juwayni

David R. Vishanoff has recently published online A Critical Edition, English Translation, and New Commentary on Imām al‑Ḥaramayn al-Juwaynī’s Leaflet on the Sources of Law
(Kitāb al‑Waraqāt fī uṣūl al‑fiqh).

“For an English-speaking student who wishes to understand the theory behind Islamic law, the first step is to read an introductory legal theory text such as Muslim students traditionally read and memorize in the Arab world. The Kitāb al-Waraqāt fī uṣūl al-fiqh, or Leaflet on the Sources of Law, attributed to the Khurāsānī Shāfiʿī Ashʿarī scholar Imām al-Ḥaramayn Abū al-Maʿālī ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Abī Muḥammad al-Juwaynī (d. 1085), is a good choice, for two reasons.

First, it is brief, yet covers all the main concepts, terms, and principles of the classical Islamic discipline of legal theory (uṣūl al-fiqh), which explains the scriptural “roots” or “sources” (uṣūl) from which the detailed rules of Islamic law (fiqh) derive their authority, and the interpretive process that connects each rule to its sources. It defines what law and legal theory are, then explains how to analyze the language of Muslim scriptures (how to translate commands into laws, and various ways to resolve contradictions between texts), and then goes on to describe several other tools that one can use when scripture does not provide a clear rule (e.g. textual criticism and reasoning by analogy). It concludes with a description of who is qualified to use legal theory, and how certain they can be about the conclusions they reach.

Second, it is representative of mainstream Sunnī views that dominated legal thought in al-Juwaynī’s day and that are still widely accepted today…”

click here to go to the website.