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Book: Divine Covenant

Chapter: Institutional Practices

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.23809


Chapter 5 develops another, closely related aspect of Covenant identified in the preceding chapter, namely its reference to a constitution i.e. the division of power and function between state/ruler and judiciary. Consequently, and in line with de Certeau’s approach, in the first part of the chapter I reconstruct a political economy, an administrative institutional order, and a social contract theory as context for the Qurʾānic Covenant, based on current historical research and the Prophet’s Biography. The reconstruction highlights the importance of land as the main form of wealth, the organising principle of the political economy and administration, the source of tax income for the state and material sustenance for all people. Hence, Covenant as signifying rights-based law, constitutional rule, and social contract, refers also to the concrete issues of land ownership and land tax. Based on some historical research, I also propose that the Prophet’s rule and early Islamic law converged with agricultural developments, and introduced new forms of sharecropping contracts, which granted peasants new property rights to land and protected inheritance. In the second part of the chapter, I proceed from the Prophet’s time to sketch the main Islamic societal institutions and historical developments and topics related to constitutional rule, from the early Caliphate to the 900s/1500s. Throughout the chapter, I also analyse Qurʾānic concepts with reference to these topics, following the logic that Qurʾānic knowledge extends into the disciplines.

Chapter Contributors

  • Ulrika Mårtensson ( - umartensson) 'The Norwegian University of Science and Technology'