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Islamic Natural Law Theories$
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Anver M. Emon

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199579006

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579006.001.0001

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Hard Natural Law

Hard Natural Law

(p.40) II Hard Natural Law
Islamic Natural Law Theories

Anver M. Emon

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the reader to three different approaches to a particular type of Islamic natural law theory, herein called Hard Natural Law. It reviews the writings of three premodern Sunni Muslim jurists, all of whom are concerned with whether empirical evaluations of the good and the bad can lead to Shari'a norms, whose authority participates in or draws upon the authority of the Divine Will. Their theoretical approaches show how nature provides the foundation for the authority of reason as a source of Shari'a. The three Hard Natural Law jurists fuse fact and value in nature, and situate their use of reason within a natural teleology directed to the telos of human fulfillment in both this world and the hereafter. Their version of natural law is called ‘hard’ because their conception of nature as a bounty to humanity is fixed and not vulnerable to a divine ‘change of mind’.

Keywords:   teleology, justice, natural law, hard natural law, reason, authority, al-Jassas, Qadi 'Abd al-Jabbar, Abu al-Husayn al-Basri

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