© Brill, Leiden, 2000 Islamic Law and Society 7,3 THE INTERDICTION OF THE SPENDTHRIFT ( AL-SAFÁH ): A HUMAN RIGHTS DEBATE IN CLASSICAL FIQH L¨ yu½jar ®al¨ al-½urr al-b¨ligh al-®¨qil al-safÂh, Abâ ¼anÂfa 1 OUSSAMA ARABI (Independent Scholar, Beirut) Abstract A semantic equivalence between the Qur¾¨nic terms safÂh and mubadhdhir underlies classical Islamic lawÕs interdiction ( ½ajr ) of the spendthrift. The Qur¾¨n, however, is not explicit in endorsing the semantic equivalence of these two terms. To bridge this semantic gap, Muslim jurists exploited an opposition in Arabic usage between safah and rushd , extending the meaning of safÂh from Òone who lacks judgmentÓ to Òone who squanders his wealthÓ. Subsequently, the safÂh became the object of disagreement among the ¼anafÂ master jurists: Abâ ¼anÂfa placed a greater value on the sane adultÕs legal autonomy than on the preservation of his wealth; Abâ Yâsuf and al-Shayb¨nÂ (together with M¨lik, al-Sh¨fi®Â and the ¼anbalÂs) held for the restriction of the adult prodigalÕs legal capacity. Ibn ¼azm revived Abâ ¼anÂfaÕs position by undertaking a lexicographical critique of the metaphorical extension of the meaning of safÂh and by upholding the Muslim ideal of modest living. T HE PRESENT ARTICLE AROSE OUT
Islamic Law and Society – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2000
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