Understanding the Four Madhhabs,
"The Facts about Ijtihad and Taqlid,"
[A5] Booklet - 30 pages, Back in Stock April 2018,
by Abdal Hakim Murad (Dr T.J. Winter),
Published by Muslim Academic Trust, UK,
The ummah's greatest achievement over the past millennium has
undoubtedly been its internal intellectual cohesion. From the fifth century
of the Hijra almost to the present day, and despite the outward drama of the
clash of dynasties, the Sunni Muslims have maintained an almost unfailing attitude
of religious respect and brotherhood among themselves. It is a striking fact
that virtually no religious wars, riots or persecutions divided them during
this extended period, so difficult in other ways.
The history of religious movements suggests that this is an unusual
outcome. The normal sociological view, as expounded by Max Weber and his
disciples, is that religions enjoy an initial period of unity, and then
descend into an increasingly bitter factionalism led by rival
hierarchies. Christianity has furnished the most obvious example of
this; but one could add many others, including secular faiths such as
Marxism. On the face of it, Islam's ability to avoid this fate is
astonishing, and demands careful analysis.
There is, of course, a straightforwardly religious explanation. Islam is the
final religion, the last bus home, and as such has been divinely secured from
the more terminal forms of decay. It is true that what Abdul Wadod Shalabi has
termed ‘spiritual entropy’has been at work
ever since Islam's inauguration, a fact which is well-supported by a number
of hadiths. Nonetheless, Providence has not neglected the ummah. Earlier
religions slide gently or painfully into schism and irrelevance; but Islamic
piety, while fading in quality, has been given mechanisms which allow it to
retain much of the sense of unity emphasised in its glory days.
antics of the emirs and politicians might lead, the brotherhood of believers,
a reality in the initial career of Christianity and some other faiths, continues,
fourteen hundred years on, to be a compelling principle for most members of
the final and definitive community of revelation in Islam. The reason is simple
and unarguable: God has given us this religion as His last word, and it must
therefore endure, with its essentials of tawhid, worship and ethics intact,
until the Last Days.
More books on Fiqh
: Islamic Jurisprudence.