Introduction to Sharia

  1. Ijtihad
    legal methods of interpretation and reasoning by which a mujtahid (q.v.) derives or rationalizes law on the basis of the Quran, the Sunna an/or consensus; also, a judge's evaluation of customary practices as they bear on a case brought before him
  2. Mujtahid
    a highly learned jurist who is capable of ijtihad, i.e., reasoning about the law through applying complex methods and principles of interpretation. Mujtahids are of various ranks, the highest of which is reserved for the one who is said to have fashioned the very methods and principles that he and others in his school apply, while those who are loyal to, and capable of applying, these principles belong to lower ranks
  3. Madhhab
    a legal opinion or juristic principle adopted by a legist; a legal school (q.v.)
  4. Siyasa Shar'iyya
    the rulers governance according to juristic political theory; discretionary legal powers of the ruler to enforce Shari a court judgments and to supplement the religious law with administrative regulations
  5. qadi
    the magistrate or judge of the Shari a court who also exercised extra-judicial functions, such as mediation, guardianship over orphans and mminors, and supervision and auditing of public works. When faced with difficult cases, a qadi petitioned the mufti (q.v.) who provided a fatwa (q.v.) or legal opinion (q.v.) on the basis of which he rendered a decision.
  6. Sunna
    the second, but most substantial, source of Islamic law; the exemplary biography of the Prophet. The hadiths (q.v.) are the literary expression and context-specific accounts of the Sunna
  7. fatwa
    legal opinion issued by a mufti (q.v.); although they were formally non-binding, judges adhered to fatwas routinely, as they were deemed authoritative statements on particular points of law
  8. Imam
    The infallible head of the Shi i Muslim community who is a descendant of Imam Ali and who is in hiding (occultation)
  9. waaf
    charitable donation
  10. mufti
    jurisconsult; usually a learned jurist who issues fatwas (q.v.); a jurist capable of one degree of ijtihad (q.v.) or another
  11. hadith
    Prophetic traditions or reports of what the Prophet had said, done or tacitly approved with regard to a particular matter. The term is both singular and plural
  12. The 4 Schools
    • Hanafi
    • Maliki
    • Shafi'i
    • Hanbali
  13. qiyas
    the fourth source of Islamic law; a general term referring to various methods of legal reasoning, analogy being the most common; other methods subsumed under qiyas are the syllogistic, relational, a fortiori, e contrario and reductio ad absurdum arguments
  14. ratio legis ( illa)
    cause; occasional factor; the attribute or set of attributes common between two cases and which justify the transference, through inference, of a norm from one case (that has the norm) to another (that does not have it)
  15. istihsan
    literally, preference; technically, a method of inference preferred over qiyas (q.v.) and taking as its basis alternative textual evidence on the grounds that this preferred evidence leads to a more reasonable result that does not involve an undue hardship
  16. madrasa
    college of law that is usually part of an endowment (q.v. waqf); madrasas regularly taught language, hadith (q.v.) and Quranic studies, and often offered study circles (q.v.) in mathematics, astronomy, logic and medicine
  17. usul al-fiqh
    a discipline or a field of study specializing in methods of interpretation and reasoning (q.v. ijtihad), with the aim of arriving at new legal norms for unprecedented cases or rationalizing existing ones. This discipline produced many important treatises dealing with the subject, and referred to as usul al-fiqh works
  18. ulama
    referring to the learned class, especially the legists (q.v.); in this technical sense, the word is of later provenance, probably dating to the twelfth century or thereabouts
  19. author-jurist
    a highly learned legist (q.v.) who is capable of exercising certain faculties of ijtihad (q.v.) in writing legal manuals and/or long treatis on law
  20. faqih
    a legist (q.v.); an expert in the law; an alim (pl. ulama, q.v.)
  21. usury (interest; Ar. riba)
    categorically prohibited in Islamic law; literally meaning excess, riba refers to receiving or giving a lawful thing having monetary value in excess of that for which the thing was exchanged; interest charged on a debt is a prime example
Card Set
Introduction to Sharia
Flashcards for the vocab portion of the midterm for Introduction to Sharia at UvA spring 2011.