The rhetoric of legal disputation: Neo-Ahl al-Hadith vs. Yusuf al-Qaradawi

Ron Shaham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The essay deals with the bitter polemics between Neo-Ahl al-Hadith and Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a well-known legal scholar in the contemporary Muslim Sunni world. In addition to analyzing the substantial claims made by one party against the other one, the essay focuses on the rhetorical devices used by both parties. It analyzes these devices in light of theories of Pragmatics in the field of discourse analysis, with special attention to the distinction between a "discussion" and an "argument." My main finding is that Qaraawi's critics seek to ruin his public "face" because, in their view "modernistreformist" religious figures like Qaradawi are agents of Western-oriented secularization, camouflaged by a pseudo-orthodox juristic dress.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)114-141
Number of pages28
JournalIslamic Law and Society
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 20 Feb 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden.


  • Qaradawi
  • Salafis
  • Wahhabis
  • Wasaiyya
  • Zahiris
  • ahl al-adith
  • ahl al-ray
  • ijtihad
  • juristic knowledge
  • rhetorical devices


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