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Development of the Five Islamic Schools of Law - Essay Example
Law is central to Islamic thought. (Shamsy 2007). The five major schools of Islamic law during the Abbasid period of 758 to 1258 were the Maliki, Hanifi, Shafi'I, Hanbali and Jafari schools of thought. It is both fascinating and useful to explore the creation and development of these five, distinct schools of Islamic law.
Medina was the location that Muhammad and his followers settled in after traveling to it in 622. (Kahn 2001). Other Arab tribes as well as Jews were already living there, so Muhammad made a series of agreements with them in order to maintain an organized, peaceful relationship, as well as lawful order. These formal agreements have come to be known as the Constitution of Medina; it involved the rights, duties and methods of solving disputes among members of various classes. (Al-Muhajabah, 2003). The agreements also gave the prophet Muhammad jurisdiction over all of the people living there. His actions, including his jurisdiction, were based on his interpretation of and strict adherence to the Qu'ran. (Kahn, 2001). "In simple terms, the first Islamic state established in Medina was based on a social contract, was constitutional in character and the ruler ruled with the explicit written consent of all the citizens of the state." (Kahn, 2001).
The constitution of Medina established a pluralistic state -- a community of communities. It promised equal security to all and all were equal in the eyes of the law. (Kahn, 2001). Each tribe had its own laws, and they all had to agree on them for them to be held as laws. ...