Transformations & Continuities in Islamic Intellectual Thought Conference – Legal Interconnections

Transformations & Continuities in Islamic Intellectual Thought Conference – Legal Interconnections

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– The second panel of the day is, I’m sorry, I didn’t
bring my reading glasses, so if I make a mistake, forgive me. So, I’m gonna do like this. (chuckles) Okay, the title of the panel
is Legal Interconnections. We were supposed to have
three speakers today. Unfortunately, Professor
Randi Deguilhem fell sick, and basically did not make it. We wish her Godspeed, but she’s not going to be making it today. However, we’ve been running out of time, so we’re not giving you extra time. Sorry about that. So, we have two speakers
rather than three, but I’m sure Professor Abou-El-Haj is going (laughs) to make
up for any lost time. We begin with Professor
Rifa’at Abou-El-Haj, who’s from Binghamton University, and the title of his talk is
Development of the Jury System in 16th Century Ottoman Jerusalem. I told him earlier that
he whetted our appetites by talking about the
possibility of a jury system in the Ottoman Empire,
and so, we are eager to hear and listen. – (speaks in foreign language)
Good afternoon, everybody. I’m surprised I’m the first
to speak, but I guess, there’s a speaker before
me who isn’t here? Anyway. I basically don’t like to lecture. Therefore, you’re gonna
have to put up with somebody who has to read the text for you. It may be boring but I hope the discussion will make it more interesting. I prefaced my talk with a
couple of paragraphs that are, in a way, a kind of
disclaimer to this conference. As I say, I wish to
preface my presentation by stating the following disclaimer, that I study the Ottoman as a historian. No more, no less. I don’t claim to be an expert on Islam. I don’t claim to be an expert
on basically anything else but Ottoman history, and
really, if you pin down my publications and my work, seriously, I’ve worked maybe
in main Ottoman history, about 30 years of that history, mainly late 17th, early part of the 18th, and today’s presentation is
mainly from provincial history, but I recognize it’s
provincial Ottoman history. In other words I don’t
consider it Arab history. I don’t think there was
such a thing as Arab history in the 16th century. So as I said, take me seriously when I say I’m really only concerned
with being a historian, I’m not really interested
in being identified in any other way. I do not claim to have
any expertise on Islam, and therefore cannot present
you with that orientation. As for example, trying to understand the historical phenomenon as Hudson, of University of Chicago, in his invention, actually, of a formula to try to understand the
history called Islamic Age. To this day, I don’t know what that means. It doesn’t really generate
any meaning for me, that term. But obviously, it’s a
formula that was invented for a Western audience to understand, basically, an alien culture called Islam and Islamic Age is
invention to get a clue. And it continued, and
I think it’s the shift, paradigm shift now, to try
to understand Islamic history in less formulaic way. This is, anyway, my hope. The other example of this
same kind of interpretation is the work of somebody who
specializes on the Sharia, his name is Wael Hallaq,
who teaches now at Columbia and he used to be in Canada. His work there is to use, basically, a method
and understanding of the Sharia to evaluate a nation state. What is a nation state? And in a way, he says,
he’s looking at the Sharia as a way of saying it doesn’t fit into the history of Muslim society. I mean, to me, it’s
really a nonsensical way of trying to understand
the historical phenomenon. The nation state is a European invention, 17th, 18th century mainly,
started in America as an example and then went to France, and so on; it has a historical context and has to be understood historically no matter what culture is looking at it or what culture adopts it. So, I can’t relate to
understanding a nation state through Sharia, and this is
basically the methodology that Wael Hallaq has been trained in, and in an Islamist, he teaches Islam. Another point of disagreement, and some of you might
find this uncomfortable: in my use of comparative history, and some of you have
heard different approaches already today, I have tried
consistently and consciously to avoid comparisons of forms. In other words, let’s
say, an English form, like in the case of the kafala, that I’m trying to use here, with the English form, legal form for local government. In the case of, and
some of you have worked on Ottoman political
culture and have read works on Ottoman political culture, several works have been published, most recently, a book by Heather Ferguson comparing Ottoman to Hapsburg. Political forms. I’m trying to make a distinction
between this approach, which is to look at forms, the
Austrian, the Hapsburg form, and the Ottoman form. As a historian, that doesn’t
make any sense for me. I just don’t understand
how forms can be compared, because a form, and some
of the discussion today actually reminded me of this disparity. A form, to me, a historical form, is the product of a social process. Alright? In other words, if you’re
talking about a living society, then you hae to start with that premise. Then, whatever forms there
are at any particular points have to be understood as
the creation of that moment, irrespective of whether
there are precedents for it in the second century, or seventh century, or the 10th century. You’re talking about the 16th
century in my case today, or, where I focus most of my attention, in Ottoman history, on the
so-called period of decline. I focused on the 17th century, beginning of the 18th century, and this might be a good
occasion to re-raise the question that we had in the
discussion this morning, in terms, basically, of how do you locate the social processes that
create a particular form? Whatever it is. If it’s historical, it’s not God-made, it’s manmade; therefore, we
