Jump to navigation. Following the advent of the phenomenon of the nation-state in modern Muslim countries, the issue of the relationship between the state and religion assumed great significance. Islamic scholars have differed over the scope of this relationship, and a key factor underpinning this inquiry has been different interpretations of the various schools of Islamic law. In this regard, the Hanafi school, due to its wide following, has been the center of attention of Islamic scholars since long. This article examines the Fatawa Alamgiri , a compilation of authoritative Hanafi doctrines, with respect to the meaning of the official recognition of the Hanafi school and the relationship between the state and madhhab school. The meaning of official recognition is explored in the context of personal madhhab of the kings, royal patronage of madhhab , madhhab as a source of legislation, requirements for judges to interpret madhhab , and prevalence of madhhab among the masses.
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Fatawa-e-Alamgiri was the work of many prominent scholars from different parts of the world, including Hejaz , principally from the Hanafi school. As the power shifted from Muslim rulers in India to British Raj , the colonial authorities decided to retain local institutions and laws, to operate under traditional pre-colonial laws instead of introducing secular European common law system.
Further, the English-speaking judges relied on Muslim law specialist elites to establish the law of the land, because the original Fatawa-i Alamgiri Al-Hindiya was written in Arabic.
This created a social class of Islamic gentry that jealously guarded their expertise, legal authority and autonomy. It also led to inconsistent interpretation-driven, variegated judgments in similar legal cases, an issue that troubled British colonial officials. The colonial assumption was that the presumed local traditional sharia-based law, as interpreted from Fatawa-i Alamgiri, could be implemented through British-style law institution with integrity.
Shia Muslims were in conflict with Sunni Muslims of South Asia, as were other minority sects of Islam, and they questioned the applicability of Fatawa-i Alamgiri. Thirdly, the British belief in "legal precedent" was at conflict with disregard for "legal precedent" in Anglo-Muhammadan legal system that emerged, leading colonial officials to distrust the Maulavis Muslim religious scholars.
The British colonial officials responded by creating a bureaucracy that created separate laws for Muslim sects, and non-Muslims such as Hindus in South Asia.
The British tried to sponsor translations of Fatawa-i Alamgiri. In the late 18th century, at the insistence of the British, the al-Hidaya was translated from Arabic to Persian. Charles Hamilton  and William Jones translated parts of the document along with other sharia-related documents in English.
These translations triggered a decline in the power and role of the Qadis in colonial India. The document stiffened the social stratification among Muslims. In substance similar to other Hanafi texts,  the laws in Fatawa-i Alamgiri describe, among other things, the following. The Fatwa-e-Alamgiri also formalized the legal principle of Muhtasib , or office of censor  that was already in use by previous rulers of the Mughal Empire.
Fatawa-i Alamgiri became the reference legal text to enforce Sharia in colonial south Asia in the 18th century through early 20th century. Burton Stein states that the Fatawa-i-Alamgiri represented a re-establishment of Muslim ulama prominence in the political and administrative structure that had been previously lost by Muslim elites and people during Mughal Emperor Akbar 's time.
It reformulated legal principles to defend Islam and Muslim society by creating a new, expanded code of Islamic law. Scholars    state that the British colonial efforts to translate and implement Sharia from documents such as the Fatawa-e Alamgiri had a lasting legal legacy during and in post-colonial South Asia Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
Mona Siddiqui notes that while the text is called a fatawa , it is actually not a fatwa nor a collection of fatwas from Aurangzeb's time. The text considers contract not as a written document between two parties, but an oral agreement, in some cases such as marriage, one in the presence of witnesses. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Fatawa 'Alamgiri Hafiz Aurangzeb reading Quran.
Arabic and Persian.
Fatawa-e -Alamgiri, Vol. VI
Well, I've made a start, but I would appreciate the efforts of othrs more cognizant of Islamic law than me. This important topic deserves a good article. I made some changes to this page. I made similar changes to the page previously but they were reversed. Let me explain why I have made them:. Fiqh is a genre of Islamic scholarship. The Fatawa-i Alamgiri cannot in any way be described as "early.