MAHOMMEDAN LAW
1911 Encyclopedia

The legal situation in the Moslem world is of the highest complexity, and can be made intelligible only by tracing its historical development. First came the system (Jiqh, sharta) which takes the place in Islam of canon law in Roman Christendom. It begins with Mahomet sitting as judge over the primitive Moslem community at Medina. He was the Prophet of God, and judged, as he ruled, absolutely; any decision of his was valid. But he found it, in general, advisable and fitting to follow the local law or usage of Medina when the new faith did not require a change. It thus came about that his decisions followed, at one time, the usage of the Arab tribes of Medina; at another, the law respected by the Jewish tribes therea rabbinic development of the law of Moses, deeply affected by Roman law; at another, the more developed commercial law of Mecca, known to his followers who had fled thence with him; or, finally, his own personal judgment, stated it might be as his own sense of right or as the decision of Allah and even incorporated in the Koran. In his use of these he was an eclectic opportunist, and evidently, except as regards such frequently recurring subjects as inheritance, marriage, &c., had no thought of building up a system or code. At his death he left behind only a few specific prescriptions in the Koran and a mass of recorded decisions of cases that had come before him. He had used himself, in our terms, common law, equity, legislation; to guide his followers he left his legislative enactments and the record of his use of common law. Since his death there has been no new legislation in orthodox Islam.

With the death of Mahomet began the development and codification of Moslem law. It was at first entirely practical. Cases had to be decided, and to decide them there was, first, the Koran; secondly, if nothing ad rem was found in the Koran, there were the decisions of the Prophet; thirdly, if these failed, there was the common law of Medina; and, fourthly, if it, in turn, failed, the common sense of the judge, or equity. A knowledge of the decisions of Mahomet came thus to be of great importance, and records of such decisions were eagerly sought and preserved. But this was simply a part of a much wider movement and tendency. As among primitive peoples in general, custom and usage have always been potent among the Arabs. The ways of the fathers, the old paths, they love to tread. Very early there arose a special reverence for the path and usage (sunna) of Mahomet. Whatever he did or said, or left unsaid or undone, and how he did it, has become of the first importance to the pious Moslem, who would act in every way as did the Prophet. There is evidence that for this purpose the immediate companions of Mahomet took notes, either in memory or in writing, of his table talk and wise sayings, just as they took down or learned by heart for their private use the separate fragments of the Koran. His sayings and doings, manners and customs, his answers to questions on religious life and faith, above all his decisions in legal disputes, came to be recorded on odd sheets in private notebooks. This was the beginning of the enormous literature of traditions (hadft/z) in Islam. The collecting and preserving of these, which was at first private, for personal guidance and edification, finally became one of the most powerful weapons of political and theological propaganda, and colored the whole method and fabric of Moslem thought. All knowledge tended to be expressed in that form, and each element of it to be traced back to, and given in the words of, some master or other through a chain of transmitters. Above all there grew up an enormous mass of evidently forged sayings put into the mouth of Mahomet. At every important political or theological crisis each party would invent and put into circulation a tradition from him, supporting its view. By a study of these flatly opposed sayings it is possible to reconstruct the different controversies of Islam in the past, and to discover what each party regarded as the essence of its position.

The first collecting of traditions was for private purposes, and the - first publication dealing with them was legal. This was the Muwatla of Malik ibn Anas (d. 795), a corpus juris based partly on traditions, and a protest in its methods against the too speculative character of the books of canon law which preceded it. Thereafter came collections of two different types. The earlier kind was arranged according to the companions of Mahomet, on whose authority the traditions were transmitted; after each companion came the traditions going back to him. The best known example of this kind is the Musnad of Abmad ibn Ilanbal. The other kind, called Mu~annaf (classified), contains traditions arranged in chapters according to their subject matter. That of Bukhari is the most famous, and is arranged to give a traditional basis for a complete system of canon law; its rubrics are those of such a system. Another is that of Muslim ibn al-~ajjaj, who paid less atteption to legal aspects and more to minute accuracy. There are many others of more or less acceptance and canonicity. Bukharis book enjoys a reverence only second to that of the Koran. But in all these publications the primary object was to purify the mass of traditions of forged accretions and to give to the believer a sound basis for his knowledge of the usages of the Prophet, whether for his personal or for public use. These two kinds were a natural development. In the Moslem community there were from the first students of tradition proper whose interest lay in collecting, testing and transmitting, not in combining, systematizing and elucidating; whose preference was to take a single statement from the Prophet and apply it to a case, without reasonings or questionings. And there were students of canon law who were interested rather in the system and results, and who, while they used traditions, used them only to an end and insisted on the free application of speculative principles. The conflict of the future was to be between these traditionalists, on the one hand, and rationalists, on the other; and the result was to be a compromise.

