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Chapter Summary

This study offers an interpretation of an early Arabic writing on Islamic legal theory, the Risāla ("Epistle") of Muḥammad b. Idῑrs al-Shāfiʿῑ (d. 204/820). It seeks to provide a thorough and detailed account of the main ideas, implications, and applications of legal theory as he develops it in the Risala. It argues that the Risala is a tightly constructed work of theory. It is not critical to the conclusions reached in this study whether Shāfiʿῑ or some other (or later) person or persons authored the Risāla, but it is to be hoped that this study may help to shed light on such questions. It offers many in-depth analyses of the Risāla' individual example problems as illustrations of Shāfiʿῑ hermeneutical rubrics. The first part of the chapter considers the various groups named in the Risāla and Shāfiʿῑ attitude towards them.

Keywords: Muḥammad b. Idῑrs al-Shāfiʿῑ; Risāla



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