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Is al-Andalus Different?

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Continuity as Contested, Constructed, and Performed across Three Mālikī Fatwās

image of Islamic Law and Society

Based on a close analysis of three interrelated Mālikī fatwās on trading with the enemy issued by Granadan jurist Abū Isḥāq al-Shāṭibī (d. 790/1388), Tunisian jurist Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad al-Māzarī (d. 536/1141), and Maghribī jurist ʿAlī b. ʿAbd al-Salām al-Tasūlī (d. 1258/1842), this study shows that muftīs strategically manipulate their predecessors’ opinions in order to construct precedents more supportive of their desired rulings; the “mere” application of school doctrine to a recurring case may involve considerable juristic flexibility and adaptation of legal practice to changing legal and political circumstances. Further, these opinions demonstrate that the issuance of a fatwā is not just an intellectual task or a rhetorical exercise, but a performance. A fatwā’s value as a precedent for later jurists may be based as much on the earlier muftī’s model performance in issuing the ruling as it is on the legal message conveyed by that ruling.


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