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date: 07 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the historiography of Islamic law during the reign of the Mamluks. It asks what is specifically “Mamluk” about Islamic law and legal scholarship during the Mamluk sultanate and whether it is fruitful to view legal scholarship and the application of law through the lens of this particular political dynasty. The article first considers the historiography of Mamluk legal institutions from the Mamluk executive to the judiciary and law enforcement before discussing Mamluk madrasas, or Islamic educational institutions. It also explores three larger intellectual trends that would shape the development of medieval Islamic law but which are not readily confined to the Mamluk period alone: the proliferation of commentary works, the institution of the ijaza (license; certification) and encyclopaedism in Mamluk literature. The article concludes by assessing the state of the field and raising some questions for future research.

Keywords: historiography, Islamic law, Mamluks, Mamluk sultanate, legal institutions, madrasa, educational institutions, commentary, ijaza, Mamluk literature

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