Muslim Jurisprudence

Robert Gleave

in The Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780195328998
Published online September 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Muslim Jurisprudence

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This article provides an introduction to Muslim jurisprudence. In searching for an Islamic legal philosophy, the most likely source is the genre of literature known as uṣūl al-fiqh (“the principles of jurisprudence”). Works of uṣūl al-fiqh have a reasonably predictable structure. Most begin with discussions of language and logic, giving way to discussions of the primary “sources” of the law, how the sources are to be established as authoritative and how they are to be interpreted, followed by a description of who it is who can interpret them. The influence of philosophical thought on Muslim jurisprudence was, in a sense, surreptitious. Outwardly the uṣūl al-fiqh condemned philosophical investigation. However, within the details of their legal theory, one finds ample evidence of the influence of philosophical categories. These may have entered the discourse of uṣūl al-fiqhthrough theological discussions or directly from philosophical works.

Keywords: Islamic philosophy; legal philosophy; Islamic law; uṣūl al-fiqh

Article.  6346 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy

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