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THE STATUS OF RELIGIOUS MINORITIES

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(2) Coptic Christians in linen-weaving in Egyptian countryside ... minaret of Mosque of al-Hakim, Cairo Church of Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: THE STATUS OF RELIGIOUS MINORITIES


1
  • THE STATUS OF RELIGIOUS MINORITIES
  • The Pact of Umar supposedly caliph Umars peace
    treaty
  • with Christians of Syria, 638.
  • A. Non-Muslims are not part of Muslim
    community (contrast to
  • Constitution of Medina)
  • B. Contract Non-Muslims offer submission
    in return for rulers
  • protection (dhimma)?dhimmis
  • C. Some clauses may date from a century
    later.
  • D. Must be People of the Book
    monotheists with revealed
  • scripture (Christians, Jews,
    Zoroastrians)
  • E. Not building new houses of worship or
    rebuilding ruined ones
  • wearing distinguishing clothing
  • F. Only sporadically enforced
  • II. The JIZYA (not mentioned in the Pact of Umar)
  • A. Head tax, originally on all non-Arabs
  • B. Graduated under Mucawiya
  • C. Umayyad caliph Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz (r.
    717-20) limits it to

2
III. Internally autonomous minority communities
A. Own community leaders (Christian
patriarchs, Jewish rabbis, etc.)
B. Own law courts
Sephardic Chief Rabbi
Coptic Pope
Greek Orthodox Patriarch
3
IV. Dhimmi occupations A. Courtiers
(1) Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon / Musa ibn
Maymun), Jewish philosopher and
physician to Salah al-Din
(Saladin), Ayyubid sultan 1171-93
4
(2) Tustari brothers (Jews from Tustar / Shushtar
in Iran), one of whom was wazir to Fatimid
caliph al-Mustansir (r. 1036-94) See the
first Letter. (The Tustaris were
Karaites.) (3) Al-Mustansir caliph whose
designated son NIZAR was ousted by Armenian
Christian wazir / military commander. (4) Why
would a Muslim ruler employ a non-Muslim
courtier?
Shushtar, Iran
5
B. Dhimmis in humbler (?) occupations (1)
Long-distance and regional trade (2) Coptic
Christians in linen-weaving in Egyptian
countryside (3) Jews in dyeing and
money-lending C. Community provision for the
poor
Coptic linen fragment, Egypt, 6th-8th c.
list of loaves of bread given to the poor among
Cairos Jewish community, 11th c.
6
V. Periods of persecution A. Economic
downturns Fall of Tustari brothers,
1047 B. Ideology of ruler (1)
Fatimid caliph al-Hakim (r. 996-1021)
(a) Razed Church of Holy Sepulchre
(b) Required Christians to wear large
wooden crosses and all
dhimmis to wear badges
minaret of Mosque of al-Hakim, Cairo
Church of Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem

7
(2) Puritanical Sunni sect takes over Morocco and
Spain, 12th c. Maimonides family flees to
Egypt.
8
VI. How to interpret the dhimmi experience
A. Basically positive with aberrant outbreaks
of persecution (Cohen) B.
Basically negative Dhimmis are constantly at
the mercy of Muslim rulers and/or
populations (Stillman).
Mark R. Cohen (Princeton)
vs. Norman A. Stillman (U. of Oklahoma)
(Egypt)

(Morocco)
9
VII. The Cairo Geniza (from which the Letters of
Medieval Jewish Traders come) A. Geniza
paper grave for papers containing name of
God B. Usually buried in cemeteries C.
Geniza chamber in Ben Ezra synagogue, Fustat
documents from 8th-19th centuries
Maimonides autograph letter found in the Geniza
10
D. Hebrew literary texts studied in late
19th-early 20th centuries E. S.D. Goitein
pioneered study of Judeo-Arabic social and
commercial documents.
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