Islamic Legal Genres – Ahmed El Shamsy

On April 28, 2021, Ahmed El Shamsy (University of Chicago) presented “What kind of thing is a gloss (hashiya)?” El Shamsy’s lecture described the history, impact, and receptions of legal ḥāshiya literature, with a particular focus on Shāfiʿī law. El Shamsy describes German Orientalist Eduard Sachau’s (d. 1930) description of Shāfiʿī ḥāshiyas and their dominance in nineteenth century East African legal writing. This dominance is a feature El Shamsy attributed to a certain idea of authority within post-classical Islamic legal discussions. El Shamsy argued that in order to understand the rise and fall of the ḥāshiya, we must first understand the way in which ḥāshiya literature developed vis-a-vis extra-legal genres, and the new problems the twentieth century posed to Muslim jurists, causing them to turn their backs on the genre. Read more on our blog and watch the video today.