The Zahiri Madhhab (3rd/9th-10th/16th Century): A Textualist Theory of Islamic Law

In this book, Amr Osman seeks to expand and re-interpret what we know about the history and doctrine of the Zahiri madhhab. Based on an extensive prosopographical survey, he concludes that the founder, Dawud al-Zahiri, was closer in profile and doctrine to the Ahl al-Ra'y than to the Ahl al-Hadith. Furthermore, Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi may have had a damaging effect on the madhhab, which never actually developed into a full-fledged school of law. By examining the meaning of 'zahir' and modern scholarship on 'literalism', he challenges the view that Zahirism was literalist, proposing 'textualism' as an accurate reflection of its premises, methodology, and goals as a hermeneutical and legal theory.