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The Rhetoric of Legal Disputation

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Neo-Ahl al-Ḥadīth vs. Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī

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The essay deals with the bitter polemics between Neo-Ahl al-Ḥadīth and Sheikh Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī, a well-known legal scholar in the contemporary Muslim Sunni world. In addition to analyzing the substantial claims made by one party against the other one, the essay focuses on the rhetorical devices used by both parties. It analyzes these devices in light of theories of Pragmatics in the field of discourse analysis, with special attention to the distinction between a “discussion” and an “argument.” My main finding is that Qaraḍāwī’s critics seek to ruin his public “face” because, in their view “modernist-reformist” religious figures like Qaraḍāwī are agents of Western-oriented secularization, camouflaged by a pseudo-orthodox juristic dress.

Affiliations: 1: The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel


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