The Institute of Ismaili Studies is pleased to announce the publication of a critical edition and English translation of al-Qadi al-Nu‘man’s Minhaj al-fara’id. This book, edited and translated by Professor Agostino Cilardo, has been published under the title, The Early History of Ismaili Jurisprudence: Law under the Fatimids. This book is the eighteenth in the Institute’s Ismaili Texts and Translations Series.

Agostino Cilardo is currently Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Arabic-Islamic and Mediterranean Studies at the ‘Orientale’ in Naples, Italy. Professor Cilardo is a specialist on Islamic law and he has written and edited many books on this subject. In this new publication, he delves into the relatively unexplored field of Ismaili law.

As Professor Cilardo illustrates, “the book tries to trace the evolution of the Ismaili law of inheritance. This result has been achieved by an internal analysis of the different, both edited and unedited, works of al-Qadi Abu Hanifa al-Nu‘man and by a comparison of the Ismaili doctrine to the Imami as well as the Sunni elaboration. Moreover, this book provides readers with the edition and translation of the manuscript Minhaj al-fara’id”.

Al-Qadi al-Nu‘man (d. 363 AH/ 974 CE) is commonly regarded as the founder and greatest exponent of Ismaili jurisprudence. Many of his works have been lost whilst information on others is dispersed. Fortunately, some manuscripts of his works have been preserved, only a few of which have been published in the modern period.

This new publication is a critical edition and translation of al-Nu‘man’s Minhaj al-fara’id which deals with the law of inheritance, one of the most complex in Muslim law. Professor Cilardo goes on to state that “Ismaili law is an essential part in the construction of the Fatimid State and a basic element in the definition of its identity”.

This critical edition begins with an overview of the life and works of al-Qadi al-Nu‘man and then moves on to a study of the differences between his five Ismaili works, which include Da‘a’im al-Islam, and a comparison of their principles with Imami and Sunni doctrines on inheritance.

This publication will appeal to all students of Muslim law and, in particular, Ismaili law, as well as scholars and students of medieval Muslim history, Fatimid jurisprudence, and the works of al-Qadi al-Nu‘man.


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