The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Al-Hakim the Sane

Superficial cartoon histories claim that Fatimi caliph al-Hakim was a madman. He's the guy who promulgated a number of extreme pro-Islamic edicts, like tearing down churches (including one in Jerusalem) and banning the (nonalcoholic!) mulukhiya drink.

Jennifer Pruitt has a fascinating essay up, "Method in Madness". This argues that the al-Hakim was reacting to popular sentiment. In which case he wasn't mad at all.

God's caliph had to do what God wanted. The people of Islam had certain assumptions about God's will - namely, that God hated churches, and wanted them destroyed. As their leader, and especially as one from a minority sect, the caliph perceived no alternative. Vox populi, vox dei.


posted by Zimri on 08:10 | link | 0 comments

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