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Where are the Legal Hadīth? A Study of the Musannaf of Ibn Abī Shayba

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The Musannaf of Ibn Abī Shayba provides unparalleled access into the legal thought of the "Companions of hadīth" in 2nd/8th and early 3rd/9th century Iraq. This article consists of a quantitative analysis of 3628 narrations found in the Musannaf in the books on zakāt, divorce, and hadd crimes. It demonstrates that the Prophet Muhammad was an important authority in the Musannaf, but that he appears in only 8.7% of the narrations examined. Furthermore, it shows that the "Companions of hadīth" relied upon the legal opinions of many of the same Companions and Successors whom Joseph Schacht identified as the primary authorities for the "Companions of ra'y". It also identifies a division within the "Companions of hadīth" between those who, like Ibn Abī Shayba, categorically reject the opinions of post-Successor jurists, and others who accept them.


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