«A thesis submitted to the University of Birmingham for the degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY Department of Theology and Religion School of Philosophy, ...»
European countries. On the one hand, it is possible to observe that the policy of multiculturalism adopted by Britain - and the Netherlands to a certain extent – has significantly allowed Muslims to build their own cultural communities. However, multiculturalism is also perceived to be double-edged; it may be criticized for giving too much freedom for minorities to develop their own separate communities, making it even more difficult to integrate them into the wider society, and especially so in the case of the minority of Muslims who do not want to integrate into the fold. On the other hand, the republican-assimilationist model adopted by France, with its strong demand on the total embracement of French cultural norms, strongly discourages the parallel existence of minority enclaves. Thus, there seems to be an understanding that cultural practices that are perceived to be in conflict with French ideals, such as face veiling and circumcision, must be abandoned in order for Muslims to be able to commit to total participation in French life. Correspondingly, it is shown that there is a general perception among Europeans that Muslims themselves are responsible for their poor integration, citing reasons such as refusal to integrate and rejection of Western values as the main causes (in Archick et al., 2011, p.11).
Meanwhile, Ramadan’s “uncontextualized monotheism” raises concern about whether the permissive nature of his message of universalism here comes with the risk of allowing Muslims to be dragooned by situational factors into yielding credibility to other non-Muslim frames of reference at the expense of their general “limits” for compromises (e.g., portraying “Islam” as a universal monotheism leads to the possibility of some arguing that its specific worship rituals are more a symbolic element than a critical component of the religion). Furthermore, due to the general manner in
beyond the confines of contemporary Muslim thinking. By seemingly projecting a panoramic Muslim view onto the wider field of perspectives in a shared environment, there is a significant risk of this approach being perceived as attempting to sublimate others’ personal perceptions of differences into one’s own subjectivity and eclipsing their sense of importance into the background. This problem is similar to that which may arise from Karl Rarhner’s theory of the “anonymous Christian”, which defines every man as essentially “Christian” if he ever so sincerely seeks God and strives to live His will, whether or not he has knowledge of Christianity and its Creeds. In Ramadan’s concept of universality, there seems to be a lack of clarity in the exact manifestation of how Muslims should perceive the parallel importance of other non-Muslim believers in light of their mutual seeking of God, and of other followers of non-religious beliefs in view of their mutual aim of social solidarity. Admittedly, the problem in this selfcentered orientation may be more a matter of perception than reality. However, it should merit some concern because Ramadan conceives of this universality, as highlighted previously, as leading to a form of pluralism that sets out to put all existing diverse groups on an equal footing to enable them to work as a unified, harmonious, consensusseeking team. It would not be incorrect to argue that in order to have representatives from all groups to engage in an open reflection on global issues, there needs to be a neutral ground where all participants express willingness to decenter from any prejudicial patterns and subjective structures of thinking. While Ramadan clarifies in many of his writings that Muslims are not legally forced by their respective countries to do that which is forbidden by their religion or conscience, there needs to be a clearer
5.1 Introduction The need and interest for a solution to making Islam relevant and pragmatic for Muslim minorities in the European context have evoked different reactions from alQaradawi and Ramadan, prompting them to use different approaches to contextualizing the thinking and practices of the Muslims within the social modes of living and cultural fabric of their immediate environment. As indicated briefly in the introductory chapter of the thesis, al-Qaradawi’s “adaptive” approach is reflected in his use of fiqh alaqalliyyat that seeks to make Muslim beliefs practicable in the West, while Ramadan’s “transformative” thinking is reflected in his proposition for a new holistic ethical reference that guides the order of society. In the context of this divergence and its dialectical significance, this chapter serves as an avenue for discussing the main structural features of both models of reform and bringing to light their ideological constructs and subtleties, the understanding of which is a further step to deconstructing and comprehending al-Qaradawi’s and Ramadan’s intricate thinking on European Islam and reform.
5.2 Al-Qaradawi’s Adaptive Reform and Fiqh al-Aqalliyyat 5.2.1 Conceptual Foundations Al-Qaradawi’s adaptive approach is, first and foremost, founded on the recognition that Muslim residency in the West is a factual reality (irrespective of his negative evaluation of the cultural fabric of Europe, as discussed in Chapter 4.2.1),
phenomenon as “un-Islamic” and “transitory” (Mas’ud, 2005; Shavit, 2012). Similar to Ramadan, al-Qaradawi does not abide by the rigid subsumption of non-Islamic countries under the category of dār al-ḥarb. Rather, he prefers to include them (with the exception of Israel) under dār al-‘ahd or dār al-sulḥ (abode of contract) - a third category introduced by the Sunni jurist al-Shafi’i (d. 820 CE) as an intermediate between the preceding concepts of dār al-Islām and dār al-ḥarb (Ramadan, 2004) which refers to a non-Muslim territory that has peace treaties and diplomatic ties with Muslim countries. Thus, any country in which Muslims enjoy the right and freedom to fulfill their most fundamental religious obligations is included in dār al-‘ahd or dār alsulḥ. Al-Qaradawi’s acceptance of Muslim residency in the West is proportional to his adherence to the principle of ‘ālamiyyat al-Islām, which is traditionally associated with the belief that Islam is intended for all peoples, places, and times. The significance of this foundation is clear; it provides the crucial basis for the confidence to contextualize Islamic practices and forge a well-defined identity for Muslims minorities in the West that is naturally befitting to both their religion and environment. Therefore, consistent with his formulation of a “balanced” European-Muslim identity through the concept of da’wa, al-Qaradawi’s adaptive approach allows him to establish ways in which the Muslims can “integrate” - rather than “assimilate” - into their mainstream societies (Shavit, 2012).
Although al-Qaradawi is not the original founder of fiqh al-aqalliyyat, it is often agreed that he was the first to throw it on the radar of academia and the Muslim world, owing much to his immense popularity and his global following (Gräf and SkovgaardPetersen, 2009). The scholar defines the concept as a branch of fiqh that ‘takes into
and problems’ in dealing with issues faced by Muslim minorities in Europe, claiming that it is complementary to the traditional fiqh in the Muslim world rather than an attempt at recreating Islam or Sharia (al-Qaradawi, 2003a, p.7). Fiqh al-aqalliyyat enables al-Qaradawi to treat in a lenient light the unique problems faced by the Muslim minorities in maintaining their commitment to religious beliefs, and to accordingly provide religious concessions for the purpose of allowing them to deal with the hardship instead of being discouraged by it. For example, a newly converted Western Muslim may find it difficult to immediately adopt the entire spectrum of Islamic prescriptions during the initial phase of adjusting to life as a practicing follower of Islam in the West, and thus deserves to be judged with leniency and given time to develop spiritually16.
The wider objectives of the fiqh are multifaceted; al-Qaradawi suggests that it can help Muslims who live in a non-Muslim majority context, where different norms are in practice, by enabling and encouraging them to live a successful Islamic life that is thoroughly devoted to God, to convey the universal Islamic message, to interact positively with their co-existing non-Muslim communities, to become aware of their rights as citizens, to fulfill their religious, social, and political obligations, and by providing them with answers and solutions to their questions and problems (alQaradawi, 2003a).
in al-Qaradawi’s thinking by two objectives: The need for facilitation (taysīr), and the purpose of proselytization (da’wa) (Shavit, 2012). These two objectives are unified by a maxim adopted by many reformist scholars that reads ‘al-taysīr fī al-fatwā wa al
through proselytizing) (Shavit, 2012). The need for facilitation in the issuance of legal rulings is predicated on the conviction that the challenges faced by Muslims living in a non-Muslim majority context in keeping true to Islamic tenets, if left unaddressed, can be too burdensome as to ultimately cause religious negligence and attrition (alQaradawi, 2012). Additionally, it is believed that removing hardship is one of the most fundamental objectives of Islamic law; the evidence typically adduced for this claim is the verse: ‘… Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship…’ (Qur’an, 2:185). Therefore, there exists a “scripturally-supported” basis for al-Qaradawi to legitimize the use of leniency for the purpose of easing the lives of Muslim minorities through the use of fiqh al-aqalliyyat. Here, it is possible to note that the scholar’s justification for the use of taysīr is reminiscent of his thinking on da’wa, where he sees Muslim minorities as being in a weak position and lacking knowledge in Islam, resulting in their needing support from the Muslim world, as discussed in Chapter 4.2.
Correspondingly, the emphasis on proselytization in the theorization of fiqh alaqalliyyat is deemed an acceptable grounds for making modifications to Islamic law (Shavit, 2012), with the consideration that Muslim residency in the West is conducive to achieving Islamic revivalist purposes and bringing benefits to the Muslim world in a wider context (Wiedl, 2009), which is, again, redolent of al-Qaradawi’s Islamist thinking and his understanding of da’wa.
5.2.2 Methodological Framework Al-Qaradawi stipulates that the methodology of fiqh al-aqalliyyat should be consistent with that of classical Islamic jurisprudence, which rely on the Qur’an, Sunna,
(ijmā’), analogical reasoning (qiyās), ‘… considerations of public interest [istiṣlāḥ], juristic preference [istiḥsān], blocking the means to evil [sadd al-dharāi’], custom [‘urf], revealed laws preceding the Shari’ah of Islam, the Fatwa of a Companion…’ and the like (al-Qaradawi, 2003a, p.12), albeit approached with a renewed perspective and sense of purpose in correspondence with the stated objectives of the adaptive fiqh17.
Considering the complex and unprecedented nature of many of the problems faced by Muslims in the West, an adaptive jurist of fiqh al-aqalliyat is required to place emphasis on ijtihād and other concepts that allow flexibility of modification, such as ḍarūra (necessity), taysīr (facilitation), maqāṣid al-sharī’a (objectives of Sharia), and the principle of lesser evil (a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one). Ḍarūra - or more precisely, the maxim of ‘al- ḍarūra tubīḥu al-maḥẓūrāt’ (necessity makes the unlawful lawful) is often used to allow the reversal of rulings, even those of fundamental importance, in cases of extreme necessity: The lifting of Islamic dietary law (e.g., illegality of consuming pork) in the case of starvation, for example.
approach, delving into the intricate web of rulings within the classical Sunni tradition of the four legal schools and extracting from it a plausible (though not necessarily widely recognized) basis, which is often a product of combined juristic opinions, to justify allowing flexibility to accommodate problems. Hassan (2013) notes that the scholar’s
approach here is useful in the context of Muslim minority problems for two reasons:
First, it accommodates Muslims who are not as well-versed in the basics and nuances of the existing debates across the madhhabs as to be able to maintain exclusive adherence
communities in the West are fragmented due to it being made up of diverse groups who comply with the respective madhhabs that predominate in the countries of their ethnic origins; second, it allows al-Qaradawi to merge different juristic opinions instead of having to switch from one madhhab to another and justifying his action each time (Hassan, 2013).
Through the use of the afore-mentioned conceptual framework, fiqh alaqalliyyat has witnessed the modification, suspension, and even reversal of classical rulings in unprecedented circumstances (about which the Qur’an and the Sunna are silent) for the ‘greater good’ of Muslim minorities in the West. Despite drawing legitimacy from the Sunna, it is this very role of critical reasoning that continues to ignite fears and disagreement among traditionally-oriented scholars, who dread the likelihood of Muslims misusing autonomous critical reasoning to provide leeway for ‘specious’ needs (Khan, 2004). In fiqh al-aqalliyyat, however, al-Qaradawi clarifies that any outcome of ijtihād should not contradict the explicit rulings of Sharia (al-Qaradawi, 2003a). The following examples of the scholar’s use of the fiqh (all of which can be found in his Fiqh of Muslim Minorities: Contentious Issues & Recommended Solutions) will show the scholar’s intention to fulfill its objectives and demonstrate the centrality of ijtihād (and the other three concomitant principles) to his adaptive approach.