This article analyzes the legal theory of al-Bukhārī as articulated in two books of his famous Sahīh and situates it within the broader framework of Sunni legal theory (usūl al-fiqh). I argue that his legal theory revolves around four themes: (1) The Qurān and the Prophet; (2) agreement and disagreement; (3) valid techniques of ijtihād; and (4) invalid techniques of ijtihād. I devote special attention to the tension between al-B ukhārī's negative attitude towards qiyās (analogical reasoning) and his acceptance of comparison (tashbīh) and indications (dalā'il). Finally, I compare some of his legal principles to those of the 5th/11th-century hadīth-scholars and jurists, al-Bayhaqī, Ibn Hazm, Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, and al-Khatīb al-Baghdādī, and argue that two types of classical Salafi Islam can be discerned in their writings on legal theory.
The Musannaf of Ibn Abī Shayba provides unparalleled access into the legal thought of the "Companions of hadīth" in 2nd/8th and early 3rd/9th century Iraq. This article consists of a quantitative analysis of 3628 narrations found in the Musannaf in the books on zakāt, divorce, and hadd crimes. It demonstrates that the Prophet Muhammad was an important authority in the Musannaf, but that he appears in only 8.7% of the narrations examined. Furthermore, it shows that the "Companions of hadīth" relied upon the legal opinions of many of the same Companions and Successors whom Joseph Schacht identified as the primary authorities for the "Companions of ra'y". It also identifies a division within the "Companions of hadīth" between those who, like Ibn Abī Shayba, categorically reject the opinions of post-Successor jurists, and others who accept them.
Demonstrating the central role of third/ninth century
ḥadīth scholars in the articulation of Sunnī Islam, this book bases its findings largely upon the analysis of multiple biographical dictionaries, such as al-Dhahabī’s
Tadhkirat al-ḥuffāẓ, Ibn Saʿd’s
Kitāb al-ṭabaqāt al-kabīr, and collections of the critical comments of Ibn Maʿīn and Ibn Ḥanbal.
Part I establishes conceptual and historical frameworks for the study of Sunnī
Part II examines in detail the three foundational principles of Sunnī Islam: 1) the collective probity of the
ṣaḥāba, 2) the discipline of
ḥadīth-transmitter criticism, and 3) a historical vision of the authoritative channels by which
ḥadīth traversed the two centuries between the life of the Prophet Muḥammad and the first major