Fatawa-e-Alamgiri

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Fatawa-e-Alamgiri (also known as Fatawa-i-Hindiya in Turkey, Egypt and Syria) is a compilation of law created at instance of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb (who was also known as 'Alamgir'). This compilation is based on Sunni Hanafi Islam's Sharia law, and was the work of many scholars, principally from the Hanafi school.[1][2] In order to compile it Aurangzeb gathered 500 fuqaha, 300 from the South Asia, 100 from Iraq and 100 from the Hejaz. This codified work served as the primary source for exercising and implementing the national laws according to Islamic code of law. It consists of exhaustive number of possible situations and their juristic rulings by the great Hanafi jurists of the time.

The Fatawa-e-Alamgiri is notable for several reasons:

  • It spanned 30 volumes
  • It served as the basis of law and doctrine imposed by Aurangzeb throughout his empire.[3]

One of its compiler was Shah Abdul Rahim, founder of Madrassah e Rahimiyyah, whose son was Shah Waliullah one of the last of the Muslim scholars of South Asia.[4]

Need for Codified book of Law[edit]

Till the time of Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, though the penal codes were set up in accordance with the rulings of great Islamic scholars like Imam Abu Hanifa and his two students Imam Muhammad al Shaybani and Imam Abu Yusuf, a handy penal reference was missing.

Therefore when the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir ascended the Mughal throne he acknowledged this fact and called for great jurists of the time from subcontinent and west Asia to compile a book which will serve as a quick reference of civil law. So an assembly court for jurists was organized and the cases were solved with the consent of all its members.This was same as the modern assembly where bills are reviewed and later passed by the members of house.

Legacy[edit]

Aurangzeb was the first Muslim Emperor to enforce sharia law on a non-Muslim country.This code of conduct was ensured by the completion of the Fatawa-e-Alamgiri. A voluminous book that took several years to come into effect.The book was consulted as the guiding legal book by other neighbouring Islamic rulers of the era including the Ottoman empire. Till the advent of Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Dur al-Mukhtar, Fatawa-e-Alamgiri was the main source of Hanafi school. Radd al muhtar penned by a great jurist of Islamic history Ibn Abidin was more comprehensive and systematic.

References[edit]