Chapter 9 Islamic Political Thought and Professional Mobility: The Intellectual and Empirical Worlds of Ibn Ṭalḥa and Ibn Jamāʿa

In: Professional Mobility in Islamic Societies (700-1750)

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This study examines the interrelatedness between professional mobility and the production of Islamic political thought. It argues that the diverse professional careers of the two Shāfiʿī-Ashʿarī jurists and Sufis, Ibn Ṭalḥa (d. 652/1254) and Ibn Jamāʿa (d. 733/1333), shaped the political ideas and stylistic features of their treatises. The first case study examines Ibn Ṭalḥa’s al-ʿIqd al-farīd li al-malik al-saʿīd (The unique necklace for a content king) and offers clues on the impact of the author’s professional mobility under the Artuqids and late Ayyubids on his original and eclectic style. It shows that Ibn Ṭalḥa’s work was an amalgamation of genres of advice literature that reflected the diversity of his professional background. The second case study relies on Ibn Jamāʿa’s three extant political treatises to study the expansion of the author’s political theory alongside his thriving career and professional mobility under the Mamluks. This examination, which covers Taḥrīr al-aḥkām fī tadbīr ahl al-Islām (Drafting ordinances towards running the affairs of the people of Islam), allows the shift in Ibn Jamāʿa’s postulations on political authority in Islam to be traced.