Shari'a and the Modern World

Circle - Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - Cambridge - April 2012 - 1hour 14mins 48secs

In this circle the Sheikh tackles the fraught topic of Shari'a and what form and role it has taken and might take in the contemporary context. A number of notable contrasts are pointed out in comparing religious law, which is the only credible legal system that can claim to be associated with Universals, with post-Enlightenment codes. Shari'a is thus described as a both a celebration of peoples' innate rights that can't be transgressed, but also as means of ennobling one's self through the promulgation of virtues and dignity. Thereby the religious law protects others as well as ourselves from ourselves, respecting the rights of God and His servants, ideally and in reality facilitating an atmosphere of serenity and repose. This contrasts sharply with modern civilisation's championing of the virtues of individualism whilst also being the most tightly regulated and legislated age in history; the cracks in the system are being all too evident to see. 

The second part of the circle includes an informative sketching out of different forms of law; statutory, case-based and juristic law, the latter representing the classical Islamic model. The Sheikh outlines how Islamic society traditionally had minimal interference from the state, with the qadi and mufti regulating law at a local, personal level. This system started to change in the 19th century following Ottoman changes to the statutory system, as well as Colonial interventions in other Muslim lands. The question that the circle then examines is in the modern 'Arab Spring' era, can contemporary attempts at establishing a religious law be credibly considered as such, when they are rooted in the post-colonial nation-state with all that this involves, in contrast to the system of shari'a that had operated for many centuries previously?

Download this circle (MP3, 71.4MB)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting. This provides much food for thought.