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Friday, February 06, 2015
The caliphate and burning again
As I read it, Shafi‘i had allowed burning. His fiqh trickled down to the Hanbalis from whom the caliph claims legal descent. The caliph then had to deal with the status of non-Shafi‘ite Sunnis; so the caliph explains why Shafi‘i wasn't just pulling all this out of his own rear.
I'm deleting Ibrahim's parentheses and interposing mine own, which I think explain things better:
Next the fatwa quotes the eminent Hafiz ibn al-Hajar (d. 1449) who comments that “the deeds of the Companions [meaning, successors of Muhammad] evince the permissibility of burning, and the prophet put out the eyes of the men of Urayna with heated iron, and Khalid bin al-Walid burned some of the people who apostatized.”
My takeaway is that the caliph still has to justify his actions to the other ulema. Also, the caliph does NOT bother with Ibn Ishaq (nor with Ibn Hisham, Tabari, etc).
So the practice of burning by fire seems non-Prophetic. It belongs to those who came after him, like Khalid and maybe Ali; and not to all of them, because Ibn Abbas denied it heatedly (so to speak). I'd throw in the Umayyads' own general in the east al-Muhallab ibn Abī Ṣufrā; although, we may in the latter case be looking at the Muhallabids' doctrines, from their later revolt.
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