A History of Islamic Law by N. Coulson

By N. Coulson

The vintage creation to Islamic legislation, tracing its improvement from its origins,through the medieval interval, to its position in sleek Islam.

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Jle. Muslim jurisprudence, however, accepted as authentic the corpus of Traditions which the activities of the specialist scholars in the ninth century had produced, and we now return to the question of the effect this had on legal development. fi'i's legal theory had established a compromise between the dictates of the divine will and the use of human reason in law. But his hopes that such mediation would resolve existing conflicts and introduce uniformity into jurisprudence were frustrated; in fact the varying reactions to his thesis of the authority ofT raditions resulted in the formation of three further schools of law in addition to those which existed in his own time.

Law had not grown our of the practice of the courts or the remedies therein available -as Roman law had developed from the actio or English Common law from the writ-but had originated as the academic formulation of a scheme alternative to that practice; its authority did not lie in the fact that it was observed but in the theoretical arguments of the scholars as to why it ought to be observed. Even so, the scholars in the original schools of law had paid considerable attention to actual legal practice, accepting it as authoritative unless an explicit principle of the religion was thereby infringed.

Obviously the effective enforcement of the whole system of Shari'a law was entirely dependent upon the whim of the de facto ruler. The ideal code of behaviour which is the Shari' a has in fact a much wider scope and purpose than a simple legal system in the Western sense of the term. faqih) are the guardians of the Islamic conscience. Hence all acts and relationships are measured by a scale of moral evaluation. wram) . Law and morality, however, arc not full y merged and in tegrated within the Shari' a.

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