Sunday, May 12, 2013
Irshad Manji's Ijtihad
I have fallen in love with Irshad Manji's concept of ijtihad presented in The Trouble with Islam.
The third source, or root, of Islamic law is called ijtihad (“responsible individual opinion” or independent reasoning). It has been used when an issue was not covered by passage in the Qu'ran; a jurist may then resolve the issue by using analogical reasoning. Such reasoning was first employed when Islamic theologians and jurist in conquered countries were confronted with the need to integrate local customs and laws with the Qu'ran.
There was emphases on the unity of truth, which must be sought everywhere. A seeker after truth must shun no science, scorn no book, nor cling fanatically to a single creed. However, this form of ijtihad existed in the Golden Age of Islam and has unfortunately been abandoned by most Muslims, resorting to indoctrination over education, blind-faith over thoughtfulness. (It is unfortunate that the Gates of Ijtihad have been closed).
I believe it is the 'moderate' Muslims of the world that need to reclaim Islam back the from extremists. There needs to be some sort of reformation within it. Maybe the gates of Ijtihad need to be reopened.
There would seem to be a crossover in 1 Thessalonians 5:21, where it says, “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” Sounds a lot like placing emphases on truth, which must be sought everywhere. A seeker after truth must shun no science, scorn no book, nor cling fanatically to a single creed.
I think there is a good lesson and a great richness to take from ijtihad.
Ijtihad is something I'd like to learn more of and incorporate into way of life. In fact, to some degree, I already have.