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Islam in the Modern World - Essay Example

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Islam in the Modern World

Traditional law remained in force. The Medina period established a new order and codified different religious traditions and separate laws. The Quran was revealed to Muhammad over a period of twenty-three years in order to meet the needs of the Islamic society in Mecca and then in Medina. It gradually provided an Islamic ideology for the community and, in the process, modified or supplemented existing customs not meeting Islamic standards. Quranic values were concretized and interpreted by the second material source of law, the Sunnah of the Prophet (Murata and Chittick 12).
2. Quran is the main religious text in Islam. Since the Quran is not a law book, i.e., not a collection of prescriptions providing a legal system, and because the Prophet was no longer alive to resolve problems, the early Caliphs, and later, during the Umayyad period (661-750), the judges (qadis) shouldered the responsibility of rendering legal decisions. The Muslim concern not simply to know the divine will but also to execute it, inspired the early Muslim community's expansion and conquest of Arabia, the Eastern Byzantine Empire in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, the Persian (Sasanid) Empire in Iran and Iraq, and Egypt. However, the realization of the Muslims' religious vision to transform the world was not a simple task. The Quran is the revelation of God, the central fact of the Islamic religious experience. As the very word of God, for Muslims the Quran is the presence of the numinous in history (space and time). Thus, the primary material source of the revealed law is quite naturally the Holy Quran, the sourcebook of Islamic values. While the Quran does contain prescriptions about matters that would rank as legal in the strict, narrow sense of the term, these injunctions, in fact, comprise but eighty verses (Murata and Chittick 27).
3. The social-historical interpretation of Quran treats the book as the main source of ancient laws and principles, social-economic relations and political power. As Muslims seek to root their personal and national identity in an Islamic past, the importance of reinterpretation and community consensus is evident. Providing an Islamic methodology for reform is an essential part of this process. Lack of such a methodology undermines any sense of the Islamic character of reforms and consequently the acceptance of such reforms by the vast majority of Muslims. While passage of reforms may be effected through an autocratic leader of a legislature comprised of a small elite, their ultimate acceptance by the vast majority of the Islamic community will not be assured. Literal interpretation of Quran is aimed to investigate literary and oral traditions of this period, analyze cultural and national uniqueness of the text. Literary interpretations take into account the use of language and cultural peculiarities of the text. Despite the changes thus far, the conflict between the forces of conservatism and modernism has continued. Resistance to change often resulted in indirect, ad hoc legal methods of reform as well as the shelving of draft legislation. The problem which has emerged is still very much that of taqlid (following tradition) versus ijtihad (reinterpretation), the infallibility of classical law ...Show more

Summary

1. The Madina period marked a new political order and established laws and principles dominated in Islam till the modern period of time. This period is connected with the life of Muhammad and his teaching. The gradual replacement of existing customs that did not meet Islamic standards is well illustrated by the Quranic prohibitions…
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Islam in the Modern World essay example
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