Hard Natural Law

Anver M. Emon

in Islamic Natural Law Theories

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579006
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722639 | DOI:
 Hard Natural Law

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This chapter introduces the reader to three different approaches to a particular type of Islamic natural law theory, herein called Hard Natural Law. It reviews the writings of three premodern Sunni Muslim jurists, all of whom are concerned with whether empirical evaluations of the good and the bad can lead to Shari'a norms, whose authority participates in or draws upon the authority of the Divine Will. Their theoretical approaches show how nature provides the foundation for the authority of reason as a source of Shari'a. The three Hard Natural Law jurists fuse fact and value in nature, and situate their use of reason within a natural teleology directed to the telos of human fulfillment in both this world and the hereafter. Their version of natural law is called ‘hard’ because their conception of nature as a bounty to humanity is fixed and not vulnerable to a divine ‘change of mind’.

Keywords: teleology; justice; natural law; hard natural law; reason; authority; al-Jassas; Qadi 'Abd al-Jabbar; Abu al-Husayn al-Basri

Chapter.  19740 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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