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Islamic Sharia Laws (17 Nov 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)

A Definition of Muslim Fundamentalists and Fundamentalism

By T.O. Shanavas, New Age Islam

17 November 2016

Sharia is central to Islamic faith. It is the Divine Law of Guidance for personal and public behaviour of Muslims, and justice to humanity. Justice is one word in Islam that wraps balance, harmony, fairness, mercy and equity together for the society to function cohesively, where none has live in fear of the other but God. In its absence, humanity will degenerate into a dysfunctional society. Most Muslims believe that the complete code of Sharia or Divine Law is primarily in the Qur'an and secondarily in the authentic reports of Prophet teachings as well as the practices (Hadiths). However, there are many Hadiths in the Sahih Bukhari, Muslim, etc., that defame Prophet (s), is irrational, unjust, contrary to common good, and contradict the Qur’an, and “Any rules that depart from justice to injustice, from kindness to harshness, from common good to harm, or rationality to absurdity cannot be part of Sharia.’ (13th century jurist Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya)

Unfortunately, it is a common Muslims misconception that Divine Law equals Fiqh (understanding by jurists) or Muslim jurisprudence. Various forms of Muslim Jurisprudence are built on the idea that every human effort to articulate Sharia (Divine Law) in specific legal rules is human, and therefore unavoidably fallible process. This process is called Ijitihad, and rules it produces are called Fiqh (understanding) or Muslim jurisprudence. Thus, for Muslims there has always been one Law of God (Sharia), but many schools of Fiqh articulating Divine Law here on earth. Sunni schools are: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi, Hambali, Zahari, etc., and the schools of Shia are Jaf’ari, Zaydi, and Ibadi. Each of the schools of Islam are named by students of the classical jurist who taught them.  Fiqh rules can be criticized or rejected or reframed without questioning God's infallibility, because Fiqh rules are merely the result of fallible human efforts to understand and elaborate Sharia.

The logic of the Sharia is its minimal number of clear interdictions, and maximal scope for the interpretative extension of key precepts to particular situations. It means that any freezing of the Ulema’s (scholars’) ‘arbitrary’ decisions arises not so much from the essential characteristics of the Sharia, but merely from a fallible human decree of a particular legal tradition or method of exegesis. Only God knows who is right and no Muslim religious-legal scholar (Fuqaha) can insist that his or her conclusions are the correct articulation of Sharia (Divine Law) as against all others. In short, whereas Sharia is perfect, incontestable and is not in need of reform, Fiqh rules are always fallible, therefore can be wrong.

I define: Contemporary Muslim fundamentalists are those who believe Fiqh (understandings by Fuqaha) or Muslim jurisprudence are divine, perfect, infallible, incontestable and Ijtihad (unfettered reasoning) is a closed for Muslims. Such a Muslim belief is called fundamentalism.

T.O. Shanavas is a native of Kerala, but is now based in the USA.He is the author of “Islamic Theory of evolution of Evolution the Missing Link between Darwin and The Origin of Species.” Co-author of the book, And God Said, "Let There Be Evolution!” Reconciling The Book Of Genesis, The Qur'an, And The Theory Of Evolution. Edited by Prof. Charles M. Wynn and Prof. Arthur W. Wiggins.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-sharia-laws/to-shanavas,-new-age-islam/a-definition-of-muslim-fundamentalists-and-fundamentalism/d/109124

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  • Hats Off says, "of course everyone is/was doing as well as they can/could."

    The implication was that everyone was doing much better before someone with auditory hallucinations came along. There is no evidence of that! Such assumptions are products of  your extreme hatred of Islam.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 11/22/2016 1:54:03 PM

  • of course everyone is/was doing as well as they can/could.

    how can i make that up?

    war or peace, freedom or oppression, rain or shine, heat or cold, we have all been getting born, living, growing up, marrying, begetting children, bringing them up, getting old, and dying. this has been going on right from the first time some monkey decided to get down from the branches and walk on the ground with his two feet.

    as a matter of fact this was going on even much much before monkeys climbed on to the trees.

    of course we have all been getting along as well as we could or can.

    even now that is what is going on. yazidis are doing as well as they can possibly under the situation so are the rohingyas. christians of iraq are still doing whatever they possible can given the circumstances.

    what am i making up?

    or do you mean we have been killing each other and kidnapping each other's wife and children until religion came along and legitimised it?

    ok so have it your way. this is a democratic country.

    By hats off! - 11/22/2016 3:56:25 AM

  • Hats Off says, "everyone was simply going around as well as they could."

    There is no evidence of that. It is something you just made up!

    He adds, "just as islam sought to subvert the pagan religion of arabian hijaz, atheists have every right to subvert any so-called religion."