have to start to explain it and then understand it
as a human expression, even, as some of you, in the
work that you presented today, really see it as Islamic,
as something coming from Muslim forms. That doesn’t mean anything to me. As a historian, I see
whatever forms we deal with as creations, human creations, and if there are precedents for it. I don’t take guidance from
the past to understand, for example, the 17th and 18th century. Some of you, I think,
you use the nasihatname, the political culture of the Ottomans, to try to explain the phenomenon, and to me, the nasihatname goes back to 16th century and 17th century. I can’t understand the nasihatname of the 17th and the 18th century in terms of their origins. I mean, let alone the Convivencia, going back to the
Convivencia, to try to explain 16th, 17th, 18th century, the use of conversos, which you didn’t. You try to address Convivencia
in terms of the conversos, the Muslim converts, in this case, and you situated that understanding in their time. You didn’t try to say, I have
to explain this theologically as a Muslim thing. Again, ahistorical treatment. You lose, actually, situated
this historical movement in the moment that these
people were writing, expressing themselves. So, the meaning is not
derived from the form. The meaning is derived
from the use of that form at a particular moment, which
means it’s a recreation, and that therefore, you
can’t really understand a 17th century and 18th
century phenomenon, even though there are
forms that preceded it that a lot of people actually try. To me, it’s ahistorical,
it’s almost antihistorical to try to explain a phenomenon of the 17th or early part of the 18th century by going to the 16th and even early 17th. In today’s presentation, I want to give you a little background about how I came to do
this kind of research, because the research that
this presentation I’m making is really a breakaway from my history, my intellectual history,
my scientific history. As I said before, most of
my research and writing and articles have been on the
so-called period of decline, and what I think, I proved that there was no decline in the late 17th century. In fact, there was a renewal, and that renewal, interestingly enough, many Western scholars,
some of my own teachers, have discovered. And something that’s related
to the question I raised, also, earlier: why are you specializing in these studies you’re doing? You, Gabor. What is the motive for choosing? Or for a Turk to be a
specialist in Ottoman history. I ask that of everybody. Based on the idea that you’re
gonna commit yourselves to a life and a career, you should relate to it. Somehow, it should relate to
you somewhat biographically, preferably, and in your
presentation, I was thinking maybe you’d say, I am Hispanic. No no, no no, I’m just
making an example here. That will be the first
question that comes to me: how is this person writing
about this, the Convivencia, and if she’s not Hispanic,
what is the relationship? These are the questions I ask, because these are the
legitimate questions to ask. What is the motivation, for all of us, to commit our lives to
study, a good number of you, really, alien societies, alien cultures, alien even in belief system. You’re devoting, remember,
a life, career, to it. If you’re not really
convinced inside of yourself that there’s relevance to your work, to you, even if you’re
doing Ottoman history and you’re Hungarian, what is the relationship
between you, Gabor, doing Ottoman history,
and you’re Hungarian? I mean, you’re not
Ottoman, you’re not Muslim. And I’m asking you that
question to think about because I have to situate you, no matter what you say. I’m not saying I’m right,
but I think as a historian, I have to do that to
really take you seriously. – [Amira] Rifa’at, you have 10 minutes. – But you have to make a commitment here. We’re not talking about flipping a coin and deciding you’re gonna
spend 30 years of your life– – [Amira] You have 10 minutes. – You have one minute? – [Amira] You have 10 minutes. – 10 minutes, okay. So the burden is on you now– – [Amira] Yes. – To explain the presentation, okay? I just thought–
– I want to hear about juries. – I’m skipping the first
paragraph of my paper and I’m going to read a couple pages, (speaks away from mic) The wider framework within
which this study is conducted, includes the space… Oh. Sorry. The wider framework within
which this study is conducted includes the space that separates society from the state in early modern times. Here, we’re talking about
Jerusalem in the 16th century, Ottoman Jerusalem, also
in early Ottoman rule. We’re not talking about 17th, we’re really in Ottoman rule. And focuses on how individuals carried on their day-to-day lives at the local level, attending
to their own affairs and interaction to the exclusion of, or near exclusion, of the
state and its officials. I say near, because
there are some officials, but it’s… The officials are really incidental. We’re talking about local affairs, and what I’m proposing is
that there’s an autonomy. There’s self-rule. Even under this absolutist
state that all of us Ottomanists assume about the Ottoman state. The primary premise of this
paper is that there existed considerable autonomy of the
local society from the state. This, in direct contrast
to the diminishing space between the modern state,
all of us belonging to some nation state, modern state, and modern society, where
the state and society today are really much more
integrated than 16th century, whether 16th or 17th, or what have you. The evidence for the study
is sought in the system of surety, or kafala, in
Jerusalem, in the 16th century, in which the kafil, the bondsman, extended warranty for good behavior of groups of local residents in the conduct of their day-to-day life, which incorporated their
public and private behavior. It is proposed here that in the process of
delineating the kafala, this surety system, a
glimpse can be captured of the lives of inhabitants in quarters, the way the old city of
