Guardians of Islam: Religious Authority and Muslim Communities of Late Medieval Spain

Front Cover
Columbia University Press, Oct 28, 2008 - Religion - 296 pages
0 Reviews

Muslim enclaves within non-Islamic polities are commonly believed to have been beleaguered communities undergoing relentless cultural and religious decline. Cut off from the Islamic world, these Muslim groups, it is assumed, passively yielded to political, social, and economic forces of assimilation and acculturation before finally accepting Christian dogma.

Kathryn A. Miller radically reconceptualizes what she calls the exclave experience of medieval Muslim minorities. By focusing on the legal scholars ( faqihs) of fifteenth-century Aragonese Muslim communities and translating little-known and newly discovered texts, she unearths a sustained effort to connect with Muslim coreligionaries and preserve practice and belief in the face of Christian influences. Devoted to securing and disseminating Islamic knowledge, these local authorities intervened in Christian courts on behalf of Muslims, provided Arabic translations, and taught and advised other Muslims. Miller follows the activities of the faqihs, their dialogue with Islamic authorities in nearby Muslim polities, their engagement with Islamic texts, and their pursuit of traditional ideals of faith. She demonstrates that these local scholars played a critical role as cultural mediators, creating scholarly networks and communal solidarity despite living in an environment dominated by Christianity.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


The Muslim Exclaves in Christian Spain
1 On the Border of Infidelity
Landscapes of Mudejar Spain
3 Transmitting Knowledge and Building Networks
4 Write It Down
5 Pretending to Be Jurists
6 Th e Scholars Jihad the Mudejar Mosque and Preaching
From Dar alHarb to Dar alIslam
Selected Bibliography

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

Kathryn A. Miller is assistant professor of history at Stanford University. Her research interests focus on medieval Iberia, Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations in the medieval Mediterranean, commerce, and comparative legal history. Her current research concerns the trade of captives across religious boundaries between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries in the Mediterranean.

Bibliographic information