Patronate and patronage in early and classical islam pdf

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They were also called "Musalimah" Islamized. In broader usage, the word muwallad is used to describe Arabs of mixed parentage, especially those not living in their ancestral homelands.


The chapter argues that although educated slave women played a significant role in Abbasid-era sources, their portrayal has received less attention than that of their free male counterparts. Using stories of gift exchange that feature two slave women, Utba and Inan, it demonstrates how enslaved women participated in the negotiation of their evolving status in the context of patriarchy in general, and educated female slavery in particular. As a theme of Abbasid literature, the exchange of material gifts contributes to a reconstruction of elite networks and hierarchies.

The slave woman may be objectified as a gift, but she may also display subjective agency by interfering with her exchange or by giving a gift herself. The Abbasid-era stories of gift exchange that feature the slave women Utba and Inan demonstrate how these slave women participated in the negotiation of their evolving status in the context of patriarchy in general, and educated female slavery in particular.

Two stories considered here treat the participation of such women in episodes of gift exchange. Educated female slavery fits into a broader pattern of change and continuity in slavery. Slavery in Islamic law demonstrates continuity as well as significant contrasts with slavery in the legal systems that prevailed in the regions that later became the medieval Islamic world, including Sasanian, Jewish, Egyptian and Greco-Egyptian, and Christian and Roman provincial law.

Likewise, foundlings could be enslaved legally. During the earliest stage of Islamic law seventh and eighth centuries , debt bondage and the enslavement of foundlings was sometimes permitted, but the sale of free persons was illegal. The acquisition of slaves as part of ongoing capitulation agreements was also legal. In addition to the rejection of debt bondage and the sale of family members into slavery, Islamic law imposed regulations on the status of a female slave who worked as the concubine of her master.

Jurists used overlapping concepts in their discussions of wives and concubines. Thus, Islamic law defined a special status for female slaves whose work generated legally recognized kinship relations. The restrictions on the sale of free persons into slavery and the special legal value placed on female slaves with legally recognized kinship relations to their masters parallel the special cultural and social value assigned to educated female slaves in Muslim-ruled societies.

In the case of concubines and educated female slaves, masters could enjoy privileges with slave women they could not enjoy with free women, so that exploitation of slave labor went hand in hand with opportunities for slave women. Educated female slaves who were used for entertainment played an increasingly prominent role in society in the context of the increasing number of slaves resulting from Islamic conquests.

They were viewed as a sign of status for their owners and were also exchanged as gifts to maintain alliances between rulers and among different kinds of elites. Their owners hosted cultural salons that often included different kinds of elites so that the owner and the educated female slave each had the opportunity to build networks.

Thus, it is not surprising that educated female slaves sometimes rose to positions of power. At this time, education involved, in large part, the Arabic language, Quran, poetry, and music.

These individuals worked in and around the court, and included elite slave women, poets, medical specialists, merchants, and high officials. In this context, each woman was objectified, yet emerged as a subjective actor who influenced the outcome of elite competition. In doing so, the women publicly performed their roles as slaves who, on occasion, challenged the coercion inherent in slavery.

In the gift exchange stories of the two women, who were in some sense commodities themselves, we encounter an indirect approach to competition between elites. The stories also take on social tensions and political crises, and provide an important perspective on the direct and public impact of elite women on Abbasid social life. Viewed from this perspective, Utba, Inan, and women like them become figures of Abbasid history.

The stories of the two elite slave women Utba and Inan fit into a broader literary pattern of historical characters as a source for Abbasid history. Abbasid writers transmitted, wrote, and compiled anecdotes in which they used a combination of fact and fiction, as well as juxtaposition of different versions of stories and rhetoric, to make arguments about culture, society, and elite politics.

Meanwhile, religious scholars circulated sayings of the Prophet Muhammad hadith and biographies of hadith transmitters, exegesis of the Quran tafsir , and law fiqh. Religious and court writing flourished in urban, cosmopolitan networks through social exchange and the dissemination of written texts, and each group took part in defining social values.

