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Dawud bin Ali bin Khalaf al-Zahiri (815–883/4 CE, 199-269/270 AH) was a Muslim scholar of Islamic law during the Islamic Golden Age, specializing in the fields of hermeneutics, biographical evaluation, and historiography. He is widely regarded as the founder of the Ẓāhirī school of thought (madhab), the fifth school of thought in Sunni Islam, characterised by its reliance on the manifest (zahir) meaning of expressions in the Qur'an and hadith.
He was a celebrated, if not controversial, figure during his time, being referred to in Muslim historical texts as "the scholar of the era."
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