Classical Texts on Imamate, Sharia Governance and Politics: A Series of Annotated Translations

A key aspect of ummatics is the theorization of politics and the political in a way that reflects Islamic normative theory and incorporates the empirical insights of modern political theory and science. Focusing on the former element, this series intends to compile and collate various relevant articulations by classical Muslim scholars. Given the vastness of the classical tradition, the four juristic madhhabs are used as a starting heuristic device to organize different parts of the tradition. The papers linked below—a list we hope to lengthen over time with regular additions—comprise passages that are selected, translated, and annotated by people with relevant expertise in the focus area of each paper. Annotations are primarily exegetical to allow for the passages to speak for themselves, as much as that is possible. 

While the selected passages do include mention of peripheral matters that are subject to difference of opinion and sometimes require critical engagement—left for other papers outside this series—their focus is on foundational points, such the importance and relative priority of politics and governance in Islam; how this governance ought to be guided and constrained by the sharia in its forms, norms, and ends; the nature of the communal obligation of the imamate or caliphate; and the religious imperative of political unity and power. Among other things, this series aims to highlight not only the consensus of the classical tradition in affirming the ummatic mandate and draw scholars’ attention to these references, but also to invite further investigation of their subtleties and presuppositions with an eye on their lessons for the present.


Shāfiʿī Jurists and Legal Theorists on the Imamate

Early Ḥanafī Authorities on the Imamate



Discover more

The Umma in International Relations: Presence and Effectiveness

Ummatics Colloquium
November 14, 2023

Nationalism and Ummatic Solidarity: Reflections on a British memo (1917) from colonial East Africa

Alexander Thurston
November 14, 2023

Ḥanbalī Authorities on the Imamate

Massoud Vahedi
November 7, 2023


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