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Dynamic Approach to the Shariʿah: A Case Study of Ijtihād and its Application in Contemporary Society

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Abstract This article argues that the Shariʿah is not entirely fixed and immutable although the Qurʾān and Sunnah, which are two of its three sources, are unalterable. Ijtihād or independent reasoning, which is the third source, is mutable however. The Shariʿah delineates the areas within which a Muslim’s life may develop and flourish as well as concedes to the Muslim community an ‘open road’ for temporal legislation which would cover the contingencies deliberately left untouched by texts in the Qurʾān and Sunnah. This article concludes that, while jurists or fuqahāʾ have provided various legal theories in light of the social reality of their respective eras, the continuing process of social change always necessitates re-adjustment.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Religious and Cultural Studies, University of Uyo Uyo Akwa Ibom State Nigeria


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