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Imam al-Suyuti

The Legal Thought of Al-Suyuti : New
The Legal Thought of Al-Suyuti : New
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  • Authored by: Imam as-Suyuti

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Details:  The Legal Thought of Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti,
Authority and Legacy, New,
*[A5+] Hardback Dustjacket - 247 pages,
by Rebecca Skreslet Hernandez,
Published by Oxford Islamic Legal Studies.

Description :

This book offers a new theoretical perspective on the thought of the great fifteenth-century Egyptian polymath, Imam Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (d. 1505). In spite of the enormous popularity that al-Suyuti's works continue to enjoy amongst scholars and students in the Muslim world, he remains underappreciated by western academia.

This project contributes to the fields of Mamluk Studies, Islamic Studies, and Middle Eastern Studies not only an interdisciplinary analysis of al-Suyuti's legal writing within its historical context, but also a reflection on the legacy of the medieval jurist to modern debates. The study highlights the discursive strategies that the jurist uses to construct his own authority and frame his identity as a superior legal scholar during a key transitional moment in Islamic history. The approach aims for a balance between detailed textual analysis and 'big picture' questions of how legal identity and religious authority are constructed, negotiated and maintained.

    ***Explores the different forms of authority and rhetorical strategies adopted by religious scholars and institutions in Muslim societies,
    ***Brand new study of a previously neglected figure in Islamic history: Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (d. 1505),
    ***Interdisciplinary approach that analyses historic sources alongside modern takes, such as the YouTube commentaries produced after the 2011 Egyptian revolution,
    ***Demonstrates how Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti fits into a larger discussion about reform and revival in Islam.

Al-Suyuti's struggle for authority as one of a select group of trained experts vested with the moral responsibility of interpreting God's law in society finds echoes in contemporary debates, particularly in his native land of Egypt. At a time when increasing numbers of people in the Arab world have raised their voices to demand democratic forms of government that nevertheless stay true to the principles of Shari'a, the issue of who has the ultimate authority to interpret the sources of law, to set legal norms, and to represent the 'voice' of Shari'a principles in society is still in dispute.

Table of Contents :


------A Contested Life,
------Approach of the Study,
------Framing the Jurist,
------Organisation of the Study,
------Chapter Overview.

---[1]. Authority by Persuasion: Power Relations in al-Suyuti's Legal Opinion on Scholarly Stipends,
---Historical Background,
------Evaluating the Sources,
------The Rise of the Waqf System under the Mamluks,
------Patronage of Scholars,
------Uses and Abuses of the Waqf System,
------Decline of Waqf System,
---The Baybarsiyya Controversy,
---Discourse and Power,
------Analysing Power Relations,
---Analysis : Al-Suyuti's Stipend Fatwa,
------Question and Context of the Fatwa,
------Overview of the Fatwa,
------Three Groups;
--------1. The State Official,
--------2. The Scholar,
--------3. The Sufi Student.
------The Entitlements of the Founder,
------Sultan vs. Scholar,
------Scholar vs. Sufis,
------The Scholar Represents the Law,
------The Scholar Controls the Discourse,
---Means of Bringing Power Relations into Being,
------Putting Knowledge into Action,
------Objective Achieved,
---Institutionalisation and Rationalisation,
------'Public' vs. 'Private' Waqf,
------Earlier vs. Later Jurists,
------Rules for Students,
------Rules for Teachers,

---[2]. Authority by Association: Consensus vs Ignorance in al-Suyuti's Legal Opinion on Logic,
---Approach to the Text,
------Authority Construction and Self-Representation,
------"Transitivity" and "Exemplarism"
------Offensive and Defensive Use of Language,
---The Logic Fatwa,
------The Frame Device,
------Timing of the Fatwa,
------Audience and Opponent,
------List of Scholars Opposed to Logic,
---Two Exemplars in the Crossfire : Ibn al-Salah and Al-Ghazali,
------Ibn al-Salah's Harsh Critique,
------Al-Ghazali's Challenging Legacy,
---A Closer Look at the Arguments,
------The Rhetoric of Ijtihad and Taqlid,
------Learning vs. Ignorance,
------A Hierarchy of Knowledge,
---The Larger Context : What is "Mainstream" ?

---[3]. Authority by Articulation: The Language of Religious Revival and Reform in al-Suyuti's Tajdid Genre,
---Tajdid before Al-Suyuti,
------Eschatological Implications of the Tradition,
------The Ahl al-Bayt Factor,
------Soundness of the Tradition,
------Polemical Implications of the Tradition,
------The Importance of Al-Ghazali,
------Rhyming Lists of Mujaddids,
---Tajdid and Al-Suyuti,
------The Concept of Genre,
------The Problem of Articulation,
------Significance for al-Suyuti,
------Themes of Reform,
------The Ongoing Need for Ijtihad,
------Attack by al-Sakhawi,
---Tajdid after al-Suyuti,
------Defense by al-Sakhawi,
------The Spread of al-Suyuti's Works,
------Evolution of the Tajdid Genre,
------Continuing Calls for Ijtihad,
------Revival of the Hadith Sciences,
------The Role of Sufism,
------Tajdid in the Modern World,

---[4]. Authority by Aggregation & Abstraction: The Pragmatics of Communication in al-Suyuti's Book on Legal Precepts,
------Historical Development of Legal Precepts,
------Pragmatic Theory,
------A Pragmatic Interpretation of Legal Precepts,
---Legal Precepts and Pragmatics,
------Grice's Maxims,
------Islamic Maxims of Interpretation,
---Pragmatics and Customary Law,
------Introducing the Concept,
------Contradictions Between General and Specific 'Urf,
------Contradictions Between Customary Usage and Shar'i "Usage"
------Contradictions Between Custom and Language,
------Contradictions Between Earlier and Later Meanings,
------Implications for the Jurist,

---[5]. Authority by Allusion: The Legacy of al-Suyuti in Contemporary Egypt,
---Evolution of an "Orthodox" Sunni Ideology,
------Promotion of Ash'ari Theology and Rationalism,
---Shaykh 'Ali Gum'a,
---Shaykh 'Amr al-Wardani,
---Shaykh Muhammad Wisam,


Appendix :
------Arabic Language Sources,
------European Language Sources,

Rebecca Hernandez, Received her Ph.D. from Georgetown University's Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies and taught previously at Georgetown University and at the College of William and Mary. Her primary research interests include Islamic law and society, religious authority, and medieval and modern Egypt.

A Selection of Works of Imam al-Suyuti.

*Dimensions : 24.1 x 16.3cm

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This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 29 July, 2020.