Transcending the Madhhab-in Practice: the Case of the Sudanese Shaykh Muhammad Majdhub (1795/6-1831

in Islamic Law and Society
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Muhammad Majdhūb was one of many Muslims who in the nineteenth century argued against strict adherence to the established

madhhab

system and sought ways to overcome it. This case study, based on an examination of Majdhūb's writings and contemporary documents, analyses what this position meant in practice, how it was expressed, and what it signified in a given social context. The challenge to

madhhab

affiliation appears to have been more radical in theory than in practice. While dismissing

fiqh

rationality and basing himself on Prophetic Tradition and inspiration, Majdhūb's practical conclusions consistently - if implicitly - agree with the Shāfi ī school. In the context in which such views were propagated, however, we find interesting social and political factors that contributed to their attractiveness. Here, they served to transcend a politicised deadlock between proponents of different

madhhabs

while lending 'Prophetic' support to the local as opposed to the ruling Ottoman party.

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