Islamische Theologie

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The Treatise-Literature (rasāʾil) as Documentation of Socially Relevant Discussions in Pre-Modern Muslim Societies (14th - 19th Centuries)

In the last twenty years, research on the history of Islamic Law has shifted from the Early Period to the Middle Periods, approaching all kinds of different genres and topics. But many of them are still entirely unexplored. Besides fatāwā-collections and commentaries (sharḥ and ḥāshiya), the treatise-literature (rasāʾil) seems to be a predominant medium of discussing socially relevant questions. Treatises are short texts on current topics, which are only covered in a very rudimentary sense. Only a few studies have explored treatises (rasāʾil) that address topics such as tobacco and coffee consumption in the Ottoman Empire, the waqf system and the punishment of heretics etc. This will be the first international conference with a special focus on the risala-literature in Islamic law, theology and Sufism between the 13th and the 19th centuries.

Since this literature covers topics that discuss contemporary social practices, it pro- vides valuable information about how scholars and intellectuals responded to those practices, hence, reflects the intersection between theory and practice. Therefore, the following questions should stand in the middle of the studies: What topics of practical law or theology were discussed more intensely at a given time and loca- tion? What were the social and theological contexts of these discussions? Who was involved in these discussions? What was the motivation of the author? What were their arguments? What do these texts say about contextuality, flexibility and prag- matism of Islamic law? What conclusions can be drawn from this data for the trea- tise-literature (rasāʾil)?

Date: 25th June 2020 & 3rd - 4th July 2020
Conference Venue: Online-Conference via Zoom-Meeting
Registration: Please register before June 23, 2020 at: