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Law, Empire, and the SultanOttoman Imperial Authority and Late Hanafi Jurisprudence$
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Samy A. Ayoub

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190092924

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190092924.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Law, Empire, and the Sultan

Samy A. Ayoub

Oxford University Press

It is the contention of this book that analysis of Islamic law and society on the basis of a supposed epistemological conflict between law and imperial power is simplistic and inaccurate in the Ottoman context. Instead, Ottoman jurists (and late Ḥanafī jurisprudence in particular) viewed Ottoman imperial enactments as authoritative and legitimate expressions of power. Late Ḥanafīs affirmed that Ottoman subjects were morally obligated to obey the sultan. However, they stressed that this authority was not absolute and that its validity was contingent on its meeting objectives of the sharīʿa, such as fairness and justice.

Keywords:   Ottoman sultan, legal authority, late Ḥanafīs, Ḥanafī jurisprudence, Islamic law

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