Politics and Government

Woman and the Masjid between Two Extremes

The masjid, better known in North America as the Islamic center, is the center of spiritual, social, educational, and, most recently, political activities of the American Muslim community. The masjid is also the place where Muslims of diverse cultural and ideological backgrounds meet and interact. The diversity of interpretations of Islamic sources and practices has created tensions, particularly in Islamic centers where the tendency is to impose strict interpretations about the appropriate place and role of Muslim women in the masjid and the community. An increasing number of young Muslim women complain of restrictive arrangements and practices, impeding their ability to fully participate in educational and social programs. Many masjids today restrict the main prayer hall to men and assign women to secluded quarters. Women are asking out loud: “Is this the place Islam assigns for us, or is it the imposition of cultural traditions?” Some have even gone to the other extreme of rejecting all traditions and discarding all limits.

The Maqāṣid approach and rethinking political rights in modern society

This paper examines political rights in Islam by focusing on freedom of religion and the extent to which the state is empowered to enforce faith and religious law on society. It starts by comparing the notion of law in both Western and Islamic traditions, and then analyzes the difference between the ethical and legal within Sharī‘ah. The paper illustrates how Islamic law grew historically by working to limit the power of the state, and points out the need to maintain the distinction between the state and civil society for the proper implementation of Sharī‘ah. The paper also contends that those who call on the state to enforce all rules of Sharī‘ah on society rely on a faulty theory of right and concludes that Islamic law fully recognizes the right of individuals to adopt and practice their faith freely. Freedom of religion, it stresses, is an intrinsic aspect of Islamic law and all efforts to limit this freedom is bound to violate its purpose and dictates.

The Quest for an Islamic Methodology: The Islamization of Knowledge Project in Its Second Decade

The Islamization of knowledge is one of the dominant themes that continue to preoccupy contemporary Muslim intellectuals. Since Ismail al Faruqi presented this thesis little over a decade ago, numerous papers, monographs, and books have been written on the subject. This paper attempts to examine the progress of the project of Islamization in the last decade by outlining the general framework of Islamization and examining the work of its proponents and critics. Modifications aimed at overcoming the difficulties inherent in the original plan are then proposed.

Towards a Unified Approach to the Shari'ah and Social Inference

Forging a new methodology capable of analyzing complicated social phenomena on the one hand, and facilitating the derivation of rules and concepts from divine revelation on the other, is one of the paramount concerns of contemporary Islamic scholarship and the sole concern of this paper. In dealing with this concern the paper pursues two main themes. First, an attempt is made to underscore the need for reestablishing revelation as a primary source of social theorizing. Second, a primordial model of a unified methodological approach for analyzing both revealed texts and social phenomena is outlined.

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