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The Second Formation of Islamic Law
The Hanafi School in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire


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Part of Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization

  • Date Published: April 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107462076

£ 24.99

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About the Authors
  • The Second Formation of Islamic Law is the first book to deal with the rise of an official school of law in the post-Mongol period. The author explores how the Ottoman dynasty shaped the structure and doctrine of a particular branch within the Hanafi school of law. In addition, the book examines the opposition of various jurists, mostly from the empire's Arab provinces, to this development. By looking at the emergence of the concept of an official school of law, the book seeks to call into question the grand narratives of Islamic legal history that tend to see the nineteenth century as the major rupture. Instead, an argument is formed that some of the supposedly nineteenth-century developments, such as the codification of Islamic law, are rooted in much earlier centuries. In so doing, the book offers a new periodization of Islamic legal history in the eastern Islamic lands.

    • The first book to deal with one of the major developments in Islamic legal history in the last millennium - the rise of an official school of law
    • Examines genres and sources that have been by and large overlooked in Ottoman and Islamic legal studies
    • Covers a relatively long period of time - from the fifteenth to the early nineteenth centuries
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    • Honourable Mention, 2016 M. Fuat Köprülü Book Prize, The Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    'What is immediately striking, and indeed exciting, about this work is the breadth and detail of the author's research, which has allowed him to reconstruct some details of the Ottoman legal establishment which have hitherto remained obscure … What the author records, with a richness of detail that can only be hinted at here, is the increasing formalization and central control of the institutions of law in the Ottoman Empire.' Colin Imber, Journal of Islamic Studies

    'Burak displays an impressive command of Ottoman legal writings, both published and in manuscript. This is by far the most detailed examination to date of the legal literature of the period … Burak has given Ottomanists and students of early modern Islamic empires much to consider, and for that he is to be thanked. This book is an important reference for anyone studying the development of law in the Ottoman Empire.' Adam Sabra, The American Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107462076
    • length: 292 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Muftīs
    2. Genealogies and boundaries I: situating the imperial learned hierarchy within the Ḥanafī jurisprudential tradition
    3. Genealogies and boundaries II: two responses from the Arab provinces of the empire
    4. Books of high repute
    5. Intra-madhhab plurality and the empire's legal landscape
    Conclusion: the second formation of Islamic law.

  • Author

    Guy Burak, New York University
    Guy Burak is the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Librarian at New York University's Bobst Library. Previously, Burak was a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, and in the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School. His articles have appeared in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Comparative Studies in Society and History, the Mediterranean Historical Review, and the Journal of Islamic Studies.


    • Honourable Mention, 2016 M. Fuat Köprülü Book Prize, The Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association

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