions of the workings of Islamic law, qadis and muftis
    • Appeal to students and scholars of Islamic law and those interested in traditional Islamic societies
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: ' … paints a vivid picture of Muslim society in the Maghrib in the 14th and 15th centuries.' Cornell Chronicle

    Review of the hardback: '[A] major contribution to the history of Islamic law, as well as that of North Africa … For an understanding of that society and its history, his analysis is a gem.' Michael Brett, The Times Literary Supplement

    Review of the hardback: 'The book is a must for anyone who wants to understand how Islamic law functioned in practice after 287/900. The material … is presented in a clear and systematic manner, not only making it accessible for the non-legal mind but also actually engaging the reader in such a way that one awaits the outcome with interest.' Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations

    Review of the hardback: '… highly readable …' Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam

    Review of the hardback: '… a major landmark … even without a profound knowledge of Islamic law, these case-studies will attract those interested in the actual application of sacred laws as well as in the cultural specific notions involved in the elaboration of legal doctrine.' Numen

    Review of the hardback: 'Powers' volume is one of the first in the field for an Anglophone readership, and it is wholly appropriate that it features in the distinguished series 'Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization'.' Journal of Legal History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521120593
    • length: 280 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Kadijustiz or Qadi-justice? A paternity dispute from fourteenth-century Morocco
    2. From Almohadism to Malikism: the case of al-Haskuri, the Mocking Jurist, c. 712–16/1312–16
    3. A riparian dispute in the Middle Atlas mountains, c. 683–824/1285–1421
    4. Conflicting conceptions of property in Fez, 741–826/1340–1423
    5. Preserving the Prophet's honor: Sharifism, Sufism and Malikism in Tlemcen, 843/1439
    6. On modes of judicial reasoning: two fatwas on Tawlij, c. 880/1475
    Conclusion: the Mufti.

  • Author

    David S. Powers, Cornell University, New York

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