In 1924, the government of Afghanistan wrote to the Jam‘iyat ‘Ulama-yi Hind looking for legal justifications to support Emir Aman Allah Khan's (r. 1919–29) proposed reforms—particularly those relating to female education. Known for securing Afghanistan's independence from the British, and now recognized as a pioneering modernizer and renegade constitutional monarch, Aman Allah introduced a series of reforms during his reign that Faiz Ahmed has recently characterized as “a burgeoning model of Islamic legal modernism.” Yet the story of Afghanistan's experiments with Islamic legal modernism are greater and extend beyond the history of a single state. Taking the above claim about Afghanistan seriously, and in response to Ahmed's Afghanistan Rising this essay offers a close reading of the exchange between Kabul and Delhi to interrogate ideas about Islamic legal reform, Islamic modernity, and inter-Islamic circulations at the time of waning empires and rising nation-states.

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