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Disagreements of the Jurists

Disagreements of the Jurists: A Manual of Islamic Legal Theory

Al-Qāḍī al-Nuʿmān
Edited and translated by Devin J. Stewart
Volume editor Joseph E. Lowry
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: NYU Press,
Pages: 496
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  • Book Info
    Disagreements of the Jurists
    Book Description:

    Al-Qadi al-Nuʿman was the chief legal theorist and ideologue of the North African Fatimid dynasty in the tenth century. This translation makes available in English for the first time his major work on Islamic legal theory, which presents a legal model in support of the Fatimids' principle of legitimate rule over the Islamic community. Composed as part of a grand project to establish the theoretical bases of the official Fatimid legal school,Disagreements of the Juristsexpounds a distinctly Shiʿi system of hermeneutics, which refutes the methods of legal interpretation adopted by Sunni jurists.

    The work begins with a discussion of the historical causes of jurisprudential divergence in the first Islamic centuries, and goes on to address, point by point, the specific interpretive methods of Sunni legal theory, arguing that they are both illegitimate and ineffective. While its immediate mission is to pave the foundation of the legal Ismaʿili tradition, the text also preserves several Islamic legal theoretical works no longer extant-including Ibn Dawud's manual,al-Wusul ila maʿrifat al-usul-and thus throws light on a critical stage in the historical development of Islamic legal theory (usul al-fiqh) that would otherwise be lost to history.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-6392-6
    Subjects: Religion, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Letter from the General Editor
    (pp. iii-vi)
    Philip F. Kennedy
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xxviii)

    Al-Qāḍī Abū Ḥanīfah al-Nuʿmān ibn Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Ḥayyūn al-Tamīmī was a prominent judge, jurist, and author of the Fatimid Empire (296– 567/909–1171), in many ways the young Fatimid state’s chief ideologue for nearly half a century. He, more than any other scholar, founded Ismaʿili law as a discipline, in addition to writing extensively on history, theology, law, legal theory, Prophetic reports, and commentary on the Qurʾan. His legal writings remained the main references in this field throughout the Fatimid period and after; they are still widely recognized as authoritative by both the Bohra and Nizari Ismaʿili communities.¹...

  6. A Note on the Text
    (pp. xxix-xxxiv)
  7. Notes to the Introduction
    (pp. xxxv-xxxviii)
  8. The Disagreements of the Jurists

    • The Provenance of this Book
      (pp. 2-3)

      I praise God for the gifts He has showered upon us, as a worshiper who is grateful for His grace and pleads for more of His bounty. God bless Muḥammad, the Seal of His prophets, who will intercede for his nation on the day of the Meeting with God, and may He bless ʿAlī, his trustee, and the Imams among his descendants, God’s Chosen Ones.

      The Chief Justice ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Nuʿmān¹ said: I transmit this book,The Islamic Legal Schools’ Conflicting Principles of Interpretation, and Refutation of Those Who Contradict the True Doctrine Therein,from my father,...

    • Prologue
      (pp. 4-7)

      Praise be to God, Who revealed the Book to his servant, Mu.ammad, the bearer of glad tidings and warner, and rendered it as He describes it in His Scripture: «a cure for what is in the breasts of mankind, guidance, and mercy for the faithful,»⁶ and «an explanation of all things, guidance, mercy, and glad tidings for the Muslims.»⁷ God bless Mu.ammad, the Seal of the Prophets and Foremost of the Messengers, and the Imams among his pure and virtuous progeny.

      Now, to the heart of the matter: I noticed that all those who pray toward Mecca,⁸ after agreeing on...

    • Chapter One دؤعاه الاختلاف
      (pp. 8-17)

      In this book, I have chosen to follow the path of concision, omitting the chains of authority from oral reports as well as repetition, so that readers and examiners of this work might find it easy to follow, and citing only such oral reports as are well known, widely accepted, and transmitted reliably. To this category belong the following: the reliably transmitted report from ‘Ali, God’s blessings upon him, that he said, upon witnessing the people’s disagreement after the passing of the Messenger of God: “Were the mat for dispensing justice folded for me, and were I to sit before...

    • Chapter Two ءجملا مل محطمين في أحكام
      (pp. 18-21)

      Those Sunnis³¹ who are acclaimed as knowledgeable about the law agree unanimously that when legal rulings, the knowledge of permitted and forbidden matters, are apparent in the text of the Qur’an, they must be ruled on and adopted in practice accordingly, and that those matters that they allege are not found in the Qur’an should be sought from the Practices of the Messenger. If something is found in the Practices, then it should be adopted, and no other ruling besides should be sought. Many of them said, “We seek legal rulings that are found neither in the Book of God...

    • Chapter Three بما اخطفوا به إهم وإهوإثهم ءاب عئتحلفنيفي أءمالل.ينىلإن
      (pp. 22-31)

      The invalidity of their claim—that some of what God made lawful and unlawful, the judgments and rulings of His faith, are not to be found in the Book of God or the Practice of His Messenger and that they can derive lawful or unlawful matters, judgments, and rulings that are not found in the Book of God or in the Practice of His Messenger on their own, so that lawful matters are what they declare lawful, and unlawful matters are what they declare forbidden, and judgments and rulings are what they rule and judge—is so clear according to...

    • Chapter Four ء مذهب آءهسمزاااألآا بى ر يب مجه ا-لق يه
      (pp. 32-47)

      The firmest evidence on which I rely in this chapter and the soundest argument I cite for the point I have undertaken to prove in this book, after the Book of God and the Practice of His Prophet Muhammad, is what the Imam al-Mu‘izz li-Din Allah, the Commander of the Faithful, God’s blessings upon him and his pure forefathers, the upright guides, entrusted to me in a letter of appointment which he wrote to confer upon me the office of judge. I have seen fit to record the text of this document in this book because it provides proof of...

