Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Scholarly Consensus: Ijma' Between Use & Misuse By Abdullah bin Hamid Ali

Scholarly Consensus: Ijma Between Use & Misuse By Abdullah bin Hamid Ali


“Ustadh Abdullah Ali is to be commended for a provocative, timely and critical examination of Ijma’. This work asks serious questions and demands serious, well-considered answers. Hopefully, it will be the start of a deep and fruitful conversation that will enrich all involved.”

Imam Zaid Shakir
Resident Scholar, Zaytuna College

"To be critical is one thing; to be critically responsible is another. The future lies with critically responsible engagement. Shaykh Abdullah is critically responsible."

Dr. Sherman Jackson
Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Law and
Afro-American Studies, University of Michigan , Ann Arbor

"Islamic scholarship has always been predicated upon critical inquiry, it lies at the essence of our tradition. This scholarly work challenges us to examine many assumed absolutes that directly impact the lives of so many people."

Imam Dawood Yasin,
Muslim Chaplain, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

"…a provocative scholarly contribution that courageously reconsiders the authoritative role of ijma’ within the Islamic ethos…"

Mohammad Abderrazzaq,
Ph.D. candidate in Islamic Studies at Boston University

"An honest and needed piece of scholarship."

Shaykh Suheil Laher,
Muslim Chaplain MIT

“A masterly exposition of ijma‘, its definitions, role in Islamic jurisprudence and perhaps most importantly its limitations. A well argued and timely reminder of the necessity for Muslim scholars today to revisit the process of ideological standardization that too often established a criterion for sound belief that, although useful within a particular socio/political context, has become antithetical to the greater good and unity of the Muslim community. An important study that calls our attention to the value of and growing need to preserve the ideological and philosophical diversity that has exemplified Islamic thought from its earliest times.”

Dr. Kenneth Abdel-Hadi Honerkamp,
Professor of Arabic, Islamic texts, Shar'iah (Islamic Law), North African
Sufism, University of Georgia, Athens

"Many young Muslims have questions about the role of scholarly consensus (ijma') in the Islamic tradition. Who decides when a consensus has been reached? Can it be overturned? Do I have any right to challenge a consensus, especially if it seems unethical or anachronistic? Ustadh Abdullah's article on the uses and misuses of consensus in Islamic discourse goes a long way in shedding much needed light on this complex and important topic."

R. David Coolidge,
Associate University Chaplain, Brown University

"Historically, within every generation of Muslims there is a group of courageous scholars who rise to the responsibility of internalizing Islam's rich legal tradition; not to be imprisoned by traditionalism, but in order to distill what is non-negotiable from Islam's vast jurisprudential canon, build upon it, and make it relevant to the needs of their particular time, place, and people--Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Shaykh Abdullah (may Allah preserve him) has risen to this responsibility in his scholarly delineation of the history, role, definitions, and parameters of scholarly consensus (ijma‘). This critical study demonstrates his mastery of the principles and subtleties of Islamic Legal Methodology ('usul al-fiqh) and is indispensable reading for the scholar and non-scholar who seek to be intellectually liberated by the classical legal tradition of Islam and not straitjacketed by it."

Ustath Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes
Instructor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, The Risala Institute, Atlanta, Georgia

"Knowledge of the legal foundations (usul) is the keystone of the jurist and student of law. And it is the methodology of research employed by scholars in legislative deliberations, because it guards against error and aimless chatter. I have reviewed what our brother, Shaykh Abdullah bin Hamid Ali—may Allah grant him success—has written about this matter of foundational legal import, and I have found him to have probed its depths and mastered its every nuance; a thing that bears testimony to his broad grasp and mastery of the legal sciences. May Allah, the Exalted, grant him success in the service of the Sunna and those who uphold it; and may He transfer benefit through him and his knowledge to people everywhere.”

Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya al-Ninowy,
Scholar and Imam of Al-Madina Masjid, Norcross, GA

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