Legal Maxims as a Genre of Islamic Law


Origins, Development and Significance of Al-Qawāʿid al-Fiqhiyya

in Islamic Law and Society
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Al-qawāʿid al-fiqhiyya are legal maxims or principles that are usually expressed in the form of terse adages, such as: al-umūr bi-maqāṣidihā (acts are [judged according] to the objectives behind them); and al-mashaqqa tajlub al-taysīr (hardship brings about facilitation). Most of al-qawāʿid (sg. al-qāʿida) are specific to individual schools of law, although some of them are acknowledged by all schools. The most accepted definition of al-qāʿida al-fiqhiyya is: “A predominantly valid legal determination (ḥukm aktharī) that applies to most of its particular cases (juzʾiyyāt) so that their legal determinations will be known from it”. Another designation of the genre is al-ashbāh wa’l-naẓāʾir (similitudes), referring to the similarities between cases included under the rubric of each qāʿida. The schools of law (madhāhib,sg. madhhab) are agreed on two types of qawāʿid fiqhiyya: general qawāʿid that apply to all or most fields of the law, which are therefore known as kulliyya (universal), and specific (khāṣṣa) qawāʿid that apply to one or more, rather than all, fields of fiqh; the latter are also known as ḍawābiṭ (sg. ḍābiṭ, regulators).


Legal Maxims as a Genre of Islamic Law


Origins, Development and Significance of Al-Qawāʿid al-Fiqhiyya

in Islamic Law and Society

Sections

References

5

Al-ZamakhsharīAsās al-Balāgha (Beirut: Dār Ṣādir1979) 515–16.

11

Ibn Qudāma al-MaqdisīRawḍat al-Nāẓir wa Junnat al-Munāẓir (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyya1981) 4.

27

ʿAlāʾīal-Majmūʿ1:11–2; ibn al-Subkī Ashbāh 1:7; Bāḥusayn Qawāʿid 336; Nadwī Qawāʿid 215 218.

38

Ibn al-SubkīAshbāh1:11.

39

Ibn al-SubkīAshbāh2:202 206.

41

SuyūṭīAshbāh1:61 239–351.

47

Ibn Nujaym Ashbāh 13–359. The book is 522 pages in length.

48

Ibn al-SubkīAshbāh2:306–11.

55

Heinrichs “Structuring the Law1:333.

56

SuyūṭīAshbāh2:545 546.

59

ʿAlāʾīal-Majmūʿ1:37; Ibn Nujaym Ashbāh 14; Ibn al-Subkī Ashbāh 1:54; Suyūṭī Ashbāh 1:65.

66

ʿAlāʾī al-Majmūʿ2:491; al-Bāḥusayn Qawāʿid 197.

68

Muḥammad al-RugīNaẓariyat al-Taqʿīd al-Fiqhī wa-Atharuhā fī Ikhtilāf al-Fuqahāʾ (Rabat: Kulliyat al-Ādāb wa’l-ʿUlūm al-Insāniyya1994) 49–51; Sadlān Qawāʿid 17–9.

70

Nadwī Qawāʿid103; Bāḥusayn Qawāʿid 222 225.

72

Al-Shāfiʿīal-Umm1:152; cf. ʿAlāʾī al-Majmūʿ 1:444; Ibn Nujaym Ashbāh 178; Suyūṭī Ashbāh 1:319.

75

Bāḥusayn Qawāʿid237–69.

77

ʿAlāʾī al-Majmūʿ1:34–5; Suyūṭī Ashbāh 1:61–2; Ibn Nujaym Ashbāh 10–11. Ibn Nujaym mentions Abū Saʿd as one of the protagonists of the story rather than the narrator; this cannot be true as Abū Saʿd lived in the 5th/11th century (see Musa A Critical 96 n. 146) while Abū Ṭāhir lived in the 4th/10th century. It is stated in his biography that he was a contemporary of al-Karkhī. See Ibn Abī al-Wafā al-Jawāhir al-Muḍiyya fī Ṭabaqāt al-Ḥanafiyya (al-Hind: Majlis Dāʾirat al-Maʿārif al-Niẓāmiyya n. d.) 2:116–17.