Jerusalem was divided, communities, and neighborhoods
of the 16th century. The term kafala is a metaphor, after all, with varying historical meanings. For purposes of this
study, an attempt is made to differentiate between
the ad hoc practice of kafala, or surety, as it is, is, to this day, incidentally, ’cause I lived in Jerusalem in the middle of the last century, and I
experienced kafala myself, quarters of the city of
Jerusalem was divided into quarters, and each quarter had a headman, he calls himself
a sheriff in English, but he’s still the… Anyway. A bondsman extended warranty
for the good behavior of groups of local
residents in the conduct of their day-to-day life,
which incorporated their public and social behavior. It is proposed here that in
the process of delineating the kafala system, a
glimpse can be captured of the lives of the
inhabitants in the quarters, mahallat, if you like,
communities, and neighborhoods of 16th century Jerusalem. A couple days ago, it hits me
that there’s another dimension of the work that I’m presenting, which I didn’t emphasize but
I think is coming to me now. It’s basically, I was looking
at a form of governance. So, it is not just simply a matter of a kafil giving
warranty or good behavior, but this is really a system of governance that the Ottomans adopted and adapted, and, of course, evolved
under the Ottomans. My newest insight, from work
I did about 10 years ago on which this paper is based, is that at the lowest level of governance, the invention of governance,
the system of governance, was a local one. Wasn’t an Ottoman one from Istanbul. It was maybe something that was inherited from Mamluks, a lot of people do that; I’m not too convinced,
because of the work of others who’ve done that. I’m not too convinced. Amnon Cohen had done some work
on this, an Israeli scholar who specializes in
Palestinian Ottoman history, or Bernard Lewis, who also, to me, is– – [Amira] You have two minutes. – What?
– Two minutes. – What? – Two minutes.
– Two minutes. – Two minutes. The term kafala is a metaphor with varying historical meanings. For the purpose for this
study, an attempt is made to differentiate between the
ad hoc practice of kefala, or surety, as it is or has been undertaken in the scholarly literature,
and to contrast it to the one proposed here, a social system with political implications. In its more limited but generic sense, the term refers to a
mechanism that facilitated mostly individual civil
and commercial transactions whereby surety or bonds were offered on behalf of individuals
in commercial transactions. In the more generic use of the term, an individual, for
example, had a bond placed with a bondsman as a
guarantee for adherence to or rendition of a
specific and simple task, which were mostly of
commercial nature, like a debt, or borrowing, but sometimes
of a civil nature. A bond also, a kafir, could be set up to vouch for the good behavior
or good conduct of a person at any one time or
specific period of time. This application, the kafala, was limited in its application of scope and coverage in a social range at a certain point in history. The way that kafala is studied here expands the social and
spatial reach of the metaphor to eliminate the system
that provided surety on behalf of large groups. Not individuals, now. Expanding from the individual
to large groups of individuals all at once, and
continuously renewed a bond that vouched for the good
behavior of these groups yet known mostly as named
individuals within these groups against their infraction of public order. Initially, the bond
guaranteed the behavior of residents of all quarters,
but later, it was limited to the space of the main neighborhoods of the named individuals
within these quarters. Thus, the range of the
application of the system reached inwards as it progressed, penetrated even into the private life of individual members of households and directly into their homes, (Amira speaks away from mic)
and I’ll stop there, okay. – Thank you very much. (audience applauds) – Good afternoon, everyone. First of all, thanks to the organizers, especially Sohaira Siddiqui,
for the invitation, and also for other
organizers for having me. In the presentation, I’ll
stick to 16th century. We’ll slightly move away from Jerusalem to a different terrain, although I’ll relate to, what I would say, a sister city of Jerusalem,
Mecca, to some extent. This was my doctoral
dissertation that I defended in Leiden University,
almost now two years ago, three years ago, no
more than two years ago, in which I was particularly
looking at the circulation of Shafi’i madhhab and its
texts across the Indian Ocean. As many of you are familiar,
or might be familiar, with the fact that the
Shafi’i school of law is the most prominent school
in the Indian Ocean littoral, from south Africa to southeast Africa, or east Africa to coastal southeast Asia. But historically, not many people have, or historiographically, not
many people have analyzed why and how this school
got that much prominence, even though there have been
some sort of explanations. But I’ll stick to 16th
century in this paper, for a number of different reasons. Some of you working on
16th century must know that it’s a century of
significant ruptures in terms of politics,
trade, culture, mobility, and also, law, in which not
only different, large embers such as the Mughals, Safavids,
and Ottomans come to power, but also, very unprecedented
ruptures in the population and environmental changes,
all witnessed in 16th century. It’s also a century of revitalization of several pre-existing networks,
particularly the Silk Road and also the Indian
Ocean-Mediterranean-Atlantic routes, in which we see many new
players and actors coming and creating vast changes. These changes not only had
impact in terms of trade alone, which was the major reason
there was a revitalization, but also, along with these
changes, there were a lot of new mobilities of scholars,
texts, ideas, schools, and multiplicities of
ideas and things like that. Within the religious
