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date: 22 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the production and analysis of fiqh by surveying Islamic legal scholarship. It highlights the implications different analytic approaches bring to the study of fiqh as both doctrine and literary genre. Starting with an overview of debates about legal reform in the context of “modernity,” the article proceeds to an analysis of philology as a disciplinary frame and its limits. The article then turns to studies of philology in conversation with history and the perceived demise of philology in the British and North American academy. Thereafter, the article explores fiqh as a genre Fiqh of legal literature that informs interpretive approaches in the social sciences, including the literature on Islamic law and anthropology and the fatwa as a site of legal practice in contrast to fiqh. Finally, it looks at fiqh as the object of critique and offers suggestions for future research.

Keywords: Islamic legal scholarship, legal reform, philology, history, social sciences, Islamic law, anthropology, fatwa, critique

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