The present study investigates the role of written documents in Islamic court procedure, and especially the evidential status of such documents. For this purpose, I analyze different kinds of sources that vary in their proximity to practice. In addition to furūʿ-literature, I draw on shurūṭ manuals, fatwās and court records from 16th-century Jerusalem. This approach allows for a multi-dimensional reconstruction of the legal discourse on written documents. I argue that this discourse operated on several levels, some of which are virtually invisible if these sources are studied in isolation. By contrast, a holistic perspective reveals a subtle interaction between these discursive levels that reduced the tension between legal doctrine and practical concerns.
This article explores how jurists articulated the distinction between free and enslaved Muslim women through sartorial norms in the formative and early post-formative periods of Islamic law. Drawing on works of fiqh (positive law), tafsīr (Qurʾān commentary) and ḥadīth (Prophetic and non-Prophetic reports), I posit that this distinction attests to the tensions between “proprietary” and “theocentric” sexual ethics, as noted by Hina Azam. Specifically, I track the variant transmissions of a widely-cited report featuring the Caliph ʿUmar (r. 13–23/634–44), and trace how jurists responded to the free-slave binary in their discussion of “modesty zones” (ʿawrāt) and veiling practices. Based on a detailed examination of fiqh sources to the early fifth Islamic century (with some attention to subsequent material), I argue that Islamic modesty norms are best understood in light of the proprietary/theocentric binary, and that the divergence between juristic expectations of free and enslaved women increased in the post-formative period.
This paper focuses on management of Islam by the French State since the state of emergency declared in 2015. We analyze the legal actions of the State using a law-in-context approach and theorize secularism as the State’s management of religion. We focus on the Senate Report (2016) concerning Muslim worship, the legal changes wrought by the state of emergency, and the institutions formed to govern Islam and secularism. We examine whether there has been a change in the French State’s approach to Muslim worship. Rather than remaining neutral, the French State has become even more actively involved in the field of religion by adopting a reformist attitude intended to transform not the principles of laïcité but the Muslims in France. In this period, the State has taken concrete steps and built institutions both to support the formation of a secularized French Islam and to govern the boundaries of laïcité.
This paper analyzes how development cooperation can actively support democratic governance through cooperation in the water sector. To answer this question, we develop an analytical approach based on democratization research and on water governance research. We tested the approach in three donor-supported water projects in Morocco and carried out over seventy interviews with key stakeholders.
Our findings show (a) key factors influencing the scope for external support for democratic governance in the water sector, (b) potential negative effects of the support when local elites grasp new resources, and (c) unintended positive spill-over effects of water projects on democratic governance within and beyond the sector (for instance, strengthening formerly marginalized groups). As these empirical findings suggest, there is a potentially large scope of action for supporting democratic governance through water sector cooperation. We therefore highlight the need for more analytical and empirical research on causal interlinkages between these two fields of intervention.
This paper explores the relationships between the Libyan state and society, and the ways in which these dynamics affected the subsequent civil wars in 2011 and onwards. Beyond the commonly-studied impact of oil and state rentierism, this paper demonstrates that the enduring centralization of the state, Gaddafi’s dystopian governance system, the socio-economic and political cultures pre-2011, and the interplay between local systems of legitimacy and central authority have played an underappreciated role in the contemporary Libyan landscape. The continuities and discontinuities of order that defined and characterized the Libyan state before and after 2011 are thus dissected. An exploration of the appositeness of Eurocentric theories of statehood to the Libyan landscape unveils the pillars of legitimacy that defined Libyan statehood pre-Gaddafi. This sheds light both on how the Gaddafi regime sought to control society by often manipulating these pillars and on the ways in which Libyan society either directly and indirectly resisted his rule or rested in complacency. This covert resistance, which turned overt, widespread, and violent in 2011, paved the way for a discursive mutation of “tribalism.” This notion morphed from one of a group behavioral binding mechanism tied to blood lineage into one underpinned by notions of solidarity that override kinship. This analysis in turn elucidates the precarity of the Libyan state and explains the subsequent turmoil in the country post-2011, characterized notably by the emergence of armed non-state actors. A key discontinuity identified is in the realm of foreign influencers that have exploited long-standing domestic grievances and weaponized Libya’s traditional pillars of legitimacy, thus tearing at its society’s social fabric.
Many studies have been devoted to the features of global jihad (also known as Salafi jihadism), its historical development, its difference from other Salafi groups, or its struggles with ideological rivals. Little emphasis, however, has been given to global jihadists’ ideological genealogy, and hence to locating them in a comparative perspective. How did they commemorate their formative heroes, such as the medieval jurist Ibn Taymiyya and mid-twentieth century ideologues, such as Sayyid Qutb, Abu al-Aʿla al-Mawdudi, ʿAbd al-Salam Faraj, Shukri Mustafaʾ, Marwan Hadid or Saʿid Hawwa? Were these figures still perceived as cultural heroes, or were they shunned? Did their writings continue to provide sources of inspiration, or were they replaced by new manifestos? An in-depth discussion of these questions, based on a textual analysis of jihadi sources, may shed further light on global jihadists’ ideological evolution and self-perceptions. It will provide an additional prism for analyzing modern Sunni militancy, and scrutinize the extent its protagonists’ treatises match past traditions or, alternatively, deviate from them in favor of cultivated traditions, thus advancing a dissident agenda.
Based on interviews with young Libyan professionals carried out between 2017 and 2018, this paper examines their role as agenda-setters in international organizations operating in their country since 2011. The growing foreign demand for local expertise after the fall of the old regime was met mostly by the young activists who had helped organize the 2011 uprisings. For foreign organizations, Libyan youth have come to embody brokers, fixers, go-betweens, and persons-in-between, becoming key supporting actors in international project implementation. Despite the opportunities seemingly afforded by the collapse of the old regime, this paper shows that Libyan youth, torn between desires for political change and professional advancement, have struggled to influence the agendas of international organizations, leading to feelings of disenfranchisement. The transformative capacity of international projects is thus often limited by this new class of young, globalized elites who are disengaged from the local needs and realities facing Libyan civil society.