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.
Ibn Ḥārith al-Khushanī recorded the following case as a ḥikāya, an anonymous report: A Christian appeared before the judge Aslam b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, petitioning to be executed. The anecdote offers insight into the historical role of judges during a period of religious dissent in the Umayyad Caliphate, while the author's narrative voice demonstrates past judicial approaches to rationality, humor, and violent penalization.
This text is part of Maribel Fierro, The Judges of al-Andalus, forthcoming.
In this excerpt, ʿAbd al-Karīm Zaydān (d. 2014), an Iraqi scholar, gives a summary of the Ẓāhirī, Shāfiʿī, Ḥanbalī, Ḥanafī, and Mālikī viewpoints on the question of judicial knowledge—that is, whether it is permissible for a judge to rule according to his own knowledge in court—and evaluates their merits. In his chapter on circumstantial evidence in Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts, Hossein Modarressi cites this source to demonstrate the range of opinions held by Sunnī jurists on this issue.