realm, whether it’s Islamic or Christian religious
realm, we see proliferation of religious networks,
mystical or legal networks, and institutions, educational institutions as well as mystical institutions, such as mosques, ribats, and madrassas. More interesting in this
period, I would say, is in 16th century we see
many old cities which were, this is a quotation from
Stephen Blake’s works on Shahjahanabad, in which he says that many old cities
which were small towns in 15th or 14th centuries got new lives, in terms of they began
to become global cities. Some of these cities are
just Macau, Canton, Nagasaki, Goa, Batavia, and Manila, as
well as some Islamic cities also got new life in this period. Among those, I would
identify Mecca and Jerusalem as two sacred cities that got a new life vis-a-vis other sacred cities, maybe Banares in south Asia, or Lhasa, for the Tibetan Buddhism,
or Najaf-Karbala, these places which
mostly got their new life in late 17th and early 18th century, whereas Mecca and
Jerusalem, both these cities attracted a lot of what I would say, a nexus of
pilgrims, scholars, and exiles, or immigrants, from all over the world, making a lot of fluctuations in a number of different realms. Along with these cities,
what we see across the globe but also particularly in my
area, which is the Indian Ocean, is that we had these old texts
and ideas getting new lives. So, it’s not just very
paradigm shifts happening in 16th century, but you have many old, this longue duree of the texts
that have been circulating in the Islamic world, but getting
a lot of new commentaries, the commentarial traditions, particularly, being very important in 16th century in the new centers, or
new cities, that emerged within the Islamic cities. Not necessarily new
cities, but the old cities with the new lives having more engagement with the new lives of the old texts. It will be more clear once I
come to the concrete points. Within Indian Ocean
world, which is my area, Mecca and Shafi’i school of law are the two major nodal points that influence the new circulation or new life of the 16th century. Indian Ocean is, as you might familiar, is a large realm of cross-cultural and trans-regional exchanges across the period. But in 16th century,
again, Indian Ocean got a very big shift in terms
of its increased mobility of people, increased volume of trade, increased presence of
different communities from all over the world. Within this–
(mic clatters) Sorry. Broader framework, my
central questions I have is how did the premodern
textual traditions, or premodern circulation
of Islamic legal texts look like in the Indian Ocean
and eastern Mediterranean? These are not the questions
that I address particularly in this paper, but what
I had been exploring, or what I did explore for
my doctoral dissertation. Also, to what extent did
legal texts play a role in shaping this maritime littoral, and why and how did the Shafi’i
school of law in particular appeal to a wider following
around the Indian Ocean? And, most importantly, how
did peripheral Muslims, quote-unquote “peripheral Muslims,” respond to these large changes, and how did their
intellectual networks generate a non-Middle Eastern
alternative discourse? And, for this paper particularly, what are the major
continuities and ruptures in the 16th century? The major reason why I put these questions are mainly because of these major gaps in the historiography. One is that… Sorry that I’m repeating so much. Some people, like Judith,
listened to my presentation just last month. Sorry that I’m repeating some of my ideas, but still, the broader gaps
in the historiography is the Islamic law, after
the Classical Period, is something that has
been largely ignored, although in the last
five, six years there, there’s a new trend to
analyze and interpret in the commentarial traditions, which otherwise have been ignored in the historiography as something doesn’t have any originality, the commentaries are just
repetitions of the old original texts, and things like that. Also, the peripheries,
quote-unquote “peripheries,” South Asia and Southeast Asia. Despite of having the
largest Muslim population in the world, once you come to the history of Islamic law, or
historiography of Islam, these two subcontinents
are always neglected, as if there was no Islam in these places before, let’s say, 18th century when the colonial
empires, or the Europeans, came into the scenario. As you were referring to, Wael
Hallaq is the best example, but also, Joseph Schacht
and all of these people encounter, let’s say, India
or Indonesia, Malay world, from 18th century onward. This is something also
that, 16th century, again, would give a different picture
for the existing narratives in the historiography. Another one is Islam and
its law in the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean studies. These two fields have, I wouldn’t say much about Mediterranean,
because I’m not an authority or an expert on the field,
but in the Indian Ocean, whether it’s Ken Choudhury or even Goitein for Mediterranean, they all
talk about law being a descender of mercantile networks, but
they don’t really explain how and which law played a role in the materialization of
the trade, mobility of people across large borders. This is also something that, whether it’s in Indian Ocean
studies or other places, the role of law, particularly Islamic law, is not expounded as such. And another narrative,
or a rhetorical narrative in the historiography,
is that Shafi’i school, as I was mentioning at the very beginning, Shafi’i madhhab is the
most important school in the Indian Ocean world,
which is also, I would say, a rhetoric, because no
one has really explored when and how, and if at
all, this madhhab existed in the Indian Ocean before, let’s say, before 16th century. So, I do this exercise
basically looking at one text, which is Minbaj al-Talibin,
the first text listed at the top, looking at
the biography of this text and the ways in which that text traveled across large borders. This text was written in 13th
