GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
First Name:
Arthur DAVID
Title of Paper:
Ijtihad and Usul in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: A Case Study
Paper Proposal Text :
In this paper, I aim to extend the research of Hallaq on ijtihad into the modern period through an analysis of the legal argumentation of Muhammad al-Amin ibn Muhammad al-Mukhtar al-Shinqiti (d. 1973), a prominent teacher of usul al-fiqh in Saudi Arabia during much of the twentieth century. In so doing, I show that in Islamic jurisprudence the “Ghazalian synthesis” described by Wisnovsky et al. has survived until recent times; I also extend El-Rouayheb\'s contributions by demonstrating the persistence of Aristo-Avicennan logical studies in the Sunni Arab milieu through the middle of the 20th century.

Focusing on al-Mukhtar al-Shinqiti’s treatment of qiyas in his Mudhakkira fi
usul al-fiqh, itself a commentary on the Rawdat al-nazir of Ibn Qudama, I first
characterize this work as an “explanatory commentary,” (cf. Hallaq 1990 inter
alia) and demonstrate that the Mudhakkira, like the Rawda, is heavily
influenced by al-Ghazali’s treatment of logic for jurists in the Mustasfa. But
why, in a commentary that never shrinks from topics associated with kalam or
the Organon, does al-Mukhtar al-Shinqiti forgo the Ghazalian tradition of
beginning his usul work with an introduction on logic? The answer lies, at
least in part, in an independent treatise on argumentation by al-Mukhtar
al-Shinqiti for use in the religious sciences, sc. Adab al-bahth wa l-munazara.
I compare the treatment of burhan in Adab al-bahth with the treatment of qiyas
in Mudhakkira, I show the possible antecedents for this method of organization
in earlier commentaries on al-Ghazali’s Mustasfa, and I close by speculating
about the author’s purpose in separating the two.

The historical significance of the context in which al-Shinqiti writes will not be lost on Islamicists, and I attempt to elucidate some of this significance through a comparison of (a) Critical Legal Studies\' theorization of legal education, with (b) Sherman Jackson\'s prescriptions and descriptions of the role of the mujtahid and the faqih in the context of modern constitutional debates in the Middle East.