The Development of a Locker System at al-Azhar

In: Islamic Law and Society
Author: Irfana Hashmi1
View More View Less
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):


There is widespread scholarly agreement that al-Azhar rose to prominence as an Islamic center of learning in the sixteenth century, as Arab provinces were adjusting to Ottoman administration. This article examines the development of a locker system at al-Azhar, one of several structural changes that took place between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries, in addition to the expansion of fraternities. I argue that this material infrastructure, which was supported by modest endowments, served as a crucial scaffold for teaching and learning at al-Azhar and contributed to its rising status as an educational institution. Shari‘a court records reveal that the growing importance of lockers was the result of (1) decisions made by ordinary men and women about the endowment, subdivision, and circulation of lockers and (2) Ottoman legal reforms and innovations. In this way, a seemingly peripheral material object may serve as a site for exploring al-Azhar’s development as an educational institution.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 229 58 7
Full Text Views 75 13 0
PDF Views & Downloads 77 31 0