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  •  Look below to my longer reply. (1+ / 0-)
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    Pandoras Box

    The entire question revolves around bid'ah -- innovation, and how progressives and moderates can use it to open up their political systems to reform.  They can innovate protective measures for the benefit of groups that have faced discrimination and claim that innovation as part of the Islamic tradition.

    Mind you, I'm not saying it would be easy.  They are going to have a devil of a time with the old guard, who are deeply entrenched and have access to the war chests -- money, military, materiel.  It may well become a violent struggle in some places to achieve that sort of system.

    "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

    by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:20:32 AM PDT

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    •  Whoops, make that above. Sorry. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pandoras Box

      "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

      by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:21:30 AM PDT

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    •  the diarist also talks about (0+ / 0-)

      "permissible" bid'ah and "impermissible" bid'ah and I guess I don't understand where the lines are drawn between the permissible and the impremissible...

      Innovation would have to be permissible for such a country to set forth a modern, progressive face, would it not? and yet, the diarist himself has said that great fear drives us all.

      I guess you address that when you say the old guard would be quite resistant.

      You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

      by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:25:06 AM PDT

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      •  Excellent... (0+ / 0-)

        Pandoras Box, you wrote,

        "permissible" bid'ah and "impermissible" bid'ah and I guess I don't understand where the lines are drawn between the permissible and the impremissible...

        And the truth is neither do Muslims, while the Gate of ijtihad is closed all bid'ah which is established thereafter is impermissible. This is important. This should also show non-Muslims why things do not really work when they intercede in government of Muslim countries.

        -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

        by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:43:26 AM PDT

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        •  I need to know what this is... (0+ / 0-)

          "Gate of ijtihad"

          You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

          by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:52:11 AM PDT

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          •  One definition (2+ / 0-)
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            Pandoras Box, ibonewits

            of ijtihad, according to the scholar Embree Ainsley, is legal interpretation.  In other words, the jurists maintain the law is fixed.  There is no opening by which one can reinterpret the law.  Precedent is everything.

            Now, understand that legal scholarship from the classical period of Islam is voluminous.  It's HUGE, so this is not as limiting as it seems at first glance.  Most scholars of Islamic jurisprudence spend their entire lives going through this stuff, and never get to all of it.  The upshot is that there's a lot of precedent that can be drawn upon for reform.  The real question is, will the most powerful stakeholders in the status quo go with the most liberal interpretations extant?  Historically, they haven't.  Herein lies the crux of the problem.

            "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

            by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:07:59 AM PDT

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          •  The Gate of Ijtihad (2+ / 0-)
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            Pandoras Box, Noor B

            ijtihad refers to the independent legal determination based on the Qur'an and Sunnah. This period has been closed which is why fatawa are non-binding legal edicts. The Gate of ijtihad's refers to a period when there was no more binding independent determinations on Qur'an and Sunnah which is why Sharia seems so outdated to the West, in layman's terms.

            -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

            by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:09:07 AM PDT

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            •  Thank you. (0+ / 0-)

              When was the Gate closed?

              You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

              by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:12:23 AM PDT

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              •  Ow. Now you need a fiqh specialist. (1+ / 0-)
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                Pandoras Box

                I'll be generous and say the 12th century.  That's probably much too late.

                (fiqh -- jurisprudence)

                "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

                by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:15:49 AM PDT

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                •  Noor Its Hard to say... (2+ / 0-)
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                  Pandoras Box, Noor B

                  its different for different regions and empires. As a side note, I think that one of the main agents to the present day organization of Islam as a state funded entity began when the Ottomans hired and funded the Hanafi school as its principle ideological base.

                  -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                  by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:21:48 AM PDT

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                  •  I've never quite understood (0+ / 0-)

                    the rationale for the regionalization of the four branches of Shari'a.  I just know that it is.  What I see you saying is that some branches became more rigid as they were adopted by various empires as the official version of the law.  Am I reading you correctly?

