Abu al-Hasan Ali Ibn Muhammad Ibn Habib al-Mawardi ( أبو الحسن علي بن محمد بن حبيب البصري الماوردي ), known in Latin as Alboacen (972-1058 CE), was a Kurdish Islamic jurist of the Shafi'i school most remembered for his works on religion, government, the caliphate, and public and constitutional law during a time of political turmoil. Appointed as the chief judge over several Khorasani districts near Nishapur, and Baghdad itself, al-Mawardi also served as a diplomat for the Abbasid caliphs al-Qa'im and al-Qadir in negotiations with the Buyid emirs. A symbol of his contributions here, he is well remembered for his treatise on "The Ordinances of Government." The Ordinances, Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyya w'al-Wilayat al-Diniyya, provide a detailed a definition of the functions of caliphate government which, under the Buyids appeared to be rather indefinite and ambiguous.
Al-Mawardi was born in Basrah during the year 972 C.E. The Shafi'i historian al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (d. 463/1072) recorded his father as being a rose-water seller. Growing up he was able to learn Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) from Abu al-Wahid al-Simari and subsequently took up his residence in Baghdad. While both Basrah and Baghdad were centers of the Mu'tazila school of thought, the great (orthodox) Shafi'i jurist al-Subki (d. 756/1355) would later condemn al-Mawardi for his Mu'tazila sympathies. Other biographical anecdotes remember al-Mawardi as a humble man, eloquent and enthusiastic in his speech. Regardless of theological polemics, in his day al-Mawardi was a "high-profile figure." He was eventually appointed chief qadi of Baghdad, and subsequently was entrusted with various responsibilities on behalf of the Caliphate: On four occasions he served as a diplomat on behalf of Caliph al-Qa'im (422-1031, 428/1037, 434/1042 and 435/1043), his successor al-Qadir also entrusted al-Mawardi as a diplomat in a negotiation with the Buyid emirs and charged him with the task of writing his treatise on "The Ordinances of the Government." Among many of his various other works he is also credited with the creation of darura, a doctrine of necessity. Al-Mawardi died at an old age in Baghdad on 30 Rabi'a 450/27, May 1058.
- Al-Ahkam al-Sultania w'al-Wilayat al-Diniyya (The Ordinances of Government)
- Qanun al-Wazarah (Laws regarding the Ministers)
- Kitab Nasihat al-Mulk (The Book of Sincere Advice to Rulers)
- Kitab Aadab al-Dunya w'al-Din (The Ethics of Religion and of this World)
- Personas of the Prophethood
On The Ordinances of the Government
"For al-Mawardi the caliphate symbolized an entire politico-religious system that regulates the lives of men in a Muslim community to the smallest detail. Hence the emphasis in [The Ordinances] placed on the qualifications, power and duties pertinent to [a given office of government]... This approach to the matter would explain the working arrangement finally reached by the Buyids and the Abbasid caliphs, later followed also by the more efficient Seljuqs, whereby the military held actual power while recognizing the Caliph as the supreme head of government and receiving from him, in turn, recognition of their mundane authority."
1. On the Appointment of the Sovereign
2. On Ministerial Appointment
III. On the Appointment of Provincial Governors
IV. On Appointing War Commanders
V. On Appointing Commanders of Expeditions for the Public Interest
VI. On the Appointment of Judges
VII. On the Redress of Wrongs
VIII. On Syndics of the Nobility
IX. On the Appointment of Prayer Leaders
X. The administration of Alms
XI. On Dividing the War Spoils
XII. On Tribute and Land Tax
XIV. Of Distinctions Among Countries
XV. On Land Reclamation and Water Supply
XVI. On Enclosures and Public Amenities
XVII. On Land Grants and Concessions
XVIII.On the Status and Rules of the Chancery
XIX. On Crimes and Punishment
XX. On the Market Supervisors Office
There are numerous translations of this book available in English. A more detailed summary or concise evaluation of "The Ordinances" is needed.
- Abul-Fazl Ezzati, The Spread of Islam: The Contributing Factors, ICAS Press (2002), p. 384
- C. Brockleman"al-Mawardi" in the Encyclopedia of Islam 2, vol. 6, p. 869.
- Introduction to "The Ordinances of Government", trans., Wafaa H. Wahaba (Lebanon: Garnet Publishing, 1996), xv.
- ABU AL-HASAN AL-MAWARDI
- Review of al-Ahkam as-Sultanniyah
- Works by or about Al-Mawardi at Internet Archive
- Works by Al-Mawardi at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)