Shababaraat, Newspaper and Collective Ijtihad

doh, I'm still in Dhaka. But to my credit I have a new keyboard now.


After Magrib today, Dhaka is gonna be getting namazi for Shababaraat.

Every year in the UK, theres a discussion on whether its an innovation in worship, or whether its ok. In Bangladesh too theres an emerging diversity of views. Some organisations take pride in ignoring it. However i think its one of those islamic cultural 'bells and whistles' that does more good than bad.

Im intrigued and looking forward to seeing what goes on. In case any hardcores wish for a justification on theological grounds Sunnipath have something for you. The concept is that is a weak hadith recommends a virtue, go for it.

If you would like to laugh at an arch secularist loony promotion of the event, read this Daily Star Editorial. Wait untill the end of it for Mahfuz Anam's 'medicine'. Awww bless

Mean while the Dhaka Ploice have banned fireworks.

Picked up an issue of the NewAge newspaper yesterday (during a marathon hour long search for a CNG scooter to go to Tejgaon), they were celebrating some knd of anniversity and had a special supplement of Education, Knowledge and politics. Sterling effort, if a little rabidly anti-Islamic organisation for one whole article. In 'The Green Serpent Rises' a journo gives a very superficial, ahistoric and incomplete portrayal of the history of Islami student activism. Political production of 'evidence', all negative, for the english readership.

All the cliches are drawn on, the spirit of the liberation war, 'inflitration of Islamists everywhere', vien cutting and what not.

All in all, im sure that the supplement raised a little discussion about knowledge culture in this country, and its political manufacture. Its expose on Dhaka University was unusually tempered with optimistic.

This week has been a little frustrating with regards to fieldwork, its been out of my hands, i cannot complete the institutional survey without 6 more mouza maps. i've taken to reaarranging stuff , reading more, visiting people, printing some maps and business cards. This week i think i'll go up north and do a bunch of surveys (without naqsha daag numbers) anyway.

can also do some data processing of the 6 mouzas that i have all ready.

Collective Ijtihad
Bumped into the concept of collective ijtihad a few days back.

I'm reading a new version of Prof Kamali's 'An introduction to Shariah' (2006, Ilmiah Publications, KL). He is much more contextual and has an eye on the present day situation than i have noticed before. However it doesnt read like its a political piece, promoting any particular organisation or self interested actor. Parts of it read more like something from the history/philosophy of science literature. His rendering of the history of ideas in fiqh, and the archaeology of the discipline is fascinating.

What this, and i think the whole maqasid movement is about, is the kickstarting of the Islamic knowledge framework, with an eye to demystifying Islamic disciplines and promoting interdisciplinary scholarship.

Collective ijtihad is not meant as a replacement of that of individual scholars, but highlighted in order that it be recognised for its validity. It makes people of other fields more useful. Prof Kamali quotes an idea that Allama Iqbal proposed, that the Muslim Legislative Assembly would be a zone of this collective ijtihad, this fills me will hope but makes me despair when i think of how far apart the knowledge and power actors are today from this sort of culture.

"Another problem we face at present is that despite the door os ijtihad having been declared wide open, we do not see any effective movement toward making ijtihad an engaging process of law and government. A great deal has been said about ijtihad for about a century, that is, ever since the days od al-Afghani and 'Abduh, but the repeated calls for revitalisation of ijtihad has brought about only mdest results. With regard to the qualification that the theory of ijtihad has demanded of the mujtahid it is said that these are heavy and exacting. But this is, in my opinion, just another taqlid-oriented assertion by those who wished to bring ijtihad to a close. The qualifications so stated were not excessive and were frequently fulfilled, as al-Shawkani has stated, by a long series of prominent scholars across the centuries even during the era of taqlid..." p156-7
the discussion continues interestingly until the end of the chapter :-)

In short i like it cos,
-lowers the unrealisable qualificational burden on the individual
-can draw together a fuller disciplinary blending
-very 'shura'.


Anonymous said...

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sonia said...

consensus is the way forward. I think scholars to date pretend there is more consensus than there is.

nai said...

salam bro

ramadhan kareem..

about the cd, inshAllah i will give it later. i didnt know how to make it into PDF. I have write something related to Said Nursi books in my blog. In English. Feel free to comments or critics. It will be much more appreciate.