June 16, 2016

Manual for Mohammedan Law

Handboek voor het Mohammedaansch regt (Handbook of Mohammedan law) is a guide in Dutch to Islamic law by Salomo Keijzer (or Keyzer, 1823‒68), doctor of humanities and law, and teacher in the humanities and social sciences of Netherlands India (i.e., the Dutch East Indies, or present-day Indonesia) at the Royal Academy in Delft. The book includes an introduction on the origins and sources of Islamic law, followed by in-depth chapters on such topics as purification, prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, commerce, marriage, crimes against persons, and testimonies and evidence. Important concepts are introduced with their equivalents in the original Arabic. At the end of the book is a register of romanized Arabic words indexed to their use in the text. Keyzer wrote a number of other works on Islamic laws and customs, particularly as they related to the Dutch East Indies. The Library of Congress copy presented here has an ink stamp in Japanese: Minami Manshū Tetsudō Kabushiki Kaisha Tōa Keizai Chōsakyoku zōsho no in (Seal of collection at the South Manchuria Railway Company, East Asia Economic Research Bureau). During World War II, the South Manchuria Railway Company engaged in extensive intelligence gathering and operational activities on behalf of the Japanese Imperial Army, including efforts to agitate Muslims against Chinese and Russian rule. Most likely the book was confiscated by the U.S. armed forces at the end of the war and subsequently transferred to the Library of Congress.

On Islamic Law

Josef Kohler (1849–1919) was a German jurist noted for his contribution to the philosophy of law and the advancement of the study of the comparative history of law. He was born in Offenburg, Baden, and educated at the universities of Freiburg and Heidelberg. Kohler was a judge in Mannheim and a law professor at the University of Berlin. This booklet, entitled Zum Islamrecht (On Islamic law), is a commentary by Kohler on Muhammedanisches Recht nach schafiitischer Lehre (Muhammedan law according to the Shafi’i school), a translation from Arabic of seven chapters of “the well-known, short work by Abu Shujaʻ (which consists of 16 chapters).” This is almost certainly a reference to Al-ghayatu wa al-taqrib (The ultimate conspectus), a compendium of Shafi’i jurisprudence by Abu Shujaʻ al-Isfahani (born circa 1042). The German translation of Abu Shujaʻ was done by Orientalist Carl Eduard Sachau (1845–1930), who taught with Kohler at the University of Berlin. Sachau’s translation also included a supercommentary on Abu Shujaʻ by Imam Ibrahim al-Bayjuri (also seen as al-Bajuri, circa 1784–1860), another Shafi’i jurist who was the head of the Cairo-based al-Azhar, Egypt's oldest degree-granting university. Kohler’s commentary is divided into 14 articles of varying lengths, covering chapters (called books in the Arabic original) on matrimony, the emancipation of slaves, inheritance law, property law, code of obligations, trial and court procedures, and criminal law.

Handbook of Mohammedan Law, in the Malaysian Language; Based on the Original

Handboek van het Mohammedaansche regt, in de Maleische taal; naar oorspronkelijke (Handbook of Mohammedan law, in the Malaysian language; based on the original) is a lengthy text about Islamic law, edited by Albert Meursinge (1812‒50), doctor of literature and letters at the Royal Academy in Delft, the Netherlands. The work is written in Malay using Arabic script. The book has a foreword in Dutch by Meursinge, in which he notes the difficulties that Dutch and other European scholars had in understanding the sources and different schools in Islamic law, and writes: "In considering these difficulties, associated with the compilation of a suitable Compendium [of Mohammedan law], I had the idea that there might be some useful material in an extensive reference text about Mohammedan law, written in the Malaysian language and in the possession of Professor Reinwardt, who had received it during his scientific travels in the East Indian Archipelago as a gift from the Rajah of Gorontalo." Caspar Georg Carl Reinwardt (1773‒1854) was a Prussian-born botanist who was a professor for many years at Leiden University in the Netherlands, where he specialized in the plants of Indonesia. In addition to the foreword and the main text, the book contains a glossary of Arabic words, mainly relating to law, not commonly found in dictionaries, and their Dutch equivalents. This copy of Handboek van het Mohammedaansche regt, published in Amsterdam in 1844, is from the collections of the Law Library of the Library of Congress.

