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Christians In Early And Classical Sunnī Law

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Chapter Summary

Islamic law devotes considerable attention to regulations related to Christians, who comprised a significant minority population within the medieval Islamic Near East. This chapter seeks to sketch Sunni laws relating to Christians in broad strokes and to direct readers to relevant secondary scholarship for further details and for citations of the most important primary sources. Shīʿī laws regarding Christians differ in significant ways from their Sunni counterparts and therefore merit separate treatment. The chapter highlights the manner in which Sunni authorities classify Christians. Most laws treat Christians as non-Muslims, no different from Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, and other dhimmīs’, the term for religious minorities discussed here. Christians as Scripturists, are primarily reflexive in nature: they regulate what Muslims themselves may or may not do in matters that relate to non-Muslims.

Keywords: Christians as Scripturists; classical Sunnī law; dhimmīs; Muslim; Shīʿī law



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