The Interpretation of Qur’anic Laws in Yemen


ACLS Fellowship Program


Middle Eastern and North African Studies


Medieval Muslim scholars identified between 200-800 verses of the Qur’an as having legal significance. This study examines how one scholar, Muhammad b. al-Hadi (d. 1320), linked the legal verses of the Qur’an to the webs of casuistry that form the substance of Islamic jurisprudence. Muhammad b. al-Hadi, a Zaydi Muslim scholar from Yemen, wrote an influential Qur’an commentary called al-Rawda wa al-ghadir (The Garden and the Pool) that is devoted exclusively to the legal verses of the Qur’an. Through a critical reading of al-Rawda’s passages on prayer, alms giving, marriage, divorce, and criminal law, this project illuminates the complex relationship between the Qur’an and Islamic law. It also deepens the understanding of the largely unstudied intellectual history of Islam in Yemen.