From Anonymous Dicta to the Prophet’s Sunna

By Mathieu Tillier This is part three in a series of four posts on the historical formation of the Sunna, with a focus on methodological reflections on the emergence of Prophetic authority. The history of Islamic law and that of ḥadīth are closely connected. As I recalled in my previous posts, prophetic authority as expressed … Continue reading From Anonymous Dicta to the Prophet’s Sunna

Imploring God and the “Living Tradition”: A Relative Chronology of Epigraphic and Traditional Invocations

By Mathieu Tillier This is part two in a series of four posts on the historical formation of the Sunna, with a focus on methodological reflections on the emergence of Prophetic authority. Stating that the sunna of the Prophet represents a major source of classical Islamic law may appear as self-evident. Many legal rulings are … Continue reading Imploring God and the “Living Tradition”: A Relative Chronology of Epigraphic and Traditional Invocations

Early Fiqh and the Issue of Ḥadīth Dating

By Mathieu Tillier This is part one in a series of four posts on the historical formation of the Sunna, with a focus on methodological reflections on the emergence of Prophetic authority. Classical Islamic law hermeneutics relied on four well-known sources: the Qur’ān, the sunna, consensus, and analogy (qiyās). The first two represent textual sources … Continue reading Early Fiqh and the Issue of Ḥadīth Dating

Welcome to our January Guest Blogger: Mathieu Tillier

Mathieu Tillier is professor of Medieval Islamic history at Sorbonne Université and a member of the research unit “Orient et Méditerranée” (UMR 8167) at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). His research mainly relates to Islamic law and institutions. He is the author of Les cadis d’Iraq et l’État abbasside (132/750-334/945) (Damascus: Presses … Continue reading Welcome to our January Guest Blogger: Mathieu Tillier

Intellectual and Practical Caution as Grounds for Legal Pluralism

By Junaid Quadri* In 663/1265, Sultan al-Ẓāhir Baybars appointed a chief judge from each of the four Sunnī madhhabs. For scholars of Islamic law, this decision has served as a signal moment in the story told about the normative pluralism found within Sunnī Islam. I say that this was a signal moment, but it was … Continue reading Intellectual and Practical Caution as Grounds for Legal Pluralism

Excavating the Colonial Modern in Islamic Law

By Junaid Quadri How shall we understand the encounter between the sharīʿa and the colonial modern? What have been the responses of Muslim jurists to the twin pressures of colonialism and modernity? A surge of works in recent years have given us a range of responses to these questions. While some stress the deep penetration … Continue reading Excavating the Colonial Modern in Islamic Law

Ethical Perfectionism in Fiqh: The Example of Moral Exemplars

By Junaid Quadri* How precisely to understand the ethical material found within works of fiqh has been a recurrent question of Western scholarship on Islamic law since its earliest period. If, in the first phase of this interest, scholars tended to find in fiqh a curious (and perhaps, objectionable) amalgam of law, religion and ethics, … Continue reading Ethical Perfectionism in Fiqh: The Example of Moral Exemplars

Oakeshott, Originalism and the History of Modern Islamic Law

By Junaid Quadri* In On Human Conduct, the ambitious work he produced toward the end of his career, the philosopher Michael Oakeshott offers a distinction between two kinds of storytelling that is instructive for historians of Islamic law and indeed scholars of the intellectual history of Islam more broadly. Distinguishing between “In the beginning” stories … Continue reading Oakeshott, Originalism and the History of Modern Islamic Law

Welcome to our December Guest Blogger: Junaid Quadri

Junaid Quadri is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Program in Religious Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His first book, Transformations of Tradition: Islamic Law in Colonial Modernity (Oxford University Press, 2021) studies the encounter between Islamic law and colonial power, examining the development of Ḥanafism in relation to fundamental … Continue reading Welcome to our December Guest Blogger: Junaid Quadri

Tools for Interpreting Ḥadīth in Shaybānī’s Ḥujja

By Issam Eido This is part four in a series of four posts on Ḥanafī criteria for using ḥadīth in the ‘courts and canons’ of early Islamic law. Kitāb al-Ḥujja ʿalā Ahl al-Madīna is one of several books attributed to the judge Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Shaybānī.[1] Early Ḥanafī biographical dictionaries used to classify early Ḥanafī … Continue reading Tools for Interpreting Ḥadīth in Shaybānī’s Ḥujja