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SHARIAsource Lunch Talk :: Between Legal Conservatism and Legal Change: Fault Lines in Ayyūbid Damascus

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Mariam Sheibani, Visiting Fellow, ILSP: SHARIAsource, Harvard Law School

This paper explores the tensions between conservative and innovative strains in Islamic law in twelfth-century Ayyūbid Damascus. The newly restored refugee capital of Damascus inherited the Shāfiʿī traditions of both Khurāsān and Iraq, which had developed autonomously throughout the tenth and eleventh centuries. While formal attribution to the Khurāsānī and Iraqi streams of the school gradually ceased with the destruction of Khurāsān, Sheibani argues that the intellectual legacies and distinct methodologies of each community vied for authority in Ayyūbid Damascus. She utilizes the rivalry between the leading Shāfiʿī authorities of Damascus,  Taqī al-Dīn b. al-Ṣalāḥ (d. 1245) and ʿIzz al-Din b. ʿAbd al-Salām (d. 1262), as a window onto these competing trends within the Shāfiʿī legal school. The talk will also touch upon concerns about the intersection of Islamic theology, legal theory and the substantive aims of legal maxims, and the scope of Islamic legal reasoning (ijtihād). RSVP to [email protected].