The Origins of Islamic Jurisprudence: Meccan Fiqh before the Classical Schools

The Origins of Islamic Jurisprudence: Meccan Fiqh before the Classical Schools

The Origins of Islamic Jurisprudence: Meccan Fiqh before the Classical Schools

The Origins of Islamic Jurisprudence: Meccan Fiqh before the Classical Schools

Synopsis

The current view among Western scholars of Islam concerning the early development of Islamic jurisprudence was shaped by Joseph Schacht's famous study on the subject published 50 years ago. Since then new sources became available which make a critical review of his theories possible and desirable. This volume uses one of these sources to reconstruct the development of jurisprudence at Mecca, virtually unknown until now, from the beginnings until the middle of the second Islamic century. New methods of analysis are developed and tested in order to date the material contained in the earliest compilations of legal traditions more properly. As a result the origins of Islamic jurisprudence can be dated much earlier than claimed by Schacht and his school.

Excerpt

Since the publication in 1991 of my Die Anfänge der islamischen Jurisprudenz. Ihre Entwicklung in Mekka bis zur Mitte des 2./8. Jahrhunderts several Englishspeaking colleagues have suggested that it be made available in English. The realization of the project, which had already begun in 1993, was not making good progress until it received a fresh stimulus in 1999 by a new demand for the translation from the Middle East.

The text has been thoroughly revised. The errors which I detected in the course of time or which were brought to my attention by colleagues and reviewers have been corrected. Recent literature has been added but only where appropriate. The references in the notes serve to support the argument; completeness of references was not aspired to. In some places I reacted to critical comments by reviewers and tried to remove misunderstandings.

I am grateful to Dr. Marion H. Katz (Mt. Holyoke College) for her accurate translation of the German text, to Fransje Zweekhorst, M. A., who compiled the index, and to Dr. Lawrence I. Conrad (Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine) who was the first to suggest translation of the book. I owe a great debt to Shaykh Nizàm Yaqùbì (Manàma) who made the publication of the book possible by supporting its translation and editing with a grant. I also wish to thank Professor Wadàd al-Qàdì (University of Chicago) who agreed to accept the book for publication in her series Islamic History and Civilization and offered valuable corrections and suggestions.

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