This study outlines the main features of the theory and practice of political power in Muslim polities in the Middle Ages against the background of Near Eastern traditions of kingship, particularly Hellenistic, Persian, and Byzantine. The early Arab-Muslim polity is treated as an integral part of late Antiquity and the book explores the way in which older traditions were transposed into Islamic form and given specifically Islamic textual sanction.
Aziz Al-Azmeh is a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study, Berlin.
Part 1 Sublime analogies pagan and monotheistic: kings and gods - ubiquitous regalia, figures of the sacred; kings in the world - royal cosmography, monotheistic types, virtue and order; an interregnum - the early Muslim polity. Part 2 Muslim polities: writing power - a corpus of universal wisdom, topics of power, power Islamized; the absolutist imperative - power enunciated, power manifest; absolutism sublime - the sacral caliphate, caliphal kingship, the sultanic shadow of God; political soteriology - hierocratic saviours, logocratic sages?.