century Damascus by Nawawi, and all the texts listed after are commentaries of that text. So, Tuhfat al-Muhtaj, which
is a commentary written in 16th century, along with
several other commentaries, and Fath al-Mu’in is a
super-commentary, you can say, or an abridgment based
on Tuhfat al-Muhtaj, and Nihayat is a commentary
based on Fath al-Mu’in. I’m coming to a chart which
makes the genealogy of this text more clear in a minute. Also, there are several
other texts of the school within the Shafi’i madhhab,
but I looked into one family of the Minhaj, I would say, and the ways in which this family
enabled this trans-regional and trans-period or
trans-chronological mobility of Islamic Law, but
particularly, Shafi’i law. So, this is how it look like. Minhaj is this text at the very bottom, and these are the ancestral texts that al-Minhaj itself claims to belong to a larger chronology,
or larger tradition, going back to the founder,
our eponymous founder of the school, Imam Shafi’i. The text is called al-Umm; I don’t know whether the title itself
comes from the text, but interestingly, it’s a mother text of the whole Shafi’i textual tradition. Minhaj belongs to that long tradition, and then, also, Minhaj itself
had its own descendants, coming up to 19th century and
20th century, and continues. So, as I was saying about 16th century, 16th century is the most
important for the commentaries of the tradition, because you see Minhaj attracting lot of
commentaries in 16th century, a kind of unprecedented surge
in the number of commentaries that Minhaj attracted. Fath al-Mu’in, which is also
I’ll come, so these two, oh, sorry, there is a mistake, which is Fath al-Mu’in is
not 15th century Cairo, it is 16th century Malabar, which itself attracted
a lot of commentaries across the Indian Ocean world. This is how, in a way, in
a map, it would look like, with Minhaj. There are four screens, I
can point only to one screen, which itself I think doesn’t work. Alright. So, you can see the ways in
which these texts are spread across large terrain, from eastern Mediterranean
to southeast Asia. These two texts, Tuhfat
al-Muhtaj and Fath al-Mu’in, are the most important texts for not only the Shafi’i tradition, but also for the 16th century. Both texts were written in 16th century, and Tuhfat al-Muhtaj,
by Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, has attracted about 35-plus commentaries, starting in 16th century going up to 19th and 20th century. Ibn Hajar al-Haytami was a
scholar born and brought up in Cairo, or in the suburbs of Cairo, and then moved to Mecca when he realized that Mecca is going to be,
or Mecca is or was becoming, the center of Islamic
learning in the 16th century. So, along with what I would
say the decline of Cairo in early 16th century
immediately after the conquest of Sultan Selim I, many scholars migrated to many different parts,
including some of whom were captured and taken
by Selim to Istanbul. Many other scholars were
not lucky to be captured or to be taken to Istanbul–
(Amira speaks away from mic) Okay, thank you. Many scholars who were not lucky enough to be taken to Istanbul found
new abodes such as Mecca, which was emerging as a new center of not only Islamic
learning, but also a center of migrations from all over the world. Mecca, in 16th century, became the center that united Islamic world in 16th century. Even though many scholars
and believers tend to believe that Mecca always has
been very important city throughout the history, which wasn’t, it became very important
only in 16th century when it ceased to be only a seasonal city; rather, it developed into a global city in which more permanent settlements, from all over the world,
from Hapsburg Empire too, Philippines and Manila,
and Malay world and China, coming and studying, and settling and forming their own community in the city in 16th century. So, Ibn Hajar al-Haytami
was one of the figures who stood at the forefront
of the educational revival of the city, and until then,
Mecca was not an important city for Islamic education. Scholars from the city used
to migrate to other places, but from 16th century
onward, we see scholars from many other places coming to the city, not only for its
religious, sacred purposes, but also particularly
for educational purposes. So, Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, in
a way, Shafi’i-ized the city through his different ideological
and juridical encounters with the Hanafi muftis and
Hanafi qadis in the city, appointed by the Ottoman
Empire, Ottoman rulers. Among many students who
studied with Ibn Hajar from different parts of the world, and among these many students
who came from different parts of the world, this figure, al-Malaybari, Zaynadin al-Malaybari,
was one of those figures: came came from Malabar in southwest India and studied with Ibn Hajar, or arguably studied with Ibn Hajar and wrote this text called Fath al-Mu’in, which became, I would say,
a voice from the periphery within the Shafi’i tradition, where he not only criticized Ibn Hajar, not only Ibn Hajar but many
scholars, or Shafi’i scholars before him, for their lack
of attention to the, again, quote-unquote, “peripheral” Muslims and he contextualized and
argued for, let’s say, a Malaybari, or if not, an
Indian version of Shafi’i school through his text called Fath al-Mu’in, which itself was a commentary of a text that he himself has written,
called Qurat-ul-Ain. Qurat-ul-Ain, he himself
wrote an explanatory, more-detailed text, Fath al-Mu’in, which became, as many scholars
in Indonesia, Malaysia, as well as in the Shafi’i
peninsula, South Asia, would call it the manifesto. In the interest of time,
(chuckles) I’ll just say that Shafi’ism in the 16th century, both these texts stood at the
forefront of larger networks or larger mobility of scholars,
and particularly Shafi’ism. In the existing narratives,
Hadrami Sayyids, Hadrami Sayyids, have been
credited as the sole preachers of the school across the Indian Ocean, which is not at all true. Rather, it was part of
a cosmopolitan network of Karimi merchants,