    Vengeance and payment in kind only perpetuates the cycle of hate and violence. Spreading such poison on a website which purports to advocate  "Progressive Islam" is bizarre.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 11/21/2016 12:02:59 PM

  • how does it not matter a hoot who came first?

    everyone was simply going around as well as they could.

    suddenly someone with auditory hallucination claims god spoke to him and he starts molesting those who do not believe him.

    it is then that the atheist has to push back. in fact as hard as these mentally challenged hallucinators push.

    once you start a war, you cannot complain if you are shot at!

    just as islam sought to subvert the pagan religion of arabian hijaz, atheists have every right to subvert any so-called religion.

    the rights and duties are mutual.

    just as the prophet subverted the religions of millions of people, why cannot his religion be subverted?

    the prophet was then just as thoughtless and inconsiderate when he started openly abusing the religion of his ancestors.

    By hats off! - 11/20/2016 7:53:49 PM

  • Yunus sahib says, "Shariah is a broad concept – the divinely approved principles or moral imperative that can be given legal shape by the jurists and doctors of law."

    I agree. Faizan Mustafa, the Vice-Chancellor of NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, said on Saturday that since the Quran is a source of law — and not the law itself — it offers the possibility of liberal interpretations by the Ulema, thereby providing scope for reform. .  "We need to take the Ulema on board. We have to tell the Ulema that they have the power to give liberal interpretations (of the Quran)," he said.

    " There are chances of providing it a liberal interpretation. There are chances of making it consistent with constitutional morality and constitutional doctrines of equality,” said Prof. Mustafa.

    So the ball is in the Ulema's court.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 11/20/2016 2:31:06 PM

  • It matters not a hoot who came first, atheists or theists. For most believers, their belief is an affirmation of righteousness. Trying to subvert is thoughtless and inconsiderate. Threats of hell-fire are getting to be less and less prominent and the fight against irrationality and obscurantism must go on. Atheists and apostates have a perfect right to exist and thrive but when they desecrate what is sacred to others and try to force their views on others they are no better than hate-filled Wahhabis.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 11/20/2016 2:00:01 PM

  • Dear Ghulam Mohiuddin Sahab,

    You said in your last post: “It (the Qur’an) sets out actual laws and even punishments. That is the basis of Shariat.”

    I had explained the existential necessity of the punishment laws in my comment and I do not want to revisit it. But let me try to address your comment.

    The jurists reduce Shariat to Islamic punitive laws, though from the Qur’anic perspective Shariah is a broad concept – the divinely approved principles or moral imperative that can be given legal shape by the jurists and doctors of law. In one word, the Qur’an is the embodiment of the Sharia of Islam and encapsulates its social, moral and ethical tenets, and its criteria of right and wrong, lawful and forbidden in broad terms as guidance to humanity for all times. Therefore, as you said: “all the laws that we enact must satisfy the Quranic principles of fairness, justice, even-handedness, reasonableness, compassion and upholding the dignity of citizens.”

    We are saying practically the same thing, so we can focus on other themes unless you think otherwise.

    By muhammad yunus - 11/20/2016 6:08:35 AM

  • atheists never bothered to exist until theist who heard voices claimed that god was speaking through them.

    apostates are essential for the believers to pretend to a higher standard. after all islam is the result of countless apostates from other religions such as zoroastrians, pagans, christians, hindus, animist and buddhists.

    unless people of these religion apostatsized, islam could not have snowballed into 1.2 billions.

    whenever stupidities and factual errors in the so-called holy texts are pointed out, believers of fairy tales naturally get peeved.

    until the theists put their house in order they should not be pointing fingers at atheists and apostates.

    especially when the words atheist and apostate are used as curse words or codes, the frustration of the theists becomes obvious.

    atheists are always posterior to theists. unless a proposition exists, it cannot be denied.

    the theists propose a god. ONLY then a person with higher standards of proof demands evidence in favor of this so-called "god".

    there is nothing like an atheist, until there is a theists who proposes an unprovable statement.

    by the way all religions (bar none self-declare their own finality of universal truth. religion is entirely divorced from goodness or righteousness.

    what is the goodness in condemning others to hellfire?

    what is the righteousness in sacrificial killings?

    religions do both after an immense scale.

    By hats off! - 11/20/2016 2:22:10 AM

  • Atheists and apostates have a basic misunderstanding of what religion is. Religion is not a search for truth or knowledge. Science is the search for truth and knowledge. Religion is a search for goodness and righteousness. That search is eternal. Hence any religion that claims that the search is over and all the answers have been found is at a fundamental disadvantage.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 11/19/2016 2:35:13 PM

  • Yunus sahib,
    You said the Quran sets out "a framework of moral values and social guidelines." That is true. But then you said, "it clearly spells out the various facets of family and inheritance laws."
    What it sets out is more than facets. It sets out actual laws and even punishments. That is the basis of Shariat. That makes laws which were appropriate at that time incumbent upon us. The ijtehad which is urgently needed should state that laws must be written only by contemporary men and must comply with Quranic injunctions of fairness, justice, even-handedness, reasonableness, compassion and upholding the dignity of citizens. Only these Quranic injunctions have eternal and universal value.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 11/19/2016 2:27:57 PM

  • atheism, apostasy and heresy are also consequence of ijtihad.

    this is why many learned scholars of islam discourage questions that go too deep.

    mr muhammad yunus also would rather only talk about the "clear" verses. but that is a weak argument. it simply supports the notion that the koran is a confused and confusing book.

    the koran itself says, many people who question too closely will get into some trouble. koran 5.101

    if the koran itself discourages questioning, it cannot be said that it encourages knowledge (get knowledge even if you have to go to china).

