The Search for God’s Law

Islamic Jurisprudence in the Writings of Sayf al-Din al-Amidi

Scholars praised the 1992 edition of The Search for God’s Law as a groundbreaking intellectual treatment of Islamic jurisprudence. Bernard Weiss’s revised edition brings to life Sayf al-Din al Amidi’s classic exposition of the methodologies through which Muslim scholars have constructed their understandings of the divine law.

Weiss’s new introduction provides an overview of Amidi’s jurisprudence that facilitates deeper comprehension of the challenging dialectic of the text. This edition includes an in-depth analysis of the nature of language and the ways in which it mediates the law, while shaping it at the same time. An updated index has been added.


Bernard G. Weiss is professor of languages and literature at the University of Utah. He is the author of The Spirit of Islamic Law and co-editor of the Brill series Studies in Islamic Law and Society.

Table of Contents:

Preface to the Revised Edition  
Preface to the First Edition 

Part I. Postulates 
Chapter 1. The Theological Postulates 
Chapter 2. The Fiqh Postulates 
Chapter 3. The Lugha-Related Postulates

Part II. The Indicators Of God’s Law 
Chapter 4. The Qur’an And The Sunna 
Chapter 5. The Ijmac 
Chapter 6. The Transmission Of Texts  
Chapter 7. Commands 
Chapter 8. General And Unqualified Expressions 
Chapter 9. Ambiguity, Lucidity, And Diversion To Nonapparent Meaning (Ta’wil) 
Chapter 10. Implication 
Chapter 11. Abrogation  
Chapter 12. Analogy: Definition And Conditions of Validity 
Chapter 13. Analogy: Ascertaining the Occasioning Factor 
Chapter 14. The Defense of Analogy 
Chapter 15. Istidlal and the Invalid Indicators of the Law 

Part III. Mujtahids, Muftis, And Commoners 
Chapter 17. Consultation And Advice: The Mujtahid As Mufti 

Part IV. The Weighing Of Conflicting Indicators  


Praise and Reviews:

"An astonishing achievement of linguistic and analytical skills and dedicated hard work, and a foundational element for the next generation of scholars in this field."—Norman Calder, University of Manchester

"The Search for God’s Law is all that one might hope for in its depth, its subtlety, and its comprehensive vision."
—Kevin Reinhart, Dartmouth College

"It is certainly not every day that something significant happens in the field [of Islamic jurisprudence]. In The Search for God’s Law that significant something has happened."—Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo, International Institute of Islamic Thought