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The structure of reasoning in post-formative Islamic jurisprudence (case studies in Hanafī laws on women and prayer)Behnam Sadeghi
The dissertation treats Hanafī jurisprudence from its formation through the nineteenth century using case studies concerning women's participation in group prayers. The focus is on the hermeneutic techniques used in interpreting the "canon," i.e. primarily the Qur'ān and the accepted Prophetic traditions (hadīths). Were the hermeneutic methods such that, given the evidence of the canon, they determined the law in a unique fashion, ruling out all possible candidates for the law except one---in other words, leaving no latitude in the choice of the law? Or did they leave some latitude, and, if so, how much? The dissertation argues that the methods of interpretation of the canon were nearly maximally flexible, so that any conceivable candidate for the law could be reconciled with the canon. The flexibility made it possible for the existing law, or the desired law, to determine how the canon was interpreted, rather than the canon determining the law. The dissertation explores the relationship between the laws, the exegetic rationales cited for them, and the hermeneutic principles that disciplined the use of rationales. The scope of the hermeneutic principles was limited, leaving a great deal of leeway in the selection of exegetic rationales, which in turn allowed the jurist to ensure the desired law. The desired law was normally the inherited law, and inherited law usually had its origins in the first two centuries of Islam, in the laws conveyed in some cases by the Prophet and in other cases by early Kūfan jurists. However, in some cases desired law disagreed with inherited law, leading to legal change. In either case, hermeneutic flexibility helped ensure the desired law. Hermeneutic flexibility had two important ramifications. First, it allowed the Hanafīs to reconcile their inherited body of laws with the canon, a significant achievement given the magnitude of divergences between the two. Second, where the Hanafīs were compelled to change a law, e.g. due to changing values or circumstances, hermeneutic flexibility allowed them to reconcile the new law with the canon. Thus, hermeneutic flexibility served the interest of continuity in the former case and of change in the latter.
Philosophy, religion and theology; Social sciences; Hanafi law; Islamic; Jurisprudence; Laws; Prayer; Women; Middle Eastern history; Religious history; Law; Womens studies; 0453:Womens studies; 0398:Law; 0320:Religious history; 0333:Middle Eastern history
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