Studies in Islamic Legal Theory

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This volume is unique as a collection of studies devoted entirely to topics and issues in the field of Islamic legal theory and authored by fourteen scholars known for their work in this field. The studies deal with such topics as early notions of charismatic authority, hermeneutic techniques in Shāficī's
Risālah, uses of the term sunnah in the ninth century A.H., evidence for the emergence of usūl al-fiqh as a genre of legal literature in the ninth century, the function of usūl al-fiqh in relation to legal practice, theological ramifications of issues in usūl al-fiqh, Shīcī attitudes to qiyās, the structure of juristic authority within the madhhab, usūl al-fiqh as an instrument of reform, the place of qawācid within Islamic legal theory. These studies are followed by a discussion among the authors.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This book is unique…This is a magnificent piece of scholarship, and the authors are to be congratulated on their tremendous contribution to the literature on Islamic legal theory.'
Al Aalam Magazine, 2001.
Weiss (Near Eastern studies, Princeton U.) presents 14 essays that explore the development of Muslim legal theory before and after the establishment of the "four sources" version of , in which law is based on the Quran, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, the consensus of Muslim jurists, and analogic reasoning. The studies range in time from 750 C.E. to the present and discuss such topics as early formation of legal thought, the foundations of authority for laws, the actual functioning of law, and the effects of theological differences on legal thought. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789004120662
  • Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/8/2001
  • Series: Studies in Islamic Law and Society Series, #15
  • Pages: 440
  • Product dimensions: 6.58 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 1.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Bernard G. Weiss, Ph.D. (1966) in Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University, is Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Utah.
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Table of Contents

Editor's Introduction
Pt. 1 Early Developments in Muslim Legal Theory
Competing Theories of Authority in Early Maliki Texts 3
Does Shafi'i have a Theory of Four Sources of Law? 23
Sunnah in the Responses of Ishaq b. Rahwayh 51
Qur'anic Abrogation Across the Ninth Century: Shafi'i Abu 'Ubayd, Muhasibi and Ibn Qutaybah 75
Muhammad b. Dawud al-Zahiri's Manual of Jurisprudence: Al-Wusul ila ma'rifat al-usul 99
Pt. 2 The Function of Usul al-fiqh
"Istihsan is Nine-tenths of the Law": The Puzzling Relationship of Usul to Furu in the Maliki Madhhab 161
Fiction and Formalism: Toward a Functional Analysis of Usul al-fiqh 177
Pt. 3 Controversies Within and Between Schools
"Like the Difference between Heaven and Earth:" Hanafi and Shafi'i Discussions of Wajib and Fard 205
Mu'tazilism and Maturidism in Hanafi Legal Theory 235
Imami Shi'i Refutations of Qivas 267
Usul-related Madhhab Differences in Amidi's Ihkam 293
Pt. 4 Authority, Reform, Underlying Principles
Takhrij and the Construction of Juristic Authority 317
Reforming Islam by Dissolving the Madhhabs: Shawkani and his Zaydi Detractors in Yemen 337
Qawa'id as a Genre of Legal Literature 365
Alta Discussion 385
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