Collective Liability in Islam

The ‘Aqila and Blood Money Payments

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Nurit Tsafrir
  • Cambridge: 
    Cambridge University Press
    , January
     188 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


Offering the first close study of the ʿAqila, a group collectively liable for blood money payments on behalf of a member who committed an accidental homicide, Nurit Tsafrir analyses the group's transformation from a pre-Islamic custom to an institution of the Shari'a, and its further evolution through medieval and post medieval Islamic law and society. Having been an essential factor in the maintenance of social order within Muslim societies, the ʿAqila is the intersection between legal theory and practice, between Islamic law and religion, and between Islamic law and the state. Tracing the history of the ʿAqila, this study reveals how religious values, state considerations and social organization have participated in shaping and reshaping this central institution, which still concerns contemporary Muslim scholars.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Nurit Tsafrir is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel-Aviv University. She was previously a member of the Israel Institution for Advanced Studies in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton University, New Jersey. A specialist in medieval Islam focusing on the Hanafi school of law, she is the author of The History of an Islamic School of Law: The Early Spread of Hanafism (2004).



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