With the wide sweep of Moslem conquest another element came into the development. This was Roman law, which the Moslem jurist found at work in the conquered Roman provinces and in the law courts of which they went to school. It is to be remembered that the Arab armies were not devastating hordes; they recognized the need of law and order whereves tney went, and it was the policy of their leaders to take over the administrative systems of the countries which they seized. Even the Arabic legal nomenclature shows evident signs of literal translation from Latin, and many Moslem principles can be traced to the Roman codes. One important development was plainly influenced by the liberty involved in the Responsa prudentium of Roman lawyers, and by the broad conception of the law of nature in the Edict of the Praetor. In its earliest stages Moslem law recognized in the judge a liberty of opinion (ray) which went beyond even that of the Responsa and became plain equity, in the English sense, and one school (the Hanifite) established as a basis the right of preference (istiizsdn) even when the analogy of the code dictated otherwise; while another (the Malikite) used the term isti~laiz, a seeking of (general) benefit to the community, in a similar situation. But these developments were bitterly contested, and the liberty of opinion was in the end narrowed down to a principle of analogy (qiyas), the nearest approach to which in Western law is legal fiction.

It is necessary now to return to the firstsuccessorsofMahomet. For thirty years after my death, he is said to have declared, my people will tread in my path (sunna); thereafter will come kings and princes. This tradition crystallizes the later feeling of Islam. The first thirty years were a golden age; the centre of the state was the Prophets own city of Medina; the conditions of the state continued in close conformity to those of his own time. The study of tradition, i.e. of his usage, went hand in hand with the study of law. They were vital functions of the state, and it encouraged both.

Then came the great db&1e. The ancien regime, a semimonkish, theocratic empire, went down, and the Omayyad dynasty, kings and princes of the old Arab type, took its place (see CALIPHATE, B). The public life of the state was no longer deeply religious~ the pious said that it was godless. Under these .conditions law was indeed still needed; but it had to be opportunist. Its development went on, but became speculative. The study of tradition was now private, and its students were more and more the personally pious. There were, thus, two results. On the one hand, the framers of systems of canon lawas it now wasno longer lived in contact with reality; hypothetical and ideal structures were reared which could never stand the touch of the practical law-court. And on another, traditions and law, even this hypothetical law, came to take separate roads. The interest of the students of tradition became the gathering of traditions for their own sake, going no farther than a striving to regulate each detail of life by some specific, concrete, prophetic dictum. They had no use for systems that went beyond the mere registering of these dicta. The feeling also became widespread that any system of government which did not simply reproduce the patriarchal form of Medina was of the world and the devila thing with which no religious man could have aught to do. At every turn he would have to peril his soul.

Here we must place the transition of this law with which wi have hitherto dealt from being the law of the land to being ir essence a variety of canon law. It was always broader than an) western secular law. It regulated all the aspects of lifedut) to God, to ones neighbor, to ones self. It was really a systen of duties, ethical, legal, religious. It did not limit itself ti defining the forbidden (~taram); but designated actions also a:

required (lard, wajib), recommended (mandb, mustai-zabb) indifferent (jaiz, mubaii), disliked (makri~h). It played th part of, or rendered necessary, a religious director quite as mud as a lawyer. And for a time at Medina it was really the la~ of the land. But from the Omayyad period on it has held th position of the canon law of the Roman Church in countries tha will not recognize it and yet dare not utterly reject it. I governs, in one or other of its four schools, the private lives c all pious Moslems, it regulates some semi-public relationships e.g. marriage, divorce, inheritance; it compels respect, if no acceptance, from the state; and by its ideal standard the worlc filled with righteousness by the Mahdi, will be ruled in th Moslem millennium.

The rise of the Abbasids brought a change, but not a great one. They had promised a return to the old religious attitudes, and the promise was formally kept. But in substance they were as much as the Omayyads, and though the state was outwardly on a pious footing, and the religious sentiment of the people was respected, the old, absolute canon law was not restored. It was made possible for more theologians and lawyers to work with the state, but an irreconcilable party still remained, and the situation was fixed as it is to this day. It is true that the struggle to adapt such a single and detailed system to all the varying conditions, climates and times of the great empire was impossible; but the failure marked the great rent in the supposed unity of Islam between the church and the world, religion and law.

Yet the Abbasids did, in their way, encourage legal studies, and under them processes and results, long pursued in private, became public. Almost within the first century of their dynasty the four legal schools, or rites, were formed and the principles established which survive to this day.

The first school to take definite form was the Hanifite, founded by Abe llanifa (d. 767), who left behind him a definite system and many enthusiastic pupils. He was a man of means, in touch with commercial, but not with practical legal life, a speculative or philosophical jurist. Being of non-Arab origin, the usage of Medina had small interest for him. He therefore used few traditions, and preferred to go back to the Koran, and extract from it by reasoning the rulings which fitted his ideas, This he called the use of analogy (qiyas); but, in his hands, it became practically legal fiction, the application of a law in some sense undreamed by its first imposer. But he had another, and still freer instrument. The effect of differences in local conditions had been early observed and admitted in general terms. Ab IJanifa reduced it to a subjective formula. Under such conditions he claimed the right of preference (istiiisn) of a ruling suited to the local needs, even when the strict analogy indicated otherwise. This met and meets with vehement prote~t when formally stated, but the usage of Islam has practically accepted it. His system, finally, was not developed through the exigencies of actual cases, but was worked out as a system of casuistry, though in a good sense. He tried, that is, to construct a system of rules to answer any conceivable question. After his death his pupils elaborated it still further, and accepted public office. The Abbgsids adopted his school, and threw their influence on its side; its philosophic breadth and casuistic possibilities evidently commended it to them. Later, the Ottoman Turks also adopted it, and it may be said to hold now a leadership among the fourlegal rites. Its influence has undoubtedly tended to broaden and humanize Moslem law.

Twenty-eight years after Ab~ IJanifa, Malik ibn Anas, the founder of the Malikite school, died at Medina. In many points his situation was precisely opposite to that of AbC IJanifa, and yet his results were very similar. He was a working jurist, in practical touch with actual life; he was in the centre of the tradition of the usage of the Prophet, in the line, one might say, of the apostolic succession. He, therefore, used traditions much more generally than did Ab~ klanifa, and when he-, under pressure, took refuge in opinion, he certainly felt that he, under his conditions, had a better right to do so than any outsider. But two of his principles marked a distinct advance and showed that he was no mere traditionalist. For one, he laid down the conception of public advantage (isti~laii); when a rule founded on even a valid analogy would work a general injury it wa, to be set aside; justice must not be overcome by logic. And, for the other, he laid stress on the conception of the agreement (ijmd), an idea which was to have indefinite importance in the future, When the surviving companions of the Prophet, after his death agreed upon any point as belonging to their store of tradition ant experience, their agreement was accepted as final. In the flea instance they agreed that such had been the statement of the Prophet That easily passed over into an agreement that such was the trw Moslem view, and finally into an acceptance of the principle that thi Moslem Church, when unanimous, could formulate truthpractic ally as in the canon of Vincent of Lrins, Quod semper, quod ubique quod ab omnibus. But such a broadly catholic position was still ii the future, and for Malik, juristic agreement meant the agreemen of Medina, thotigh there are signs that he permitted the same latitud~ to other places also. It was a way of allowing for local condition rather than of reaching the voice of the Church. His law book, th Muwatta, the earliest in our possession written by the founder o a school, has already been mentioned. It is a collection of abou - seventeen hundred traditions of juristic importance, arrange~ according to subject, with appended remarks on the usage of Medin:

and on his own view of each matter.

So far opinion and local usage had fully held their own, and th I philosophical jurist had been free to work out his system. Th difference between the istihsdn of Abu Hanifa and the isti4laiz c Malik was not great; students attended the lectures of both and combined their systems. But a reaction now began, and the traditionalist party finally made itself felt. We have the inevitable rivalry between the historical-empirical and the speculative-philosophical schools of jurisprudence, rendered all the more bitter in that the historical lawyers believed, in this case, that they were defending a divine institution. There resulted, first, one of the most important schools, the Shgfiite; secondly, an extremely literal school for which ash-Shfi~i did not go far enough, and which has now vanished; and thirdly, the Hanbalite school, still surviving in small numbers, more moderately traditional than the last.

