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Reconsideration of Legal Devices (Ḥiyal) in Islamic Jurisprudence: The Ḥanafīs and Their "Exits" (Makhārij)

Satoe Horii
Islamic Law and Society
Vol. 9, No. 3 (2002), pp. 312-357
Published by: Brill
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3399460
Page Count: 46
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Reconsideration of Legal Devices (Ḥiyal) in Islamic Jurisprudence: The Ḥanafīs and Their "Exits" (Makhārij)
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Abstract

Ḥiyal (sg. ḥīla) are "legal devices" or tools used to achieve a certain objective, lawful or not, through lawful means. Although it is generally agreed that ḥiyal are not merely "evasions of the law," their exact nature and place within Islamic jurisprudence remains an open question. To date, there have been only a few studies devoted to the subject and these have focused almost exclusively upon the Ḥanafīs, who developed ḥiyal into a special branch of the law, called makhārij, i.e. "exits". I shall examine here the doctrine of the Ḥanafīs together with that of the Mālikī/Medinese jurists, who were early witnesses for and against ḥiyal as conceived by the Ḥanafīs. On the basis of their understanding of law in terms of utility, the Ḥanafīs employed makhārij to provide remedies for those who sought them. As a particular transmission of Ḥanafī doctrine, the genre of makhārij sought to confirm the standard doctrine by discovering "exits" suggested therein. The Ḥanafī concern for the subject was shared by the Mālikīs, albeit from a different point of view. The Mālikīs discussed ḥiyal as jurisprudential materials that convey the validity of their doctrine as prescribing appropriate solutions. Thus, I conclude that both the Ḥanafīs and Mālikīs regarded ḥiyal as solutions drawn from the materials of jurisprudence in accordance with the spirit of law as interpreted by the jurists of their respective schools.

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