Comparative law, the role of the judge, and the law theorized

In this final post reflecting on my primary source seminar “Readings in Islamic law,” I want to highlight three further topics covered in the course. The first of these is the genre of comparative law (khilāf), for which we read writings by Ibn al-Mundhir from the early fourth/tenth century, al-Kadamī from the fourth/tenth century, and … Continue reading Comparative law, the role of the judge, and the law theorized

Fatwas: diverse in form, diverse in reach

After the first session of my Islamic law seminar this fall, I chose the readings for each class with an eye on the particular interests of the enrolled students. Accordingly, of the three fatwas we read, spanning the fourteenth and twentieth centuries, the first reflected one student’s interest in medical ethics. The fatwa in question … Continue reading Fatwas: diverse in form, diverse in reach

Different genres, different approaches

For the first session of my graduate seminar “Readings in Islamic Law” this fall, I asked students to read two texts: a hadith on divorce initiated by the wife (al-Bukhārī, Kitāb al-Khulʿ, story of the wife of Thābit b. Qays) and a legal debate between Abū Isḥāq al-Shīrāzī and al-Dāmaghānī in the eleventh century (from … Continue reading Different genres, different approaches

:: Muwaṭṭaʾ Roundtable :: Al-Shāfiʿī’s Recension of Mālik’s Muwaṭṭaʾ

By Ahmed El Shamsy (The University of Chicago) The peripatetic Meccan jurist Muḥammad b. Idrīs al-Shāfiʿī (d. 204/820) studied with Mālik in Medina as a precocious youth. He reportedly memorized Mālik’s book, the Muwaṭṭaʾ, and then turned up at Mālik’s doorstep, demanding to study the text with its author personally and refusing to take no for … Continue reading :: Muwaṭṭaʾ Roundtable :: Al-Shāfiʿī’s Recension of Mālik’s Muwaṭṭaʾ

Teaching Islamic law through primary sources

In the fall quarter of 2019, I am teaching a graduate seminar titled “Readings in Islamic Law” at the University of Chicago. In this blog post and the three that follow I will describe the theoretical and practical considerations that have influenced the design of the course and talk about some of the readings I … Continue reading Teaching Islamic law through primary sources