    • Chapter Five ذك، أممحاب امحيد و،السذ ءنم في امحالم إ؛م
      (pp. 48-71)

      In the preceding chapters of this book, we have already cited the word of God in the Qur’an conveying His command to follow His Book and the Practice of His Messenger, and to refer to the Ones in Authority and to consult the People of Knowledge. If we were to repeat the quotations of the Qur’an in this and the following chapters whenever there is need to cite such evidence as an argument, the book would grow too long, so let what has been mentioned above concerning this point suffice as effective proof and delivery of the message for readers...

    • Chapter Six ء ابيان عزا نرق مايتي التله .ال.ذالا.ل,الاس
      (pp. 72-89)

      In the preceding chapter, we presented the opinion of the proponents of arbitrary submission to authority and our refutation of them, citing the Book of God and the reported sayings of the Messenger of God, as well as statements denouncing and rejecting that position and supporting the opposite view by those of their forebears to whose authority the proponents of submission to authority defer. The discussion presented there, citing God in His Book and Mu.ammad, His Messenger, spares us the need to present further proofs showing that whoever declares something licit or forbidden by his own consideration and of his...

    • Chapter Seven ذك، محاب الإجاع ءإا،ذيهم في امحالم اأما
      (pp. 90-179)

      We have presented above the opinion of the Sunnis concerning what to do when, so they claim, they cannot find an explicit text from the Book of God or from the Practice of His Messenger Mu.ammad, as well as the doctrine that each group among them espoused concerning such allegedly unaddressed issues, including the opinion of those Sunnis who profess consensus and hold that it is, in their opinion, an incontrovertible argument to which they must resort and from which they must not deviate. In what I wrote above I stipulated that I would present the views of each group...

    • Chapter Eight ء قول اتحاؤن إممر وإرذ ض
      (pp. 180-211)

      Self-proclaimed Muslims who use speculative reasoning and profess the authority of reason²⁷⁶ assert that those to whom the Messenger was sent must accept from him all revelation that he conveyed on behalf of God—what God commanded and forbade, and what He declared lawful and unlawful—and must not object to the Messenger and must submit to him in that regard. They admit that they do not have the right to object to the Messenger’s pronouncements on the grounds of speculation or opinion, or to subject them to rational tests in order to accept whatever passes such tests and reject...

    • Chapter Nine م رل ضاب القياس دذ علهم
      (pp. 212-267)

      In the preceding chapters of this book we have adequately conveyed, sufficiently explained, and given clear proof of what God commanded in His Book and through the speech of His Messenger: that one must follow what He revealed in His Book, accept instruction from His Messenger, and not go against those to profess other opinions. We have demonstrated the invalidity of the opinion of those who claim that God did not set forth in His Book or in the speech of His Messenger the religious obligations He imposed upon His creatures. We also demonstrated how heinous it is to claim...

    • Chapter Ten بؤقول امحمن؛١٨ محان وإرذ علهم
      (pp. 268-283)

      At the beginning of this book we asserted the following: The terms that those who interpret the religion of God on the basis of their opinion and whim, without a proof text from Scripture or Prophetic Practice, have adopted for themselves or that were applied by others to them—the adherents of personal judgment, or the adherents of analogy, preference, legal interpretation, speculation, inference, or other terms adopted as labels by those who espoused these methods and used these terms to refer to what they had adopted—all revert ultimately to a single definition: to make statements about the religion,...

    • Chapter Eleven درقول التاثلئ الاستدلال إرذ عههم
      (pp. 284-299)

      The proponents of the principle of inference stated: “The Book of God is itself the ultimate evidence and guide, and every authoritative proof derives from it.

      The Practice of the Prophet is an authoritative proof only because the Qur’an commands obedience to the the Prophet, the one who established it, and the Qur’an is the source of every authoritative proof.”

      They said: “What is stated explicitly in the Qur’an and set forth unambiguously by name and description removes all doubt from its audience, as is the case with God’s word: «Obey God and obey the Messenger»; 390 «Carrion, blood, and...

    • Chapter Twelve ء زل امحاؤن اج؟طد محالأي إرذ لجم نجا ندي ونجه
      (pp. 300-351)

      Those who support engaging in legal interpretation have claimed that it is incumbent upon them to exercise their interpretive judgment in those cases and matters involving what is lawful and unlawful that they do not find in the Book of God or in the Practice of His Messenger. After this interpretive effort, they give a ruling, declaring the matter permitted or forbidden according to what appears correct to them. As authority for this practice, they adduce an oral report that they claim is related from the Prophet: “The Prophet sent Mu‘ādh to Yemen and asked him, ‘How will you rule...

    • خاتمة
      (pp. 352-356)

      In this book we have covered everything that we set out to show, even though we have presented it in condensed form. In it, God willing, is a sufficient presentation of the message for perceptive readers, and those who submit to the truth and admit what is correct. With regard to those who stubbornly insist on error and who, out of ignorance, are too arrogant to concede to the truth, in whom fanaticism has taken firm hold, and who are consumed by the thirst for power and partisan allegiance and find leaving their school and sect an abomination, who have...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 357-378)
  10. Glossary of Names and Terms
    (pp. 379-388)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 389-392)
  12. Further Reading
    (pp. 393-394)
  13. Index of Qur’an Passages
    (pp. 395-397)
  14. Index
    (pp. 398-405)
  15. About the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute
    (pp. 406-406)
  16. About the Typefaces
    (pp. 407-407)
  17. About the Editor–Translator
    (pp. 408-408)