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Melchert, Christopher

Melchert, Christopher

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Christopher Melchert

Some early commentators interpreted Kor 53, 5-11 as referring to the Prophet’s seeing God. Some versions of the story of the Prophet’s Ascension, thought to be alluded to at Kor 17, 1, include his seeing God. Other hadith reports assert that he saw God with reference to Kor 38, 69, 17, 36, and 6, 75. Controversy seems to have begun in the second/eighth century. Disagreement revolved around three main points: whether the Prophet saw God at all; if so, the manner of his seeing, whether by his eye or otherwise; and, if so, the appearance of God as a young man or as light. Affirmation that the Prophet saw God is especially associated with Basra and, from the later third/ninth century, the Ḥanbali school of law and theology, whereas denial is especially associated with Kufa. But there was disagreement even with regions and schools.

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Christopher Melchert

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Christopher Melchert

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Christopher Melchert

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Christopher Melchert

The Sunni schools of law are named for jurisprudents of the eighth and ninth centuries, but they did not actually function so early. The main division at that time was rather between adherents of ra'y and ḥadīth. No school had a regular means of forming students.
Relying mainly on biographical dictionaries, this study traces the constitutive elements of the classical schools and finds that they first came together in the early tenth century, particularly with the work of Ibn Surayj (d. 306/918), al-Khallāl (d. 311/923), and a series of ḥanafī teachers ending with al-Karkhī (d. 340/952). Mālikism prospered in the West for political reasons, while the ẓāhirī and Jarīrī schools faded out due to their refusal to adopt the common new teaching methods.
In this book the author fleshes out these historical developments in a manner that will be extremely useful to the field, while at the same time developing some new and highly original perspectives.
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Christopher Melchert

Abstract

The Hanafī and Mālikī personal schools of law are said to have derived from the earlier Kufan and Medinese regional schools. The regional stage of developing Mālikī jurisprudence is plain in works such as the Mudawwana, but early Hanafī works are already focused on Abū Hanīfa and his disciples, so that a regional stage is hard to make out. The biographical dictionaries of Khalīfa ibn Khayyāt and Ibn Sa'd show that there were active traditionists in Kufa equally with the Hijaz. Moreover, the Tabaqāt of Ibn Sa'd shows that he considered the Hanafī school Baghdadi, not Kufan.Kitāb al-Ma'rifa wa-al-tārīkh of Fasawī shows that the Kufan background to Hanafī jurisprudence, together more generally with the identification of Kufa with ra'y and Medina with hadīth, emerged only later in the ninth century.

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Christopher Melchert