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Violence in Islamic Thought from the Mongols to European Imperialism

The book “Violence in Islamic Thought from the Mongols to European Imperialism” Examines the development of Muslim theological, legal, literary and cultural discussions about violence and its legitimation.

The violent conquest of the eastern part of the lands under Muslim rule by the Mongols marked a new period in the history of Islamic civilisation and in attitudes towards violence. This volume examines the various intellectual and cultural reactions of Muslim thinkers to these events, both within and without the territories subjected to Mongol control. Each chapter examines how violent acts were assessed by Muslim intellectuals, analysing both changes and continuity within Islamic thought over time.

Each chapter is structured around a case study in which violent acts are justified or condemned, revealing the variety of attitudes to violence in the medieval period. They are framed by a detailed introduction, focusing on theoretical perspectives on violence and religion and their application, or otherwise, to medieval Islam.

Key Features

  • Examines the portrayal of violence in a variety of Muslim intellectual contexts (historical, philosophical, theological, legal, literary, artistic)
  • Employs a broad understanding of violence – from warfare between Muslims (and between Muslims and others) to individual acts of violence
  • Enables a better-informed debate about the nature of violence in Islamic thought, and how the positions developed in early Islam were both used and abandoned by later writers
  • Positions these classical conceptions of violence and its justification in Islamic thought in the broader methodological debate over violence and its relationship with religious thought

About the Editors

Robert Gleave was Director of the Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence Project 2010-2013, and is Professor of Arabic Studies at the University of Exeter. He specializes in Islamic legal theory (uṣūl al-fiqh) and Shīʿī legal thought. His most recent publications include Islam and Literalism: Literal Meaning and Interpretation in Islamic Legal Theory (EUP, 2012)

István Kristó-Nagy is a Lecturer in Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. He is the author of La pensée d’Ibn al-Muqaffaʽ (2013).

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction, Robert Gleave and István T. Kristó-Nagy

PART 1. The Mongols and their Aftermath

  1. Violence and non-violence in the Mongol conquest of Baghdad (1258), Michal Biran
  2. The Mongols as the Scourge of God in the Islamic World, Timothy May
  3. Yāsā and sharīʿa Islamic Attitudes toward the Mongol Law in the Turco-Mongolian World (from the Golden Horde to Timur’s Time), István Vásáry
  4. Unacceptable violence as legitimation in Mongol and Timurid Iran, Beatrice Manz

Part 2. Violence in Religious Thought

  1. Reconciling Ibn Taymiyya’s Legitimization of Violence with His Vision of Universal Salvation, Jon Hoover
  2. Moral Violence in the Aḥkām al-Dhimma of Ibn Qayyim al-JawziyYa, Marie Thérèse Urvoy
  3. Al-Karakī, Jihād, the State and Legitimate Violence in Imāmī Jurisprudence, Robert Gleave

Part 3. Violence in Philosophical Thought

  1. Legitimate and illegitimate violence in Arabic political philosophy: al-Fārābī, Ibn Rushd and Ibn Khaldūn, Miklós Maróth
  2. Soft and Hard Power in Islamic Advice Literature, Syros Vasileios

Part 4. Representing Violence

  1. Old Images in New Skins: Flaying in the Iranian Visual Tradition, Iván Szántó

12. Warrant for genocide? Ottoman propaganda against the Qizilbash, Colin Imber

Bibliographic Information

Title: Violence in Islamic Thought from the Mongols to European Imperialism

Editors: Robert Gleave and István Kristó-Nagy

Publisher: Edinburgh University Press

 Language: English

Length: 288

ISBN:  9781474413008

Pub. Date: March 2018

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