Law and Legal Theory in Classical and Medieval Islam: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Law and Legal Theory in Classical and Medieval Islam

1st Edition

By Wael B. Hallaq


344 pages

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Hardback: 9780860784562
pub: 1995-02-16

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These studies by Wael Hallaq represent an important contribution to our understanding of the neglected field of medieval Islamic law and legal thought. Spanning the period from the 8th to the 16th centuries, they draw upon a wide range of original sources to offer both fresh interpretations of those sources and a careful evaluation of contemporary scholarship. The first articles expound the interrelated issues of legal reasoning, legal logic and the epistemology of the law. There follows a set of primarily historical studies, which question a series of widely held assumptions, while the last items explore issues of legal theory and methodology. One particular topic concerns the role of Shafi'i as the ’master architect’ of Islamic legal theory, and Professor Hallaq would finally argue that this image is in fact false and a creation of later centuries.


'…specialists as well as students new to the field of Islamic law will find it valuable.' Bulletin of the Middle East Studies Association, No. 30

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; The logic of legal reasoning in religious and non-religious cultures: the case of Islamic law and the common law; Non-analogical arguments in Sunni juridical qiyas; Logic, formal arguments and formalization of arguments in Sunni jurisprudence; On inductive corroboration, probability and certainty in Sunni legal thought; Was the Gate of Ijtihad closed?; On the origins of the controversy about the existence of Mujtahids and the Gate of Ijtihad; Was al-Shafi’i the master architect of Islamic jurisprudence?; On the authoritativeness of Sunni consensus; The use and abuse of evidence: the question of provincial and Roman influences on early Islamic law; Notes on the term Qarîna in Islamic legal discourse; The primacy of the Qur’an in Shatibi’s legal theory; Usul al-Fiqh: beyond tradition; Index of Arabic terms; General index.

About the Author

Wael B. Hallaq is Professor of Islamic Law in the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University, Canada

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General