Sunday, November 16, 2014

Rethinking Islamic Reform - Oxford University Islamic Society.

In terms of what role should governments play in Islamic reform, I would argue that governments are... one of the most important things that Muslim jurists attempted to address was the limits of government, and Muslims traditionally were very libertarian in their approach, they did not like - our jurists did not like - they didn't work for governments and we had a separation of powers in the sense that the legislative body was in the jurist and the jurists were independently working. Islamic Sharia arises completely independent of government support; the great jurists actually - Malik, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi’i - all spent time in government jails; all of them, and these were the great founders of the Sunni tradition, and the Shi'a also have a tradition of persecution at the hands of government as well; in some ways far worse than anything the Sunnis ever suffered; so Muslim Jurists were always very wary of Government.

One of the things about...nothing taints a reputation more in our community than an association with the government. You lose your credibility.
Muslims are very wary of any scholar who associates closely with the government, and they always have been. And there's a reason for that. Because governments never do that out of the graciousness of their goodwill. They co-opt

Now, our Prophet said the worst scholars are those at the doors of rulers, and the best rulers are those at the doors of scholars. My own teacher Shaykh Abdullah bin Baya said the first is restricted, and the second is absolute. What that means in 'usuli' language is that the first is not an absolute statement because it's dependent on the intention of the scholar. When the Prophet said the worst scholars are those at the doors of the governments, wanting some personal gain from them. If they go there for the sake of God to advise those governments, then they're not falling amongst the worst scholars. This is the type of understanding that needs to translate.

Full transcript

Sheikh Hamza Yusof