The stories circulated by court writers offered an opportunity to contemplate, comment on, and criticize aspects of social life, including the careers of historical figures, events, or practices.

But, elite slave women—and, to a lesser extent, other categories of women—also play a significant though limited role in this literature. The portrayal of elite slave women is related to earlier representations of free women in early Arabic love stories.

Most scholars agree that Abbasid-era stories, composed during the eighth and ninth centuries, about Umayyad-era poets and lovers of the preceding century and a half, convey conflicting reactions to the social dislocations produced by Islamic conquests, and articulate anxieties about the role of the individual in social life.

Abbasid analysts saw it as the last phase in the digestion of the conquests and of a process of social transformation which had begun some two centuries before. The Abbasid nexus of themes of identity, individuality, love, female enslavement, and the refined use of language and gift exchange thus developed as a long-term outcome of the Islamic conquests and cosmopolitan urbanization.

Two stories, among many others, concern Utba and Inan. These accounts of gift exchange and confiscation, featuring slave women and their male counterparts, suggest that transactions between them played a crucial role not only in the fashioning of the elite male self but also in crafting new forms of authority and autonomy for the elite female slave. The competition over Utba between elite male actors, and in accounts of which she plays an active role, features her master, the caliph al-Mahdi r.

The activities of Utba and Abu al-Atahiya speak to the prestige of the Abbasids—al-Mahdi and his son Harun al-Rashid—but also the limitations on their power, as Utba and Abu al-Atahiya challenge their authority and the two Abbasids undermine one another. However, his unsolicited love poetry, which is understood to be about Utba, is considered scandalous. Abu al-Atahiya gets in trouble for presenting love poetry publicly about Utba, and when the caliph forbids him from composing love poetry, he turns to ascetic poetry, a genre of Arabic literature for which he is best known.

The genre of ascetic poetry was perceived to have links to heretical beliefs; that is, it was seen as a context in which poets explored a range of often controversial ideas that were circulating in Islamic and other religious and philosophical circles at the time. The circulation of poetry for and about rulers, and the use of love and ascetic poetry in court, elite gatherings majalis , and written work—especially in citations in prose works—was a form of public performance in the marketplace of ideas.

If, in some versions of the story, Utba resists being given to the poet, in most versions she complains about him for failing to live up to the elite code of refined love. It was a code that emphasized secrecy, rejection of material needs, monogamy, and chastity.

So, for example, in one version of the story, she elopes secretly with the poet then denies it in accordance with the code of refined love. What follows is a discussion of three principal versions of the story. The discussion concludes with the longer version of the story that occurs in the Zahr al-Adab The Blossoms of Refined Literature by al-Husri, a North African scholar d. He then promises to marry her to the poet. As her master, the caliph controls her, but the story underscores the complexity of their relationship.

Abu al-Atahiya sought Utba again by delivering three fans on which he wrote lines of verse. Al-Mahdi replied there was no way he would give him Utba, but ordered 50, of an unspecified unit of money as recompense. In the poetry borne on fans, the poet implies that the gift echoes his request for Utba. In response, al-Mahdi reasserts possession of Utba and offers the poet a large monetary gift to make him go away.

The verse concludes that he is generous, but the monetary gift is a poor substitute for fulfilling the promise. Thus, Abu al-Atahiya fails initially to obtain Utba from al-Mahdi using the ode, a genre crucial to gift exchange in patronage—in this case, written on the gift of fans. Praise in an ode puts pressure on the patron to be generous in a worldly sense, but al-Mahdi does not give Utba away, offering money instead.

The motif refers to a contentious issue about who holds authority over the Muslim community—the imperial court or the religious scholars. If he fails to provide the poet with what he seeks, he undercuts the public statement of his righteous standing. No wonder al-Mahdi is ready to give Utba away.

