In this excerpt, al-Sharīf al-Murtaḍā (d. 436/1044) cites a number of opinions regarding whether judges are permitted to rule according to their personal knowledge of a case. He focuses specifically on the question of how many additional witnesses are needed alongside a judge’s use of his own knowledge to render a valid verdict. In his chapter on circumstantial evidence in Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts, Hossein Modarressi cites this source to illustrate some Shīʿī jurists’ endorsement of the validity of judicial knowledge.
This source is part of the Online Companion to the book Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts, ed. Intisar A. Rabb and Abigail Krasner Balbale (ILSP/HUP 2017)—a collection of primary sources and other material used in and related to the book.
The Muwaṭṭaʾis the first extant treatise on Islamic law, written by the eighth-century Medinan jurist Mālik b. Anas (d. 179/795). It provides an unparalleled window into the life of the early Muslim community of Medina—where the Prophet Muḥammad lived and died after immigrating from Mecca—as well as the rituals, laws, and customs that its members upheld years after his death. Harvard’s Program in Islamic Law, in conjunction with Harvard University Press, published an English translation of the Muwaṭṭaʾin 2019, edited and translated by well-known Islamic law scholars Professors Mohammad Fadel and Connell Monette. This translation is based on the recently published critical edition of the Muwaṭṭaʾ, The Royal Moroccan Edition (Rabat: Ministry of Endowments, 2013). With its extensive notes, the English edition is intended to make this important early legal text widely accessible to a broad spectrum of readers, including those interested in both legal history and Islamic Studies. This Online Companionto the Muwaṭṭaʾmakes the full texts of both the original Arabic edition and its English translation freely available online. We gratefully acknowledge the Moroccan Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs for permissions to make the full Arabic text available online.
This source is part of the Online Companion to the print edition al-Muwaṭṭaʾ, the Royal Moroccan Edition: The Recension of Yaḥyā Ibn Yaḥyā al-Laythī (Harvard Series in Islamic Law), edited and translated by Mohammad Fadel and Connell Monette (PIL/HUP, 2019).