The Islamic school of law, or madhhab, is a concept on which a substantial amount has been written but of which there is still little understanding, and even less consensus. This collection of selected papers from the III International Conference on Islamic Legal Studies, held in May 2000 at the Harvard Law School, offers building blocks toward the entire edifice of understanding the complex development of the madhhab, a development that even in the contemporary dissolution of madhhab lines and grouping continues to fascinate. As scholars look to the construction of a new Islamic legal history, these essays inform on the background to madhhab formation, on inter-madhhab polemics and the drive toward legal authority, on madhhab perpetuation and anti-madhhab tendencies, on the constitutional role of the madhhab, on the madhhab's legislative and adjudicative mechanisms, and on the significance of the madhhab in comparative terms. This volume is of value to anyone interested in the nature of Islamic law.
The bulk of this valuable book on the dynamic history of the interpretative communities known as madhāhib is by modern scholars who explore the origins and unique natures of the better known madhāhib, as well as their interrelationships and their relationship with political rulers.
Those who follow contemporary scholarship in Islamic history and law will immediately recognize the debates to which these articles are contributing--often in important ways. As a series of thought-provoking, if sometimes abstruse, articles on the subject of the madhhab, it is hard to fault this book. The essays speak to issues of great concern to contemporary Islamicists. They are substantive and meticulously edited. The index and bibliography are excellent. The authors have included a very helpful glossary that will be appreciated by non-Arabic speakers.
- 320 pages
- Islamic Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School
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