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The Canonization of Islamic Law tells the story of the birth of classical Islamic law in the eighth and ninth centuries CE. It shows how an oral normative tradition embedded in communal practice was transformed into a systematic legal science defined by hermeneutic analysis of a clearly demarcated scriptural canon. This transformation was inaugurated by the innovative legal theory of Muḥammad b. Idrīs al-Shāfiʿī (d. 820 CE), and it took place against the background of a crisis of identity and religious authority in ninth-century Egypt. By tracing the formulation, reception, interpretation, and spread of al-Shāfiʿī's ideas, the author demonstrates how the canonization of scripture that lay at the heart of al-Shāfiʿī's theory formed the basis for the emergence of legal hermeneutics, the formation of the Sunni schools of law, and the creation of a shared methodological basis in Muslim thought.Read more
- Fusion of intellectual, sociopolitical and textual history into a single integrated narrative
- Extensive use of hitherto unknown or ignored primary historical sources
- Close attention to important transcultural themes of orality, writing, cultural memory and canonicity
Reviews & endorsements
"It is very well-written, draws on an impressive array of Arabic texts, and is the best available guide to al-Shafiʿi’s legal-theoretical writings, in large part because it engages the arguments expressed in both the Risāla and the Umm. In short, it is essential reading for all students and scholars of Islamic law."
Scott. C. Lucas, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African StudiesSee more reviews
'Ahmed El Shamsy has given us a ground-breaking picture of the third/ninth-century development of Shāfiʿī legal scholarship.' David R. Vishanoff, Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations
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- Date Published: October 2013
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107041486
- length: 264 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
- weight: 0.52kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Tradition under siege
2. Debates on Hadith and consensus
3. From local community to universal canon
4. Status, power, and social upheaval
5. Scholarship between persecution and patronage
6. Authorship, transmission, and intertextuality
7. A community of interpretation
8. Canonization beyond the Shafi'i school.
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