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The Minor Compendium of Ibn ʿAbd al-Ḥakam (D. 214/829) and Its Reception in the Early Mālikī School

Jonathan E. Brockopp
Islamic Law and Society
Vol. 12, No. 2 (2005), pp. 149-181
Published by: Brill
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3399224
Page Count: 33
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Minor Compendium of Ibn ʿAbd al-Ḥakam (D. 214/829) and Its Reception in the Early Mālikī School
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Abstract

Ibn ʿAbd al-Ḥakam's Minor Compendium may be the earliest known handbook of Islamic law. Remarkably compact and comprehensive, it challenges depictions of the pre-classical period as a time of unsystematic legal scholarship, consisting of only "organic" texts and student notebooks. In this article, I argue for an early date for this text, based on analysis of the manuscript witnesses. I then compare the Minor Compendium with several contemporary texts to highlight its unique characteristics; in the process I discover, and seek to explain, several discrepancies in the descriptions of this text that are found in the biographical dictionaries. In my reading, the Minor Compendium is part of a nascent Mālikī tradition and demonstrates a close affinity to Mālik's Muwaṭṭʾ. Yet it is also a highly creative and independent work, and its method of making legal arguments is quite different than that found in the Muwaṭṭʾ and other early legal texts.

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