Studies in Legal Hadith by Hiroyuki Yanagihashi

Pavel Pavlovitch has drawn our attention to a recently published monograph, Studies in Legal Hadith by Hiroyuki Yanagihashi. Having already published extensively on various topics within Hadith studies, the author tackles here “the question of responsiveness […] of hadith to developments in positive law”. He compares analyses of Hadith narratives (both matn and isnād) pertaining to legal debates with related discussions in early legal treatises. This leads him to consider the numerous textual variants of several legal Hadith texts and the reasons for the existence of these discrepancies. His work allowed him to develop a “methodology to estimate the extent to which traditionists accepted hadiths on a particular topic”. Following Andreas Görke and Pavel Pavlovitch inter alia, Hiroyuki Yanagihashi argues that the textual variations of legal Hadith texts reflect in part the constantly evolving positive law. This monograph is contributing to address questions that had long been overshadowed by the problems of authenticity in Western Hadith studies, mainly the multi-layered nature of Hadith texts and the ways historical information can be extracted from them regarding the development of Islamic legal practices and reflections. Thanks to our colleague Raashid Goyal, I was able to read the introduction to this monograph and I can only concur with Pavel Pavlovitch, there is much to await from this reading.