EUME Berliner Seminar
Mi 31 Jan 2024 | 17:00–18:30

The Lost Branch of the Hanafi School of Law in North Africa

Mouez Khalfaoui (Universität Tübingen / EUME Fellow 2023/24), Chair: Joel Blecher (George Washington University / Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin 2023/24)

Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin

The perception and treatment of the history of Muslim Societies in modern academia is characterised by the conflict-paradigm. This paradigm has been adopted by many Muslims themselves. The method of juxtaposing groups and world views is sometimes very seductive; but it alos has its limits. The presentation of the history of Islamic law, in particular the historiography on the emergence and death of some schools of law, remains enigmatic for the above-mentioned method. The lecture discusses the  theories of scholars like Joseph Schacht, Christopher Melchert, Nejmeddine Hentati regarding the emergence, the spread and the death of the Hanafi school of law in North Africa as well as it's relationship to other schools of law. My examination of the available materials and arguments as well as the historical evidences contradicts in many respects their theories. My research suggests alternative models of pluralism and coexistence in Islamic culture than those of of conflict, that dominate scholarship in my field of study in modern times.

Mouez Khalfaoui is Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence and Islamic Thought at the University of Tübingen, Germany. He studied literature, Islamic studies, linguistics and sociology at the university of Tunis and got a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Erfurt. His main research fields are Islamic Law and Ethics, Minority Law, Family Law and Muslim minorities in the West. He published on Islamic Law in South Asia, Islamic Law in Muslim premodern Societies as well as on contemporary Islamic religious thought in Europe. In the academic year 2023-24, he is an affiliated EUME Fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien.
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Joel Blecher is an associate professor of history at The George Washington University. He is the author of Said the Prophet of God: Hadith Commentary across a Millennium (University of California, 2018), which has been translated into Arabic, and the co-translator of Ibn Hajar's Merits of the Plague (Penguin Classics, 2023). He is currently on leave this year as a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin and as the Bayard Dodge Distinguished Visiting Professor at the American University in Cairo.

Please note that the Berliner Seminar will take place on-site at the Forum Transregionale Studien. We kindly ask for prior registration via eume(at) Depending on approval by the speaker(s), the Berliner Seminar will be recorded. All audio recordings of the Berliner Seminar are available on SoundCloud.

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