Selves and Others in Premodern Islamic law and Political Thought



Mon, 14/12/2020 - 10:30 to 12:30


Dr. Kerstin Hünefeld

When it comes to “others” in Islamic Law and political thought, research often thinks about Dhimmis (“protected people”) and other non-Muslims. But what about all the other others such as “corrupt”, “sinning”, or “heretic” Muslims? And what about the various ways in which self- and otherness can be constructed? Representing Islam’s religious “other”, Dhimmis do not exist outside a political Islamic “self”. And, of course, the dichotomy of heresy and orthodoxy merely represents power relations.

Islamic legal tradition is diverse. Jurisprudential texts (fiqh) of the Zaydi legal tradition are the best source for grasping this diversity, as due to ongoing ijtihad (independent legal reasoning) it is alive, and cites the opinions of other schools.

In this colloquium I seek to discuss how to grasp diversity and contradiction vice versa a sense of Islamic unity, as well as how to choose and handle concrete passages of the overall huge and interrelated text corpus.