Establishment of Islamic jurisprudence complex
THE establishment of the Islamic Jurisprudence (fiqh) complex in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, host to two of Islam’s most sacred shrines, is a gesture of ample significance. It is an arena to determine Shariah or fiqh-related issues on contemporary matters through collective “ijtihad” — or interpretation — without confining it to a single Islamic sect.
The purpose of setting up of the complex was clarified recently by the Council of Ministers. They asserted that the Kingdom has a unique status amongst the nations of the world in that it is a land of revelation. This is land of the Two Holy Mosques — the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah and the House of God in Makkah. The latter represents the “Qibla” — where Muslims face — while praying five times a day. It is the land where the age of Islam came to being. The “dawa” — or call to faith — emanated from the very land that witnessed Islam’s institutional wars that the Prophet and his companions fought.
All these are facts that cannot be contested. These very facts give our country a unique and timeless distinction that circumstance cannot eradicate.
Given its historical weight, the Kingdom should be capable of issuing fatwas — or Islamic edits — and address all contemporary Shariah-related issues that may arise in this age, making them frontrunners in clarifying confusion in the fiqh arena that has arisen due to individual interpretation.
If we want this campus to be a main reference point for Muslims, we should expand our concept of the meanings of contemporary issues. We should free ourselves from the captivity of local outlook, which is incapacitating especially when we lock ourselves in a small circle in which our habits and traditions are mistakenly attributed to Islam by some. Islam is not specific to any one society. It is above any norms or social values of any country. Islam transcends time and place.
The Fiqh Complex should, therefore, embody these concepts, otherwise it will be a repeat of all previous efforts, which remain incomplete and with very limited value.
It is crystal clear from the decision of the Council of Ministers that we are in for an advanced Islamic vision that will take into consideration “the importance of ijtihad without being confined to a specific Islamic sect.”
If this new initiative is implemented according to this vision, it will create a reference in the Kingdom in the field of Islamic Fiqh. It will also present Islamic Shariah rules that will clarify all contemporary questions to Muslims everywhere. It will give Muslims a better understanding of their religion and the Islamic stance in relation to any fiqh-related matter, small of big.
— Courtesy of Al-Jazirah newspapaer