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The Theory Of Limits

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explains the existence of limits in Muḥammad’s (ṣ) message. It also shows that Islamic legislation must be based on the principles of ijtihād that govern a controlled renewal and flexible adaptation of legal rules to changing historical circumstances. The chapter offers an alternative view to the current attempts to regard sharia law as an eternally fixed body of rigid rulings which allows neither additions nor modifications, and whose strict rules must be followed by every Muslim to the letter. The chapter starts by explaining what we mean by change of Islamic legislation and why we still adhere to the belief in the eternal validity of Muḥammad’s (ṣ) message. It then introduces the concepts of straightness and curvature as they apply to sharia law and specify the upper and lower limits of Islamic legislation.

Keywords: Islamic legislation; Muḥammad’s (ṣ) message

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