78

Baḥusayn Qawāʿid321–2; Heinrichs “Qawāʿid as a Genre” 371. Heinrichs thinks that the story might have been used by later Ḥanafīs to claim that the Ḥanafīs started the genre while the Shāfiʿīs who later became outstanding in this field stole it from them. Heinrichs does not seem to be aware of the fact that the story was mentioned by al-ʿAlāʾī in the 8th/14th century which was the period of the resurgence of the genre. At that time it would have been hard to know that the Shāfiʿī scholars were the most active in this area as this role of theirs had just started as we shall see.

80

Nadwī Qawāʿid189; Heinrichs “Qawāʿid as a Genre” 377.

81

Ibid.378. According to Bāḥusayn the book which was edited by an al-Azhar University student is very similar to Dabbūsī’s text. Bāḥusayn Qawāʿid 329.

82

Al-Ghazālīal-Mustaṣfā12.

96

Bāḥusayn Qawāʿid330–5.

98

Bāḥusayn Qawāʿid335–46; Nadwī Qawāʿid 192–202 214–33 251–9.

99

Ibid. 216; Bāḥusayn Qawāʿid336–7.

102

ʿAlāʾī al-Majmūʿ1:14.

107

Suyūṭī Ashbāh1:281; Ibn Nujaym Ashbāh 142.

114

Cf. ʿAlāʾīal-Majmūʿ1:141–59; Ibn al-Subkī Ashbāh 1:50–4; Ibn Nujaym Ashbāh 101–14.

116

Bāḥusayn Qawāʿid347–52; Heinrichs “Qawāʿid as a Genre” 377–82. Heinrichs HHH lists the Ḥanbalī Ibn al-Laḥḥam’s (d. 803/1401) al-Qawāʿid wa‘l-Fawāʾid al-Uṣūliyya wa mā Yataʿllaqu bihā min al-Aḥkām al-Farʿiyyaed. M. Shāhīn (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyya 2001); it is not listed by other researchers perhaps for two reasons: first it does not discuss any qawāʿid fiqhiyya; as its title suggests it is a work of qawāʿid uṣūliyya. Second it mentions opinions and discussions of prominent uṣūlists from all schools rather than focusing on the Ḥanbalī school.

117

Bāḥusayn Qawāʿid347.

118

Bāḥusayn Qawāʿid352–9.

120

Bāḥusayn Qawāʿid237–69.

121

Hallaq“Was the Gate of Ijtihād Closed?” International Journal of Middle East Studies16 (1984) 3–4 20–21 24–6; idem “On the Origins of the Controversy about the Existence of Mujtahids and the Gate of Ijtihād” Studia Islamica 63 (1986) esp. 133f. Both articles are reprinted in: Hallaq Law and Legal Theory in Classical and Medieval Islam (U.S.A.; G.B. Variorum 1995); M. Khuḍarī Tārīkh al-Tashrīʿ al-Islāmī (Egypt: al-Maktaba al-Tijāriyya al-Kubrā 1970) 266; M. F. al-Nabhān al-Madkhal li’l-Tashrīʿ al-Islāmī (Beirut: Dār al-Qalam 1977) 342 350; M. M. Shalabī al-Madkhal fī al-Taʿrīf bi’l-Fiqh al-Islāmī (Egypt: Maṭbaʿat Dār al-Taʾlīf 1966) 131; Zarqā al-Madkhal 1:203–11; ʿA. Zaydān al-Madkhal li-Dirāsat al-Sharīʿa al-Islāmiyya (Baghdad: al-Maṭbaʿa al-ʿArabiyya 1964) 150. Cf. Coulson A History of Islamic Law (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 1964) 81; Schacht Introduction to Islamic Law (Oxford University Press 1982) 70ff.

122

G. MakdisiThe Rise of Colleges (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press1981) 121–2; idem “The Juridical” 24; Nabhān Madkhal223–4; Shalabī Madkhal132f 144; Weiss The Spirit of Islamic Law (Athens Georgia: University of Georgia Press 1998) 15.

