Taha Jabir Al Alwani

The Problem of Bias: An Epistemological Approach and Call for Ijtihad

  • Published in Law

The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) is pleased to sponsor this important seminar, as its topic and objectives, the nature of the issues to be raised, and the points of view represented by the scholarly participants and their papers are of vital concern to the Islamic world. Through its participation, the institute has opened a new chapter for academic activity and intellectual jihad, particularly in Arabic and Islamic cultural circles.

As the institute joins the Union of Egyptian Engineers (UEE) in this pioneering intellectual effott, it seeks to articulate its third objective as regards the reform of the methodology of Islamic thought: the Islamization of knowledge in order to build a new Islamic cultural order and lead the ummah to the most beneficial ways of overcoming its backwardness.

Naturalization and the Rights of Citizens

  • Published in Law

The subject of naturalization, which is an integral part of the concept of identity and its related problems, has been an issue in the Muslim world since its first contacts with western thought, culture, military, and politics. Even though the matter was decided, in practical terms, by the emergence of ethnic and geographic nation-states out of the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire, it remains an open topic at the cultural and academic levels. In fact, whether it is addressed as a challenge, an excuse, or as a means to an end, it remains a major and very sensitive question. As new ethnic and regional Muslim nation-states begin to show signs of instability, the subject grows more complex: it takes on new aspects of identity and affiliation and seeks to discover the best way of ordering relations between the peoples of each region or between them and the (factional, military, or otherwise) elitist governments controlling them.

The Rights of the Accused in Islam (Part One)

  • Published in Law

As a faith and a way of life, Islam includes among its most important objectives the realization of justice and the eradication of injustice. Justice is an Islamic ideal under all circumstances and at all times. It is not to be affected by one's preferences or dislikes or by the existence (or absence) of ties of blood. Rather, it is a goal to be achieved and an ideal to be sought: "Surely, Allah commands justice and the doing of good" (Qur'an 16:90); "And I was commanded to deal justly between you" (42:15); and "Allow not your rancor for a people to cause you to deal unjustly. Be just, for that is closer to heeding" (5:8). There are also many hadiths in the Sunnah that command justice and prohibit wrong. Moreover, the achievement of justice is one of the objectives towards which human nature inclines, while its opposite - injustice - is something that humans naturally abhor.

The Rights of the Accused in Islam (Part Two)

  • Published in Law

Under the law of Islam, the accused enjoys many rights. These will be summarized below.

The Right to a Defense

The accused has the right to defend himself/herself against any accusation. This may be accomplished by proving that the evidence cited is invalid or by presenting other evidence that contradicts it. In any case, the accused must be allowed to exercise this right so that the accusation does not turn into a conviction. An accusation means that there is the possibility of doubt, and just how much doubt there is will determine the amount and parameters of defense. By comparing the evidence presented by the defense with that of the party making the accusation, the truth will become clear-which is, after all, the objective of the investigation.

Opening Speech by Dr. Taha Jabir : Towards the Construction of a Contemporary Islamic Educational Theory

AI-salamu alaikum wa rahamatu Allah wa barakatuh:

Praise be to Allah and prayer and peace be on our prophet Muhammad and his Household, companions, followers and those who follow him and abide by his guidance until the Day of Judgement.

On this blessed day, the second day of the new Hijrah year, the international Institute of Islamic Thought is pleased to start its second academic participation in dear Jordan only one year after its first participation with the Royal Academy for Islamic Civilization Research­Al al-Bait-Foundation. In the symposium entitled: "Prophet Muhammad's Sunnah: Source of Knowledge, Culture and Civilization", which was held last summer. That conference had healthy effects most important of which may be to draw the attention of scholars and researchers to the prophet's Sunnah in this regard and to enhance the idea of using divine inspiration as a source of knowledge, culture, education, civilization, urbanization, and progress after Muslims had for a long time regarded divine inspiration as the source of Sharia rules only. On the other hand, they were used to import ready­made social and human knowledge with all its unhealthy dimensions from the west. These dimensions include looking to divine inspiration as myth, and considering scientific knowledge in all fields as any tangible piece of information subjected to experiment as defined by UNESCO.

Toward An Islamic Alternative In Thought and Knowledge

Current developments and the many acute problems facing the Muslim Ummah, especially at the intellectual level, present a serious challenge to Islam. This is why an attempt to outline an intellectual Islamic alternative in thought and knowledge has never been so urgent and imperative. This will, inshallah, help in formulating a clear and coordinated policy with regard to cultural transformation based on firm principles and sound strategy. It is also hoped that this policy will lead to scientific findings. By way of introduction, I will give a brief description of the state of knowledge and thought, and of the educational and cultural systems in the contemporary Arab and Muslim world.

Taqlid and the Stagnation of the Muslim Mind

Allah Most High chose the Muslims to be the ummah of mission (risalah), of exemplary good (khayriyah), of the golden mean (wasatiyah), and of witnessing to humanity (shahadah). Along with these responsibilities came the capacity for renewal, for ijtihad, and for correctly interpreting the Shari'ah. As a result, there is a certain inseparable mutuality between the ummah's roles as a median community cum civilizational witness for humanity and its other role as a moral and ethical exemplar, and between its capability for ijtihad and effecting reform. In order to facilitate these roles, Allah endowed the Qur'an and the Sunnah with the necessary flexibility in every aspect of Islam: its belief system, its methodology, its Shari'ah, and its organization.

The Crisis of Thought and Ijtihad

The Muslim mind experienced a crisis of thought when, during the early centuries of the Islamic era ijtihad began to be viewed as limited to legal matters rather than as a methodology for dealing with all aspects of life. This limited understanding engendered a malaise that allowed taqlid to attain such prominence and respectability that its cancerous, constricting, and irrelevant fiqh spread throughout Muslim life. Had ijtihad retained more of its lexical meaning and creativity, and had fiqh been considered only one of its uses, perhaps Muslims would have overcome many of the problems that confronted them. However, this particularization of ijtihad confined the Muslim mind, and taqlid eventually led to the paralysis of its creative abilities.

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