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This is an extensive study of labour in the social and economic life of Islamic communities around the Mediterranean in the medieval period, 9th-15th century. Based on a large number of primary and secondary sources, it contains a comprehensive dictionary of trades and occupations practised by both men and women, followed by a statistical and textual examination of the division of labour, the distribution of the labour force, occupational structures and the role of labour in the Islamic economy. It also describes ethnic divisions of labour, social status and image. A group of literary sources yields evidence that Muslim theologians, mystics and philosophers gradually formulated a doctrinal framework for labour. This book will prove a valuable resource for any student of medieval Islamic economic and labour history.