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The Rise of Critical Islam 10th-13th Century Legal Debate


The Rise of Critical Islam 10th-13th Century Legal Debate

  • ISBN 13:


  • ISBN 10:


  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 04/25/2023
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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In a richly narrated historical study, Youcef Soufi excavates an Islamic legal culture of critique from the 10th to 13th centuries. Focusing on the practice of muna.zara (disputation), Soufi explores how and why oral debates became a pervasive and revered part of the intellectual legal landscape of Iraq and Persia. Using the life and career of celebrated Iraqi jurist Abu Is.haq al-Shirazi, he traces the formalization of debate gatherings at the dawn of the classical legal schools (al-madhahib) in the early 10th century and analyzes the wider institutional, social, and discursive conditions that made debate an important feature of any jurist's practice.

Pushing back against claims that classical Muslim jurists sought to weed out differences of opinion, The Rise of Critical Islam presents a community committed to the openness, fluidity, and continued exploration of the law. Challenging the view of debate gatherings simply as mechanisms of doctrinal resolution before codification, the study reveals a classical culture where critical debates were part of a continual and personal quest to discover God's law. In uncovering this classical legal culture, Soufi invites readers to question claims about the promise of secular critique in disciplining religious passions and forging human solidarity.

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