When did the Sunnis first adopt the view that the Four Madhhabs were equally legitimate/orthodox? The Prophet's time? The early Caliphs? Did the Prophet foretell the birth of Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafi'i & Ahmad b. Hanbal? Who canonized these four schools as comprising Ahl al-Sunna
Believe it or not, there was no "Sunni consensus" over what comprises Ahl al-Sunna even into the late 11th century where fist fights & riots broke out between Hanbalis & Ash'ari-Shafi'is in Baghdad. Abu Nasr al-Qushayri (an Ash'ari) had to bring bodyguards to his lectures
The first instance of "equality" between the Four Madhhabs was a top-down imposition by the Mamluk Sultan Baybars in 1256 when he appointed four Chief Qadis (1 from each school). In other words, what would become the Sunni legal paradigm was a political not scriptural imposition
In fact, this idea of four Chief Qadis was not even Baybars' idea; the Shia Ismaili Fatimids first implemented this "legal pluralist" model in their reign by appointing Sunni & Ismaili Chief Qadis (by Imam Muizz in 900s) & Twelver, Ismaili, Shafi'i & Maliki Chief Qadis in 1130
There are many theories on why Baybars did this: he wanted to curb the authority of his Shafi'i Chief Qadi who refused to consult the fiqh of other madhhabs; he had many subjects of other madhhabs; he wanted to favour the Hanafi school; he wanted to legitimize his own rule...
Rapoport argues that by Baybars' time, ijtihad had given way to taqlid; Sunni jurists held that a qadi MUST judge ONLY in accordance with his own madhhab & reject others; this led to practical inflexibility of running a state with a Chief Qadi showing preference to 1 madhhab
The Mamluks soon appointed Chief Qadis in other regions. Rapoport shows that this created more flexibility for local populations to engage in commercial & social activity & obtain more generous rulings on case by case basis (1 Chief Qadi could pass off a case to another madhhab)

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More from @KhalilAndani

4 Jun
Enjoyed listening to .@holland_tom ‘s take on historical Muhammad. While I don’t agree with all of your theory, I think your take was balanced compared to ultra revisionist theories & raises important questions. open.spotify.com/episode/6utXXd…
There are intra Muslim theories of Quranic revelation & prophecy from ancient & modern Muslims that are less mechanistic than the verbatim dictation model you spoke to. I’ve studied some in my dissertation - which I’m currently working into a book.
The Quran is arguably ambiguous on the mechanics of prophetic revelation - often called Wahy - which one can plausibly read to mean “nonverbal inspiration” as opposed to verbatim dictation.
Read 6 tweets
19 May
This chart received unexpected amount of engagement. I appreciate the critiques: some are warranted & some are not. It is not a perfect chart but I stand by it as a teaching tool & starting point to show intra-Muslim diversity. Some critique I am happy to take on board: (thread)
@MM_Knight makes a good point that the chart appears to show genetic origins - as if a "Sunni" family subdivided into madhabs & other groups, which is not correct. I agree on this. Will consider a better way to capture the history.
Others noted that the visual order of Sunni madhahib do not follow chronology of their 'founders'. This is true; chart did not presume to offer a historical narrative but more of a snapshot at a time (today).
Read 8 tweets
18 May
Thread: I created this chart to present the internal diversity of Islam from an inclusive & pluralist lens. This is how I teach Islam in the academy. I have tried to show important branches that emerged from larger groups -even if said branches no longer identify as Muslim
The Sufi Turuq & Theological schools in this chart are NOT meant to appear as separate from Shia & Sunni, but rather, as embedded within those branches. That is why the Sufi & Kalam schools are not in boxes, since their ideas pervade many communities.
Some people are freaking out because I included Quranists, Progressives, Salafis, and Ahmadis under the Sunni umbrella. That is because, for the most part, these groups emerged from the Sunnis - even if there is debate over whether they are still Sunni.
Read 8 tweets
21 Feb
.@shadihamid to ensure I don’t misrepresent you, here are parts of the book where you make descriptive claim re Muslim beliefs in the Quran as “God’s actual direct & literal speech” & that this makes Islam exceptional. What follows are my academic disagreements with you (thread):
If “Quran” means the recited Arabic sounds/letters/verses, then only Hanbalis & Mu’tazili say the Arabic Quran is God’s direct literal speech. Asharis, Maturidis, Ibn Sina, Ismailis & some Sufis believe God’s Speech is nonmaterial/uncreated & created Arabic Quran indicates to it
To be specific, Ashari & Maturidi theologians to this day say that Arabic Quran as words & verses is not God’s direct speech. It’s a created expression mediated by Gabriel or some other medium. Some believe God inspired His immaterial speech in Gabriel who then forms the words.
Read 11 tweets
21 Feb
@shadihamid with respect; your claim is not accurate. Only Hanbalis say Quran’s words (oral / written) are God’s direct uncreated speech. Asharis/Maturidis/Ismailis/Philosophers ontologically distinguish Quran’s Arabic words from God’s Speech/Word. My entire thesis is about this
Further; Ashari & Maturidi & Ismaili views of Quranic ontology affect their Quranic hermeneutics & ethical theory. See Vishanoff & Farahat’s work and mine as well
There were early Christians fathers & later Christians who do affirm verbal biblical inspiration / dictation as well. One can’t validly claim Muslims are unique in this nor can you claim Muslim inerrancy beliefs are not paralleled among Christians.
Read 6 tweets

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