Academic journal article The Journal of the American Oriental Society

The Q[a.Bar]d[i.Bar]s of Fust[a.bar]t-Misr under the T[u.Bar]l[u.Bar]nids and the Ikhsh[i.bar]dids: The Judiciary and Egyptian Autonomy

Academic journal article The Journal of the American Oriental Society

The Q[a.Bar]d[i.Bar]s of Fust[a.bar]t-Misr under the T[u.Bar]l[u.Bar]nids and the Ikhsh[i.bar]dids: The Judiciary and Egyptian Autonomy

Article excerpt

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 'Abb[a.bar]sid caliphate. At the end of the mihna and the victory of Sunnism under al-Mutawakkil (r. 232-47/847-61), the caliphate agreed not to interfere in the legal sphere, thus allowing the principal schools of law to complete their development toward their classical structure. (1) In Iraq the q[a.bar]d[i.bar]s were allowed more judicial freedom, thanks to the growing independence of the legal system and to the political weakness of the caliphate, (2) while in Egypt the provincial rulers and two successive dynasties, the T[u.bar]l[u.bar]nids (254-92/868-905) and the Ikhsh[i.bar]d[i.bar]ds (323-58/935-69), profited from the caliphate's weakness and imposed their autonomy de facto. (3)

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.4 In this article, I intend to study the relationship between the Egyptian governors and the judiciary, from the accession of Ahmad b. T[u.bar]l[u.bar]n in 254/868 until the arrival of the Fatimids in 358/969. My main source of reference is Raf 'al-isr 'an qad[a.bar]t Misr, a biographical dictionary written by Ibn Hajar al-'Asqal[a.bar]n[i.bar] (d. 852/1449), which focuses on the history of Egyptian q[a.bar]d[i.bar]s. (5) Although he wrote this dictionary five centuries after the fact, Ibn Hajar relies heavily on contemporary works: primarily that of Ibn Z[u.bar]l[abar]q (d. 386/996), who wrote a now lost Akhb[a.bar]r qud[a.bar]t Misr dedicated to the q[a.bar]d[i.bar]s of the T[u.bar]l[u.bar]nid and the Ikhsh[i.bar]did periods, (6) and secondarily that of Ibn Y[u.bar]nus (d. 347/958), author of two biographical dictionaries about Egyptians and strangers who settled in Egypt. (7) Whereas another late author such as Ibn al-Mulaqqin (d. 804/1401-2), who also wrote a book on Egyptian q[a.bar]d[i.bar]s, culled his material in order to construct a hagio-graphical narrative of judges whom he mostly regards as saints, (8) Ibn Hajar did not stray from his sources. Even if he tends to reorganize and synthesize the information provided by his predecessors, as a comparison between his Raf' al-isr and al-Kind[i.bar]'s Akhb[a.bar]r qud[a.bar]t Misr shows, (9) Ibn Hajar usually quotes them faithfully and almost in extenso, avoiding any obvi-ous manipulation. This makes his book a fairly reliable source for the history of the T[u.bar]l[u.bar]nid and lkhsh[i.bar]did periods.

In what follows several elements will be taken into consideration: (1) the institutional relationship between political power and the judiciary (who appointed the qadis, how were they selected, and did the government choose local scholars or did the q[a.bar]d[i.bar]s come from outside the province?); (2) the financial ties between the governors and the q[a.bar]d[i.bar]s, which were not only symbolic of the delegation of power, but could also denote the subservience of the judiciary to the government; (10) (3) the daily interactions between the q[a.bar]d[i.bar]s and the governors; (4) the judicial practice of the q[a.bar]d[i.bar]s; and (5) their reputation. Although Ibn Hajar omits chains of transmitters (isn[a.bar]ds), which probably appeared in Ibn Z[u.bar]l[a.bar]q's book, it is likely that most of the reports regarding q[a.bar]d[i.bar]s were put into circulation and transmitted by elites who were directly concerned with political affairs. (11) Therefore, I assume that the q[a.bar]d[i.bar]s' biographies reflect the views of their contemporaries--other scholars in particular--and the way they looked upon the relationship between the q[a.bar]d[i.bar]s and the government.

THE T[U.bar]L[U.bar]NIDS (254-292/868-905)

When Ahmad b. T[u.bar]l[u.bar]n (r. 254-70/868-84) arrived in Fustat as governor (am[i.bar]r), it had been an established practice for over a century for the caliph to appoint the q[a. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.