Authority, Continuity, and Change in Islamic Law By Wael B. Hallaq (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. 269 pages.)

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Muhammad M. Haque



This book traces the development of Islamic law from its earliest period to
the full formative period, when the major madhahib were established, to
show that institutionalizing Islamic law always involved a reasoned defense
and calculative move. Hallaq asserts that such processes were not an innovation;
rather, they were embedded in the structure of the original legal traditions
that allowed for continual social change and the maintenance of order
and stability in Islam’s social system. Throughout the ages, the Shari‘ah has
been subjected to a dialectical milieu and change as dictated by varying social
conditions. This further stimulated change to maintain the established order’s
very essence, which was based on the logic of reasoning and calculation.
The juristic structure of authority did not remain very rigid and conservative
as it seemed, except for a few cases. Rather, at a certain level, ...

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