Caterina Bori (University of Bologna): An elusive concept: Ibn Taymiyya’s vision of siyāsa shar‘iyya

Afternoon Talk on Islamic Law

  • Date: Jun 24, 2021
  • Time: 16:00
  • Location: online

About the speaker

Caterina Bori is Associate Professor at the History Department of the University of Bologna. Her research focuses mainly on the history of the Mamluk period with a particular interest in the intersection between society and religion. Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya and their late medieval/early modern receptions, have been at the center of her recent research.

About the topic

The notion of siyāsa shar‘iyya–commonly translated as Politics according to the Sharī‘a–is normally ascribed to Ibn Taymiyya’s famous treatise titled al-Siyāsa al-shar‘iyya fī iṣlāḥal-rā‘ī wa-l-ra‘iyya. The treatise exists in two versions, a long and a short one, and it was probably written between 1310 and 1312 when Ibn Taymiyya was in Cairo. In spite of the title of the treatise, Ibn Taymiyya never uses the expression siyāsa shar‘iyya nor he clearly defines it. In order to grasp the full meaning of siyāsa shar‘iyya as envisaged by Ibn Taymiyya we need to widen the spectrum of sources and engage in depth with the longer, and less spread, version of the treatise. Only once the nature and implications of siyāsa shar‘iyya according to its proponent are clarified, we will then be able to fully appreciate its subsequent receptions and accommodations.


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