The Use of Charity as a Means of Political Legitimation in Umayyad al-Andalus

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The principal aim of this study is to examine the use of charity as a factor of political legitimation by the ruling elite of al-Andalus in the Umayyad period. Accordingly, it explores the degree to which charity was an instrument in the hands of the authorities, and the manner in which this strategy was decisive in the process of consolidating power. In a broader sense, this analysis enables us to deepen our knowledge of the political elite in al-Andalus and to elucidate how charitable attitudes reflected a particular conception of power.

Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

Journal d'Histoire Economique et Sociale de l'Orient

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16

M. Barceló, “El califa patente: el ceremonial omeya de Córdoba o la escenificación del poder.” Acta Salmanticensia 81 (1991): 151-73; M. Fierro, “Pompa y ceremonia en los califatos del Occidente islámico (s. II/VIII-IX/XV).” Cuadernos del Cemyr 17 (2009): passim; M. Meouak, “Représentations, emblèmes et signes de la souveraineté politique des Umayyades d’al-Andalus d’après les textes arabes.” Acta Orientalia 56 (1995): 78-105; J. Safran, “Ceremony and Submission: The Symbolic Representation and Recognition of Legitimacy in Tenth-Century al-Andalus.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 58 (1999): 191-201; ead., The Second Umayyad Caliphate: 70-97. Regarding ceremonies and protocols as insignias of other caliphates, see the works by M. Ghrouirgate and M.J. Viguera Molins in the final bibliography.

20

El Mansour, “Hospitality, Charity”, 183-84. The universalist political discourse in the Islamic tradition advocates that justice and equity are essential for good governance on the basis of the principle that royalty can outlive infidelity, but not injustice; see J. Dakhlia, Le divan des rois. Le politique et le religieux dans l’Islam (Paris: Editions Aubier, 1998): 227-54. This image coincides with features recommended by the Koran and the Sunna, developed later by the “Mirrors for Princes” (naṣīḥāt al-mulūk), which constitute a genre of court literature on the interrelation between philosophical ethics and government practice, political legitimation being one of its key functions; see S. von Hees, “The Guidance for Kingdoms: Function of a “mirror for princes” at court and its representation of a court.” In Court Cultures in the Muslim World: 370-82.

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