Egyptians, Syrians, Persians. I can give solid evidences or explanations on each of these communities
for being at the forefront of spreading Shafi’i school, and also, along with
several Malays, Hindis, or larger South Asians,
as well as Swahilis being at the vanguard
of spreading the school. One interesting thing or
factor about the 16th century is that it is not a unidirectional journey of the, let’s say, Arabo-Persians being the sole exporters of
Shafi’i school, or Islam, into the quote-unquote
“peripheral” regions. Rather, many scholars from
the peripheral regions contributed significantly
to the spread of the school. Malaybari’s text is one
example of this circulation. Also, Mecca itself began to be replicated, or metaphorically or
allegorically replicated, in different parts of the Indian Ocean, not for their importance
in terms of religion. They didn’t have any religious importance; rather, for their
importance for educational, or religious education. So, you had these places such
as Aceh in Southeast Asia, Ponnani, Makli, Hyderabad in South Asia, Hezhou, Linxia City; all these places metaphorically identified with Mecca from late 16th century century onward, connoting the educational
revival Mecca had attracted by that time, and Middle
Eastern students coming to these Little Meccas and
studying in these places, and also the other way around, where the peripheral texts
and scholars as teachers and textbooks in the Islamic heartlands. I’ll just skip this
part and I’ll come back to this conclusion. The post-classical
evolution within Islamic law from Minhaj and Nihayat
is something that needs to be explained further,
instead of rejecting the whole post-classical
tradition as stagnant. The textual longue duree
of the Shafi’i tradition starting, let’s say, with Umm, going up to Nihayat in 19th century, in which three centuries
witnessing major leaps, that is, 13th century in
which Minhaj was written, 16th century in which these
two texts that I mentioned were written, and 19th century, in which many more
commentaries were written. In 16th century, you see
the Shafi’i school being the predominant school
in the Indian Ocean, thanks to the different
contributors or networks which were very important
in the Indian Ocean or transoceanic networks. Then, the multidirectional journeys in which peripheral Muslims
actively participated. Thank you very much, you’re welcome.
(audience applauds) Myth of Shafi’ism is because
Shafi’ism didn’t have, or supposedly, according
in the narratives, Shafi’ism is the only school
that survived, or existed, in the Indian Ocean. Not survived, existed in the Indian Ocean. If you look at, let’s
say, Andre Wing’s book, or many other books,
you see that Shafi’ism, from seventh century, which
is, again, very anachronistic, to 11th century, as being at the part of, at the heartland of, oh, sorry, at the cost of
Shafi’ism, which is not true. Only in 16th century,
Shafi’ism get the importance or the dominance, predominance,
in the Indian Ocean. Before that, there were
many other schools, what I would identify as the
intermixed legal landscape, in which Malikism is a
very important school, based on the narratives of Ibn Battuta, whether it’s Maldives,
or even in Malabar coast, many other places. And Hanafism, also very
important across Southeast Asia. Also, some parts of coastal South Asia. In 15th century, folks,
somebody marked one Zheng He, the Chinese admiral Zheng He,
translator-cum-interpreter, who extensively wrote about
the presence of Hanafism, and also, we have a lot of
Chinese Malay chronicles which talk about the presence of the Hanafi mosques and establishments. And we see, in 16th century,
many of these centers and rulers converting from, quote-unquote, “converting” from Hanafism to Shafi’ism. That’s when, in 16th century,
we have this Shafi’ism getting more importance in
the Indian Ocean littoral, because of the Shafi’i networks that many people actively contributed, like all these people. – Thank you. Questions, please. We will take a bunch of questions first. Yep. – That was my question, what
other madhhabs existed there, because I was thinking about the pre-16– (assistant speaks away from mic) Oh no. Pre-16th century, so I
was thinking about Gujarat and Bishanpur, and below the southern, it was very different. But you answered the question, but my follow-up question,
whether it had, in India, whether it had to do with empire? With the Mughals, that Shafi’ism becomes, or the unification of the
Indian subcontinent, and empire, and that was my question. Then, I have a– – Yeah, go ahead. Please, continue. – Rifa’at as well, and I’m answering your curious question, why I studied, and– (Rifa’at speaks away from mic) No no no, it’s a serious question, in terms of, you said, if
I didn’t misunderstand you, that Jerusalem in the 16th
century is not an Arab city. It has nothing to do with,
it’s not in Arab history. Is this what you said? – We’ll answer afterwards, we want to get the questions first. – No, ’cause I want to continue, because I was born and
raised in another town that was for 150 years under Ottoman rule, but I would say it remained more Hungarian than it became Ottoman. We still presume it as
part of the Ottoman Empire at the imperial level, but if
you look at the local levels, we didn’t have, in many
of these municipalities, we didn’t have qadis. It was the local pre-conquest municipality and the institutions–
– Rifa’at will agree with you, by the way. (laughs) – So, my question is,
what is the difference between Jerusalem and those cities– – Okay, let’s get some
more questions please; yes. (Rifa’at speaks away from mic) No, we’re gonna take the questions first, then you’ll answer. – More questions? – Yes. Three-four questions,
then you get a chance. – [Female Attendee]
Okay, I have a question. Oh, do I have to use the microphone? Okay, I have a question for Mahmood about the conceptualization
of center and periphery in the wider Islamic
world in the 16th century. My question just is, basically– – I can’t hear you. – [Female Attendee] Oh,
