Theses Doctoral

Common Wealth: Land Taxation in Early Islam

Najib, Aseel

This dissertation studies the legal theory and historical practice of land taxation in the Iraqi province of Kūfa in the second/eighth and early third/ninth centuries. In a broader sense, it engages land taxation as an investigative tool through which to examine the relationship between law and politics; capital and empire; and land taxation and conquest in early Islam.

It begins by drawing on chronicles, administrative texts, and other narrative works to narrate the history of Kūfa, and of the nearby Sawād, the rich, alluvial plains which provided the Abbasid Empire with its primary source of revenue. Due to their proximity to the Sawād and to the imperial center of Baghdad, Kūfan legal scholars were at the forefront of developing legal theories of land taxation. The following chapters analyze legal texts to reconstruct these theories and trace their reception by scholars outside of Kūfa.

Finally, “Common Wealth: Land Taxation in Early Islam” connects legal theories of land taxation to themes of post-conquest governance and political jurisdiction over and through land.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Thesis Advisors
Hallaq, Wael
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 26, 2023