Schools of Muhammadan Law on War with the Infidels

This short book, published in Paris in 1829, consists primarily of an extract from a work on the Islamic enjoinment to jihad by Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Quduri (972 or 973‒1037), a Hanafi scholar of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), referred to here as Kodouri. The main text is introduced by Charles Solvet, a lawyer and member of the Oriental Society of Paris, who translated it into French from a Latin version translated from the original Arabic by Ernst Friedrich Karl Rosenmüller, a German professor of Oriental Languages at the Leipzig Academy. Rosenmüller’s translation was published in 1825. Solvet writes: “I thought this extract deserved to be better known because of its wealth of information on Islamic history and politics. Indeed, it does not only address war, but also peace, as well as war against Muslims. I thought it was important to make it known to a larger audience, not just those who study Oriental literature.” In 65 numbered paragraphs, the text explains the details of what Muslims are to do when invading infidel lands, how war should be waged, against whom, and under what circumstances. Dr. Rosenmüller added another extract to his book, from a work by the Persian Sufi poet and scholar Ali ibn Muhammad al-Hamadani (1314‒85), which Solvet also translated and included here. The original Arabic name of the work, Dhakhīrat al-mulūk, appears in French as Trésor des rois (Treasure of kings). Al-Hamadani’s book, a mirror for princes, was widely famous in Europe and the Middle East.

“Minhāj al-ṭālibīn.” The Zealous Believers’ Guide. A Manual of Islamic Jurisprudence According to the Shafiʻi Rite

Islam was known in Indonesia from the eighth century, but it appears to have taken hold in the 13th century, first in Sumatra and then across the archipelago. During the Dutch colonial period, civil servant L.W.C. Van den Berg (1845‒1927), who was known as a scholar of indigenous languages and advisor on Islamic law, proposed that Islamic law should be binding upon the indigenous Muslims of Indonesia. In support of that end, he translated into French Minhāj al-ṭālibīn by Imam al-Nawawi (1233‒77), a highly influential manual of Shafiʻi inheritance law, in the version presented here in French and Arabic. Van den Berg explains his approach, stating: “I tried to remain as faithful as possible to the Arabic original, but sometimes had to paraphrase as a literal translation would have been obscure to any reader.” The work is in three volumes and was published in Batavia (present-day Jakarta) by the Government Printing Office in 1882‒83. Matters discussed in volume one include purity, prayer, funeral rites, taxes, youth, the Hajj, and trade. Volume two covers many types of financial transactions and the rules involved in a variety of different interactions with society, including succession, the correct disposition of assets in wills, and divorce. The issues in volume three include binding oaths, attacks on persons, blood price, resistance to authority, apostasy, fornication, other crimes, and the administration of justice.

Umm al-Qurá, Number 556, August 9, 1935

Umm al-Qurá (Mother of all settlements) is the first newspaper in modern-day Saudi Arabia, and the official gazette of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Its name is a Qur’anic reference to the Muslim holy city of Mecca, where the weekly paper is based. Established by the founder of Saudi Arabia, King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Saud, the newspaper published its first issue on Friday, December 12, 1924, about two months after the king’s ikhwan (brothers) allies took the city from Sharif of Mecca and King of Hejaz Husayn ibn ‘Ali. The paper came to play a significant role in the history of Saudi Arabia, reflecting the kingdom’s economic rise from humble beginnings to one of the world’s richest countries. Between 1925, when ‘Abd al-‘Aziz annexed Hejaz, and 1932, when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded, Umm al-Qurá was almost the only publication in ‘Abd al-‘Aziz’s realm. It was not the first in the Hejaz region, where the Ottomans introduced printing machines in 1908 and a few papers were published. The major events that the paper covered, sometimes in special issues, included the unification of Hejaz and Nejd (1926), the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (1932), the discovery of oil (1938), the historic meeting between King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz and President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States (1945), the first Arab-Israeli war (1948), and the death of King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (1953). The paper initially consisted of four pages and focused on official, religious, and literary affairs, but the number of pages fluctuated over the decades, from two during World War II (as a result of paper shortage) to eight or ten pages at other times. The paper did not follow a particular organization, but the front page was typically reserved for royal decrees and other government business. Local news usually was published in the inside pages. The paper’s masthead contained no mention of the editorial team or of the editor-in-chief. The only exception was Editor-in-chief Yusuf Yasin, whose name first appeared on the third issue on December 26, 1924, but was removed on August 20, 1926. Muhammad Saʻid ‘Abd al-Maqsud was editor-in-chief in 1930‒36 and oversaw a significant modernization of the paper.