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Title: The Ḥanafī school : a study of its social and legal dimensions, 189/805-340/952
Author: Younas, Salman
ISNI:       0000 0004 8502 8941
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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The 4th/10th century has been identified as the period wherein the legal school (madhhab) transformed into a doctrinal school epistemically and a guild socially. Unlike the personal school, the doctrinal school was a collective and authoritative entity possessing a distinct legal methodology and substantive boundaries that defined the outer limits of the school, while the legal school as a guild was a self-regulating professional association with a system of transmitting legal doctrine from identifiable teachers to students. How and when did the essential features of the classical school emerge? Is it accurate to characterize the entirety of the 3rd/9th century as a period of personal schools and/or 'individual legal doctrines'? What was the nature of school-consciousness during this period? How was it reflected in the legal discourse of early jurists and their social organization? The current study attempts to answer these questions through an analysis of the Ḥanafī school from the period following the death of Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Shaybānī, i.e. 189/805, up to and including the first few decades of the 4th/10th century. The study begins by documenting the spread of Ḥanafīsm beyond Kufa and the subsequent emergence of a distinct Ḥanafī legal community during the first half of the 3rd/9th century out of an earlier Ḥanafī circle. The most essential feature of this legal community was a collective axis of authority (i.e. the Ḥanafī masters) that transcended personal boundaries and individual doctrines to unite a group of jurists as members of a distinct legal tradition. The remainder of this thesis evidences the existence of this distinct Ḥanafī community, analyses its social and legal dimensions, and traces its evolution over the course of a century. The social dimensions of the school are examined in part one of the study, which first discusses how the Ḥanafī community of the 3rd/9th century was represented in both internal school sources and external ones. Following this, the study diachronically analyses the legal education, networks, and activity of eight major Iraqi Ḥanafī jurists across the 3rd/9th century in order to document the transformation of the legal school into a guild. This study argues that this transformation was far more gradual than previously described, and features identified as hallmarks of the classical school, such as commentary literature, had begun to emerge by the middle of the 3rd/9th century. The second part of this study focuses on the legal dimensions of the Ḥanafī school. It identifies a particular engagement with fiqh by 3rd/9th century jurists that is accurately characterized as uniquely 'Ḥanafī' on account if it being grounded in the authority, rulings, and methods of the Ḥanafī masters, which together constituted a shared paradigm of intellectual discourse that allowed their followers to come together as a distinct legal community. This study then analyses the various elements of this paradigm and the features of early Ḥanafī legal discourse, such as rule-enumeration, rule-justification, rule-augmentation (takhrīj), authorizing discourse (tarjīḥ), considered opinion (ra'y) and analogy (qiyās), juridical preference (istiḥsān), generalizing activity, and conceptions of authority with a view to mapping out their development and tracing the evolution of the early Ḥanafī community into a mature doctrinal school. This study, therefore, presents a more nuanced, detailed, and gradual account of madhhab evolution during the 3rd/9th century, a vital transitionary period between the ancient and classical schools. It proposes a stage of madhhab development for the Ḥanafī school that broad chronologies have not fully captured, a middle stage between the school as a purely personal entity and its consolidation as a classical school, where Ḥanafīsm operated as a distinct community - legally and socially - that assumed many of the essential features of the classical school, and, towards the end of the 3rd/9th century, did function as a proper school.
Supervisor: Melchert, Christopher Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Islamic law ; Islamic history ; Hanafites