Piece for The Maydan on the Contemporary Maliki Madhhab

At George Mason University’s The Maydan, I have a new post looking at present-day dynamics within the Maliki school of Islamic law. An excerpt:

Against Salafis’ criticisms of the madhahib and audiences’ hunger for evidence, major Maliki scholars have not abandoned the traditional canon of the school. However, they have increasingly subjected the Maliki canon to a process that I would call “dalil-ization.” This process entails two maneuvers: first, moving the process of istidlal, or evidence-based argumentation, from the realm of legal specialists into the reach of the beginner; and second, breaking with some of the school’s famous rulings and selectively siding with other schools and/or with minority Maliki perspectives on those issues. Neither of these processes is new for Malikis or for followers of other schools, and the difference is one of degree rather than kind; in the past, istidlal would be introduced in stages throughout the learning process, and experts’ awareness of minority views within the madhhab was often paired with a sense that laypersons were better off adhering to the majority positions on given issues.

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