Useful Usul al-Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) Books in English

Question:

I was wondering if you knew of any usul al-fiqh books in English that I could purchase or get from the library, so I can learn some of the basic usul words.

Answer:

There are quite a few books that have been published in the last two decades on the science of Islamic law (fiqh) and jurisprudence/ legal methodology (usul al-fiqh). Older publications, in my opinion, such as Abdur Rahim’s  The Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence hold little value now that newer publications have incorporated their original material and improved on their language and terminology.
Of all the books that I have personally come across, I have found Dr. Mohammad Hashim Kamali’s Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence to be the most beneficial for seekers of knowledge in search of the English equivalents of Arabic legal terms. The book’s sequence of chapters and choice of terminology in particular make it most appropriate and suitable for their purposes.
Besides Kamali’s book, I have found publications that have come out of the International Islamic University in Islamabad to be particularly helpful as well (amongst them, the works of Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee, such as: Theories of Islamic Law: The Methodology of Ijtihad, Outlines of Islamic Jurisprudence, and Islamic Jurisprudence). Of course, we are not speaking about content here as much as choice of terms and fluidity of language. Kamali’s book, however, is much more easily available.
You may also want to check out Shah Abdul Hannan’s online book, Usul al-Fiqh, although I have not compared the language of the work with that of other books. Additionally, you might find benefit in Dr. Taha Jabir al-Alwani’s book Usul al-Fiqh al-Islami: Source Methodology in Islamic Jurisprudence, or its online version (Usul al-Fiqh).
I realize that I am probably leaving out a lot of works that may be better than those I have suggested, but since I have not read many of such books in English, I will suffice with providing a list below of books on the topic from openlibrary.org and hoping that readers will also provide their input:
Bilal Ali

8 thoughts on “Useful Usul al-Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) Books in English

  1. Apart from Hallaq, Weiss (, Bernard G.) has done some work on Sayf al-Din al-Amidi’s extensive “al-Ihkam Fi Usul al-Ahkam”. “In search of God’s Law” is a subjective yet very engaging translation where Weiss explains all that he understands, or would like us to understand, from each chapter of the original text. It is quite thorough and will only suit serious students who do not find extensive maths boring and tedious. He deals with a lot of terms independently, evaluating previous translations and gives his input on them.

    On the other hand, Sukrija Husejn Ramic’s “Language and Interpretation of Islamic Law” has been heavily underplayed. It’s a book that complements Kamali’s Usul text, and will most definitely help understand the lessons of ‘Aam, Khaas etc., if not the Usul terms asked in the query.

    Apart from that, there are the lexicons, like the “Mu’jam Lughat al-Fuqaha'” and S.H. Amin’s “Arabic-English Dictionary of Legal Terms”, the former focusses on Islamic legal terms exclusively whilst the latter deals with legal terms on a broader scale.

    I may have a pdf copy of the texts noted in your post above. Shoot me an e-mail if you want to post it up on the blog.

    Lastly, my bias leaves me to point out the translation of Imam al-Shafi’is “al-Risalah” that’s been published too. After reading the al-Risalah in Arabic, I’ve never seen al-Shafi’i nor Usul al-Fiqh in the same light again. Cant recommend it enough!

    Uwais.

  2. Salam Alaykum,

    I would like to know if there are any works which defend the methodolgies of the four schools of thought against the attacks of certain sects and groups who seek to undermine these schools of thought.

    Wa Salam.

  3. Salam Alaykum,

    at-Tahawi

    Which language book are you looking for?

    If possible in English, but if not then in Arabic. It is known that there are groups from the past (like Shias) and from the present (the modernists and progressives) who seek to mock the Sunni system through which our Aqeedah and Fiqh is based. So this is why I am asking about this matter.

    So if any work exists defending the methodology and system upon which Sunnism is based, whether in English, Arabic, or any other language, then I would like to know about it.

    Wa Salam

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