Saim Kayadibi, Istihsan: The Doctrine of Juristic Preference in Islamic Law

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Eric Winkel


I received this book for review right in time for this special issue on maqasid, which is fitting, as the concept of istihsan is often interchangeable with maqasid (p. 34), as in al-Ghazali’s description of maslahah consisting of ‘five essential values’, which we tend to call today maqasid or ‘objectives’. The book is a complete and well-documented history of the term and the concept. As such, it is a necessary reference for anyone studying Islamic law. I found especially valuable the author’s knowledge of the lineages in the ‘schools of Sunnite jurisprudence’, especially in the Hanafi ‘school’. The book will help any student trying to situate the legal scholars over the centuries.

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