Born in 1916, Lewis was educated in the scholarship of the 19th century and early 20th orientalists, the mustashriqun as they were called by Arab historians, among them Sylvestre de Sacy, Snouck Hurgronje, Ignaz Goldziher, Joseph Schacht
and William Muir, whose works on the life of Muhammad and the caliphate were underscored with the belief that 'the sword of Mahomet and the Coran are the most stubborn enemies of Civilization, Liberty and Truth which the world has yet known.' A slightly older contemporary was Hamilton Gibb, the acknowledged doyen of Middle Eastern studies in the West for the first half of the 20th century.
Vikor, who outlines the history of Western scholarship on "origins" and summarizes modern Muslim responses to figures such as Joseph Schacht
as well as the more recent conclusions of Harald Motzki, Wael Hallaq, and others.
The Institute also arranged a monthly visit to Columbia (New York), where Ansari would spend part of the day with Joseph Schacht
(1902-1969), then considered the most erudite Western scholar in the field of Islamic law.
Some of these tales and accounts have even been mentioned in the book by Joseph Schacht
See, eg, Joseph Schacht
, The Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence (1950); Joseph Schacht
, An Introduction to Islamic Law (1964); Joseph Schacht
, `Islamic Religious Law' in Joseph Schacht
and C E Bosworth (eds), The Legacy of Islam (1974) 392.
60-65) which Joseph Schacht
summed up in his famous chapter on "The Nature Of Islamic Law" in An Introduction To Islamic Law (Oxford, 1964).
Coulson's view was challenged by Joseph Schacht
who argued that to the contrary, Islamic law is characterized by individualism in its entire structure, citing in particular the law of inheritance and the law relating to waqf (religious endowments) as examples.(91) Schacht also makes the point that one of the leading scholars of the Hanafi school of law outlined the dictum, "The Imam [i.e.
, a noted scholar of the subject, has acknowledged the point, conceding that Islamic law "is to some extent content with mere theoretical acknowledgment," and "was never supported by an organized power." Court decisions might reflect the consensus of the ulema, or legal scholars, but then again they might not.
Since Joseph Schacht
, many Western scholars have displayed something bordering on an obsession with legal hadiths, so many of which are ambiguous, defective, or tangential to the vast majority of legal cases.
This is the famous gap between theory and practice that so many early scholars of Islamic law, such as Joseph Schacht
and Noel Coulson, emphasized in much of their work.
Motzki challenged the reigning conclusions of Joseph Schacht
and the late G.