Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence by MH kamali

If only you had sent us a messenger we would have

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Unformatted text preview: riptures and messengers. The shar' only removes the curtain from what the `aql could itself perceive, and in essence the former is identical with the latter. The intellect (`aql) can identify the good and evil in human conduct by reference to its benefit and harm. God's law concerning the conduct of the mukallaf is not only identifiable by the human intellect but is also identical with the dictates of the human intellect. God only asks the mukallaf to do what is beneficial and forbids him from doing what is harmful. Whatever the `aql sees as good or right, is also good in the sight of God, and vice versa. A person who acts against the requirement of reason may therefore be punished and one who acts in harmony with it may be rewarded. In this way, a person who has received no communication from the Lawgiver can still be considered a mukallaf and be held responsible on the basis of reason, and his punishment or reward can be determined accordingly. The Mu'tazilah assert that it is impossible for God to command something which is inherently evil or to prohibit something that is intrinsically good, which obviously means that shar` and `aql are always in agreement with one another. Khallaf, 'Ilm, p.98; Abu 'Id, Mabahith, p.121.] Al-Ghazali is critical of the Mu'tazili view for its propensity to turn the determination of good and evil into a totally relative proposition. When an act is agreeable to one person and disagreeable to another, it is good from the viewpoint of the former and evil from that of the latter. Such a relativistic and circumstantial approach to good and evil is totally unacceptable. The Shari'ah does not and cannot operate on this basis. Instead, the Shari'ah evaluates the acts and conduct of the mukallaf on an objective plane regardless of whether they agree or disagree with particular interests. When the Lawgiver commands an act, or when He praises it, it is praiseworthy and good in all cases. Mustasfa, I, 136.] Al-Shawkani is also critical of the Mu'tazili view, and highlights some of its weaknesses by saying that certain areas of human conduct are not amenable to rational evaluation. It is true that 'aql can determine the value, say, of truth and falsehood, as truth is beneficial and lying is harmful. 'Aql can also discern the value of saving the life of a drowning or of a starving man, yet it cannot determine the virtue of fasting on the last day of Ramadan or the enormity of fasting on the day which follows it. The good and evil in this case can only be determined by shar`, not by 'aql. [56. Shawkani, Irshad, p. 7.] Most of the `ibadat, including salah and the pilgrimage of hajj, fall under this category. The human intellect may be able to perceive a value in them only because of a benevolence and grace (lutf) therein which prevents obscenity and corruption; but `aql alone is unable to assess the precise value of `ibadat. 36.] Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence ~ Kamali 298 [53. [54. Ghazali, Mustasfa, I, 36; [55. Ghazali, [57. Ghazali, Mustasfa, I, The Mu'tazili approach to the question of right and wrong embodies a utilitarian approach to jurisprudence in the sense that a good law is that which brings the greatest benefit to th...
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2013 for the course ISLAM 101 taught by Professor Islam during the Spring '13 term at Harvey Mudd College.

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