    By hats off! - 11/19/2016 7:30:23 AM

  • Dear Ghulam Mohiuddin Sahab: You say: “most Quranic laws are truly appropriate only for those times”

    It  is ironical that contrary to the Qur’an repeated claim to be a book of guidance, Muslims, even the most learned like yourself, subconsciously regard it as a book of law.

    The Qur’an’s role as a fount of guidance is captured in my book that you have in Ch. 2.3 that I am copying below to share with others and dispel the deeply entrenched specious notion that the Qur’an is a book of law:

     "The Qur'an sets out the highest principles of belief and a framework of moral values and social guidelines. However, its guidance is timeless, designed for universal communities, and is therefore broad based, and not spelled out in any details. For example, it lays great emphasis on good deeds and zakah (traditionally rendered as charity) - but does not define either. Its treatment of social and civil norms, finance etc. is in general terms. It does not give any detailed instructions in civil law or administration of justice, though it touches on the punishment for some of the major prevalent offences and crimes, while emphasizing on justice and equity in general terms. However, the Qur’an is specific when it radically changed what existed at the time. Accordingly, it clearly spells out the various facets of family and inheritance laws, thereby ensuring the rights and privileges of women in different capacities: as an independent person, a wife, a mother, a widow, or as an inheritor of property from the next of kin."


    Agreed that “all the laws that we enact must satisfy the Quranic principles of fairness, justice, even-handedness, reasonableness, compassion and upholding the dignity of citizens…..

    By muhammad yunus - 11/19/2016 5:58:10 AM

  • Dear Muhammad Yunus
    Your comment is well taken. I see the rationale of punishment for theft at the time it was revealed. Now we have other merciful course of actions for dealing with theft. Moreover, method of jailing protects  the hands of a wrongly convicted person.  

    By T.O. Shanavas - 11/18/2016 4:43:33 PM

  • Yunussaab,

    Thanks for your explanation. You say that the amputation penalty was applicable only to a particular time. But then most Quranic laws are truly appropriate only for those times. So instead of deriving Sharia laws from antiquated laws, why not just use the underlying principles of Quranic laws (fairness, justice, even-handedness, reasonableness, compassion and upholding the dignity of citizens) in order to frame our own laws?

    I also wonder what you think of Shanavas saab's confining the definition of fundamentalism to the fiqh-parasts. I would think that literalist interpreters of the Quran too are fundamentalists. But he is right when he defines fundamentalists as opponents of ijtihad.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 11/18/2016 1:42:13 PM

  • Dear hats off!

    The article brings out the disconnect between the divine/ universal Sharia and the Sharia Law of Islam. Your previous comment has diverted the theme to anthropology/ Darwin’s theory.

    Anyway since I chose to remain communication with you to gain from your erudition let me clarify the points you raise on this new theme.

    Maurice Buccail was NOT an advocate or supporter of Darwin’s theory. You have in all probability not read his book, The Bible, The Qur'an and Science for had you even scanned the book you could never charge him of subscribing to Darwin’s theory. His book only aims to establish the compatibility of many of the Qur’an’s cryptic and enigmatic pronouncements with modern science. He dismisses Darwin’ theory on the ground of uniqueness of genetic  configuration in all living creatures. He concludes that “the Quran is the Word of God. He also tells that some of the most celebrated scientific discoveries in the 20th century, were described in the Qur'an in detail and accuracy.” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Bucaille]

     Here is the background of Maurice Buccail for your information lest you treat him like an ignorant, half literate and laughing stock - I am afraid a reflection of your disenchantment with the faith of Islam - an inferiority complex perhaps though I may be wrong for I cannot get to your mind through your words.

    Maurice Bucaille (French pronunciation: 19 July 1920, – 17 February 1998[1]), son of Maurice and Marie (James) Bucaille, was a French medical doctor, member of the French Society of Egyptology, and an author. Bucaille practiced medicine from 1945–82 and was a specialist in gastroenterology. In 1973, Bucaille was appointed family physician to king Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Another of his patients at the time included members of the family of then President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat.

    Let us not discuss this theme any further. If you want to know the Qur’an’s take on the origin of man, my article referenced below captures the crux of it in these words:


    “Conclusion: The Qur’an’s divergent insights into the creation/evolution of man, mixing the abstruse and the corporeal, the abstract and the scientific make it amply clear that it has not been the object of the Qur’an to unravel the mystery of man’s creation… By any stretch of imagination, it is not a textbook on biology or any other branch of physical sciences or field of knowledge.”

    Re: Darwinism is Consistent with Qur’anic Insights on Man’s Origin

    By muhammad yunus - 11/18/2016 7:40:18 AM

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