This is an excellent, important and highly interesting book, the result of thorough studies over many years. It promises to throw light on one of the most complicated and puzzling problems of the history of Islamic thought. It is well known that the understanding of the historical development of Muhammadan law is greatly hampered by the fact that the classical theory of the four sources of Muhammadan law originated in a relatively late period and—what is still more puzzling-that the genuineness of the traditions (a4dditk) of the Prophet by which the most important source of law, the so-called sunna of the Prophet, is documentated in the ancient legal literature of Islam, is doubtful. 1. Goldziher was the first to establish the fact that most of the traditions cannot be considered an authentic source for the real behaviour and sayings of the Prophet, but are the literary form under which the doctrines of later generations were circulated in order to assure them the necessary authority. Many scholars have, moreover, been struck by the fact that in the traditions of the earliest period the chain of transmitters (isndd) does not satisfy the conditions required by the standards of Bukhari and
Oriens – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1951
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