Here’s an interesting post about an essay, written by Hebrew University Professor Milka Levy-Rubin, in a recent book from the University of Pennsylvania Press, Beyond Religious Borders: Interaction and Intellectual Exchange in the Medieval Islamic World (2011). Levy-Rubin’s essay, “Shurut Umar: From Early Harbingers to Systematic Enforcement,” discusses the development of classical Islamic law restrictions on “protected” peoples, or dhimmis, including Christians and Jews. She asserts that these restrictions, which date from the notional seventh-century “Pact of Umar,” were more or less uniform throughout the Muslim world, not idiosyncratic or haphazard, although enforcement of the restrictions may have varied. The rules included prohibitions on crosses, churches, processions, and certain kinds of dress, as well as payment of the jizya, or poll tax. The essay looks worthwhile for anyone interested in the history of fiqh restrictions on religious minorities.

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