The Influence of Stoic Logic on Al-Jaṣṣāṣ’s Legal Theory

  • Nabil Shehaby
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 26)


In the Uṣūl al-Fiqh of Abū Bakr al-Rāzī al-Jaṣṣāṣ (b. 305/917-d. 370/981), not yet published,1 there is a section devoted to what is called “the indicant of a discourse” and to “that which is particularly mentioned.” Al-Jaṣṣāṣ has this to say about them:

Every discourse (khib) that comes from God, exalted be He, and the prophet, upon him be peace, cannot be devoid of significance (fā’ida). The meaning (ma’nā) of some (such discourse) is sometimes grasped with the intellect (ma’qūlan) through the utterance (laf). Others signify (yufīd) a judgement (ukm) and a meaning whose explanation (bayān) may come in a second (significant discourse). Of the discourse whose meaning is grasped with the intellect through the utterance some signify by way of indication (min jihat al-dalāla) a meaning for which the utterance is not put (laysa mawdū’an lahu), as when God, exalted be He, says: “And don’t say uf (an expression of anger and displeasure) to them (your parents)” (Q, 17, 23). This signifies two meanings. One is the forbiddance of this ejaculation (qawl) itself. Also it signifies by way of indication the forbiddance of what is above that — shouting at, beating, and killing them (I, 39v).


Propositional Logic Legal Theory Proper Part Legal Text Arabic Text 
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  1. 2.
    Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, tr. R. D. Hicks (London and Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1965), vol. 2, p. 167. Hicks’s translation has been modified slightly. Cf. Sextus Empiricus, Against the Logicians, II, 275–76, tr. R.G. Bury, Loeb Classical Library ( London and Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1967 ).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    William and Martha Kneale, The Development of Logic, first ed. (Oxford, 1962), p. 140. A few changes have been made in Martha Kneale’s translation. Cf. Against the Logicians, II, 70, 80 and 264.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Al-Shāfi’ī in al-Risāla, ed. A. M. Shakir (Cairo, 1940), pp. 23–24 uses the word’ayn in the same sense.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Hisāb al-‘aqd or al-’uqad (dactylonomy) is the art of expressing numbers by the positions of the fingers. See The Encyclopaedia of Islam, new edition, ed. B. Lewis et alii (Leiden and London, 1971), Vol. 3, under hisab al-aqd.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    Cf. Abū ‘Uthmān ’Amr ibn Bahr al-Jāhiz (b. 160/776-d. 255/868), al-Bayān wa’l-Tabyīn, 2d. ed., ed. H. Sandubi (Cairo, 1932), vol. 1, p. 78, where in a chapter entitled al-bayān, he says that the “indicants (dalālāt) to meanings are five things: utterance (al-lafz), gesticulation (al-ishāra), knuckles (al-‘uqad) writing (al-khatt) and the state (al-hāl) which is called nusba.” Cf. his al-Hayawān (Cairo, A. H. 1323), vol. 1, p. 23.Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    Maqālāt al-Islāmiyyūn, 2d ed., ed. H. Ritter (Wiesbaden, 1963), pp. 191 and 587–88.Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    I follow B. Mates, Stoic Logic (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1961), p. 13 and his glossary p. 135 in translating σημείov by “signal”.Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    Sextus, Against the Logicians, II, 149–155.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    See Galeni Institutio Logica, ed. Carl Kalbfleisch (Leipzig, 1896), III, 5 and J. S. Kieffer, Galen’s Institutio Logica, English Translation, Introduction and Commentary (Baltimore, 1964), pp. 76 and 130-33. See also my The Propositional Logic of Avicenna (Dordrecht-Boston, 1973), pp. 8 and 14.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    See Joseph Schacht, The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence (Oxford, 1967), pp. 99–100.Google Scholar
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    Al-Risāla, ed. A. M. Shakir (Cairo, 1940), pp. 21–25. See the English tr. Islamic Jurisprudence: Shāf‘ī’s Risāla, translated with an Introduction. Notes and Appendices by Majid Khadduri (Baltimore, 1961), pp. 67–70. The quotations from al-Risāla here are from this translation with some changes.Google Scholar
  12. 23.
    Al-Bāqillānī, al-Tamhīd, ed. R. J. McCarthy (Beirut, 1957 ), pp. 13 - 14.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht-Holland 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nabil Shehaby
    • 1
  1. 1.McGill UniversityCanada

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