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  • 12/27/2005

Islamic Legal Orthodoxy:

Consensus and the Development of the Twelver Shiite Legal Madhhab
Devin J. Stewart

Product Details:
Format:Hardcover, 352pp
Pub. Date:December 1997
Publisher:University ofUtah Press
Barnes & Noble Sales Rank:460,985

One of the most far-reaching developments in the history of Islam was the rise of the four classical Sunni schools of law between the ninth and eleventh centuries CE. Consolidation of these schools went hand in hand with the establishment of jurists' dominance over religious discourse and social institutions. Orthodoxy came to be defined as the consensus (ijma') of the Sunni jurists. Devin Stewart argues that it is to the margins of the emerging system that investigators must look to understand its historical dynamics.

In Islamic Legal Orthodoxy Stewart explores the process by which Shi'ite jurists participated in the mainstream of Islamic jurisprudence and were influenced by Sunni legal doctrines. He identifies three main reactions to Sunni legal definitions of orthodoxy and the concept of consensus on which it was based. The Akhbaris rejected Sunni legal consensus and juristic authority for a scripture-based system; many Shi'ite outwardly accepted the ground rules of Sunni legal consensus and joined the Shafi'i school of jurisprudence; a third option was to adopt the concept of consensus to create a "fifth", Shi'ite, legal system. Important because the development of the Sunni legal system effectively set the ground rules for marginal sects' negotiation of their identity with respect to Islamic legal orthodoxy, Islamic Legal Orthodoxy is an essential text for scholars of Islamic law.

A reading of Shi'ite jurisprudence that indicates the extent to which the consolidation of the Sunni or schools of law, controlled the subsequent history of Islamic religious doctrine and institutions not only for the Sunni community but also for prominent marginal or minority groups such as the Shiites and the Kharijis. Finds that the orthodox Sunni legal system set the ground rules by which marginal sects negotiated their identity and place within the Muslim world. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Conventions and Abbreviations
Islamic Legal Orthodoxy
Conformance to Consensus: Twelver Shiite Participation in the Shafi'i Madhhab
Adoption of Consensus: The Foundation of the Twelver Shiite Madhhab
Rejection of Consensus: Twelver Akhbarism as an Anti-Madhhab Movement
A Comparison of the Sunni and Twelver Shiite Madhhabs

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