my question is about the geographical conceptualization
of center and periphery in the 16th century. Basically, is the idea of, I don’t know, the Arabic-speaking world
as an intellectual center for Islamic scholarship, is
that a modern conceptualization of a center, and is there
evidence in the contemporary texts that that’s the case? Basically, that the
South Asian scholarship that might be happening in
Arabic is somehow peripheral, and that there’s a circulation
between a periphery and a center, and I ask this as someone who’s very interested in
Arabic knowledge production in South Asia. I mean, I don’t have to
tell this to you, right? There are so many places
that considered themselves as centers, like Sialkot, or Patna, places that are historic
centers of Arabic language, Islamic scholarly production. Did they consider
themselves to be periphery in the 16th century? I have my own impression,
but I’d be interested to hear from your perspective, and
then my other question is if, in the Indian Ocean,
Shafei legal acumen, was there any bleeding of
legal or customary practices between madhhabs or
across sectarian divides? I’m just thinking of
certain Shafei practices that maybe would have
influenced, I don’t know, Bori practices or something like this. Have you noticed any examples of that? And that’s it. (Amira speaks away from mic) (woman speaks away from mic) (attendees chuckle) – Yeah, please go ahead. – [Woman] Is the question. – [Male Attendee] This
might be a little stretch from your presentation,
but I was wondering whether there is any
link between consumption and the spread of legal schools, especially is there any link
between Shafi’i school’s liberal attitude to seafood and its spread to coastal communities, because
there is more food available (chuckles) for Shafi’is? – I didn’t understand the question. Can you just repeat it? Can you hear? I didn’t hear it. – [Male Attendee] The question
is whether there’s a link between Islamic legal
schools and dietary rules in those legal schools. Because most coastal
communities are Shafi’is, and inland communities are Hanafis, whether that is accidental
or it is related to consumption patterns. – Any other questions? Let me ask one question. There is, oh, please go ahead. – [Male Attendee] Is there
any record of some type of political violence
or anything demanding the Shafi’i school, ’cause it is unique in that it’s so homogeneously present when there was a history of heterogeneity. – Okay, just one last
question, because I don’t think we have time to take a whole series. This is why we’re taking them all. (Rifa’at speaks away from mic) It’s a fast comment, but at the same time, it’s a question that follows, because what we had here is
two contrasting presentations. It’s interesting, a lot of the
questions actually work here. One presentation talked
at the micro level, talked about lived
realities, talked about– (computer voice plays over speaker) Mahals, how people lived, while the other presented us the macro, with the intellectual production, with the legal systems
that were being produced. I’m thinking here in terms
of work I’ve personally done. When we talk about the
Shafi’is, what kind of Shafi’is are we talking about? By the time Shafi’ism reached the ground, reached the mahal, what was it? When you take the Maliki
madhhab, for example, the Maliki madhhab in,
I’m not even going to say North Africa vs Egypt, I’m going to say Alexandria vs Said, upper
Egypt: completely different. The application in courts, you’d think they’re totally different systems. A small example: in upper
Egypt, they actually recognized the woman’s (speaking in foreign
language) for her children. That’s nonexistent in Alexandria,
which was more Maghrebi, because it was a place the
Maghreb passed through. So, when we say Shafi’ism
replacing Hanafism, what are we talking about,
and what does the legal system really become once it
is applied at the level that Rifa’at was talking about, and this is the same
question to you, Rifa’at, because you’re talking about
the applications of kefala at a very local system, but the kafil, also there must be a system. Did Hanafism really
guide this whole system, or there was no dialectical
references involved there? And please, each one of
you, you’ll get five minutes to answer all of these questions. – First of all, Gabor’s question about 16th century Jerusalem. You know my work, I’ve done a critique of Arab historiography of
Ottoman, and I’m surprised at your question, that you understood the
criteria behind critiquing modern Arab scholarship that
ignores 500 years of history, and yet you come up
with a question similar to an Arab ignoring Ottoman history. So, how do you want me
to answer your question? I have to situate, no matter what you say, your motive for studying,
irrespective of what you say. I have to situate, when you
say, “This is my motive,” I still have to situate it historically. So I can rationally
understand and then explain why, for you, in the
20th and 21st century, an Hungarian who is a nationalist, studies Ottoman history, like I am posing to Arab historians, Amira included, why do they ignore 500
years of their history? Because they don’t see
it as their history, and to some extent, that also
relates to your presentations, the first one. Again, this is something I’m sharing with you because it’s something I’m raising myself after 50 years of doing history, and it really is a question
of what do we mean by culture. When we talk about Ottoman
history, or Muslim history, also, for you, what does it mean? It doesn’t mean anything, unless you’re talking something shared, an experience that non-Muslims
or living under Muslim rule not only are tolerated
but actually participating in the creation of the culture. If you miss that, then
you are being ahistorical, you’re not being historical. If you refuse to consider that premise, because you’re saying
we’re inhuman. (chuckles) You’re claiming Hungarians
are inhuman because they were unaffected in participating in Ottoman history. – I’m not saying that.
