Muslim Law and Jurisprudence

Important Concepts:


"Roots of Law" ("Usul al-fiqh") in order of importance

according to the formulation of Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi (d. 819):

Qiyas is a the only accepted formIjtihad: independent decision making.

Others include

  • personal opinion
  • jurist preference

    The latter are no longer in force among Sunnis:

    "The gates of ijtihad are closed."

    However it is still practiced by the Shi`ites, for whom the authority of the Imam replaces Ijma' and Qiyas.

    (Attempts to reopen "gates of Ijtihad" to modernize the religion).


    Schools ("madhahib") of Sunni jurisprudence:

    Four main schools of interpretation, usually determined by country.

    1. Hanifi

    2. Maliki

    3. Shafi'i

    4. Hanbali

    All are considered legitimate by the others.

    Shi'ites have their own schools, notably the Ja'fari.



    Some Institutions for the Administration of Justice


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