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Baraza (Bulletin)






















Second issue (Diversity of Opinions: an Islamic Legacy)

Pages 1-12 & Pages 13-24 (both in pdf)

Welcome to the second issue of BARAZA! In this issue, we have compiled articles by key Islamic scholars on the subject of diversity of opinion in Islam. Our main essay, by Mohammad Hashim Kamali, explores the scope of diversity and disagreement among pre-modern Islamic jurists. Next, we present a Q&A with M.A. Muqtedar Khan, who argues for a "democratisation of interpretation" in order to achieve meaningful democratisation in Muslim societies. Kecia Ali's essay looks at differing interpretive approaches to a complex Qur'anic verse – Surah An-Visa (4:34) - which is very often quoted to support the idea of women's subordination to men. We also include a short essay by Shanon Shah explaining the evolution of a very important juristic tool in Islam - the fatwa. He compares the pre-modern practice of fatwa-making to contemporary institutionalisation of fatwa in different Muslim states. Read more...

The Scope of Diversity and Ikhtilaf
With its tolerance of disagreement among the ulama over juristic issues, Islamic law is described as being one of diversity within unity – diversity in details and unity in principles. Ikhtilaf (juristic differences) in Islamic law is reflected in the existence of at least five different schools of jurisprudence surviving to this day. Islamic law has a rich tradition of diversity and disagreement even as it has remained open to the influence of various legal traditions. Read more..

The Priority of Politics: is it Possible to Have an Islamic Democracy That Does Not Impose Shariah?
This is a question and answer format talking about democracy and Islam. Read more..

Islamic Law and Muslim Minorities
Presently, more than one third of the world's Muslims are living as minorities in non-Muslim countries, a fact that has posed challenges not only for the host countries, but also for the Muslims themselves. Most Muslims perceive Muslim minorities as an integral part of the larger Muslim community, or ummah. Many insist that Muslims must be governed by Islamic law, often that of the country of origin. Read more..

The Evolution of Fatwa-making and Diversity of Fatwas
In Islam, it is a legal pronouncement on a specific matter, issued by a religious legal specialist. It is usually issued at the request of an individual or a judge to settle matters in which fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) is unclear. A scholar who is capable of issuing fatwas is called a mufti. Read more..

First issue (Reform of Islamic Family Law)

Sisters In Islam has come out with its first bi-annual bulletin and has chosen to focus on reformation of Islamic Family Law to reflect the justice of Islam . You may download the fullpage here (in pdf) or by section as stated below:

"Welcome to the first issue of BARAZA!, Sisters in Islam biannual issues bulletin. This bulletin brings together articles on contemporary matters affecting Muslims today, with a focus on women’s rights in Islam and an update of SIS activities." Read more

Reforming Family Law in the Muslim World
"In early April, a Universiti of Malaya professor commented that a Muslim father can force his daughter to marry a person of the family’s choice against her will, and that this marriage would be legal and binding in Islam...That same week, however, Saudi Arabia’s top religious authorities banned the practice of forcing women to marry against their will (ijbar), stating that the practice contravenes the objectives of shariah." Read more

Best Practices on Family Law Issues
This table benchmarks current practices in Malaysian Islamic Family Law against practices of Islamic Family Law in the rest of the Muslim world. It thus illustrates the implications of these practices on gender issues...Read more

The Construction of Gender in Islamic Legal Theory
"The conceptions of gender that were codified by the major schools of law, however, were neither unified nor coherent, but competing and contradictory. The various schools of law each had different substantive rules governing marriage and divorce, with no single 'authentic' or unanimous idea of the rights and obligations of spouses within marriage. Over the past 1,000 years, these substantive rules have altered, though the inequality between spouses has remained constant. This helps to demonstrate that while shariah is universal, unitary, and unchanging, fiqh is local, multiple and subject to change." Read more

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