A political study of al-Mawardi with special reference to the concept of legitimacy
The establishment of a legitimate government was a primary concern of the medieval jurists. Consequently they were obliged to deal with the issue of authority and make it a regular part of their juristic formulation. It was, however, aI-Mãwardi who dealt with this issue more systematically and made it a subject of thorough investigation. In this study we will examine his political ideas with reference to the concept of legitimacy not only in his contemporary context, but also with regard to the governments of past Islamic history. The study will also examine various responsibilities of the ruler as well as his concept of political change in a broad context. The material has been divided into six chapters and a conclusion. The first chapter deals with the meanings of the Caliphate in a broader context, its significance and place in Islamic religious scheme, and various issues related to authority and government as al-Mawardi dealt with them in the light of the Qur'an, the Sunna and the Rashidun period. The second and the third chapters deal with legitimate accession to authority and various responsibilities of the ruler in order of priority and importance. Stress has been laid on the ruler's acknowledgement of the same order in their execution. The fourth chapter deals with the exercise of authority in a legitimate manner. It examines why al-Mawardi recognized the 'Abbasids as legitimate rulers despite criticizing them for their departure from the standard practices of the Räshidun period. In chapter five the attention is focussed on the legitimacy of the weak 'Abbisid Caliph, the status of the Amir and the rebel provincial dynast and the relations of the latter two with the Caliph. The Sunnites and the Shi'ites of this period had different approaches towards the issue of authority. It will be examined how they still managed to arrive at a concordat at an official level which lasted for more than a century. In the sixth chapter, al-Mãwardi's concept of political change has been examined in a broader context. In the conclusion various research findings are brought together in consequence of studying al-Mãwardi's political concepts in relation to the concept of legitimacy.