ʿAbd al-Razzaq al-Ṣanʿānī (d. 211/827) on Evaluating Witness Testimony in Early Islamic Courts from al-Muṣannaf

In this excerpt of his compendium of law-related ḥadīth reports, al-Ṣanʿānī (d.211/827) relays prophetic sources on various topics, among them an ambiguous ḥadīth on the criterion for witness eligibility, which states that, “No community may testify against another, except the community of Muḥammad.” Ahmed El Shamsy notes in Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts that this verse is legally ambiguous. Later authorities debate its correct interpretation. While it is widely agreed that non-Muslims are ineligible to serve as witnesses against Muslims, some argue that in certain circumstances a scripturalist (generally defined as Jews and Christians) might testify against another scripturalist. Notably, Ṣanʿānī is the only source which transmits this ḥadīth, and it is not included in the work of his contemporary Ibn Abī Shayba.

This source is part of the Online Companion to the book Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts (ILSP/HUP 2017)—a collection of sources and other material used in and related to the book.  


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