“…In the Ismaili tradition, al-Qāḍī al-Nuʿmān is the most famous author…He debated this Ḥanafī jurist about ijtihād and thought that he’d won, and then he heard afterwards that the man had written a fascicle still arguing his point against al-Qāḍī al-Nuʿmān. So then he thought: I really need to write a serious refutation to put an end to this…” — Professor Stewart, Emory College, Atlanta, USA.
M. Lynx Qualey, an Arabic literature blogger based in Egypt, conducted an interview with Professor Devin Stewart of Emory College on the Fatimid jurist Qadi al-Nu’mān, who served four Ismaili Imams for more than sixty years. The interview is based on Disagreements of the Jurists, one of the foundational legal texts of Ismaili Islam, which was translated recently by Dr. Stewart. Among other interesting matters, Qualey asks Professor Stewart about why al-Nu’mān’s book is important in understanding Islamic legal traditions and the Fatimid Empire, why medieval scholars thought it was classier not to cite their sources, and why a minority tradition would feel the need to conform to the shape of the majority….
Dr. Devin J. Stewart
Dr. Devin J. Stewart received a B.A. magna cum laude in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University in 1984, completed the CASA program in Arabic at the American University in Cairo in 1985, and earned a Ph.D. with distinction in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991. He has been at Emory since 1990 and has conducted research in Egypt and Morocco in 1992, 1996, 1998, and 2000. He has taught widely in the areas of Arabic, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies, including courses on the Qur’an, Islam, History of the Middle East, Great books of the Islamic world, and advanced seminars on Egyptian Arabic dialect and medieval Arabic texts. His research has focused on Islamic law and legal education, the text of the Qur’an, Shiite Islam, Islamic sectarian relations, and Arabic dialectology. At present, Dr. Stewart is working on a major investigation of manuals of Islamic legal theory (usul al-fiqh) authored between 800 and 1000 C.E., a study of rhyme and rhythm in the text of the Qur’an, and several other projects.
Professor Stewart’s profile with his photo has been adapted from Emory College of Arts and Sciences, Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies.