Monday, February 21, 2005

Gates of Ijtihad: Open for Business

"The closing of the gates of ijtihad" is a concept well known to students of the Middle East. It refers to the belief that by about 1000, all the major questions involving Islamic law had been decided and further application of the principle of ijtihad, or the exercise of individual judgement in interpretation, was unnecessary and probably a sinful innovation. (You can read more here.) The thing is, whether this actually took place remains open to question, and according to Abu Aardvark, overwhelming majorities in key Arab countries say continued ijtihad is just fine by them.


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