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The Islamic School of Law

The Islamic School of Law

Evolution, Devolution, and Progress

Edited by Peri Bearman, Rudolph Peters, and Frank E. Vogel

ISBN 9780674017849

Publication date: 02/25/2006

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.

    —Robert Dickson Crane, Muslim World Book Review


  • Peri Bearman is an independent scholar.
  • Rudolph Peters is Professor in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam.
  • Frank E. Vogel is an independent scholar of Islamic law.

Book Details

  • 320 pages
  • 1 inches
  • Islamic Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School