“Our Sultan must preserve His religion, just as you preserve your own”

Al-Ghazzāl and the Re-Forging of Islamic Diplomacy in Eighteenth-Century Morocco

By Peter Kitlas in Article

September 29, 2022


This is a newly published article in the Journal of Early Modern History about the ways in which the Moroccan diplomat Ahmed al-Ghazzal defined Islamic international relations.


September 29, 2022


12:00 AM

Extended Abstract

Aḥmed al-Ghazzal served as the Moroccan court’s diplomatic negotiator with Spain between 1766 and 1775. In this role, he communicated regularly with his Spanish counterpart, the Marques de Grimaldi, leaving behind nearly forty official letters, an unparalleled number in the Moroccan royal archives—the Mudiriyyat al-Watha’iq al-Malakiyya (MWM). Nevertheless, al-Ghazzal’s career is consistently overshadowed by his abrupt dismissal from the court of Muḥammad III (r. 1757-1790). Putting into conversation al-Ghazzal’s letters and a riḥla (travelogue) he composed, in which he describes his 1766 mission to Spain, this article reconsiders al-Ghazzal’s role in articulating Moroccan diplomatic practice and thought through his advocacy for commensurable inter-religious diplomacy. It demonstrates that a focus on al-Ghazzal’s Islamic conceptual frameworks and terminologies offers a way to explore non-European diplomatic practices, shedding light on a more diverse group of early modern diplomatic thinkers.

Posted on:
September 29, 2022
1 minute read, 138 words
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