                    "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

                    by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:45:07 AM PDT

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                    •  Yes but by default... (1+ / 0-)
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                      Noor B

                      If for example the Ottoman Empire assumed the Hanafi school as a state funded resource. What does that mean for the semi-autonomous jurist culture which existed with the Law Guilds originally.

                      This also breaks up the social influence and authoritative powers that the jurists as a collective had established being privately funded entities. Its not so much that they became rigid by choice but the school would begin to crystallize as a function of government as opposed to its original function which was more like a university (however a university with the highest authority on law).

                      -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                      by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 11:08:16 AM PDT

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                      •  So overt political patronage was the basis (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Pandoras Box

                        for the legists' cooption.  Hmmm... sounds a bit like the run-up to our US Attorneys scandal.  Except there it began centuries ago.

                        "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

                        by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:43:29 PM PDT

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                        •  I think... (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Noor B

                          this was the nail in the coffin, so to speak. But I am in support of the reform or redress of the Islamic legal system, obviously. I think that some knowledge of this in the implementation of new erected governments would go a long way. I think if the West showed some acceptance to this kind of reform there would be satisfaction on both the sides of Muslims as well as those who support democratically elected government in the ME.

                          But I have not been to the ME as a college graduate and much of this discussion may or may not be possible, wa allahu a'alam and God knows best.

                          -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                          by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:49:05 PM PDT

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                •  thank you again (0+ / 0-)

                  is it any wonder then, that it "seems so outdated" to the west today?

                  how can a modern Muslim society take its context from laws were interpreted so long ago?

                  (and, I want you to know, I would ask the same of any Christian scholar who wished to impose a Christian theocracy on any country - something I am dead-set against)

                  You don't know the REAL Homer! It's all burping and neglect! -- Bart Simpson

                  by Pandoras Box on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:23:52 AM PDT

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                  •  I think most secular legal traditions have (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pandoras Box

                    their basis in the ethical considerations of the religions current when and where they were developed, but that shouldn't mean that further nonsectarian refinements are uncalled for.  Quite the opposite.

                    "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

                    by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:48:52 AM PDT

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              •  That is a difficult question to answer... (0+ / 0-)

                at the same time of the Crusades approx 10th century. To my knowledge according to Imam Al-Ghazali but this is debatable.

                -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

                by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:34:16 AM PDT

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            •  Perhaps... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pandoras Box

              Islam needs to crash the gates, too.  Reopen them...

              "I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor." King George III

              by ogre on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 10:22:51 AM PDT

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      •  Yeah, that gets into a level of parsing Shari'a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pandoras Box

        that I'm not competent to discuss.  I do know that many conservatives have resisted progressive and modernizing moves and successfully defeated them by screaming that this is unacceptable level of bid'ah.

        The basis for Islamic jurisprudence rests on Shari'a and the Quran, but it also considers the Hadith, the Traditions of the Prophet.  These are collected sayings of Mohammad's and his Companions' remembrances of the things he did or events he commented upon.  And progressives and feminists in particular challenge the mainstream interpretations of some of the Hadith.  For example, hijab. There is a very good book by the Moroccan sociologist Fatima Mernissi about hijab, the institution of the veil, that points out, among other things, how unreliable some of the accepted Hadith are, historically speaking.  The Hadith are, after all, collected oral histories.  The gold standard for historians is the convergence and consensus of witnesses about a particular event.  Multiple witnesses saying the same thing have greater reliability that one witness.  Mernissi's biggest complaint is that the remembrances of individual male companions who weren't around the Prophet constantly were valorized above those of his wives as a collectivity, who were.  The Hadith that focused on issues surrounding women and the veil are the ones she finds the most probelmatic.

        Does that help at all?  

        "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18

        by Noor B on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:55:43 AM PDT

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    •  Actually... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pandoras Box, Noor B

      "I'm not saying it would be easy."

      It would be very difficult especially with so many hands in the pot now.

      -- Hakim Abdullah | Chief Editor

      by Hakim Abdullah on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 09:32:29 AM PDT

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