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Book: Law, Society and Culture in the Maghrib, 1300–1500

The book is a must for anyone who wants to understand how Islamic law functioned in practice after 287/900. The material … is presented in a clear and systematic manner, not only making it accessible for the non-legal mind but also actually engaging the reader in such a way that one awaits the outcome with interest.’ Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations

Focusing on the Maghrib in the period between 1300 and 1500, in this book David Powers analyses the application of Islamic law through the role of the mufti.

To unravel the sophistication of the law, he considers six cases which took place in the Marinid period on subjects as diverse as paternity, fornication, water rights, family endowments, the slander of the Prophet and disinheritance. The source for these disputes are fatwas issued by the muftis, which the author uses to situate each case in its historical context and to interpret the principles of Islamic law. In so doing he demonstrates that, contrary to popular stereotypes, muftis were in fact dedicated to reasoned argument, and sensitive to the manner in which law, society and culture interacted. The book represents a groundbreaking approach to a complex field. It will be read by students of Islamic law and those interested in traditional Muslim societies.

  • Demonstrates how Islamic law was applied in practice in the Maghrib in the period 1300–1500 • Qualifies common misperceptions of the workings of Islamic law, qadis and muftis • Appeal to students and scholars of Islamic law and those interested in traditional Islamic societies

Table of Contents


  1. Kadijustiz or Qadi-justice?
  2. A paternity dispute from fourteenth-century Morocco;
  3. From Almohadism to Malikism: the case of al-Haskuri, the Mocking Jurist, c. 712–16/1312–16;
  4. A riparian dispute in the Middle Atlas mountains, c. 683–824/1285–1421;
  5. Conflicting conceptions of property in Fez, 741–826/1340–1423;
  6. Preserving the Prophet’s honor: Sharifism, Sufism and Malikism in Tlemcen, 843/1439;
  7. On modes of judicial reasoning: two fatwas on Tawlij, c. 880/1475;
  8. Conclusion: the Mufti.


Bibliographic Information

Title: Law, Society and Culture in the Maghrib, 1300–1500

Author: David Powers

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

 Language: English

Length: 280 pages

ISBN: 978-0521816915

Pub. Date: September 30, 2002

About Ali Teymoori

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