This study presents the first biography of 'Abd Allāh b. 'Abd al-ḥakam (d. 214/829), an important figure in the nascent Mālikī school, and introduces his compendium of law. The subject of the Arabic text is the law of slavery, and two chapters examine early Mālikī slave law in the context of other Near Eastern legal codes. The narrow focus on Ibn 'Abd al-ḥakam and his Compendium is used to refine the distinction between "organic" and "fixed" editions of early legal texts, and also to argue that these texts can be used to reconstruct the thought of even earlier figures, such as Mālik B. Anas (d. 179/795). Early Mālikī Law should be of value to legal historians, scholars of religion and all those working in the developing field of Slave Studies. The valuable conclusions arising from this study of a single legal text indicate the importance of continued analysis of these early documents, both the few that have been published and the many which remain unexplored in manuscript collections.
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