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Rethinking sharī'a: Javēd Ahmad Ghāmidī on hudūd

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Modern Muslim thought is usually studied in terms of a dichotomy between modernity and tradition; the former as Western impact, the latter as Muslim societies supposedly petrified in the past. These studies, however, have failed to appreciate the dynamics of Muslim intellectual movements. The west-centrism tends to overlook the local contexts. This paper is a study of a contemporary thought movement in Pakistan led by Javēd Ahmad Ghāmidī. In some ways this movement resembles the Wasatiyya of Egypt, especially in rethinking the application of sharīa in a modern state and the necessity of state in Islam. Ghāmidī's intellectual development took place in a traditional environment, and his movement grew with an analysis of the contemporary discourses on sharā'a in Pakistan. In his arguments on sharā'a, Ghāmidī is not apologetic; he rarely refers to Western criticism. He seldom differs with the Islamic modernists but he never leaves the traditional framework. Ghāmidī is not unaware of the modern context but since his discourse is primarily with the traditionalists on the one hand and Jamā' at Islāmī and its seceding groups on the other, he is more a critical traditionist than an Islamic modernist.

Affiliations: 1: Islamabad

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