By N. Coulson
The vintage creation to Islamic legislation, tracing its improvement from its origins,through the medieval interval, to its position in smooth Islam.
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Extra info for A History of Islamic Law
His doctnne thus achieves a subtle synthesis of the apparently contradictory attitudes of "the Establishment" in the ea_rly schools and the opposition groups. Y vested with a superseding authority. Ash-Shafi'i's mststence upon this overriding role of the sunna of Mul)amm~d, and his outright rejection of any argu~ents whtch tended to jeopardise it, can best be seen in ~us approach to the question of apparent contradictions m the substance of the divine revelation. ~y ash-Shafi'i's time the fictitious ascription of dectswns to the Prophet had produced a considerable conflict between the terms of individual Traditions.
The point had been reached where the material sources of the divine will-their content now finally determined -had been fully exploited. An exaggerated respect for the personalities of former jurists induced the belief that the work of interpretation and expansion had been exhaustively accomplished by scholars of peerless ability whose efforts had fashioned the Shari' a into its final and perfect form. 'ect of tbe spread oft he ijmii'. As a natural sequel to the classical theory it represents the post facto rationalisation of an existing state of alt'airs reached with the culmination of the qul'st to <'X press the law in terms of the will of God.
Ljma' had thus set the final seal upon the process of increasing rigidity in the law. Muslim jurisprudence of the early tenth century formally recognised that its creative force was now spent and exhausted in the doctrine known as "the closing of the door ofijtihad". The right of ijtihadwas replaced by the duty of taqlid or "imitation". Henceforth every jurist was an "imitator" (muqallid), bound to accept and follow the doctrine established by his predecessors. Certain modern writersJ have suggested that this doctrine arose out of the peculiar circumstances of the Mongol invasions of the thirteenth certury, when the treasured heritage of the Shari' a was thus embalmed and interred to preserve it from the ravaging hordes of Gen- ghis Khan.
A History of Islamic Law by N. Coulson