NMC - LEC 4 - Rulers and Subjects

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University of Toronto St. George
Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
Maria Subtelny

Rulers and Subjects 22/01/13 LEC 4 Basic types of legitimate rule – different types of rulership: • Traditional – hereditary kingship; often combined with idea of “divine election” • Charismatic—esceptional individual; can also be hereditary (“clan charisma”); results in crisis o Charisma – Greek “gift from God” o considered to have special, divine, dispensation/inspiration (Muhammad, Moses, etc.) o Usually after death of leader, is crisis over successor • Rational—based on legal authority, impersonal, administrative, non-hereditary o E.g. “crowning” of Obama yesterday – it’s impersonal, administrative; his daughter will not succeed him, but another elected leader will replace him First Islamic Political Organization • Religio-political community (umma) in Medina • Headed by prophet Muhammad; authority based on charisma; assisted by “Companions” • Period of Muhammad’s rule is called “golden age” • After death in 632, crisis of succession; Options: traditional/hereditary model OR non-traditional/non-hereditary model o changed traditional basis of allegiance from tribe  faith • Non-traditional model chosen, based on oligarchy; but ultimately does not prevail in Islamic history o model that prevails is the one that always has prevailed – traditional, hereditary model ** will talk about monarchic states on Thursdays (dynasties – ‘royal families’) o chosen by consultation w/in closed group The Problem of Legitimacy – who is a legitimate ruler and where does the legitimacy come from? • Last week we talked about Umayyads and Obassids • Disagreement about succession to Muhammad o Group believes successor should be Muhammad’s closest relative, Ali (Muhammad’s paternal cousin – important because is son of paternal uncle [important figure]) o Rise of partisans of Ali—Shi’at ‘Ali > Shi’ites; who maintained that Muhammad designated him as successor  Ali himself was not lacking in charisma and supporters; able to attract followers; distinguished self as military commander  = expression of notion of “clan charisma”? • Result: - 2 civil wars - massacre of Ali’s son Husayn and family at Karbala in 680—momentous event, beginning of doctrinal split b/w Sunnis and Shi’ites (differing interpretations of Islam) o Shift in model from charismatic prophet o 12 Shi’ite imams (person of Ali centralized in one depiction) o Parallels in depiction of religious leaders/figures among Islam and Christianity (figure of Ali vs. Jesus) o *Geneology important to Arabs, Turkic, Mongols, during time (an average individual should be able to trace heritage back 9 generations* Page 1 of 3 Rulers and Subjects 22/01/13 LEC 4 o Parable of ship of Shi’ism depiction* The Caliphate – nature of rule of the Caliph • Caliph (khalifa)—theocratic ruler—no separation b/w temporal/secular and spiritual/religious authority o meaning of ‘caliph’ i
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