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Hadith, Piety, and Law

By Christopher Melchert


The publication of The Formation of the Sunni Schools of Law, Ninth-Tenth Centuries CE, first as a University of Pennsylvania doctoral dissertation in 1992, and subsequently as a monograph in 1997 (Studies in Islamic Law and Society, Brill), established Christoph Melchert as a preeminent scholar of the history of Islamic law and institutions. Through close readings of works on fiqh, meticulous unpacking of data in biographical dictionaries, and careful attention to curricular, pious, pedagogical, and scholarly practices, Melchert has subsequently illuminated the processes and procedures that undergirded the development of Islamic movements and institutions in the formative period of Islam.


The present volume brings together sixteen of his articles, including those considered his most important as well as ones that are difficult to access. Originally published between 1997 and 2014, they are arranged chronologically under three rubrics-hadith, piety, and law. The material is presented in a new format, updated by Melchert where appropriate, and indexed. The appearance of these articles together in a single volume makes this book a highly significant and welcome contribution to the field of classical Islamic Studies.

Hadith, Piety, and Law

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    RAIS vol. 3

    384 pages (illus.)
    10 x 7 inches

    978-1-937040-49-9 (paperback)

    978-1-937040-50-5 (PDF)

    November 2015

  • Table of Contents

    Series Editors’ Preface

    Author’s Preface

    Editorial Note





    1 The Adversaries of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (1997)

    2 Bukhari and Early Hadith Criticism (2001)

    3 The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: How It Was Composed and What Distinguishes It from the Six Books (2005)

    4 Bukhari and His Sahih (2010)

    5 The Life and Works of Al-Nasa’i (2014)




    6 The Transition from Asceticism to Mysticism at the Middle of the Ninth Century C.E. (1996)

    7 Early Renunciants as Hadith Transmitters (2002)

    8 The Piety of the Hadith Folk (2002)

    9 Basran Origins of Classical Sufism (2005)

    10 Exaggerated Fear in the Early Islamic Renunciant Tradition (2011)

    11 Renunciation (zuhd) in the Early Shi’i Tradition (2014)




    12 How Hanafism Came to Originate in Kufa and Traditionalism in Medina (1999)

    13 Traditionist-Jurisprudents and the Framing of Islamic Law (2001)

    14 The Meaning of Qala ‘l-Shafi’i in Ninth-Century Sources (2004)

    15 Mawardi, Abu Ya’lá, and the Sunni Revival (2010)

    16 The Relation of Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya and the Hanbali School of Law (2013)


    Index of Premodern Persons and Groups

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