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Thread: "Was the Gate of Ijtihad Closed?" by Dr Wael Hallaq

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    Veteran Member Nawawi619's Avatar
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    Default "Was the Gate of Ijtihad Closed?" by Dr Wael Hallaq

    As Salamu Alaykum


    There have been claims repeatedly recycled by some members of this forum that the "Traditionalists" or the Traditional Sunnis have "closed the gate of ijtihad" and that this closure lead to the stagnation and intellectual paralysis of the Muslim intellectual community. To make matters difficult, a lot of this has not originated on this forum but in both non Muslim and Muslim academic works on Islamic Legal Theory. We have authors like Dr. Mohammad Hashim Kamali who in his excellent work on Usul al Fiqh called Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence claiming that the gate of ijtihad was closed by the early Muslim legal theorists.

    A lot of this, including Kamali's work (if you look at his footnotes) originated from the works of Orientalists like Schacht, Coulson, and others who in their ideological bias was trying to prove how ineffective Muslim thought was compared to the enlightened Western thought in the guise of deconstruction of Islamic legal theory and thereby creating the "official" line of Islamic legal history which has been recycled over and over again unwittingly by Muslim academics (who assume the research is correct) and non Muslim academics.

    However Dr. Wael Hallaq, an Arab Christian, and a brilliant Islamic Law Academic Scholar, challenged this construction or rather "reconstruction" of Islamic legal history with his brilliant 40 page article on "Was the Gate of Ijtihad closed?" which was published in the international journal of middle east studies in 1984. He further echoes such criticism of scholars using the orientalist parameters in Islamic studies in his recent work Sharia: Theory, Practice, and Transformations where he on p 445 states that this construction of the myth of the closure of the gate of ijtihad since the 10th century was created by the colonialists to show how inflexible Islamic law was and created a new cultural history to make way for the new colonial constructed laws based on the nation state system and western legal system.

    So for those who want to cut through the obfuscation of orientalist constructed islamic legal history. I've attached Dr. Wael Hallaq's 40 page journal article.

    You can also read it from this link http://www.tc.umn.edu/~cmedst/gmap/u...d%20Closed.pdf

    Enjoy!
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Nawawi619; 15th April 2010 at 01:48.
    The Prophet Muhammad (Salla Llahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam) said, “Verily Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people but He takes away knowledge by taking away the scholars, so that when He leaves no learned person, people appoint ignorant as their leaders. They are asked to deliver religious verdicts and they deliver them without knowledge, they go astray, and lead others astray.” [Sahih al-Bukhari & Sahih Muslim]

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    Default Re: "Was the Gate of Ijtihad Closed?" by Dr Wael Hallaq

    Three years on, thanks for uploading the article. It's very important. But the link is broken.

    Salam

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    Veteran Member Nawawi619's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Was the Gate of Ijtihad Closed?" by Dr Wael Hallaq

    The Prophet Muhammad (Salla Llahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam) said, “Verily Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people but He takes away knowledge by taking away the scholars, so that when He leaves no learned person, people appoint ignorant as their leaders. They are asked to deliver religious verdicts and they deliver them without knowledge, they go astray, and lead others astray.” [Sahih al-Bukhari & Sahih Muslim]

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    Default Re: "Was the Gate of Ijtihad Closed?" by Dr Wael Hallaq

    The gate of ijtihaad was not closed, rather it was restricted to certain individuals without authorization. Ijtihaad can be performed by any person, whether it is a layman, student or scholar.

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    Senior Member Zees's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Was the Gate of Ijtihad Closed?" by Dr Wael Hallaq

    Quote Originally Posted by Just a Muslim View Post
    The gate of ijtihaad was not closed, rather it was restricted to certain individuals without authorization. Ijtihaad can be performed by any person, whether it is a layman, student or scholar.
    Giving rise to a priestly class who were averse to any kind of change. The solution for all the problems of the world lay in the past. No wonder we are condemned to the dark ages.
    "Nay we might rationally ask, did any set of human beings ever really think the man they saw there standing beside them a god, the maker of this world? Perhaps not: it was usually some man they remembered, or had seen." (Thomas Carlyle)

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