Al-Qadi al-Nu?man was the chief legal theorist and ideologue of the North African Fatimid dynasty in the tenth century. This translation makes available in English for the first time his major work on Islamic legal theory, which presents a legal model in support of the Fatimids’ principle of legitimate rule over the Islamic community. Composed as part of a grand project to establish the theoretical bases of the official Fatimid legal school, Disagreements of the Jurists expounds a distinctly Shi?i system of hermeneutics, which refutes the methods of legal interpretation adopted by Sunni jurists.
The work begins with a discussion of the historical causes of jurisprudential divergence in the first Islamic centuries, and goes on to address, point by point, the specific interpretive methods of Sunni legal theory, arguing that they are both illegitimate and ineffective. While its immediate mission is to pave the foundation of the legal Isma?ili tradition, the text also preserves several Islamic legal theoretical works no longer extant—including Ibn Dawud’s manual, al-Wusul ila ma?rifat al-usul—and thus throws light on a critical stage in the historical development of Islamic legal theory (usul al-fiqh) that would otherwise be lost to history.
"[Disagreements of the Jurists]is very important for students of jurisprudence and for reconstructing fiqh's development" ~The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences
"Stewart has rendered al-Nu'mans work into intelligible and elegant English, in keeping with the goals of the Library of Arabic Literature series to open up certain valuable and influential works in the" ~Journal of the American Oriental Society
Arabic tradition to a wider reading public.
"This book will be useful especially to those who are interested in the history of law and secondarily those who are interested in the history of the Fatimids." ~Speculum