This book looks at Tabaqat al-fuqaha' al-shafi'iyah by Ibn Qadi Shuhbah (d. 851/1448) and how its author attempted to portray the development of the Shafi'i school of law up to his own times. The volume examines the impact of crises on the formation of the tabaqat genre. It demonstrates how tabaqat, dedicated to explicating religious authority, were used by authors to sort-out challenges to intellectual orthodoxies. It also examines in detail the Tabaqat directly, demonstrating Ibn Qadi Shuhbah's depiction of the development of Shafi'i law, the formation of intellectual sub-schools within the madhhab, the causes of legal decline, and curatives for the decline that are to be found in the great Shafi'i Ikhtilaf (divergent opinion) texts: the 'Aziz sharh al-wajiz by al-Rafi'i and the Rawdat al-talibin by al-Nawawi.
R. Kevin Jaques, Ph.D. (2001) in West and South Asian Religions, Emory University, is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University.