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Religious Variety: The case of convergence

May 27, 2011, 2:32 PM | Article By: AYATULLAH MUHAMMAD ‘ALI TASKHIRL

Each school has the right to explain and advocate its views without encroaching on the rights of others or resorting to accusation, calumny, or demagoguery. We do not seek to debar sound, rational debates on matters of belief, jurisprudence, or history. However, wrongful exploitation, debilitation, futile quarrelling, or imposition of views can never be accepted.
We believe that the violations committed throughout the vicissitudes of our history have risen from noncompliance with the rules and principles of proper dialogue and neglect of the truth that all schools of through serve to exalt the word of Islam and, needless to say, act in accordance with their own conception of this word.

There is no doubt that the main load of the Proximity Movement is borne by the ulama’ and Islamic intellectuals since they are heirs to the prophets-and thus inviters to the divine message and builders of future generations-besides being the most familiar with the principle foundations of proximity and the most effective in unifying Muslims as well as actualizing the characteristic features of a true Islamic Ummah.

Along these lines, the following twelve functions are concisely proposed; First, strengthening the notion of moderation in interpreting the Shariah.

Second, ingraining the Islamic method of dialogue among Muslims.

Third, restoring an active role to the science of Usul-e Fiqh in the inference of canonical laws.

Fourth, taking into consideration the aims of the Shariah and the characteristic features of Islam in the course of this movement and during the implementation of Islamic fiqh (i.e. jurisprudence) into practical laws and regulations.

Fifth, endeavoring to revive the discipline of comparative jurisprudence.

Sixth, paying assiduous attention to centers of collective ijtihad such as the Islamic Jurisprudence Forum (Majma-e Fiqh-e Islami).

Seventh, devoting attention to Theoretical Jurisprudence (Fiqh-e Nazaria) which discovers various elements of Islam in the diverse areas of human life including society, economy, and law. This discipline differs to some extent with jurisprudential inference. Theoretical jurisprudence brings to light the differences between Islamic views and views of profane schools. In addition, it offers diverse practical solutions to the Islamic administration so that the authority may choose the best among several solutions.

Eighth, striving to systematize referral to religious experts and eliminate eclecticism (iltiqat), liberal interpretational, new [hetrodoxical] interpretations, etc.

Ninth, contemplating the fundamentals and values of the Proximity Movement; reflecting them in research, reviews, debates, and writings; considering them in intellectual and jurisprudential inferences as important guideline and expediencies unexpressed in the Shariah which are preferred over less important decrees as per rule of tazahum (contrariety) in Usul-e Fiqh.

From this stems our support for Jurisprudential Proximity and our emphasis on the closeness of jurisprudential schools to one another in some international conferences. In explanation, after more careful consideration of some juristic disputes it is commonly observed that dissimilarities are mostly linguistic in nature, stemming from difference of perspectives or definitions.

This is also the case in many discussions of principles including qiyas (analogy), istihsan, and sadd-e dharayi (obstruction of means). Such tendencies exist in some books dealing in principles such as the Usul al-Fiqh of Muzaffar and also Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Hakim’s book of jurisprudence.

It must be noted that there are many books suffused with divisionary incitation which magnify differences and contort them into abominable untruths. They insinuate for the reader the impossibility of attaining any kind of common ground and represent matters such that it would seem differences dominate all areas and that no proximity of views and perspectives in viable. These writings disregard the truth and turn a blind eye to the unicity of sources, methods, criteria, and aims.

Tenth, cooperating in enlightenment of the Ummah and transfer of the proximity culture to the masses such that they feel deep themselves for proximitist activities, and become receptive to the multiplicity of religious voices. This is because differences in inference of canonical decrees and assessment of historical situations, not to mention behavioural differences, are all tolerable and justifiable as long as they remain within the general framework of Islam and stem from differences of ijtihad. However, if a practice is considered to be beyond the framework of Islam by all mujtahids measures must be taken to disprove it in the best possible manner.

Eleventh, collaboratively and unremittingly endeavoring to implement the mentioned unitary attitudes in all critical areas including implementation of the Islamic Shariah; realization of a religious republican system; confronting the enemies of Islam and challenging their plans to harm the identity and the very existence of Islamic Ummah; preservation of the Ummah’s unity and avoidance of division; and finally, preference of public interests over personal or sectarian interests.

Twelfth, encouraging the establishment of proximity-oriented organizations such as centers for contrastive proximity research; social clubs common to followers of all schools; proximity-oriented camps; and proximity assemblies in all territories in which Muslims live.

Islamic organizations and governments may also take part in proximity by supporting the movement, holding relevant conferences, organizing various proximity projects and programmers, utilizing committed parties in the media, rejecting divisionary elements and manifestations, and disseminating the culture of religious moderation.

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The Holy Quran. The end.