Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Notes based on talk by Prof Tariq Ramadan

i.                     Fatwa and ahkam change with time
ii.                   We often reduce Islam to legal aspect
iii.                  The concern now is on civilizational renewal ie tajdid hadari
Prerequisites to understanding reform
1.       What is usually understood of verses in the Qur’an and al-Hadith
……….for every century there’s someone or people to renew or to perform tajdid…Hadith.
·         The effort is not to reform Islam as in al Qur’an and al Hadith but to reform the understanding.
·         Islam is based on the eternal source but that has to be read with :
i)                    Historical evolution with knowledge and new understanding i.e. reading history with eternal source but living in on time
ii)                   Diversity of culture…..therefore understanding of the Qur’an and al-Hadith coincided with reality I.e. time and space. Mind and understanding are different
iii)                 Universality of Islam is not to deny diversity
2.       Reform is often understood as being reduced to legal opinions
·         Tajdid means that with the presence of new realities eg bio ethics etc, though Allah SWT remains silent about it (out of mercy)….it is for us to find new answers with the new reality. Renewal is performed when the text is silent about it e.g. smoking, cloning, economic issues etc.
·         Understanding of tajdid is always/often with ahkam. Though reform is wider but legal approaches are still needed. We must know where we are heading to i.e. we must have goals and means.
3.       Comprehensive understanding means understanding Islam in a way of life that encompasses everything and not just things legal. What gives us life?
·         It is also the heart and not just the mind
·         Relationship with nature
·         The way to look at the world ….transform and reform the way of looking at the world as :
i)                    The Sufis : tazkiatun al nafs
ii)                   Bilal : in the creations there are signs of Allah SWT…
iii)                 Al-Rasul SAW : ….to perfect akhlaq, reform relationship with Allah SWT by becoming IHSAN – levels of ‘amal i. as a trader to get Jannah, ii. do it because we love Him, iii.  do it out of ihsan i.e. to be close to Him
SHARI’AH : reduce to legal aspects (by some scholars)…
·         should be peaceful in implement reform e.g. the way of the sufi tradition…implement the act in your heart i.e. jihadun al nafs, relationship with Allah SWT e.g. 3R : respecting nature
·         reform as sources of justice in social, politic, economy, development, education, environment etc.
·         should define jihad correctly…no Shari’ah is without jihad in every field including intellectual jihad and spiritual jihad
4.       Ultimate goal of reform
·         Philosophers, muslims and non muslims eg al-Ghazali strive to gain saadah and falah
·         It should be Taqwa i.e. piety, God’s love, God’s consciousness
·         Taqwa : is a state or a mean, ultimate mean, a state of tranquillity ie SALAM, peacefulness
·         Jihad towards establishing peace i.e. to resist for peace and to reform towards peace
·         No Shari’ah is without resisting to oppressing
REFORM : radical reform…adapting to the world as it is changing…transform to become better
·         New responses to challenges, to make the world better
·         Goal may not be the same though we may have the same mindset…to protect and transform
·         Nurturing the sense that we are dominated i.e. was colonised therefore have to protect ourselves and to adapt. This will ‘bring us away’ from our goal i.e. to have the confidence
Problem : it  is psychological and not only lacking behind scientifically. Either we refer to goal or compete with them?
Cultural : distracting our mind (not only political and knowledge) – to protect from dominant civilization therefore,  
i)                    We have to categorize knowledge....Legal one i.e. halal and haram etc and adapt …it’s important but not all there is to it
ii)                   Liberate yourself…come to our goal
iii)                 Mercy is to stick to our goal and not means…fastabiqul khairat
iv)                 Transmit …to reality (mindset), what we need are sources, objectives, means

a)      Sources : The Qur’an and al-Hadith, the world, the universe, the sciences - Mu’az : Ijtihad (my mind); should it be lslamic everywhere eg Islamic medicine etc?
b)      Objectives : students of ibn Taimiyah ….legal and ethical, 5 objectives : maqasid al shari’ah (legal) and spiritual (internal); Adam as : knowledge and freedom (intimate stability)
c)       Means : not only legal i.e. not only the fuqaha, who shoulder the task to change the world …but specialists from all sciences, human and experimental, sociologists etc. Scholars and ulama should work together towards the goal….i.e. salam and justice.
We must not dream the future and idolize the past; stop protecting but instead adding, building, enriching
i)                    Hierarchy of knowledge
ii)                   Implicit categorization
iii)                 Involve in all the field of knowledge

iv)                 Complete all the fatawas 

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