– No no, I know, I’m putting the premises
to you behind your question about 16th– – [Gabor] Different levels
of provincial history of an empire. So, it’s part of both the
local and the empirical, and I wanna differentiate,
because there are many layers of the provinces. – It’s okay, you can
study Ottoman history. It’s fine.
– Except, if you look– – Rifa’at? – At the provinces, I’m
not trying to teach you anything you don’t know. When you talk about the provinces, you have a Turkish governor in Jerusalem. So there’s a presence there. We’re not talking about the Gulf area, where there’s hardly any Ottoman presence, even though there was a presence. So the question becomes,
for us in the 21st century, how do we look at that history, and are we being historical
if we actually go along with the nationalists who
say we have nothing to do with the Ottomans? So, at the minimum, you have to assume that we are human beings, and
therefore, like it or not, from our point of view
in the 21st century, our ancestors actually
participated in the rest, and I hope this is what we’re studying. Now, in terms of Jerusalem, Shafi’i, I don’t know where you
conjured up this question, and it’s meaningless to me, because I don’t see any
differentiation here. In other words, it will
not register in the courts. At least, I didn’t see any, and I worked with this
material for about a year. I worked, I covered at least
30 years of Ottoman history. The first 30 years, or 35 years, of Ottoman history in Jerusalem covered by the sigil. I didn’t see, I don’t
remember any hint, even, of an issue there, but
maybe because the court is one madhhab or the
other, but that’s, anyway. In terms of your question, I don’t know how relevant,
even if there was a difference, because it didn’t register, historically. You’re asking an unrealistic
question, for me, in terms of the evidence. I don’t have any evidence
that would substantiate even you raising the question,
(laughs) you see what I’m– – Thank you, Rifa’at. Mahmood? – It’s a lot of questions– – You have five minutes. – Yeah, sure. (Amira laughs) I’ll try to be brief. On the question of the empires, or the rulers having any importance in particularly South Asia, and you were asking about
the Mughals specifically, we do see almost all the
empires within South Asia having some sort of official
madhhab to affiliate with. In the case of Mughals, in 17th century, it becomes very clear when Aurangzeb asks people to codify different what he calls fatwas, but different rulings within the Hanafi tradition. But once we look at two
hands of Mughal empire, let’s say Bengal and Gujarat, these two places, we do
see that Shafi’i school had some sort of prominence
until 15th, 16th century, but then once after the Mughal
conquest of these regions, in which the Hanafism
getting more importance, whereas Shafi’ism, as
such, once we look at, it doesn’t, after 13th
century, it kind of loses any political patronage in different parts. Even though in Southeast Asia,
there are a lot of rulers who support the school, as such, but it doesn’t get that much patronage, unlike similar to Hanafism
gets at the Ottoman Empire or other places. So, in the Mughal realm,
there is some examples for the Hanafist school being supported by the ruling regimes, but simultaneously, we also don’t see much, that
itself having an impact. It’s very ambiguous. For example, in the introduction
of Islam to South Asia or the conquest by the early rulers, both of them, like Mahmud
Ghazni and Muhammad Hotak, both of them were Shafi’is,
but the school as such in the later histories didn’t
have any impact as such. So, it’s something needs
further exploration. Geographical categorization,
those questions on peripheries, whether these figures
understood themselves as peripheries: of course not. They thought that… After a point, let’s say
in 17th century onward, we see many of them saying that Arabs, they don’t know anything about Islam, we are the true upholders of Islam, which is very evident, I’ll
say, in the hadith tradition. Also, partly in the fakir tradition, some of them saying that
the real learning of Islam, or real education in Islam,
comes from these places, whereas Arabs do not practice. So, the categorization that
I followed, center-periphery, is more a scholarly construction that comes from the lack
of addressing these places which do not appear in many
of the existing historiography of Islam or Islamic law, particularly. – I’m being told to cut. – Oh, sorry. – I’ll give you a couple of
more minutes from my pocket. – I’ll kick on; on seafood, definitely, this is something that
is very contentious, especially between the
Hanafis and Shafi’is. In South Africa, for example,
in Cape Town, 19th century, when Aboubacar Rafindi was
sent by the Ottoman sultan, Abdul Hamid, sorry,
before him, was sent back or was kicked out from the region for opposing seafood, particular seafood. The same, you would
see, in Jahanges’ court, there is a big debate between
the Hanafis and Shafi’is on the question of seafood particularly, so it’s very controversial.

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