The Forms of Commentaries

By Felicitas Opwis As my previous posts illustrated, commentaries take different forms in length and scope. The commentator selects which topics and points found in the underlying matn he wants to elaborate, explain, and dispute. There is no linear or chronological development of constant growth and enlargement, but a seemingly random variation in breadth and … Continue reading The Forms of Commentaries

The Commentary as Platform for Debate, Change, and Authority Construction

By Felicitas Opwis As presented in the previous post, the discursive tradition of commentaries involves extensive intertextuality. This intertextuality is not only a dialogue between matn and sharḥ, but a discourse that engages previous commentaries on the same matn as well as the Shāfiʿī school’s intellectual output more generally. Sometimes, the arguments and positions referenced … Continue reading The Commentary as Platform for Debate, Change, and Authority Construction

The Content of Commentaries

By Felicitas Opwis In the previous post I mentioned the vibrant commentary tradition on Abū Shujāʿ’s compendium of Shāfiʿī law, which indicates that Muslim scholars deemed it necessary to comment on the past, making it relevant to their present and incorporating whatever changes have occurred or were deemed desirable. It also allows us to gain … Continue reading The Content of Commentaries

The Discursive Tradition of Commentaries (shurūḥ) – Lessons from Matn Abī Shujāʿ

By Felicitas Opwis The study of commentaries (shurūḥ) and glosses (ḥawāshī) has rightly received attention and appreciation in recent years. The scholarship of Asad, El Shamsy, Saleh, Wisnovsky as well as El-Rouayheb, Bauer, and Messick[1] are correcting the previously invoked image of intellectual stagnation and decline of the so-called post-classical period as advocated most forcefully … Continue reading The Discursive Tradition of Commentaries (shurūḥ) – Lessons from Matn Abī Shujāʿ

Welcome to our September Guest Blogger: Felicitas Opwis

Dr. Felicitas Opwis, Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, received her doctorate from Yale University. Her scholarship investigates the articulation of the religious sciences of Islam in their historical, social, and political environment, focusing on Islamic law. In addition to tracing the intellectual history of the concept of public interest (maṣlaḥa) … Continue reading Welcome to our September Guest Blogger: Felicitas Opwis

Welcome to our Lead Blog Editor, Raha Rafii!

Please welcome our new Lead Blog Editor, Raha Rafii! Raha Rafii is currently an Honorary Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter, where she was previously a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow on the Law and Learning in Imami Shi‘i Islam ERC project. She received her PhD in 2019 from … Continue reading Welcome to our Lead Blog Editor, Raha Rafii!

When Worship Meets Taxation: Socio-Political Reflections on the Rules of Zakat

By Sohail Hanif We continue our reflection on social dimensions of Islamic law by turning our attention to the rules of Zakat,[1] the obligatory alms in Islam. Zakat is a social institution, as it represents wealth moving from the ‘rich’ to the ‘poor’. By its very nature, Zakat creates social ties and dependencies. From the … Continue reading When Worship Meets Taxation: Socio-Political Reflections on the Rules of Zakat

A Prayer-Based Civilizational Order: The Social Dimension of the Rules of Ritual Prayer

By Sohail Hanif Ritual prayer (ṣalāh) is a pillar of Islam. It functions as a pillar that upholds the daily routine and spiritual journey of a believer. However, the spiritual dimension of prayer is not a topic of investigation in works of Islamic law. There is, on the other hand, another overarching interest of Muslim … Continue reading A Prayer-Based Civilizational Order: The Social Dimension of the Rules of Ritual Prayer

Social Dependencies of Islamic Law: A View Through the Legal Commentary

By Sohail Hanif My research has centred on unpacking layers of argumentation in works of Islamic law, particularly legal commentaries. As one unpacks these layers, one comes to learn that what actually is ‘law’ is not always clear, and that it is within the arguments that one finds the principles and reasoning for the sake … Continue reading Social Dependencies of Islamic Law: A View Through the Legal Commentary