The Foundations of Justice for Legal Guardians, Governors, Princes, Meritorious Rulers, and Kings (The Administration of Justice for Governors, Princes and the Meritorious Rulers)


Timbuktu (present-day Tombouctou in Mali), founded around 1100 as a commercial center for trade across the Sahara Desert, was also an important seat of Islamic learning from the 14th century onward. The libraries there contain many important manuscripts, in different styles of Arabic scripts, which were written and copied by Timbuktu’s scribes and scholars. These works constitute the city’s most famous and long-lasting contribution to Islamic and world civilization. ‘Uthmān ibn Muḥammad ibn ‘Uthmān ibn Fūdī (1754–1817) was a scholar and the founder of the Fulani Sokoto Empire in 1809. In Uṣūl al-‘Adl li-Wulāt al-Amr wa-Ahl al-Faḍl wa-al-Salāṭīn (The foundations of justice for legal guardians, governors, princes, meritorious rulers, and kings) he delineates the authority of governors and rulers and the limits to authority under Islamic law. He particularly calls attention to the need to understand the responsibility of power and its use. The author presents as a ruler's obligation the provision of social justice and protection of the property of the state's residents.

Last updated: January 8, 2018