Chapter

Adaptation of Islamic Jurisprudence to Modern Social Needs

Subh Mahmasn

in Islam in Transition: Muslim Perspectives

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195174304
Published online November 2007 |
Adaptation of Islamic Jurisprudence to Modern Social Needs

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An LL.B. and Docteur en Droit (University of Lyons), he has served as magistrate, president of the Appeals Court (194446), member of Parliament, and minister of Economy (1966). He has taught at a number of universities, including the American University of Beirut and the Lebanese University.

Mahmasanis aim in this selection from 1954 is to describe the activity of jurists in Islamic law and assess the role of ijtihad (independent judgment to determine a legal rule) within it. He laments the closing of the gates of ijtihad in the medieval period and advocates the restoration of ijtihad in order to overcome the stagnation and blind imitation in legal thought that had existed since the death in 855 of the last founder of the four schools of Sunni law. The author also identifies religious sectarianism as a problem. Although noting that differences of opinion among jurists are welcome, sectarian partisanship must be avoided. It is one thing for an individual to adhere to a sectarian position after careful reflection; it is quite another to do so out of thoughtless imitation.

Chapter.  2786 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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