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Making sense of islam with tarek Elgawhary

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Episode 43: Islamic Principles #11: Understanding the World Around Us

It’s not enough to simply know matters of religion to make sense of Islam, it’s equally important to know about the world around us and what it entails in great details. Without this skill set, our interpretations will be stuck in the past based on a completely antiquated worldview. This episode discusses why this important and what we can do to help.

Episode Notes

Quran Mentioned
“We have not revealed the Quran to make you miserable.” (20:2)

Hadith Mentioned
“The best form of religion is that which is easy” (Muslim)
“There is no harm and reciprocating harm.” (Ibn Majah)

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Understanding the Muslim Mind

If we could take all of Islamic intellectual history, what sort of patterns and principles could we deduce? More importantly, if we found someone who actually knew all this information, what would they look like, think like, talk like, etc.?

Thoughts on Zakat
14 August 2020
Thoughts on Zakat

One of the unique features of Islam as an intellectual system is that it possesses a mechanism for renewal and revival within itself. This mechanism is the instrument of ijtihād- independent legal reasoning- that allows a trained and licensed jurist to develop new rulings and judgements for situations that are unprecedented, nuanced, and, in a way, of a troublesome nature. There is a lot of literature within Islamic legal tradition that explains the vast contours of ijtihād. Familiar discussions outline the common set of must-know legal rules and principles, interpretive tools used to unlock meanings within the primary texts, and auxiliary disciplines needed in order for one’s ijtihād to be effective and within the broad limits of orthodoxy. These are standard in any work that discuss the instrument of ijtihād. There are other discussions, however, that one comes across from time to time that shed a little more light on the phycology and mindset behind the person engaging in ijtihad, namely the mujtahid. One interesting description, courtesy of Imam Ghazali (d. 505/1111), is the need for the mujtahid to have vast amounts of creativity. The more creativity a mujtahid has, the more creative thinking they can bring to bear on a particular issue, the better they will be able to come up with right solutions and right answers; especially solutions that will last the test of time. To be creative in this context, therefore, is to think outside the box and dare to be innovative. It is to ask the right questions, not just memorize standard answers.

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