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Contemporary IjtihadLimits and Controversies$
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L. Ali Khan and Hisham M. Ramadan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748641284

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748641284.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Contemporary Ijtihad

Khan L. Ali

M. Ramadan Hisham

Edinburgh University Press

This book examines the jurodynamics of Islamic law in evolutionary spatiotemporal contexts. Written from the internal viewpoint of Muslims, it discusses the resurgence that Islamic law is experiencing in Muslim communities across the world. This internal viewpoint takes for granted the core Islamic belief that the Qur'an and the Prophet's Sunnah are divine texts which are valid at all times and in all places. The universality of Islamic divine texts is not, however, similar to the natural law of the classical Greek and Roman literature. While the natural law may emanate from reason, intuition, historical wisdom and experience, the universal law of Islamic divine texts is pegged on faith. From the internal viewpoint, the Qur'an is the Word of God and the Sunnah is the word of the Prophet. Both are divine and both complement each other. The Qur'an illuminates the Sunnah and the Sunnah illuminates the Qur'an. Neither source can be understood without the other. In this book, the focus is on the contemporary ijtihad, which refers to the efforts to construct Islamic legal systems and state institutions in the Muslim world. Ijtihad in the realm of law aims to solve new legal problems. While it allows the resolution of new legal problems, it is only needed on particular circumstances where the Qur'an and the Prophet's Sunnah are indecisive about questions under juristic consideration. However ijtihad is subjected to the authority of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, and allows Muslim nations and communities to use positive sources of law that are compatible with Islamic divine texts. In this introductory chapter, the Basic Code, the submission principle, the diversity of Islamic law, the principle of gracious coexistence and Western criticisms of the Qur'an and the Sunnah are discussed and examined in brief.

Keywords:   Islamic law, Qur'an, Prophet's Sunnah, Islamic divine texts, ijtihad, Basic Code

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