Customary Practices as Exigencies in Islamic Law

Between a Source of Law and a Legal Maxim

In: Oriens

Abstract

I offer a corrective to Libson’s view that customs made their way into Islamic law in the formative period only through the ḥadīth and ijmāʿ genres. I argue that custom was incorporated into the law through the legal methodologies of Abū Ḥanīfa and Mālik. Due to the success of al-Shāfiʿī’s thesis, later jurists justified custom on grounds of necessity and exigency of the times rather than elevating it to the level of the four-source theory of Islamic law. Essential to this process of valorization of custom was a legal maxim developed by al-Juwaynī in the classical period.

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