The school founded by ash-Shgfii (d. 820), a pupil of Malik, came first in order of time. The others were really revolts against the mildness of his compromise. His characteristics were a broadminded, steady grasp of means and ends, a perception of what could and what could not be done, a willingness to admit all the tried principles in due balance, and, at one point especially, the insight of genius as to the possibilities of these principles. He laid great stress on tradition; a clear, authentic tradition he regarded as no less valid than the Koran itself. If the tradition was chronologically later than a Koran Ic passage and corrected that passage, he followed the tradition. But in this he was only regulating a fixed tendency. The Koran may be regarded theoretically as the first of all the sources of law and~ theology; practically its clear statements have been over-ridden in many cases. Most important of all, the principle of agreement (ijma) came finally with him to its full rights. The agreement of the Moslem peoples was to be the voice of GOd. My people, said a tradition from Mahomet, will never agree in an error. And so, over traditions and over the Koran itself, the agreement tacitly or explicitly ruled and rules. It stamps as authoritative that which the other principles lay down. At the head of each section of a Shgfiite law book we read, The basis of this, before the agreement, is such and such. But with the aid of a principle of this breadth it was easy to reject the opinion which was so objectionable to the traditionalist party. In its place he tbok analogy (qiyas), which, discreetly used, could serve almost the same purpose. The Koranic passage or the tradition with which an analogy was suggested should, he taught, be examined to see if there was a reason clearly stated for the command. If so, that reason would give a basis for the analogy. Analogy based on the mechanical or external could not hold.

The four bases thus laid down by ash-ShafiiKoran; prophetic usage as expressed in traditions; analogy; agreementhave come to be accepted by all existing schools. This applies to all spheres of life, ethical, social, theological, legal, and it should never be forgotten that the Koran is only one of the sources for Moslem faith and conduct.

Few words are needed for the other, reactionary schools. One, now long extinct, was founded by a certain Dfld u~-Zflhiri, David the Literalist, born three or four years before the death of, ashShafii, and so called because he insisted upon an absolutely literal interpretation of his textsKoran or traditionwithout account of context or metaphor. In consequence he had to reject analogy, and limited agreement to that of the companions of Mahomet; the Church of Islam was to have no constructive authority. In one point he showed great sanity of judgment, namely in his rejection of the principle jurare in verba magislri, otherwise regnant in Islam. His school had long and interesting consequences, mostly theological, but is now extinct, and never took rank with the others. The Moslem world found his positions too impossible, and now no one swears to his words. The other, the Uanbalite school, was founded by the scholars of Ahmad ibn Hanbal after his death in 885. He himself would never have revolted against his master, ash-Shgfii, but it was soon felt that his system, so far as he had any, was in essential opposition. He had been no lawyer, but a theologian and a collector and student of traditions. All his life had been a protest against speculation in divine things. Where the Koran and traditions were silent, he, too, had been silent. For this agnostic principle he had witnessed and suffered, and his standing with the people was that of a saint. Naturally, then, the last still existent school of traditionalist protest was launched in his name. It minimizes agreement and analogy, is literal in its interpretations, and is now by far the smallest of the four surviving schools. Its external history is that of a testifying and violent minority.

Other men, such as Tabari, the historian and commentator, have had dreams that they, too, might join the Four Imms (see IMAM) as founders of legal rites, but none has succeeded. The Four remain the ultimate exponents of this canon law, and under the banner of one or other of them every Moslem must range himself. As there is a principle of unity in Islam, expressed in the alleged prophetic saying, My people will never agree in an error, so there is a principle of variety, also expressed in an alleged prophetic saying, The disagreement of my people is a mercy from God. The four rites may differ upon many points, yet the adherents of one never dream of regarding the adherents of the others as outside the Church of Islam; they are not dissenters in the English sense. God is merciful to his creatures, and gives them so much liberty of choice. Yet in practice this liberty is not gr,gat. The principle of swearing to the words of the master is a dead hand laid upon Islam. A mans legal rite is generally settled by the place and other conditions of his birth, and after he has once accepted a rite, he must, if good and pious, follow it in all its details. Only the avowed sceptic or the recognized eccentric can be an eclectic.

The geographical distribution of the rites is roughly as follows:

Moslems in Central Asia and northern India and the Turks everywhere are Hanifites; in Lower Egypt, Syria, southern India and the Malay Archipelago they are Shafiites; in Upper Egypt and in north Africa, west of Egypt, they are Malikites; only the Wahhabis (q.v.) in central Arabia are Uanbalites. But the will of the sovereign has also had a powerful influence and has frequently dictated the legal, as well as the theological, affiliations of his subjects. The Turks, for example, have thrown their weight almost everywhere on the Hanifite side. Their policy is to appoint only Hanifite judges (see CAm), although for private and personal questions they appoint and pay Muftis (q.v.) of the other rites. In other cases, with a population of mixed legal adherence, the government has been known to appoint judges of different rites.

The Shiite canon law is dealt with separately, but some mention of two outstanding sects is here in place. The Ibg~ites (see MAHOMMEDAN RELIGION: Sects) have a system of canon law which in essentials is of older codification than that of any of the orthodox schools, going back to Abdallah ibn Ibad himself, of the first century of the Hijra (Hejira). Its basis is above all the Koran, then a sparing use of traditions, natural to their early origin, and finally the agreement of their own learned men, again natural to an extreme dissenting sect, and it still rules the Ibti4ite communities at Oman, Zanzibar and the Mzab in southern Algeria. At all these places they, the last descendants of the Khrijites, hold severely apart, while the other Moslems shrink from them as heretics of the worst. Not nearly so far from ordinary Islam, but still of an extreme self-conscious Puritanism are the Wahhgbis. They are really Uanbalites, but apply the rules of that school with uncompromising, reforming energy. The doctrine of the agreement of the Church of Islam they reject; only that of the immediate companions of Mahomet is valid. The people of Mahomet can err and has erred; each man must, on his own responsibility, draw his doctrine from the Koran and the traditions. Here they follow the ~ghirites.

All these schools of law administer a scheme of duties, which, as has already been remarked, comes nearest to the canon law of the Roman Church, and which for centuries has had only a partial connection with the real legal systems of the Moslem peoples. Among the Wahhabis and IMlites alone is it the whole of law. Elsewhere, since the Omayyad period, its courts have been in great part pushed aside by others, and its scheme has come to be regarded as an expression of impossible theory, to be realized at best with the coming of the millennium. The causes and methods of this change call now for detailed notice.

As Islam spread beyond the desert and the conditions in which the life of Mahomet and his companions had been cast, it came to regions, climates, customs, where the Arabian usages no longer held. Not only were the prescripts of Medina ill adapted to the new conditions; the new people had legal usages of their own to which they clung and which nothing could make them abandon. It was rather the Moslem leaders who were compelled to abandon their ideas and for the sake of the spread of Islam to accept and incorporate much that was diametrically opposed to the original legislation either of the Koran or of Mahomets recorded decisons. As in religion the faiths of the conquered peoples were thinly veneered with Moslem phrases, so in law there grew up a customary code (ad~zt) for each country, differing from every other, which often completely obscured and annulled the prescriptions of the canon law. The one was an ideal system, studied and praised by the pious learned; the other was the actual working of law in the courts.

But besides the obstinate adherence of various peoples to their old paths, the will of individual rulers was a determining factor. When these ceased to be saints and students of divine things, and came to be worldly statesmen and opportunists, followers of their own objects and pleasures, no system could bold which set a limit to their authority. The Oriental ruler must rule and judge on his own initiative, and the schools of canon law tended to reduce everything to an academic fixedness. There thus arose a new and specific statute law, emanating from the sovereign. At first he judged in the gate as seemed good in his eyes and as was his right and duty (cf. court of oppressions ; see MAHOMMEDAN INSTITUTIONS); later, his will was codified as in the Turkish statute law (qawanin) derived from various European codes. Thus there has grown up in almost

Malik was not great; students attended the lectures of both and combined their systems. But a reaction now began, and the traditionalist party finally made itself felt. We have the inevitable rivalry between the historical-empirical and the speculative-philosophical schools of jurisprudence, rendered all the more bitter in that the historical lawyers believed, in this case, that they were defending a divine institution. There resulted, first, one of the most important schools, the Shgfiite; secondly, an extremely literal school for which ash-Shfi~i did not go far enough, and which has now vanished; and thirdly, the Hanbalite school, still surviving in small numbers, more moderately traditional than the last.

