Institut für Iranistik / Institute of Iranian Studies Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
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Sharia in the Russian Empire
International Workshop
Convener: Paolo Sartori

12.12.2014, 9:30-18:00
Seminarraum 1 (Parterre), Institut für Iranistik
Apostelgasse 23, 1030 Wien


During the second half of the 19th century the Russian Empire was a multi-confessional polity that was home to fourteen million Muslims. The imperial state sponsored a regime of legal pluralism that sanctioned a number of bodies of law including sharia. The institutional arrangements allowing for the application of sharia in the Empire were various. Although it has long been noted that, in the Russian Empire, Muslims inhabited a space of differentiated jurisprudence, little has been done to clarify what was the law that contemporaries called ‘sharia,’ to appreciate the legal diversity existing within the Islamic juridical field itself, or to examine these differences comparatively. How did Muslim imperial subjects conceive of their legal entitlements? How did the Russian Empire’s legal pluralism bring about new alliances among Muslims jurists and new patterns of circulation of Islamic legal knowledge? This workshop marks the first in a series of events organized by the network “‘Sharia in the Russian Empire”. The network is an interdisciplinary research group that aims to encourage research on sharia and legal diversity across the Russian Empire by creating a space where scholars can discuss new research, primary texts, theory and ideas with others who have experience or interest in Islamic and imperial legal history. The network is based in Vienna and it will host a series of workshops in different academic venues.


List of participants

  • Vladimir Bobrovnikov (Institute of Oriental Studies, Moscow)
  • Allen J. Frank (Takoma Park, Maryland)
  • Rozaliya Garipova (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Rebecca Gould (Yale-NUS College)
  • Danielle Ross (Utah State University)
  • Paolo Sartori (Institute of Iranian Studies, Vienna)
  • Paul Werth (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)



09.45 Introductory Remarks
Paolo Sartori, How to Write the History of Sharia in the Russian Empire: Working Notes

10.00 Panel One
Rozaliya Garipova, The Transformation of Muslim Marriage among Volga-Ural Muslims under Russian Imperial Rule
Vladimir Bobrovnikov, Daghestani ʿAdat Codes of the 17th-19th Centuries Between pre-Colonial Shari’a and Russian Imperial Law
Respondent: Danielle Ross

12.15 Panel Two
Paolo Sartori, Unsettling Piety: On Waqf and Changing Legal Consciousness in Russian Turkestan
Danielle Ross, Muslim Charity under Russian Rule: Defining and Regulating Waqf, Sadaqa and Zakat in the Early Twentieth-Century Volga-Ural Region
Respondent: Rebecca Gould

15.00 Panel Three
Allen Frank, Islamic Legal Debates in Northern Kazakhstan during the Early Soviet Era
Rebecca Gould, A Daghestani Critique of Islamic Modernism: Hafez Hajji al-Uxli's ‘Reliable Answer to the Pious Brother’
Respondent: Rozaliya Garipova

17.00 Concluding Remarks
Paul Werth












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program (PDF)
Muhiddin Khoja
Muhiddin Khoja - qadi in Tashkent under Russian Rule
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