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Akhbari Hermeneutics

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the Akhbārī replacement hermeneutic for ijtihād by examining these three issues the operation of language, the correct procedure when the texts are silent and the proper means of reconciling contradictory akhbār.. The process of discerning the intended meaning of utterances (recorded in texts) set out in works of Uṣūl al-fiqh is described through a series of binary classifications. The Akhbārīs worked under similar linguistic presumptions to those employed by their Uṣūlīs opponents. It might be a general statement, which other texts might particularise. In short, when the Imam gives a report, it is not permitted for the exegete to use presumptive hermeneutic devices and, thereby, extend the relevance of the report to unmentioned areas of the law. This indicates a careful application of Akhbārī hermeneutics to exegetical practice. Akhbārī hermeneutic procedures exemplify both the unity and the diversity of the school as a whole.

Keywords: Akhbārī hermeneutic; ijtihād; Uṣūlīs



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