Preliminary notes on Islamic political space: Madina in Quranic discourse
واصفات البياناتعرض سجل المادة الكامل
Is there a particularly Islamic political space? This paper initiates this long-term research project of spatializing early Islamic history, drawing on the Qur’ān’s own spatial discourse. The project seeks to articulate the roles space plays in early Islam’s political project. Within this framework, this paper defends the assertion that early Islam presents socio-political relationships which suggest al-madina –a particular conception of the ‘city’ - as a pivotal locus in this formative political space. Arguments focus on the origins of such a conception in its Meccan Qur’ānic occurrences. Four preliminary features emerge: the madina’s association with Qur’ānic journeynarratives and debates of legitimate authority; its environmental connection to a productive hinter-land; its association with a trans-tribal social structure; and its evocation of a public-sphere. Set against the historical background of late-antiquity in which the first Muslim umma appeared and where concurrently the city, as a social artifact, faced threats of dispersion and irrelevance, these features potentially constitute a program for the emergent umma to salvage urbanity itself. In a later paper, evidence from the Prophet’s acts in al-Madina (Yathrib) and his Companions’ developments of other urban settlements, especially al-Kufa, will be engaged to substantiate the relation between Qur’ānic text and human action.