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The Geographic Distribution of Muslim Jurists During the First Four Centuries AH

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Using data derived from thousands of biographical entries, we present an overview of the geographic distribution of Muslim jurists (fuqahā) during the first four centuries AH, i.e., from the beginning of Islam up to the date of the establishment of the Islamic college (madrasa) toward the end of the fourth/tenth century CE. We also examine the overall share during this period of each of the four Sunnī schools of law (madhāhib, sg., madhhab), together with jurists who switched from one Sunnī school of law to another, as well as fuqahā who did not belong to a particular Sunnī madhhab. Our primary focus, however, is on the geographical distribution of these jurists throughout the Islamic world in this period. Some of our findings confirm earlier studies while others afford new insights.


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