NMC103 - Islamic Law and Society

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Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
Maria Subtelny

05/02/13 Islamic Law and Society Nature and Sources of Islamic Law • Muhammad depicted as law giver • Hammurabi • Canonical law of Islam called Shari’a o authoritative and fairly comprehensive (regarded so); o but also flexible • Main Sources: o Qur’an – injunctions, general principles o Traditions of Prophet (hadith)  Also, practice1 of prophet (sunnah) - Isnad – chain of transmission --Canonical collections by Muslim, Bukhari (9 c), etc., + Shi’ite collections (of hadith) i.e. sayings of Ali and other imam  Hadith from al-Nawawi’s collection (13 c.) – Abu Haraira relates Holy Prophet said “The most humiliating title in the estimation of2Allah is for a person to be called King of Kings” Schools of Islamic Law • 4 main Sunni “schools” of legal interpretation: o school of thought, more so than physical institution  Hanafite—most widespread, C and W Asia, N India  Shafi’ite—Egypt, E Africa SE Asia  Malikite—N Africa  Hanbalite—Near East • also Shi’ite school of legal interpretation o imams are divinely inspired and infallible—undisputed source of law Jurists (fuqaha’) and their methods • Trained at madrasas • Employed various methods: reasoned opinion (ra’y), analogy (qiyas), consensus (ijma’) o Consensus of legal scholars • Deliberation by jurists – ijtihad • Differences (legal opinion) – ikhtilaf o frequent, just as present-day lawyers • fatwa—non-binding legal opinion of a jurist in response to particular problem/specific question 1previously mentioned term 2Head to http://searchtruth.com Page 1 of 2 05/02/13 o non-binding** - not necessary to be followed, or even p
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