Save

Levity Makes the Law: Islamic Legal Riddles

In: Islamic Law and Society
Author:
Matthew L. Keegan Barnard College of Columbia University

Search for other papers by Matthew L. Keegan in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution

Purchase

Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):

$34.95

Abstract

This article traces the emergence of compilations of a particular kind of legal riddle in the 8th/14th century, with special reference to the compilation of Ibn Farḥūn (d. 799/1397). Ibn Farḥūn’s riddles could be solved only by someone with detailed knowledge of Islamic positive law (furūʿ), and he argues that they are both an appropriate form of restful entertainment and a kind of competitive pedagogy. At the same time, Ibn Farḥūn derived novel legal opinions on the basis of his riddles, which demonstrates that jurists used hypothetical, imaginative situations to derive new rulings. The article also traces the origins of furūʿ-based legal riddles in the more diffuse tradition of Islamic riddling and in the adab tradition of riddling.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1002 91 11
Full Text Views 116 30 3
PDF Views & Downloads 196 54 6