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Serie:

Mona Abaza

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the paradoxical relationship between the center of Cairo (“Downtown”) and the gated communities in the satellite cities in the desert, by attempting to weave fictional narratives with reality, and by investigating how spatial and class polarization intensified after 2011. It is no coincidence that the counterrevolutionary moment that Egypt has experienced in the past years has led to the proliferation of a fascinating dystopian literature that turned the cityscape of Cairo into the center stage of hallucinatory apocalyptic landscapes. Furthermore, the exodus to satellite cities in both the eastern and western deserts poses another set of serious challenges and problems, in turn raising questions about how the future of Downtown will evolve.

Serie:

Jürgen Paul

Zusammenfassung

Five years after founding the journal Der Islam, Carl Heinrich Becker published his study “Steuerpacht und Lehnswesen eine historische Studie über die Entstehung des islamischen Lehnswesens” (1914) in it. This article had a surprisingly deep impact. It is not only a milestone in the assessment of the “oriental” iqṭāʿ as very different from the European “fief”, but it also served some authors as basis for far-reaching statements: Max Weber and Marc Bloch referred to it in their work. The article was “state of the art” until 1953 when Claude Cahen opened up new axes for research on the iqṭāʿ in a ground-breaking study.

The present article outlines Becker’s perspective, starting with his statement that the iqṭāʿ falls short from being a fief first of all because “the Orient” does not know the homagium, the voluntary submission of a nobleman under a prince. The article identifies some of the sources for this statement, shows its implications and traces its impact, among others on Weber and Bloch. The article also names sources that must lead to a re-assessment of this statement: contrary to Becker’s claim, in Seljuq Iran, there were social relationships and ceremonies that can usefully be compared to the Latin homagium. At the end, the article contextualises the iqṭāʿ as one form of “benefit”, one duty that the lord has in the mutually engaging relationship of “service” (khidma).

Serie:

Armando Salvatore

Abstract

Following a historical sociology approach critiquing and reconstructing key social theory categories, the chapter delineates some key trajectories in the history of the Islamic ecumene through which combinations of saintly charisma and practices of civility originating both within Sufi brotherhoods and courtly milieus were appropriated by various rulers and their courts for the sake of buttressing the political legitimacy of their ever more centralizing states, starting in the Later Middle Periods (13th to 15th centuries) and going into early modernity. The study appraises these developments as significant for the genesis of endogenous Islamicate patterns of precolonial political modernity. The analysis shows how these patterns, and the role played by both religious scholars and state administrators in shaping them, can be contrasted with the European Leviathan-model of sacral sanctioning of sovereignty. Examples are mainly drawn from the evolution of Timurid and Ottoman rule and court cultures in the larger context of late-medieval and early modern Islamicate empires, along with their changing religiopolitical balances. Through this, I also enucleate the potential space of a ‘sociology of Islam,’ of which I am a practitioner, and which I do see as influenced by Reinhard Schulze’s work.

Serie:

Yves Wegelin

Zusammenfassung

This journalistic essay investigates the reasons for the increasing hostility towards Islam in the West. The basis for this hostility, as I argue, lies in the re-awakening of a right-wing nationalism that considers its own people threatened by Muslims. Nationalists are joined by conservatives and republicans who consider Islam as a threat to Christianity or the Enlightenment. This newly awakened nationalism itself can be traced back to four causes: Firstly, the fainting memory of the destruction brought about by nationalism in the first half of the 20th century. Secondly, the ceasing conflict between the interests of workers and capital gave way to questions of national identity. Thirdly, economic transformations since the oil crisis in 1973 have been causing fear of decline among the lower middle class. The fourth reason consists of real threats by Islamism, in the form of terrorist attacks. Nationalists, especially, define Islamism in an essentialist way, namely, as the manifestation of a transcendent idea of Islam. From a social science viewpoint, however, Islamism is rather to be understood as nationalism’s twin. Its kernel can be attributed to the same four causes, not least in its being a reaction to the West. By mutually strengthening each other, nationalism and Islamism in fact become allies.

