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Istihsan

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

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    Istihsan

    Juristic preference. Refers to the principle that permits exceptions to strict and/or literal legal reasoning in favor of the public interest (maslahah). Guides decision making in cases where there are several potential outcomes. Allows jurists to abandon a strong precedent for a weaker precedent in the interests of justice. Prominent in the Hanafi school of Islamic law, but rejected by the Shafii school. Demonstrates the potential for multiple interpretations of texts and analogies based on context, revealed texts, necessity, and consensus (ijma). Particularly favored in cases where following qiyas (analogical reasoning) would lead to hardship for the believer, since the Quran and Sunnah instruct that hardship should be avoided or alleviated. Modified version used by modern reformers as a principle for reforming Islamic law.

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