Necmettin Kızılkaya

Keywords: Ibn Khaldun, Muqaddimah, History of Islamic Law, Historiography of Islamic Law


As an Ash`ari and Maliki jurist, Ibn Khaldun's various theories, ranging from economics to politics, sociology to philosophy, and history to literature have long been subject of inquiry by prominent scholars. However, his opinion on Islamic sciences such as fiqh, hadith, tafsir and their historical development have rarely been subject of investigation. This article aims to present Ibn Khaldun's views on the history of fiqh and its impact on modern historiography of Islamic law through Muslim and Orientalist scholarship. The main framework of history of fiqh in his Muqaddimah gave both Muslim and Western scholarship of history of Islamic Law an opportunity to reconsider established views. After imperial politics and cultural impact of western countries on Islamic societies, Muslim scholars and intellectuals tried to find solutions for increased modern problems and intercept western challenge. As a result of this consideration, call for ijtihad arose among Muslim scholars. They used Ibn Khaldun's concept of the history of Islamic Law in order to justify their thesis by periodization of the history of Islamic Law within the framework of ijtihad and taqlid. On the other hand, since the main concern of western scholars is the origin of Islamic Law, they applied his opinions to their approach to the early development of Islamic law. Although both Muslim and Orientalist discourses used his attitude for legitimating their conceptions, they did not consider his historical context.