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History, piety and factional politics in the Arabic chronicle of the Maldives: Ḥasan Tāj al-Dīn’s Ta’rīkh and its continuations

Andrew C. S. Peacock

Abstract

The Arabic chronicle (Ta’rīkh) of the Maldives composed by the qadi Ḥasan Tāj al-Dīn (d. 1139/1727) and continued by his nephew Muḥammad Muḥibb al-Dīn (1118/1706-1199/1785) and his grandson Ibrāhīm Sirāj al-Dīn (d. after 1243/1827) is major but unexploited source for not just Maldivian but also Indian Ocean history more broadly. Covering Maldivian history from the purported date of the islands’ conversion to Islam in 548/1143, the Ta’rīkh is also imbued with a specific pious and ethical agenda. It seeks to situate the Maldives in the broader context of Islamic history stretching back to the Rāshidūn Caliphs, while using the past to impart ethical lessons to its audience, ostensibly the Maldivian sultans. However, its authors were also deeply involved in the Maldives’ tumultuous political life, and their presentation of events is also influenced by their own personal experiences and factional affiliations. This article explores the pious, ethical and political agenda of the Ta’rīkh.


Corresponding author: Andrew C. S. Peacock, University of St Andrews, School of History, St Katharine’s Lodge, The Scores, St Andrews, KY16 9BA, UK, E-mail:

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to Michael Feener for comments on a draft of this paper.

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Published Online: 2020-12-07
Published in Print: 2020-11-18

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