126

Makdisi“The Juridical” 26; al-Bāḥusayn al-Takhrīj ʿind al-Fuqahāʾ wa’l-Uṣūliyyīn (Riyadh: Maktabat al-Rushd 1993) 25; M. Hītū al-Wajīz fī Uṣūl al-Tashrīʿ al-Islāmī (Beirut: Risāla Publishers 2006) 13ff; Ibn Khaldūn Muqqadimat Ibn Khaldūn (Beirut: al-Maktaba al-ʿAṣriyya 2001) 426; Khuḍarī Tārīkh 241; Nabhān Madkhal 335.

127

BāḥusaynTakhrīj24–8; M. al-Sāyis Tārīkh al-Fiqh al-Islāmī (Damascus: Dār al-Fikr 1999) 205–6.

128

BāḥusaynTakhrīj24–8; M. al-Sāyis Tārīkh al-Fiqh al-Islāmī (Damascus: Dār al-Fikr 1999) 205–6; Bāḥusayn Takhrīj53; Khuḍarī Tārīkh 241 243ff; Makdisi Rise 108–11; idem “The Juridical” 20; Shalabī Madkhal 132; Weiss Studies 300–1; Zarqā Madkhal 1:209.

131

ZarqāMadkhal1:209; Shalabī Madkhal 134–6.

132

ZarqāMadkhal1:209; Shalabī Madkhal 146; Nadwī Qawāʿid 133–4; cf. Heinrichs “Structuring the Law” 333.

135

Ibn KhaldūnMuqaddima419; A. Shalabī Mawsūʿat al-Tārīkh al-Islāmī wa’l-Ḥaḍāra al-Islāmiyya (Cairo: Maktabat al-Nahḍa al-Miṣriyya 1977) 5:115ff.

137

HasanTārīkh al-Islām (Beirut: Dār al-Jīl2001) 4:101ff 109 151f 185f 403f; Ibn Khaldūn Muqaddima 405 420; ʿA. Jamāl al-Dīn Tārīkh Miṣr min Bidāyāt al-Qarn al-Awwal al-Mīlādī Ḥattā Nihāyat al-Qarn al-ʿIshrīn (Cairo: Maktabat Madbūlī2006) 3:650–1 (first section); A. Muḥammad Maẓāhir al-Ḥaḍāra fī Miṣr al-ʿUlyā fī ʿAṣr Salāṭīn al-Dawlatayn al-Ayyūbiyya wa’l-Mamlūkiyya (Egypt: Dār al-Hidāya 1987) 247–9; Shalabī Mawsūʿat5:163–93 esp. 168f 172 192.

138

Ibn KhaldūnMuqaddima405; Muḥammad Maẓāhir al-Ḥaḍāra fī Miṣr247–9; Shalabī Mawsūʿat5:242–5; M. Ṭalas Tārīkh al-ʿArab (Beirut: Dār al-Andalus li’l-Ṭibāʿa wa’l-Nashr wa’l-Tawzīʿ n. d.) 2:174 (seventh section).

139

Ibn KhaldūnMuqaddima403–5; Ibn Taghrī Birdī Ḥawādith al-Duhūr fī Madā al-Ayyām wa’l-Shuhūr ed. M. K. ʿIzz al-Dīn (ʿĀlam al-Kutub n. p. n. d.) ed. Introduction 10–12; Jamāl al-Dīn Tārīkh Miṣr 3:650–1 (first section); Suyūṭī Ḥusn al-Muḥāḍara fī Akhbār Miṣr wa’l-Qāhira (al-Maṭbaʿah al-Sharafiyyah n. p. 1909) 2:65–6.

149

Zarkashīal-Manthūr1:69 71.

150

Zarkashīal-Manthūr1:66.

152

Ibn NujaymAshbāh10.

157

SuyūṭīAshbāh1:393; Ibn Nujaym Ashbāh 360.

161

Baṣrīal-Muʿtamad2:359.

Figures

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    Fatwā compilations from the four schools in the 5/11th and 6/12th centuries.
  • View in gallery
    Uṣūl al-fiqh compilations from the four schools in the 5/11th and 6/12th centuries.

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