Serie:

Johannes Stephan

Zusammenfassung

This contribution addresses the question how Arabic literary history can account for texts from the early modern period. The starting point is to appraise the historicity of literature itself, and particularly its modern Arabic equivalent adab. Recent scholarship has underpinned the significance of the concept of adab in the nineteenth century as the new equivalent for literature. If one is to consent to this understanding of adab as a distinctively modern concept, students of the literary history of the seventeenth and eighteenth century will have to tackle a period without literature. One way to overcome this gap is to adopt a teleological approach which tries to trace literature in early modern times as something that was yet to emerge. Another way is suggested by this essay: namely, to take into account the epistemological difference between the modern concept of literature and the premodern textual production. By espousing Reinhard Schulze’s genealogical approach along with Stephen Greenblatt’s historical methodology, the article proposes to use literature as a specific interpretative position, while keeping in mind the historical boundaries of the concept. This will be illustrated firstly, with the formation of adab in one of the first Arabic weeklies, Hadiqat al-Akhbar, and secondly, with the historical place of the Arabian Nights and its connectedness to Arabic textual and narrative culture.

Serie:

Felix Konrad

Zusammenfassung

A recurring topic of Ottoman advice literature is the categorisation of society into distinct groups. This representation of social order is contrasted with perceived ‘illegitimate’ social mobility and behaviour. Arising from processes of identification, which associate social groups with specific functions, characteristics, and patterns of behaviour, social categorisations are part and parcel of a discourse meant to preserve and stabilise social order. As such, they were embedded in a culture of knowledge shaped by binary oppositions such as rulers and subjects, order and disorder. This contribution examines three pieces of early-eighteenth-century advice literature by Defterdār Ṣarı Meḥmed, Naḥīfī Süleymān, and İbrāhīm Müteferriḳa, firstly, by analysing how the authors produced social categories, either positively, by specifying ‘appropriate’ practices, or negatively, by condemning certain behaviour. Secondly, I will discuss their use of Islamic normativity when defining legitimate behaviour. Hereby, the main focus lies on the image of high-ranking officials as the intended audience of the texts. I will show that social classifications and definitions of legitimate behaviour not only helped the authors to interpret socio-political change, but also contributed to a discursive construction of order.

Serie:

Stefan Reichmuth

Zusammenfassung

The famous Baghdadi scholar and mufti of the early 13th/19th century, Shihab al-Din Mahmud al-Alusi (1802–1854), was the author of some very sophisticated maqāmas with a strong autobiographical flavor. The last of these was “The Cooing of the Dove in the Quarter of the Qamariyya School” (Saǧʿ al-qumriyya fī-rabʿ madrasat al-ʿqamariyya), arranged as a lengthy and novel-like Ego narrative with strong fictional elements. It was sometimes labelled as the first Arabic novel. The central topic is a Sufi experiment of love and seduction: a young Madrasa teacher is induced by an old Sufi shaykh to share his own love for his young and beautiful companion, as a major step on the way to the love of God. Deep sentimental experiences end in calamity, with the sudden arrest, release and ensuing death of the old shaykh, and that of his young aggrieved disciple. The old narrator, having renounced both worldly life and mystical love for youthful beauty, tells this story to his younger self. The maqāma shares a striking number of features with the European Romantic novel. This raises the question of the preconditions for such a way of storytelling outside Europe, without any seizable contact with contemporary European literary trends.

Serie:

Florian Zemmin, Johannes Stephan and Monica Corrado

Serie:

Peter Dové

Zusammenfassung

Al-Qunfuḏ (The Hedgehog), published in 2005, is the latest book-publication by the Syrian writer Zakaria Tamer. Al-Qunfuḏ is in many regards different from his other, older work which consists mainly of satirical-grotesque stories that are often very critical of modern Arab society. Al-Qunfuḏ, on the contrary, is a realistic narrative, and relates the coming-of-age of a young Syrian boy in an intimate manner. By comparing Al-Qunfuḏ to Tamers earlier satirical texts, this paper aims to show how contemporary Arabic literature expresses a new conception of society – a conception quite similar to the one expressed in the protests of the Arab Spring – not only by means of the narrated events, but also by the use of specific narrative techniques, in particular characterization.