The Problem of Slavery in Islamic Law: A Review of Possessed by the Right Hand, by Bernard Freamon

For my final guest post on this esteemed Islamic Law Blog, I wanted to highlight the publication of a recent book on a subject that has not received the treatment it deserves in the Islamic world. This is the highly charged matter of slavery, which Professor Bernard Freamon tackles admirably in Possessed by the Right … Continue reading The Problem of Slavery in Islamic Law: A Review of Possessed by the Right Hand, by Bernard Freamon

A Pioneering Workshop on Legal Maxims

By Kumail Rajani Al-qawāʿid al-fiqhiyya – Islamic legal maxims – have received limited attention in the plethora of works on Islamic law and legal theory published in the last two to three decades. With the aim of further advancing the study of Islamic legal maxims, the Exeter-based LAWALISI (LAW, Authority and Learning in Imami Shiʿite Islam) … Continue reading A Pioneering Workshop on Legal Maxims

Reading a Century of Change and Transformation through the ‘Ulamā

The nineteenth century marks a period of major transition for the Ottoman Empire. The changes and transformations that took place during this century differed significantly from those in previous centuries in several respects. First, pre-nineteenth century changes were limited to internal developments that remained within the requirements of the system established by the Empire. In … Continue reading Reading a Century of Change and Transformation through the ‘Ulamā

Jāmi‘ al-Riyāsatayn Shaykh al-Islām Hasan Fahmi Efendi

Jāmi‘ al-Riyāsatayn[1] Akşehirī Hasan Fahmi Efendi was born in 1796 in Ilgın, a district in Konya. He went to Konya to study at the important madrasas of the region and completed his education there. Madrasas in Konya were important centers of knowledge in central Anatolia. Therefore, prominent figures, such as Kara Halil Efendi (d. 1880), … Continue reading Jāmi‘ al-Riyāsatayn Shaykh al-Islām Hasan Fahmi Efendi

A Literary Bureaucrat Scholar and Shaykh al-Islām: Ahmad Ārif Hikmet Bey Efendi

Studies on the Ottoman Shaykh al-Islāms are largely focused on a few names, their fatwās, and their relations with the state. It is a fact that the fatwā constituted a significant part of their writings because they were mostly dealing with legal issues while maintaining their duties as a Shaykh al-Islāms. In addition, although the … Continue reading A Literary Bureaucrat Scholar and Shaykh al-Islām: Ahmad Ārif Hikmet Bey Efendi

Ottoman Shaykh al-Islāms of the Nineteenth Century and their Intellectual Biographies

Foundational studies on Islamic legal history in the modern era have largely ignored ​​Ottoman legal thought and experience. This approach, which dominated the historiography of Islamic law written in the 20th century, prevents us from understanding the role played by fiqh in the Ottoman era, which shaped and guided the fields of law, economics and … Continue reading Ottoman Shaykh al-Islāms of the Nineteenth Century and their Intellectual Biographies

Law in Action, in the Peripheral Vision of the Sources

In my last post I referenced Jack Tannous’s metaphor of “dark matter,” which draws our attention to the scattered traces of the vast majority of premodern Muslims who have left us few direct records of their opinions. In this post I’d like to suggest another metaphor, “peripheral vision.” We can think of the disciplines and … Continue reading Law in Action, in the Peripheral Vision of the Sources

Folk Interpretation and the “Dark Matter” of Pre-Modern Islamic Law

In his recent book The Making of the Medieval Middle East (Princeton University Press, 2018), Jack Tannous draws attention to the overwhelming majority of “simple” Christians and Muslims with minimal exposure to (or interest in) the rarefied doctrinal issues that dominate the received history of Late Antique Christianity and early Islam. He argues that, like … Continue reading Folk Interpretation and the “Dark Matter” of Pre-Modern Islamic Law

:: Muwaṭṭaʾ Roundtable :: Journey of the Muwaṭṭaʾ in different periods of the history of South Asia: Shāh Walīyullāh’s Pursuit of Mālik

By Ebrahim Moosa (University of Notre Dame)  It is one of those twists of history that in a region famed for hosting the largest number of followers of the Ḥanafī school, and large numbers of the Shāfiʿī, Ahl al-Ḥadīth (salafī), Jaʿfarī, and Ismāʿīlī schools, South Asia can also boast a healthy interest in the Muwaṭṭaʾ … Continue reading :: Muwaṭṭaʾ Roundtable :: Journey of the Muwaṭṭaʾ in different periods of the history of South Asia: Shāh Walīyullāh’s Pursuit of Mālik

:: Muwaṭṭaʾ Roundtable :: Mālik, the Muwaṭṭa’, and Sunni Identity

By Jonathan Brown (Georgetown University)  I once found myself trapped on a phone call with an exercised adherent of the Ḥanafī school of Islamic law who made it clear that the conversation was not going to end until I acknowledged that Abū Ḥanīfa (d. 767), the school’s founder, was the greatest Hadith scholar in Islamic … Continue reading :: Muwaṭṭaʾ Roundtable :: Mālik, the Muwaṭṭa’, and Sunni Identity