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The Legal Principles of Muhammad b.Ismāīl al-Bukhārī and their Relationship to Classical Salafi Islam

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This article analyzes the legal theory of al-Bukhārī as articulated in two books of his famous Sahīh and situates it within the broader framework of Sunni legal theory (usūl al-fiqh). I argue that his legal theory revolves around four themes: (1) The Qurān and the Prophet; (2) agreement and disagreement; (3) valid techniques of ijtihād; and (4) invalid techniques of ijtihād. I devote special attention to the tension between al-B ukhārī's negative attitude towards qiyās (analogical reasoning) and his acceptance of comparison (tashbīh) and indications (dalā'il). Finally, I compare some of his legal principles to those of the 5th/11th-century hadīth-scholars and jurists, al-Bayhaqī, Ibn Hazm, Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, and al-Khatīb al-Baghdādī, and argue that two types of classical Salafi Islam can be discerned in their writings on legal theory.


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