Luke Yarbrough, associate professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, is a runner-up for the British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize, in recognition of his book “Friends of the Emir: Non-Muslim State Officials in Premodern Islamic Thought.”
In this book, Yarbrough examines the discourse in the premodern Muslim world on the Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian and other non-Muslim state officials, who often assisted ruling caliphs and sultans. He follows various sources from premodern Muslim law, history, poetry and literature, tracking this discourse from the period of the Umayyad empire (661–750), through medieval Iraq, Egypt, Syria and Spain, to its apex in the Mamluk period (1250–1517). Yarbrough also compares the shape of Islamic discourse on this issue to analogous discourses in medieval Europe and China.
Yarbrough is a historian of premodern Islamic societies. His work primarily deals with relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in their historical and legal aspects, and extends to the study of Hadith, polemical literature and administrative practice, among other topics. He is also the co-editor of “Conversion to Islam in the Premodern Age,” along with Nimrod Hurvitz, Christian Sahner and Uriel Simonsohn.