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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Reform, Reprogram, Reset: Islam's Fifth Stage?

In my last fiqh class the professor explained the development and evolvement of Muslim thoughts with regard to fiqh and arriving at a useful and workable methodology to be used in fiqh. He identified 4 stages which are as follows:

Stage 1 – The time of the 4 rightful caliphs when the sahaba (companions) mainly practiced shura (consultation)

Stage 2 – Afterwards by the end of the first century of Hijra, different schools were established in various cities, which also used shura to arrive at a local ijma (consensus)

Stage 3Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Idrīs al-Shafie (or in short Imam Shafie) (767 – 820), who distinguished between what was agreed upon in various local schools and that which was agreed upon by all schools unanimously, i.e. between local and universal/uniform ijma (consensus) and he placed more importance on universal ijma, which was evidently much more restrictive.

Stage 4 – At the turn of the twentieth century with the emergence of reformers such as Syed Ahmad Khan (1817-1898), Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (1839–1897), Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905) and Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) who refused blind taqleed (imitation of and adherence to what was established before) and called for reopening the doors of ijtihad (independent interpretation or personal reasoning)

[for more on the fifth stage click on the heading]


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