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Journal of the American Oriental Society 131, 2 (2011) 207-222
The Qāḍīs of Fusṭāṭ-Miṣr under the Ṭūlūnids and the Ikhshīdids: the Judiciary and Egyptian Autonomy
Mathieu Tillier 1, 2

The second half of the third/ninth and the fourth/tenth centuries are of particular importance for the development of the judiciary in the central lands of the Abbasid caliphate. At the end of the mihna period and the victory of Sunnism under al-Mutawakkil (r. 232-247/847-861), the caliphate agreed not to interfere further within the legal sphere, thus allowing the principal schools of law to complete their development toward their classical structure. In Iraq, thanks to the growing independence of the legal sphere and to the political weakness of the caliphate, the qadis increased their judicial freedom. Meanwhile, the political situation in Egypt was very different. The provincial rulers and two successive dynasties, the Tulunids (254-292/868-905) and the Ikhshidids (323-358/935-969), profited from the weakness of the caliphate, and imposed their autonomy de facto. The role played by the judiciary in this process is still unclear, as is the impact of Egyptian autonomy on the development of the local judiciary. In this paper, I discuss the evolution of the relationship between the Egyptian governors and the judiciary, from the accession of Ahmad b. Tulun in 254/868 until the arrival of the Fatimids in 358/969. Several elements are taken into consideration: (1) The institutional links between political power and the judiciary: Who appointed the qadis? How were they selected? Did the government choose to rely on local scholars or did the qadis come from outside the province? (2) The financial connection between the governors and the qadis, which was not only symbolic of the delegation of power, but could also denote the submission of the judiciary to the government. (3) The daily interactions between the qadis and the governors. (4) The judicial practice of the qadis. (5) Their reputation. I study to what extent the judiciary and its control was a political issue for the Tulunids and the Ikhshidids, and how the efforts of these two dynasties to build an Egyptian autonomy had important consequences on the structure of the legal milieu.
1 :  Institut Français du Proche-Orient (IFPO)
2 :  Institut de Recherches et d'Etudes sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman (IREMAM)
CNRS : UMR6568 – Université de Provence - Aix-Marseille I – Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II – Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III
Sciences de l'Homme et Société/Histoire
Qadis – governors – Tulunids – Ikhshidids – Egypt – autonomy
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