Rethinking Taqlid in the Early Shafi'i School by ProQuest


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									                Rethinking Taqlid in the Early Sha޼i School
                                             Ahmed El Shamsy
                                             Harvard University

   The concept of taqlid in Islamic law has long received a bad press. Juxtaposed with
the creative vigor of ijtihad—direct and independent engagement with the sacred sources—
taqlid, or legal conformism, has been dismissed as “servile imitation of other jurisconsults” 1
or “slavish obedience to one or other of the four recognized legal schools.” 2 By approaching
the concept from the perspective of legal studies, Norman Calder, Mohammad Fadel, Wael
Hallaq, and Sherman Jackson have provided important correctives to this disparaging view. 3
Drawing primarily on analyses of post-formative legal texts, they have demonstrated that,
instead of representing the mere empty shell of ijtihad, taqlid in fact embodies a more de-
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