Reason and Individual Reasoning

Khan Muqtedar

in Islam in Transition: Muslim Perspectives

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780195174304
Published online November 2007 |
Reason and Individual Reasoning

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Born and raised in India where he earned a degree in engineering and an MBA, he later received his doctorate in government and international relations from Georgetown University in 2000. On the faculty at the University of Delaware, he is the author of American Muslims: Bridging Faith and Freedom, Jihad for Jerusalem: Identity and Strategy in International Relations, and the forthcoming Islamic Democratic Theory: Theory Philosophy and Debates. His website is

Khan claims here that while ijtihad (independent reasoning to determine a legal ruling) has been used rather narrowly by Muslim scholars, the Qurn itself appears to warrant a broader use. The great jurist, al-Shafii (d. 820) tiptoed around this idea with indirect analysis based on a portion of Qurn 6:97: It is He who maketh the stars for you, that you may guide yourself with their help. Through the darkness of land and sea. Al-Shafii believes that the phrase that you may guide yourself allows for human reason in discerning ones goal, but Khan points out that al-Shafii could have finished out the verse: We detail our signs for people who know. Al-Shafii did not see fit to provide the entire verse for fear of arousing other jurists, for whom ijtihad constituted human meddling in the revelation; he had to be cautious and elliptical. Khan wants to take al-Shafiis analysis to its logical conclusion and thus boldly asserts that reason can provide us deep understanding of the details in Gods signs.

Chapter.  3067 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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