Qadis and their Social Interactions Under the Abbasids
June 14, 6:00 pm, Universität Hamburg, Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1, AS-Saal, 20146 Hamburg
In his lecture, Mathieu Tillier outlines the role of qadis under the Abbasids (750-1258). From the earliest decades of Islam, Muslim rulers appointed qadis to dispense justice among their subjects. However, under the Abbasids, these judges also had to manage goods and properties. This additional responsibility required Muslim judges to know the business of their district’s population. Their integration into local society facilitated their understanding of social dynamics. However, this membership in local and tribal networks could also threaten their judicial neutrality. The lecture addresses how the relations that a qadi maintained with his social environment could be reconciled with the imperatives of Islamic justice. To study this issue, Mathieu Tillier relies on a series of examples available for Iraq and Egypt from the beginning of the Abbasid era. Firstly, he examines the nature of the social networks to which qadis belonged. Secondly, he argues that Muslim rulers and jurists tried to weaken the weight of these networks in order to guarantee the exercise of a more impartial justice.
Mathieu Tillier is currently professor of Medieval Islamic history at Sorbonne Université and a member of the research unit “Orient et Méditerranée” (UMR 8167) at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. Previously, he was associate professor at Aix-Marseille Université (2005-2014). He spent two years in Oxford as a Marie Curie research fellow (2008-2010) and four years in the Middle East (Damascus, Beirut) at the Institut français du Proche-Orient (Ifpo, 2010-2014).
His research focuses on justice, on the formation of Islamic law, and on the institutions of Christian communities in the first centuries of Islam. He is the author of Les cadis d’Iraq et l’État abbasside (132/750-334/945) (Damascus: Presses de l’Ifpo, 2009), and of L’invention du cadi. La justice des musulmans, des juifs et des chrétiens aux premiers siècles de l’Islam (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 2017). He translated into French the works of Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī and al-Kindī devoted to Egyptian qadis: Vies des cadis de Miṣr, 237/851-366/976. Extrait du Rafʿ al-iṣr ʿan quḍāt Miṣr d’Ibn Ḥaǧar al- ʿAsqalānī (Cairo: Institut français d’archéologie orientale [Ifao], 2002); al-Kindī, Histoire des cadis égyptiens (Cairo: Ifao, 2012). He is the editor of Abū Hilāl al-ʿAskarī’s book Le Livre des califes qui s’en remirent au jugement d’un cadi (Cairo: Ifao, 2011) and is currently editing documents on papyrus and paper related to legal institutions in medieval Egypt.