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In: Visions of Sharīʿa
In: Islam at 250
Author: Robert Gleave

In this essay, I examine one area of substantive law (furū' al-flqh) which figured prominently in the Akhbārī-Uṣūlī dispute in Shī̒̒'ī legal history: the legality of the marriage of one man to two women descended from the daughter of the Prophet, Fāṭima. Through an analysis of two risālas on this issue, one by an Akhbārī and the other by an Uṣūlī, I aim to demonstrate that the relationship between Uṣūl alfiqh and substantive law in the Akhbārī school differed from that in the Uṣūlī school, and that this difference was not due to their two different legal theories alone, but stems from two divergent conceptions of the function of legal theory and its role in the derivation of legal rulings.

In: Islamic Law and Society
In: Islamic Legal Thought
Author: Robert Gleave


In Imāmī legal theory, the akhbār of the Imams form one of the material sources of law, alongside the Qur'ān and Prophetic hadīths. The akhbār are presented in compendia, assembled by Shi'ite collectors in the fourth and fifth century AH/tenth and eleventh century CE, four of which subsequently came to be regarded as "canonical" in Imāmī law. In this essay, I examine the processes at work in the collation of these "canonical" akhbār collections. These processes, I argue, were influenced by an emerging juristic tradition in Imāmī Shi'ism. As Imāmī thinkers became increasingly concerned with fiqh and the elucidation of the Sharī'a, the collectors developed new techniques of selection, presentation and organisation. The akhbār collections became a material source upon which jurists could draw in their fiqh discussions, rather than the law itself. As an example of the processes at work in the collection and presentation of akhbār, I examine the issue of tayammum, ritual purification by sand rather than water.

In: Islamic Law and Society
The History and Doctrines of the Akhbārī Shīʿī School
Author: Robert Gleave
The Akhbārī School dominated the intellectual landscape of Imāmī Shiʿism between the Seventeenth and early Nineteenth Centuries. Its principal doctrines involved a reliance on scripture (primarily the sayings or akhbār of the Shiʿite Imams) and a rejection of the rational exegetical techniques which had become orthodox doctrine in Imāmī theology and law. However, the Akhbārīs were not simple literalists, as they are at times portrayed in secondary literature. They developed a complex theory of exegesis in which texts could be interpreted, whilst at the same time remaining doggedly committed to the ability of the revelatory texts to provide answers to theological and legal questions arising within the Shīʿī community. This book is the first in-depth study of the intellectual development and historical influence of the Akhbārī School.
In: Accusations of Unbelief in Islam
In: Locating the Sharīʿa
In: Islamic Law in Theory