Antonia Bosanquet, "Minding their Place: Space and Religious Hierarchy in Ibn al-Qayyim’s Aḥkām ahl al-dhimma" (Brill, 2020)


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How was the relationship between Muslim and non-Muslim communities theologically and spatially imagined in the premodern world? How did religious hierarchies map onto notions of place and spatial distinction and hierarchies? In her dazzling new book Minding their Place: Space and Religious Hierarchy in Ibn al-Qayyim’s Aḥkām ahl al-Dhimma (Brill, 2020), Antonia Bosanquet addresses these questions through a detailed and theoretically charged reading of the famous and crucially important legal text/compendium Aḥkām ahl al-Dhimma by Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawzīyah (d.1350). Bosanquet forcefully argues that one must approach this text not just as a legal compendium, but as a critical repository of premodern Muslim social imaginaries on the question of interreligious difference. In our conversation, we discuss a range of issues including literary precedents for Aḥkām ahl al-Dhimma, spatial mappings and religious hierarchies, “relational” space and everyday Muslim-non-Muslim encounters, and the eschatological status of non-Muslim children. This lucidly written and analytically exciting book will spark interest among specialists and non-specialists alike.

SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at Listener feedback is most welcome.

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