Disagreements Of The Jurists
Al-Qadi al-Nu`man was the leading legal theorist and ideologue of the Fatimid dynasty of North Africa in the tenth century. This translation makes available for the first time in English his main work on the theory of Islamic law, which constitutes a legal model to support the principle of legitimization of the Fatimids through the Islamic community. As part of a major project to establish the theoretical foundations of the official school of fatimidic law, Disagreements of the Jurists exposes a clearly Shia hermeneutic system that refutes the methods of legal interpretation of Sunni jurists. The work begins with a discussion of the historical causes of the divergence of legal sciences during the early Islamic centuries, and further delves into the specific methods of interpretation of Sunni legal theory, arguing that they are both illegitimate and ineffective. While its immediate task is to lay the foundations of the legal Isma`ili tradition, the text also preserves several works of Islamic law theory that no longer exist – including the manual of Ibn Dawud al-Wusul ila ma`rifat al-usul – thus shedding light on a critical phase in the historical evolution of Islamic legal theory (usul al-fiqh) that would otherwise be lost in history. A bilingual Arabic-English edition. . Devin J. Stewart is Professor of Arabology and Islam at Emory University. He has written about the Qur`an, Shia Islam and Islamic judicial education.
. Al-Qadi al-Numan, The Disagreements of Jurists: A Manual of the Theory of Islamic Law. Published and translated by DEVIN J. STEWART. Library of Arabic Literature. New York: NEW YORK UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2015. S. xxxviii + 405. $40. John Sexton is Benjamin Butler Professor of Law at NYU and was the 15th President of NYU from 2002 to 2015. .
The Journal of the American Oriental Society Al-Qāḍī al-Nuʿmān († 364/974) was born in Tunisia and entered the service of the Fatimids in 313/925 and eventually became supreme judge. As the leading jurist and legal author of the Fatimid Empire, his work justified Ismāʿīlī law as a discipline. Ikhtilaf was first edited with a detailed and scholarly English introduction by Shamun Tayyib Ali Lokhandwalla (Simla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study, 1972) from two recent manuscripts of Indian origin (the publisher states that his access to a third manuscript was limited to a few hours, only for review). Another edition of Mustafa Ghalib, also based on two recent manuscripts, was published the following year (Beirut: Dar al-Andalus, 1973). Although the editions of this last publisher and his colleague Arif Tamir are not trustworthy and their introductions are taken with a grain of salt (see my issue of al-Sijistani, Kitab al-Iftikhar [Beirut: Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, 2000], 1 [Eng.], 48-49 [Ar.], is the question that comes to mind, which led Devin Stewart to rework and translate Itilkhaf! Certainly, as a student of Islamic law, he realized that this is one of the fundamental works of legal theory in the history of Muslim legal thought. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that Ikhtilaf is an important step in the development of Islamic legal theories after the revolutionary work of Muhammad b. Idris al-Shafiis († 204/820) al-Risala, as previously reported by Lokhandwalla. The need for an English translation was acutely felt by students of Islamic law who worked to follow the evolution of right-wing theory before the birth of the four Sunni law schools, most likely towards the end of the fourth/tenth century. And we are grateful for this admirable translation that fills a great void in our field..