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Legal Knowledge and Local Practices under the Early ʿAbbāsids

Abstract : In this article, I investigate the way Muslims living in major Abbasid cities represented themselves when it came to legal matters. Was there any sort of legal identity evident between one place and another? To answer this question, I propose to focus the connection between the local urban elite and the government. I seek to investigate the role that the urban elite in several Iraqi and Egyptian cities played in selecting and appointing the qāḍīs during the early Abbasid period (132-218/750-833). It appears that during the second half of the second/eighth century, appointments to the judiciary were the subject of strenuous competition between the local elite and the central government. The caliphate tried to increase its authority in the main provincial cities and reduce legal heterogeneity in the empire. The local learned elite resisted this policy in order to preserve its traditional power and local interests. The Abbasids had to negotiate, and the provincial elite succeeded in keeping some of its special prerogatives in the selection of qāḍīs for some time. In the third/ninth century, however, the reinforcement of caliphal authority and the evolution of political structures resulted in a definitive marginalisation of the local elite.
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 7:57:26 AM
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Mathieu Tillier. Legal Knowledge and Local Practices under the Early ʿAbbāsids. Philip Wood. History and Identity in the Eastern Mediterranean, 500-1000, Oxford University Press, pp.187-204, 2013. ⟨halshs-00827952⟩

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