Chapter 6 Mobility among the Andalusī quḍāt: Social Advancement and Spatial Displacement in a Professional Context

In: Professional Mobility in Islamic Societies (700-1750)
Adday Hernández López
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The Andalusī ʿulamāʾ enjoyed a great power. At times, they constituted a threat for the rulers who, on the other hand, needed their support. Judges were a fundamental piece in this tug of war; they were ʿulamāʾ, but they were appointed by the ruler and, in consequence, they were closer to the political power. In this contribution I aim to examine the way in which the consecutive Andalusī rulers employed different types of professional mobility (vertical/social, horizontal, i.e. movements between legal/religious and administrative posts- and spatial mobility) as a political strategy to keep the ʿulamāʾ controlled. Were specific policies applied particularly successful? Professional mobility was a crucial aspect in the political and intellectual life of all the medieval Islamic societies but, oblivious to the Eastern madrasa system, al-Andalus followed its own conservative institutional development. The study of the particular process of scholarly professionalization in al-Andalus will help us improving our knowledge on the social dynamics in the premodern Islamic West. A recently created digital resource, the PUA database (see details below), has been essential for the completion of this study, since it allowed the performance of diverse searches that have shed light on specific aspects, such as the inclusion of commoners in the judicature or the increase of spatial mobility in concrete periods among other issues.

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