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Al-Ṭabarī’s madhhab jarīrī

A Paradigm of Natural Law and Natural Rights for the ʿAbbasid Caliphate


The book analyses all extant works by Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (d. 224/839–310/923), referring to their individual methodologies; their legacy as al-madhhab al-jariri; and their scholarly and socio- political context. Through the study of al-Tabari’s works, the book addresses research debates over dating the legal and scholarly institutions and their disciplines; authorship and transmission of scholarly writings; political theory and administration; and ‘origins’ of the Qur’an and Islam.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0649-9
  • *
Publication Status: Forthcoming
Publication Date: Sep 20,2022
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 422
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0649-9
$135.00

The book analyses the works of Muḥammad b. Jarīr al-Ṭabarī (224/839–310/923) as expressions of the theory of natural law and natural rights, and its corollary theories of politics and social contract, language and rhetoric, hermeneutics, metaphysics, ontology, epistemology, and ethics. Through this approach, the author argues that al-Ṭabarī’s scholarship constitutes not only sources of information about the rise and early development of Islam and Islamic polities and disciplines, but theoretically informed analysis of sources and scripture as well. As such, al-Ṭabarī’s works offer important contributions to current research into early Islamic history, law, administration, and the Qur’an. A preliminary effort is also made to historically trace al-Ṭabarī’s theoretical paradigms to a continuum of translation and commentary on Aristotle’s works. The starting point is the mid-500s CE in the Sassanid empire and the Arab polities within its domain, i.e., the Lakhmid kingdom and its administrative links with Hijaz, and the end point is the mid-300s H/900s CE in the Abbasid Caliphate. Alongside this theoretical legacy, the author plots both the Qur’an and al-Ṭabarī’s works, including his famous Qur’an commentary. Special attention is also devoted to relations between theory and practice, concerning ownership of lands, the land tax, redistribution and the common good, conditions for agriculture, and peasants’ rights.

The book analyses the works of Muḥammad b. Jarīr al-Ṭabarī (224/839–310/923) as expressions of the theory of natural law and natural rights, and its corollary theories of politics and social contract, language and rhetoric, hermeneutics, metaphysics, ontology, epistemology, and ethics. Through this approach, the author argues that al-Ṭabarī’s scholarship constitutes not only sources of information about the rise and early development of Islam and Islamic polities and disciplines, but theoretically informed analysis of sources and scripture as well. As such, al-Ṭabarī’s works offer important contributions to current research into early Islamic history, law, administration, and the Qur’an. A preliminary effort is also made to historically trace al-Ṭabarī’s theoretical paradigms to a continuum of translation and commentary on Aristotle’s works. The starting point is the mid-500s CE in the Sassanid empire and the Arab polities within its domain, i.e., the Lakhmid kingdom and its administrative links with Hijaz, and the end point is the mid-300s H/900s CE in the Abbasid Caliphate. Alongside this theoretical legacy, the author plots both the Qur’an and al-Ṭabarī’s works, including his famous Qur’an commentary. Special attention is also devoted to relations between theory and practice, concerning ownership of lands, the land tax, redistribution and the common good, conditions for agriculture, and peasants’ rights.

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ContributorBiography

Ulrika Martensson

Ulrika Mårtensson has a PhD (2001) in History of Religions from the Faculty of Theology, Uppsala University, Sweden, and is professor at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, NTNU-The Norwegian University of Science and Religion.

Introduction (xi)
   Methodology (xx)
      History as Discourse xx
      ‘Scriptural’ Practices: On Religion and Progress xxiv
      Application xxvi
   Outline xxvi

Chapter One. Markers of Polity: Religion, Philosophy & Law (1)
   Preliminaries: al-Ṭabarī’s political theory as history (1)
   The Ancient Institutional System (14)
   The Arabs (18)
   Law, Religion, and Philosophy 500–600 CE (22)
   Summary: The Institutional Significance of Religion and Philosophy (29)
   Al-Ṭabarī’s Theoretical Contributions (31)

Chapter Two. Qur’anic Language, Rhetoric and Composition (35)
   Preliminaries: al-Ṭabarī’s theory of language and Qur’anic Arabic (35)
      Al-Ṭabarī Applied: Modelling Qur’anic Composition (49)
      Analysis: Covenant as cross-disciplinary theoretical paradigm (61)
   History of Arabic language (62)
   Aristotle’s theory of language (69)
   Qur’anic Rhetoric: An Aristotelian Perspective (76)
      Aristotle’s Rhetoric (76)
      Aristotle’s Rhetoric into Arabic (79)
   Research Survey: the Qur’an and Rhetoric (87)
      Aristotle and ‘Aristotle-like’ Rhetoric and the Qur’an (87)
      Balāgha (90)

Chapter Three. Natural Law, Natural Rights, and al-Ṭabarī’s madhhab jarīrī (97)
   Introduction (97)
   Islamic Natural Law Theory (98)
      The Role of Aristotle (98)
      Survey: Natural Law Theory in Islamic Sources (105)
   ‘The Debates’ (111)
      Constitutional Separation of Powers and Legal Diversity (111)
      Peasants’ Property Rights (119)
      Al-Ṭabarī’s Administrative Context (128)
      Rebellions (132)
   Analysis (157)

Chapter Four. al-Ṭabarī’s Methodology (161)
   Natural Law Theory: Two Basic Hermeneutical Methodologies (162)
   Legal Works (164)
      Al-Ṭabarī’s Concept of Consensus (ʾijmāʿ) (165)
      Conquered Land and Property Rights (176)
      Conclusion: al-Ṭabarī’s Legal Methodology and Natural Law Theory (180)
   Ḥadīth (181)
      Bayān as Legal Method in Tahdhīb al-ʾĀthār (183)
      Social Contract and Separation of Powers in Tahdhīb al-ʾĀthār (191)
      Conclusion: Companion Consensus and Individual Interpretation in Tahdhīb al-ʾĀthār (195)
   Exegetical Methodology (196)
      Divine and Human Proof and Clarifying Distinctions (197)
      Applied Method: The Levels of Meaning (198)
      Reports and Readings (203)
      Rights and the Moral Standard (211)
      Generals and Particulars as Methodology (216)
   Historical Methodology (219)
      Epistemology, Sources, and Reports (220)
      The Administrative Focus and Rights (225)
      Chronology and Time (229)
      Ritual Time (236)
      Concluding Analysis (241)
   The Creeds (242)
      Ṣarīḥ al-sunna (242)
      al-Tabṣīr fī maʿālim al-dīn (248)
      Conclusion: The Methodology of al-madhab al-jarīrī (255)

Chapter Five. Covenant as Grand Theory (259)
   Metaphysics and Ontology (260)
      Divine Creation and One-ness (260)
      Covenant as Metaphysics and Ontology (262)
      Creation as Language and Writing (263)
      The Human Being (266)
      Gender (269)
   Epistemology (274)
      Induction and Empiricism (274)
      Epistemology and Language (275)
   Ethics (277)
      The Fratricide: Betrayal of Covenant (285)
      Personality, Virtue, and Duty (291)
      History as Legal Cases and Ethical Dilemmas (298)
   Conclusion: Theory, Images, and Institutional Practices (300)

Chapter Six. Concluding Analysis (303)
   Further Reflections: al-Ṭabarī and Conflict Resolution (310)

Bibliography (313)
   Al-Ṭabarī’s works in Arabic (313)
   Al-Ṭabarī’s History in English translation (313)
   Other works by al-Ṭabarī in English Translation (315)
   Other Arabic and translated primary sources (315)
   Primary sources in English translation (317)
   Reference works (317)

Index (331)