This talk discusses the history of doubt in Islamic law, with a specific focus on Islamic criminal law. It calls into question a popular notion (upheld by some and opposed by others) about Islamic law today, namely that Islamic law is a divine legal tradition with little room for discretion or doubt. Despite its contemporary popularity, that notion turns out to have been far outside the mainstream of Islamic law for most of its history. The surprising reality is this: Instead of rejecting doubt, historically Muslim scholars largely embraced it. In fact, jurists held doubt so closely that it came to be at the heart of Islamic criminal law. This history is significant in the world today not only to further our understanding of a forgotten notion in Islamic law, but because of the importance of early Islamic law for modern interpretations.
Simultaneous Arabic translation provided.
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