Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Ijtihad gone missing

Have a look at this post by Perry de Havilland about the Danish cartoons affair. He highlights the difficulty of the two sides of the argument actually communicating and points to his experience of this in the comments to previous posts. Follow the link 23 December 2006 and scroll down the comments (there are many) until you get to Mohamad.

He and Perry have an exchange whose only outcome is that at one point Perry feels ashamed of mocking Mohamad's English. But it's hard yakka. Mohamad does little except cite dictats from He-who-must-not-be-mocked, and when Perry begs for a personal view, Mohamad responds that those are his personal views.

We see in action the consequence of the "closure of the door of ijtihad". The practice of ijtihad (cognate with jihad) was the interpretation, through reason and discussion, of the Qur'an and the Sunnah. In other words, while still sacred texts, their place in the world had not been fixed once and for all. There was still room for argument. Well, that room was walled up sometime between the 10th and 13th centuries and swallowed by the sands. Its location is currently unknown.

No comments: