Throughout this book, the recurring message has been that Islamic law continues to be dynamic and evolving. Since the dawn of Islam, Muslim scholars have debated the nature of revelation, the Prophethood and the Islamic legal principles to be derived from two unassailable divine sources, the Quran and Sunna, and while there have been times of ebb and flow throughout 15 centuries of debate, the dialogue remains ongoing and vibrant today. For most of these centuries, scholars and jurists were custodians of the law authorized to give meaning to and apply the revelations. Such exclusivity has been challenged in modern times and ijtihad democratized so that mainstream Muslims can now use its tools, including applying their personal reasoning, in their social interactions. A feature of modern Islamic law is that, across the globe, there are literate, highly educated, globally interconnected Muslims, of both genders, who engage in ijtihad, many of whom live and work outside the heartland of the Middle East in pluralist societies like Malaysia and Indonesia, where 60 per cent of the world’s Muslims reside, or in the West. These challenges to the erstwhile monopoly over ijtihad have not always been welcomed in every quarter, but the dimension of human agency in different cultures and centuries has ensured that the dynamic nature of Islamic law remains at the fore. Scholars today continue the tradition of the early jurists who developed the principles of jurisprudence (usul al fiqh), as is shown to be true for both the public and private sphere.
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.