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Abbasid History Podcast

Aug 15, 2021

The laws of Dhimma, or governance of non-Muslim minorities in a Muslim polity, can arouse difficult feelings amongst both Muslims and non-Muslims especially at sites of tension and conflict between them around the globe.

To discuss with us today a medieval legal work on these rulings is Dr. Antonia Bosanquet, author of Minding their Place: Space and Religious Hierarchy in Ibn al-Qayyim’s Aḥkām ahl al-dhimma published by Brill in 2021. She is currently a researcher at the University of Hamburg and a part-time farmer.


02.25: Before we look at Ibn al-Qayyim on Dhimma governance. Let's first ask ourselves what is Dhimma governance? Our modern sensibilities as residents of secular nation states find discrimination based on religious backgrounds offensive, although arguably that's precisely what some European countries do today...

07.23: Before we look at Ibn al-Qayyim's work, tell us about the life and career of the author. He was born in Damascus 1292CE...

13.05: You argue that Ibn al-Qayyim's book should be seen as more of a personal interpretation of what ought to be done rather than reflective of actual practice on the ground...

19.00: Turning to the present, the most recent attempt after almost a century and half to apply Dhimma rulings was by ISIS in their failed state. Ibn al-Qayyim today is best regarded for his works on personal spiritual reform. The call for Shariah in the modern Muslim world is often seen synonymous as a call for justice against corruption, but can make non-Muslim minorities feel uncomfortable. Can medieval Dhimma rulings still find a place to critique today's world of imagined communities and fictions of nationalism?

24.30: And finally before we end, tell us where listeners can turn next to learn more about today's topic, and what are other current projects that listeners can anticipate?

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