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A Critical Edition of ‘Umdat al-Nāẓir ‘alā al-Ashbāh wa’l-Naẓā ‘ir

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This book presents a critical edition of the twelfth/eighteenth century manuscript on the subject of legal maxims ‘Umdat al-Nāzir ʿalā al-Ashbāh wa’l-Naẓāʾir’. It was composed by a distinguished Hanifite jurist Abū ‘l-Suʿūd al-Ḥusaynī and is a commentary on an earlier seminal text al-Ashbāh wa’l-Naẓāʾir’ authored by Ibn Nujaym in the tenth/sixteenth century.

The volume is divided into three main parts the first of which provides an historical and theoretical introduction to the genre of al-qawāʿid al-fiqhiyyah (legal maxims). The second part introduces the two texts and their authors, discusses their literary legacy within the Ḥanafī School of law and covers issues of editing, authenticity and provenance. Finally, the third part of the book consists of four edited chapters of the ‘Umdat al-Nāzir ʿalā al-Ashbāh wa’l-Naẓāʾir’. The first of these is the author’s introduction to his work followed by three chapters, one for each of the first three qawāʿid.

The work is important as a commentary on one of the most significant legal texts which revived interest in the subject within the Hanafi School of law after a stagnation period of five centuries. It is also the most copious of all the forty-four commentaries on Ibn Nujaym’s book and it is a combination of the commentaries of at least three well known Ḥanafite scholars. Because Abū’l-Suʿūd synthesizes the most authoritative opinions from these commentaries, ʿUmdat al-Nāẓir serves as a definitive summation of the discourse on legal maxims within the school.

Published: Nov 2, 2017