Monthly Lectures on Islamic Legal Genres (4)


The ḥāshiya (gloss/supercommentary) is a characteristic literary genre of postclassical Muslim scholarship. In the field of Sunni Islamic law, the ḥāshiya became the central site at which the dominant teaching of each school of law was elaborated, making earlier works obsolete. At the same time, the ḥāshiya operated within the influential “hierarchy of jurists” model developed in the thirteenth century, according to which successive generations of jurists moved progressively away from independent legal reasoning (ijtihād) toward strict following of school doctrine (taqlīd). This presentation reviews the formal features of the ḥāshiya genre, discusses its role in the construction of school authority, and proposes reasons for its modern disappearance.

The presentation is part of a monthly lecture series organized by the Project “Canonization and Diversification in Islamic Law and in Arabian Rhetoric in Comparison” situated in the collaborative Research Centre (SFB 1385) at the Münster University, in cooperation with Program in Islamic Law at Harvard Law School and the Faculty of Theology at Istanbul University.

The recordings of the first three lectures are online available:

Murteza Bedir, Istanbul University: “Form, Function and Historical Development of uṣūl al-fiqh as a Genre

Mohammad Fadel, Toronto University: “Form, Function and Historical Development of muḫtaṣar as a Genre

Sohail Hanif, Cambridge Muslim College: “Form, Function and Historical Development of the sharh-Literature as a Genre. A Quantitative and Qualitative Study

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