The school founded by ash-Shgfii (d. 820), a pupil of Malik, came first in order of time. The others were really revolts against the mildness of his compromise. His characteristics were a broadminded, steady grasp of means and ends, a perception of what could and what could not be done, a willingness to admit all the tried principles in due balance, and, at one point especially, the insight of genius as to the possibilities of these principles. He laid great stress on tradition; a clear, authentic tradition he regarded as no less valid than the Koran itself. If the tradition was chronologically later than a Koran Ic passage and corrected that passage, he followed the tradition. But in this he was only regulating a fixed tendency. The Koran may be regarded theoretically as the first of all the sources of law and~ theology; practically its clear statements have been over-ridden in many cases. Most important of all, the principle of agreement (ijma) came finally with him to its full rights. The agreement of the Moslem peoples was to be the voice of GOd. My people, said a tradition from Mahomet, will never agree in an error. And so, over traditions and over the Koran itself, the agreement tacitly or explicitly ruled and rules. It stamps as authoritative that which the other principles lay down. At the head of each section of a Shgfiite law book we read, The basis of this, before the agreement, is such and such. But with the aid of a principle of this breadth it was easy to reject the opinion which was so objectionable to the traditionalist party. In its place he tbok analogy (qiyas), which, discreetly used, could serve almost the same purpose. The Koranic passage or the tradition with which an analogy was suggested should, he taught, be examined to see if there was a reason clearly stated for the command. If so, that reason would give a basis for the analogy. Analogy based on the mechanical or external could not hold.

The four bases thus laid down by ash-ShafiiKoran; prophetic usage as expressed in traditions; analogy; agreementhave come to be accepted by all existing schools. This applies to all spheres of life, ethical, social, theological, legal, and it should never be forgotten that the Koran is only one of the sources for Moslem faith and conduct.

Few words are needed for the other, reactionary schools. One, now long extinct, was founded by a certain Dfld u~-Zflhiri, David the Literalist, born three or four years before the death of, ashShafii, and so called because he insisted upon an absolutely literal interpretation of his textsKoran or traditionwithout account of context or metaphor. In consequence he had to reject analogy, and limited agreement to that of the companions of Mahomet; the Church of Islam was to have no constructive authority. In one point he showed great sanity of judgment, namely in his rejection of the principle jurare in verba magislri, otherwise regnant in Islam. His school had long and interesting consequences, mostly theological, but is now extinct, and never took rank with the others. The Moslem world found his positions too impossible, and now no one swears to his words. The other, the Uanbalite school, was founded by the scholars of Ahmad ibn Hanbal after his death in 885. He himself would never have revolted against his master, ash-Shgfii, but it was soon felt that his system, so far as he had any, was in essential opposition. He had been no lawyer, but a theologian and a collector and student of traditions. All his life had been a protest against speculation in divine things. Where the Koran and traditions were silent, he, too, had been silent. For this agnostic principle he had witnessed and suffered, and his standing with the people was that of a saint. Naturally, then, the last still existent school of traditionalist protest was launched in his name. It minimizes agreement and analogy, is literal in its interpretations, and is now by far the smallest of the four surviving schools. Its external history is that of a testifying and violent minority.

Other men, such as Tabari, the historian and commentator, have had dreams that they, too, might join the Four Imms (see IMAM) as founders of legal rites, but none has succeeded. The Four remain the ultimate exponents of this canon law, and under the banner of one or other of them every Moslem must range himself. As there is a principle of unity in Islam, expressed in the alleged prophetic saying, My people will never agree in an error, so there is a principle of variety, also expressed in an alleged prophetic saying, The disagreement of my people is a mercy from God. The four rites may differ upon many points, yet the adherents of one never dream of regarding the adherents of the others as outside the Church of Islam; they are not dissenters in the English sense. God is merciful to his creatures, and gives them so much liberty of choice. Yet in practice this liberty is not gr,gat. The principle of swearing to the words of the master is a dead hand laid upon Islam. A mans legal rite is generally settled by the place and other conditions of his birth, and after he has once accepted a rite, he must, if good and pious, follow it in all its details. Only the avowed sceptic or the recognized eccentric can be an eclectic.

The geographical distribution of the rites is roughly as follows:

Moslems in Central Asia and northern India and the Turks everywhere are Hanifites; in Lower Egypt, Syria, southern India and the Malay Archipelago they are Shafiites; in Upper Egypt and in north Africa, west of Egypt, they are Malikites; only the Wahhabis (q.v.) in central Arabia are Uanbalites. But the will of the sovereign has also had a powerful influence and has frequently dictated the legal, as well as the theological, affiliations of his subjects. The Turks, for example, have thrown their weight almost everywhere on the Hanifite side. Their policy is to appoint only Hanifite judges (see CAm), although for private and personal questions they appoint and pay Muftis (q.v.) of the other rites. In other cases, with a population of mixed legal adherence, the government has been known to appoint judges of different rites.

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