Between Ibn al-Junayd al-Iskāfī and al-Shaykh al-Ṭūsī: Legal disagreement (khilāf) in Early Imami hadith Compendia by Dr Ali Rida Rizek

On Wednesday 7th February 2024 at 3:00pm (GMT), Dr Ali Rida Rizek will be presenting a paper titled ‘Between Ibn al-Junayd al-Iskāfī and al-Shaykh al-Ṭūsī: Legal disagreement (khilāf) in Early Imami hadith Compendia.’


The hadith collections of al-Shaykh al-Ṭūsī (d. 460/1067), namely his Tahdhīb al-Aḥkām and al-Istibṣār, comprise detailed accounts of contradictory traditions and extended discussions on related questions of transmission and legal interpretation. Generally, these cases of contradiction led to legal disagreement (khilāf) among Imami scholars. Al-Shaykh al-Ṭūsī remains, however, silent on the identities of those scholars who adopted the traditions that he rejects or reconciliates with other reports. It is until the genre of legal dispute (kutub al-khilāf) became more abundant, recognised, and well-defined in Imami legal discourse ― namely with later Ḥillī scholars, and especially al-ʿAllāma al-Ḥillī (d. 726/1277) ― that some positions became attributed to earlier scholars who were almost contemporary to al-Ṭūsī.

This presentation probes this parallelism between early hadith compendia and later fiqh works; it focuses mainly on the relation between al-Ṭūsī’s Tahdhīb al-aḥkām and al-ʿAllāma al-Ḥillī’s Mukhtalaf al-Shīʿa. By back-projecting instances of legal disputes in al-Mukhtalaf to the correspondent discussions in al-Tahdhīb, it is possible to reconfigure the case of disagreement in a way that shows how legal positions stemming from contradictory hadith reports became, in retrospection, identified with specific earlier Imami legal scholars. The most remarkable example of such incidents is the case of Ibn al-Junayd al-Iskāfī, a renowned legal scholar of the mid-4th/10th century whose legal opinions were subject to criticism and marginalisation. The research further reflects on the significance of some of al-Ṭūsī’s judgments in rejecting the traditions adopted by other Imami scholars, namely in authenticating chains of transmission and elaborating a consistent legal theory.

Speaker bio:

Dr Ali Rida Rizek (PhD, Arabic and Islamic Studies – University of Göttingen, 2021) is a postdoctoral researcher at the Seminar of Arabic and Islamic Studies-I at the University of Göttingen, Germany. He received his BA and MA in Arabic Language and Literature from the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon, He has taught Arabic language and literature at the American University of Beirut (AUB), the Lebanese American University (LAU), the University of Leiden, the University of Göttingen and the University of Bayreuth. His research focuses on the Islamic intellectual history, the intellectual and social history of Shiʿism (with a special concern in Imamiyya), Islamic law, and Qur’anic studies. His dissertation examines, for the first time in a monograph, the life, work and impact of two early Imami legal scholars, namely Ibn Abī ʿAqīl al-ʿUmānī and Ibn al-Junayd al-Iskāfī. He has published studies on Imami ḥadīth, Imami legal history, and the classical Islamic ethical discourse.

Registration details:

The seminar will be held in-house at Al-Mahdi Institute. All are welcome to attend and there is no fee for attendance. For those unable to join in person, a live stream link is also available here.

We look forward to your participation in the seminar.