Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Islamic Legal Maxims as Substantive Canons of Construction: Hudūd-Avoidance in Cases of Doubt

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Islamic Law and Society

Legal maxims reflect settled principles of law to which jurists appeal when confronting new legal cases. One such maxim of Islamic criminal law stipulates that judges are to avoid imposing hudūd and other sanctions when beset by doubts as to the scope of the law or the sufficiency of the evidence (idra'ū'l-hudūd bi'l-shubahāt): the "hudūd maxim." Jurists of all periods reference this maxim widely. But whereas developed juristic works attribute it to Muhammad in the form of a prophetic report (hadīth), early jurists do not. Instead, they cite the maxim as an anonymous saying of nonspecific provenance in a form unknown to hadīth collectors of the first three centuries after Islam's advent. This difference in the jurists' citations of the maxim signals a significant shift in claims to legal authority and the asserted scope of judicial discretion, as jurists debated whether and how to resolve legal and factual doubt. While political authorities exercised increasingly wide discretion over criminal matters and used it to benefit the elite, most jurists promoted an egalitarian "jurisprudence of doubt" through insisting on criminal liability for high-status offenders and heightening claims of the authoritativeness and scope of the hudūd maxim as a hadīth.

Affiliations: 1: Boston College Law School, 885 Centre Street, Newton, MA 02459


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Islamic Law and Society — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation