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APPROPRIATING THE PAST: TWENTIETH-CENTURY RECONSTRUCTION OF PRE-MODERN ISLAMIC THOUGHT

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This essay examines the writings of the famous twentieth-century salafī, Rashīd Ridā, in which he discussed and reconstructed the views of Shawkānī, one of the leading thinkers of the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-centuries, on the subject of legal analogy (qiyās). Shawkānī had opposed the introduction of new laws through qiyās on the grounds that it arrogates to humans a right to legislate which is reserved to God. Ridā, however, mistakenly implied that Shawkānī had advocated a separation between 'ibādāt and mu'āmalāt, allowing the use of qiyās in the latter case. I argue that Ridā's reconstruction of Shawkānī was driven by his desire to find Islamic models that corresponded to the European institutions of the nation state: in an age in which the powers of the nation state were increasing dramatically, a jurisdiction that covered "all aspects of life" would have seemed more appropriate to Ridā than a legal code which does not purport to exhaust all aspects of this life.

Affiliations: 1: Yale University

10.1163/156851900507670
/content/journals/10.1163/156851900507670
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/content/journals/10.1163/156851900507670
2000-10-01
2016-12-03

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