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The Role of Non-Arab Converts in the Development of Early Islamic Law

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Western scholarship has attached considerable importance to the role played by scholars of non-Arab descent in the formative period of Islamic law and jurisprudence. This view can be challenged. In a sample taken from a biographical collection of important legal scholars compiled in the fifth/eleventh century, "true" Arabs constituted the majority; three quarters of the non-Arab scholars had an eastern background and came from the regions of the former Sassanian empire; and only a few scholars had clearly Christian or Jewish roots. This result lends no support to the assumption that jurists of non-Arab descent brought solutions from their natal legal systems — Roman, Roman provincial and Jewish law — to early Islamic law.

10.1163/1568519991223793
/content/journals/10.1163/1568519991223793
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/content/journals/10.1163/1568519991223793
1999-10-01
2016-12-11

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