Jurisprudence for Muslim Minorities and the Creation of a Western Islam: The Role of the European Council for Fatwa & Research and the Fiqh Council of North America
10 / 2005 - 10 / 2009
Nieuwsbrief NOSTER oktober 2005
The challenges facing Muslim minorities, especially in the West, are perceived to be broader than the confined area of the rules of conduct embodied in the traditional Islamic jurisprudence. The attempts undertaken so far by Muslim scholars to deal with many serious issues facing these minorities have failed to take into consideration the views and contributions of Muslims who live in the West, speak its languages and have a comprehensive understanding of its social, political, religious and economic systems. In the light of this situation, a number of the contemporary Muslim scholars and jurists recently started to pay due attention to and call for a Jurisprudence for Muslim Minorities [Fiqh al-Aqalliyy?t al-Muslimah]. This new approach of Fiqh is supposed to fulfill the Muslim minorities long-felt need for developing realistic judgments and religious opinions in response to their legal requisites. The new approach of devising a specific Fiqh for Muslims in a non-Muslim secular context has an immense influence in promoting the communicativeness between Muslim generations on the one hand and between them and the Western communities and cultures on the other. Not much effort has been exerted to examine the development of this discourse and the influence of that Fiqh on Muslims life, which reflects to what extent the way of producing Islamic knowledge is changing. My research is dedicated to examine the role of the European Council for Fatwa & Research and the Fiqh Council for North America, as the two main institutions developing this fast growing subject of minorities jurisprudence, and the influence of their decisions in Muslims reality. An attempt will be made to investigate the origins of this jurisprudence, its characteristics, methodology, scope, and limits in dealing with new issues. The socio-political contexts relevant to the development of this jurisprudence and its significance of for Muslims reality in the West will be examined as well, giving special attention to the Netherlands in particular.