Event Date: 29 November 2016
Royal Holloway University of London
Departmental Research seminars 2016/2017
Dr James Baldwin (RHUL) – Islamic Law and Empire in Ottoman Cairo
Islamic law is often portrayed as the quintessential jurists’ law, developed through an intellectual conversation between scholars, outside the purview of rulers and states. However, for the Ottoman Sultans, justice was the ultimate duty of the king, and Islamic law was a tool of legitimation and governance. My talk will explore the interplay between these two conceptions of Islamic law – religious scholarship and royal justice – in the context of the legal system of Cairo, the largest and richest city in the Ottoman provinces. I will also offer some thoughts on the significance of this debate for our understanding of the long-term trajectory of Islamic legal history and for contemporary Muslim politics.
Introduction by Professor Humayun Ansari (RHUL):