Soft Natural Law

Anver M. Emon

in Islamic Natural Law Theories

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579006
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722639 | DOI:
 Soft Natural Law

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This chapter explores how Voluntarist jurists, who rejected Hard Natural Law, nonetheless developed their own natural law theory by fusing fact and value, but nonetheless upheld their voluntarist commitment to divine omnipotence. Soft Natural Law jurists relied on a theology of God's grace (tafaddul, fadl), and the authority of source-texts to fuse fact and value in nature, but contingently so. By fusing fact and value on the basis of divine grace (fadl), Soft Natural Law jurists allowed for the possibility that God may change His mind. Divine grace in Soft Natural Law permits the fusion of fact and value in nature, while at the same time rendering nature contingent in a way that Hard Natural Law theorists did not allow. The chapter provides an overview of different jurists' Soft Natural Law theories, illustrating both the core concepts of Soft Natural Law, as well as the different approaches to this type of natural law theory.

Keywords: al-Ghazali; al-Razi; al-Qarafi; al-Tufi; al-Shatibi; soft natural law; theology; legal philosophy; grace; nature

Chapter.  25138 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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