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Case for reviving ijtihad 

Aligarh: Ijtihad (ground-breaking thinking) is the inner impulse and dynamism of Islamic religion, philosophy and civilisation, as it enables Muslims to keep themselves abreast of the times, Prof. Abdul Ali, director and chairman, Department of Islamic Studies, AMU, Aligarh, said here recently. 

Speaking at an extra-mural lecture programme on the subject organised recently by the department, Prof. Ali said that the provision of ijtihad reflected the healthy liberalism, tolerance, accommodation and humanitarian aspects of Islam. 

Salim Kidwai, former chairman of the department, who presided over the programme, asserted that ijtihad was a continuous process on the basis of which problems in Muslim community could be solved.He vehemently criticised the closure of ijtihad after the emergence of the four major schools of Sunni jurisprudence. 

Dr. Zafarul Islam, convenor of the programme spoke in detail on Sir Syed’s interest in ijtihad. Dr. Zafarul Islam appealed to the ulama to solve the problems confronting the community through ijtihad.

Elaborating on the importance of mutual consultation in ijtihad-related matters, Prof. S Ihtisham Ahmad Nadvi, former chairman, Department of Arabic, Calicut University, Kerala drew examples from the early history of Islam when the jurists used to frame new laws capable of solving social problems. He added that problems caused by socio-economic development could be solved by organisations like the Muslim Personal Law Board and the Islamic Fiqh Academy by adopting the same approach.

Other speakers included Prof. M Yasin Mazhar Siddiqi, former chairman of the department and Maulana Ziauddin Islahi, director, Darul Musannifin, Azamgarh.

Describing in detail the contributions of Imam Abu Yusuf, Maulana Ziauddin Islahi termed him as a mujtahid and jurist. He said that his work Kitab al-Kahraj bore testimony to it. He also elaborated on the large number of legal verdicts and judgements pronounced during the Abbasid period.

Prof. M Yasin Mazhar Siddiqi pointed out that the fatwas and judgements of Imam Abu Yusuf deserved to be deeply studied and analysed. He dispelled the misunderstandings that Hanafi jurisprudence cotradicted the spirit of the prophetic tradition. (MG News Desk)

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