She backs up her objection with the reference to refined love by which she seeks to assert her elite standing. The poet is but a jar seller and, more important, he argues about the money offered to him, so is undeserving of the respect accorded to refined lovers, which might entail al-Mahdi giving her away to him. Thus, at a crucial juncture, Utba herself intervenes to prevent al-Mahdi from giving her away, emphasizing her subjective status. It comes in the entry on the musician Yazid al-Hawra, from whom Abu al-Atahiya seeks intercession with al-Mahdi in the effort to win Utba.

But take 50, dirhams and buy one better than her. In this second version of the story, it is the matriarch, not Utba herself, who intervenes to prevent al-Mahdi from giving the young woman to Abu al-Atahiya. Here, the monetary gift is definitely dirhams, and is offered more literally as compensation for the woman-not-given, with instructions to purchase another slave woman. The idea that the money—the p. Al-Mahdi hears the verses and wants to know who wrote them.

Yazid relays this to Abu al-Atahiya, who waits a few months before returning to Yazid to ask for news. Yazid reports this to Abu al-Atahiya. Yazid sings them and al-Mahdi summons Utba, who says that her female master does not like it but the caliph can do as he pleases. And, finally, in the version in the Zahr al-Adab , first Utba, then Utba and the matriarch, and finally the pliant caliph, refuse to give Utba away. This was presumably the verse that the gossiping women deemed to be unsolicited love poetry for Utba.

Scholars have identified, in Abbasid literature on Umayyad-era lovers, an ideal form of chaste love as a pastoral affair that begins in childhood between a boy and a girl. Their families or tribes prevent their union, leading to obsessive but innocent love, sometimes with a caliph or other official hovering in the background. Al-Mahdi has the poet first beaten then rewarded for the words of praise or, alternatively, rewarded only for the praise; violence and reward were considered analogous forms of coercion.

Abu al-Atahiya escapes the beating but retreats from composing poetry on themes of praise, invective, and love, and shifts to ascetic poetry. It is important to keep in mind that status is a matter of appearances and, in this case, it is in the play of appearances.

First, the caliph derives status as a refined person in preparing to give her away to the poet in exchange for solicited love poetry about her. Second, he derives his status as a representative of patriarchy from his refusal to give her away to the poet after he learns the women had spread rumors. Third, he gets more credit as a refined person for being ready to give her away at the cost of his divine legitimacy. She consults her female master about the match when the caliph is ready to go through with it; participates in a secret affair with the poet; and, finally, acts to keep it secret.

Al-Mahdi was ready to give her up, just as the poet was ready to give up the secret by reciting the requested love poetry in exchange for Utba.

But, Utba takes the lead in reasserting the code of love. In this way, and only in this way, could she be a star in a way that transcends her enslaved status.

The elaboration of a code of love in the urban court occurred in conjunction with a growing role for elite slave women in Abbasid court writing. Elite slave women such as Utba, separated from their male kin and from tribal or communal ties, were on their own in their limited urban and cosmopolitan networks when it came to negotiating for power in relationships with masters and lovers alike—hence the crucial role for the code of love in a spectacular yet private performance of individual desire.

The problem with the poet is not that he is a jar seller and not even that he is haggling over money; he fails to get Utba because of his willingness to give up the secret. Abu al-Atahiya points out that he was young then but has grown older, and sends poetry on this theme from prison until al-Rashid releases him.

What sounds like a crazy contradiction is actually an articulation of the anxiety about individualism expressed in the discourse both on love the code of love and ascetic practice, which came to use the language of love. Both seem to have been perceived as challenges to political authority if for different reasons. In addition to her role in articulating the perception of male political elites, Utba is crucial to the perception of Abu al-Atahiya, a major and—in many ways—transgressive court poet.

Thus, Utba is both a subjective authority on refined love and a negotiator of the conditions of her relationships to master and poet alike, and an objectified body the poet seeks in exchange for poetry and a symbolic material object, and for which he receives a gift of money as compensation. The competition between male elites over Inan d.

As in the story of Utba, the account revolves around an elite slave woman, her master, and the transgressive poet whom she loves and who seems to love her back, although he falls short of her expectations. The gifts in this story are rings exchanged by Inan and her lover Abu Nuwas.

Abbasid Studies IV PDF Download

In less than a decade the Muslims brought most of the peninsula under their domination; they called the Iberian lands they controlled al-Andalus. Although the borders of al-Andalus shifted over the centuries, the Muslims remained a powerful force on the peninsula for almost eight hundred years, until , when they were expelled by Ferdinand and Isabella. This volume, which accompanies a major exhibition presented at the Alhambra in Granada and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, is devoted to the little-known artistic legacy of Islamic Spain. From to al-Andalus was the occidental frontier of Islam. Floating on the western edge of the Mediterranean, cut off from the European continent by jagged mountains, it was geographically isolated from both North Africa and Europe, from Islamic as well as Christian lands. Physical remoteness gave al-Andalus a privileged place in medieval myths but also separated it from the communities of the east and the west, so that it received only sporadic attention from both worlds.

Conversion and Law: A Muslim-Christian Comparison

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The objective of this article is to propose a historiographical exercise through a Global History approach, more precisely, Connected History, trying to understand aspects of pre-modern chronology from a different perspective regarding geographical limits and Eurocentric traditions. Starting from the Battle of Talas, famous for putting Arabs and Chinese against each other, I will establish a connective narrative between East and West, highlighting how the year of CE is paradigmatic regarding the formation of frontiers and patterns of political interaction. I hope this exercise demonstrates how synchronicity and global connections can be a viable historical approach, allowing us to understand and to relocate pre-modern periodisation beyond its Eurocentric roots. Leiden: Brill, The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia.

Series: Arbeitsmaterialien zum Orient , vol. Can elites use cosmological imagery to sanction marital and slavery practices for their political aspirations? It suggests that these legal traditions should be thought in a shared epistemic framework to account for the changes and meaningfulness of legal concepts and institutions and cannot simply be reduced to a narrative of borrowings. Are you a member of a university or a similar institution?

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Connecting Worlds, Connecting Narratives: Global History, Periodisation and the Year 751 CE

In the days before Muhammad, the term originally applied to any form of tribal association. In the Quran and hadiths it is used in a number of senses, including 'Lord', 'guardian', 'trustee', and 'helper'. After Muhammad's death, this institution was adapted by the Umayyad dynasty to incorporate new converts to Islam into Arab-Muslim society and the word mawali gained currency as an appellation for converted non-Arab Muslims in the early Islamic caliphates. The term originated in the days before Muhammad to refer to a politically-active class of slaves and freedmen, [5] [6] but it gained prominence during the Umayyad Caliphate , as many non-Arab subjects converted to Islam. The influx of non-Arab converts to Islam created a new difficulty in incorporating them into tribal Arab society. They continued to pay a similar tax that was required from the people of the book and were generally excluded from government and the military until the end of the Umayyad Caliphate. In Khorasan and Persia, the Arabs held most of the higher positions in the armed forces and in the upper echelons of government.

The chapter argues that although educated slave women played a significant role in Abbasid-era sources, their portrayal has received less attention than that of their free male counterparts. Using stories of gift exchange that feature two slave women, Utba and Inan, it demonstrates how enslaved women participated in the negotiation of their evolving status in the context of patriarchy in general, and educated female slavery in particular. As a theme of Abbasid literature, the exchange of material gifts contributes to a reconstruction of elite networks and hierarchies. The slave woman may be objectified as a gift, but she may also display subjective agency by interfering with her exchange or by giving a gift herself. The Abbasid-era stories of gift exchange that feature the slave women Utba and Inan demonstrate how these slave women participated in the negotiation of their evolving status in the context of patriarchy in general, and educated female slavery in particular.

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