Taking the complexity and diversity of Islamic law (fiqh) as a point of departure, this article examines a series of positions advanced by Muslim jurists on the relationship between law and astronomy. Focusing primarily on the question of the appropriateness of relying on astronomical calculations to determine the months of the hijri calendar, it considers three epistemological stances modeled by these positions: correspondence, constructivism, and representation. Taken together, these interventions constitute a minoritarian strain within the fiqh literature that exploited the practices, structures, and methods of reasoning of the Hanafi and Shafi‘i legal schools (madhhabs) to argue in favor of the employment of astronomical calculations for ritual purposes. Though these were anomalous positions at variance from the dominant evidentiary regime that privileged perception over calculation, the view from the margins they afford provide a helpful window onto the nature of legal reasoning in Sunni Islam, revealing the importance of not only proximate social triggers to change, but also the relevance of more enduring features of madhhab reasoning—the school's role as a historical repository of jurists' opinions, the propensity to recruit the authority and argumentation of preceding departures, and the expectation to proceed with the majority regime in mind.

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