chapter  1
14 Pages

The Formation of the Islamic State

ByFred M. Donner

For analytical purposes, the "state" is defined as a set of political institutions resting on a conception of legal authority; the institutions considered relevant are a governing group, army and police, a judiciary, a tax administration, and possibly institutions to implement state policies other than taxation, adjudication, and maintenance of control by the elite. The existence of official armed forces maintained by the Umayyad dynasty for defense of the state is attested in a number of Arabic papyri. There appears to be little documentation for the military organization of these forces, but for the organization of payment and provisions for the military people are better supplied with information. To demonstrate the existence of a state in the early Islamic period, of course, one must not only describe the institutional features of this state, but also show that the requisite ideological features of the state were in place and that they were linked to institutions already described in some organic way.