Chapter 3: Elusive Texts: The Book of Tension
Haifaa G. Khalafallah [+]
Sinai Centre for Islamic Mediterranean Studies
Written documents do not and cannot tell the whole story of Muslim legal mores, however. Early in their history, Muslim societies turned to more elusive texts to decide their fuqaha’s rulemaking expertise: “Texts of tension” is what this book calls the tacit Shari’a manuals that various crises have generated. How a faqih responded to challenges of his times have long served as primers in which communities found evidence of the worth of the rules that these experts deduced, providing valuable texts as well as contexts that situate the original purpose of a rule, a legal argument, and clarify the continuities or breaks in Shari'a rule/law-making. From this all-important but elusive book of tension, the chapter introduces three portraits of some of the commotion Ghazali had stirred or was a central figure in, and which many of his countrymen used to weigh Ghazali’s credibility, and by implication, his Shari’a expertise.