When I first read Aḥkām ahl al-dhimma, at the beginning of a PhD on a quite different topic, I was fascinated by it. My research on the text and the book that emerged from this would not have been possible without the help of numerous individuals and institutions, whom it is a pleasure to thank here. My first supervisor, Birgit Krawietz, and my second supervisor, Gudrun Krämer, provided invaluable support, criticism and insights from the beginning to the end of my project. Abdessamad Belhaj’s incisive questions and comments widened my perspective and narrowed my focus. Change of course, squalls and doldrums notwithstanding, the patience and enthusiasm of my three mentors not only kept my project afloat, but even enabled me to enjoy it.
A number of teachers and colleagues have read parts of my work or discussed ideas and questions about specific points. I am grateful to Schirin Amir-Moazimi, Lutz Berger, Islam Dayeh, Ahmed el-Shamsy, Andreas Goerke, Livnat Holtzman, Jon Hoover, Christian Lange, Ruth Mas, Amr Osman and Jens Scheiner for their expertise. Particular thanks are due to Luke Yarbrough, whose symposium on religious alterity and political power in 2015 was helpful for this project and whose prompt and patient responses to my questions were formative for my understanding of the subject of non-Muslim minorities in the Islamic world. Omar Anchassi, Christopher Melchert, Uriel Simonsohn and Lev Weitz have helped me return to some questions after the PhD project ended, and Ali Guma’a, Faarid Gouverneur, Stefan Schreiner and Tim Winter steered my interests before it began. I am very grateful to Sadida Athaullah and her family for their patience, interest and cooperation with my queries about the manuscript of Aḥkām ahl al-dhimma, and to Nabeel al-Sindi, for responding to additional queries and for sending me an advance copy of his forthcoming edition of the book, a few weeks before I submitted my own manuscript. I am also grateful to Khalid Yusuf, for introducing me to Ibn al-Qayyim and for his academic support since then.
I would like to thank the Berlin Graduate School of Muslim Cultures and Societies, especially Bettina Gräf and Jutta Schmidbauer, for the institutional support for my research. My stay at the Islamic Jurisprudence Department at the College of Islamic Sciences in Muscat allowed me to deepen my understanding of Islamic law and I thank Muhammad and Ahmad al-Ma’mari for giving me this opportunity. I have also benefitted from the support of the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, especially the colloquia organised by Ulrike Freitag, and from the workshops of the USPPIP (Understanding Sharia – Past Perfect, Imperfect Present) and LAWALISI (Law Authority and Learning in Imami Shiite Islam) programmes at the University of Exeter. My post-doctoral work at the Asien-Afrika Institut at the University of Hamburg has been beneficial for understanding the historical context of my research focus and I am grateful to all my colleagues there, especially the Early Islamic Empire at Work team, for their support. Thank you also to the editing team at Brill, particularly Wilma de Weert and Franca de Kort, and to Carol Rowe, for her careful copy-editing and thought-provoking queries. I am also grateful to the anonymous reviewers who read through a first draft of this book and provided thorough and insightful feedback.
I owe a happy debt to the friends and colleagues who encouraged me throughout the research and writing of this work, particularly Olly Akkerman, Su’ad al-Ghafal, Doru Doroftei, Guy Gilboa, Hannah-Lena Hagemann, Yasmin Mahazi, Katharine Mühlbeyer, Barbara Ogbone, Ignacio Sanchez, Neda Soltani and Yunus Yildiz. My biggest debt is to Maria Rzehak and to my family: to my children, for their kindness and support, and to their dad, for everything. With love, thanks and apologies, this book is for you.