Şeyhulislâm Feyzullah Efendi, the Ḥanafī Mufti of Jerusalem and the Rise of the Provincial Fatāwā Collections in the Eighteenth Century

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Guy Burak Librarian for Middle Eastern, Islamic and Jewish Studies, Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, New York University New York USA

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The article examines the rise of standardized collections of fatāwā issued by officially appointed provincial Hanafi muftis across the Ottoman Empire in the long eighteenth century. The article focuses on the earliest compilation, that of the Jerusalemite Ḥanafī mufti, ʿAbd al-Raḥīm b. Abī al-Luṭf. This compilation was commissioned by the famous chief imperial mufti Feyzullah Efendi. The article then traces the proliferation of the standardized fatāwā compilation over the course of the eighteenth century, from Medina to the Balkans. This essay seeks to examine the emergence of local/provincial compilations of fatāwā over the eighteenth century as yet another chapter in the long intervention of the Ottoman dynasty (through its learned hierarchy) in the regulation of the doctrines of the Ḥanafī madhhab at the imperial and provincial levels. Focusing on Feyzullah Efendi’s initiative and its aftermath may cast light on specific venues and practices in which this intervention took place in a particular historical moment.

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