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Rule-Formulation and Binding Precedent in the Madhhab-Law Tradition

In Rule-Formulation and Binding Precedent in the Madhhab-Law Tradition, Talal Al-Azem argues for the existence of a madhhab-law tradition’ of jurisprudence underpinning the four post-classical Sunni schools of law.

This tradition celebrated polyvalence by preserving the multiplicity of conflicting opinions within each school, while simultaneously providing a process of rule formulation (tarjīḥ) by which one opinion is chosen as the binding precedent (taqlīd). The predominant forum of both activities, he shows, was the legal commentary.

Through a careful reading of Ibn Quṭlūbughā’s (d. 879/1474) al-Taṣḥīḥ wa-al-tarjīḥ, Al-Azem presents a new periodisation of the Ḥanafī madhhab, analyses the theory of rule formulation, and demonstrates how this madhhab-law tradition facilitated both continuity and legal change while serving as the basis of a pluralistic Mamluk judicial system.

About the Author:

Talal Al-Azem, DPhil (2011), University of Oxford, is the Mohammed Noah Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. His research focuses on traditions of law and learning in the medieval and early modern Muslim world.

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Authors
A The compendium author: Qudūrī
B The commentator: Ibn Quṭlūbughā

Chapter 2 History
A Ibn Quṭlūbughā’s sources
B Periodisation
Period 1: Foundational ‘Ḥanafī’ opinions (ca. 150–200)
Period 2: Formative transmission (ca. 200–300)
Period 3: Classical consolidation (ca. 300–400)
Period 4: Tarjīḥ (ca. 400–650)
Period 5: Taṣḥīḥ (ca. 650–870)
Who are the ‘latter-day jurists’ (al-muta’akhkhirūn)?
C Historical geographical patterns
D Periodisation and the typologies of jurists (ṭabaqāt al-fuqahā’)

Chapter 3 Theory
A Ibn Quṭlūbughā’s introduction to al-Taṣḥīḥ wa-al-tarjīḥ

B Analysis of the topics

1 Definitions

2 The procedures of rule-determinacy
3 Judicial discretion
C Arguments for binding precedent
1 The ethico-religious argument
2 The argument from legal-system consistency
3 The argument from legal-system coherence
4 The argument from strengthened decision-making
5 The argument from predictability
6 The argument from historical determinism
D Historical developments
1 Target audiences: muftis and muftis
2 Rule-determination (tarjīḥ) vs. rule-review (taṣḥīḥ)
3 From monist to pluralistic legal systems
4 Madhhab-law: tradition, system, concurrent jurisdictions
E The (lack of) definition of ẓāhir al-riwāya

Chapter 4 Practice
A Ibn Quṭlūbughā’s practice of rule-review
B The functional relationships of commentary
To resolve a juristic dispute
To clarify a point of ambiguity
To identify the opinion or the transmission used in the rule formulation
To further expand upon the passage
To identify an editorial problem in the passage itself
C Employed legal rhetorical reasoning

1 Arguments of juristic evidence (dalīl)
2 Arguments of transmission (riwāya)

Arguments of language and logic
4 Arguments from revelation and the early Muslim community
5 Arguments from scholarship
6 Justifications from juristic considerations
7 Justifications from context
8 Justifications from exigencies of change and necessity
9 Justifications of lifting difficulty and facilitating ease
10 Justifications of preceding juristic authority
D Operative principles of rule-determination
E The degree of congruence between theory and practice
A The Writings of Qudūrī
B Jurists cited by Ibn Quṭlūbughā
C Works cited by Ibn Quṭlubughā
Works Cited

Bibliographic Information

Title: Rule-Formulation and Binding Precedent in the Madhhab-Law Tradition: Ibn Quṭlūbughā’s Commentary on The Compendium of Qudūrī

Aothor: Talal Al-Azem

Publisher: Brill Academic Pub

Language: English

Length: 258 pages

ISBN: 9789004322837

Pub. Date: November 2016

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One comment

  1. this is a useful Book, thanks for sharing

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