Seminario 'Islamic Law and Slavery in Pre-Modern Bilad al-Sudan: Readings on Ahmad Baba's Mi'raj al-su'ud'
Lugar: Conference Room 620 Library Place, Evanston (Northwestern Univ., Illinois, EEUU)
By Marta García Novo (ILC, CCHS-CSIC and visiting scholar in Northwestern Univ., Illinois, USA)
Horario: 12:00 - 13:30 hrs.
This conference examines the work Mi'raj al-su'ud, a fatwa or legal opinion on the subject of the black slaves that could be legally sold according to Islam, written in Timbuktu by Ahmad Baba (1556-1627). In it, the author treats the issue of the slaves that claimed their freedom for having been captured while being Muslims, a practice banned by Islamic law, and this way gives a response to the questions that had been addressed to him by North African Muslims: from the Touat region, in the south of present-day Algeria, and from Marrakech. The analysis of the legal foundations of the work shows that, together with a careful mention of the previous jurisprudence on the matter, an adaptation of the Islamic regulations on slavery to the social and political characteristics of the local African setting takes place, namely by establishing lists of the “enslaveable” non-Muslim ethnic groups, and the “unenslaveable” Muslims. This localized and differentiated praxis, typical of the Maliki law school, to which the author adhered, obviates important precepts that could have had a decisive effect on the Trans-Saharan trade in slaves, and that indicate the persistence of the phenomenon of enslavement according to ethnicity, with an Islamic final coat.