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This assessment item is designed to assess your understanding of the course material, as well as your research, analytical and writing skills. It involves researching and writing a 2000-word paper on...

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This assessment item is designed to assess your understanding of the course material, as well as your research, analytical and writing skills. It involves researching and writing a 2000-word paper on one of the following topics:

A) New perspectives on early Islam: implications for Islam-West relations

In light of contemporary research on early Islam by scholars such as Fred Donner, this essay should address the following:

o What are the key findings of contemporary research on early Islam?

o How does contemporary research on early Islam challenge our previous understanding of Islam and the first Muslim communities?

o What are the main critiques of this research?

o What are the major implications of this research for how Islam is perceived by Muslim and non-Muslims today and for Islam-West relations?

B) Potential impacts of the authentication of the Prophet's covenants with Christians and Jews

In light of recent research by scholars such as scholars as John Morrow and Ahmed El-Wakil on the Prophet Muhammad's covenants with Christian and Jewish communities of his time, this essay should address the following:

o How were the convenants of the Prophet Muhammad with Christians and Jews discovered and authenticated?

o What are the implications of their authentication in respect to the established sources/texts of Islam?

o What challenge do they pose for our understanding of the history of relations between Muslim and Christians/Jews?

o What are their implications for Islam in relation to Muslim relations with non-Muslims?

C) Perspectives on the relationship between Islam and politics

In light of research by scholars such as Ali Abdul Razek (Ali Abdel Raziq) and others, this essay should address the following:

o Do the Quran and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad advocate a particular political system?

o What is the evidence for and against the politicisation of Islam and notions of an Islamic state?

o What are the implications of this research for post-colonial and contemporary Islamist groups and movements seeking to establish a caliphate or Islamic state?

o What does this research convey in respect to the meaning and scope of Islam?

D) Evolution of "shariah"

In light of research by scholars such as Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Bassam Tibi and others, this essay should address the following:

o How is the term shariah used in the Quran and in the traditions at the time of the Prophet Muhammad?

o What was the meaning and use of the term shariah in the era of classical Islam (Abassid period 8-13th C)?

o How is shariah commonly defined in post-colonial and contemporary Islamist discourse?

o What are the implications of the evolution of how shariah is defined for Islam in the modern world?

Answered Same Day Apr 16, 2020


Anju Lata answered on Apr 29 2020
113 Votes
In the Arabic language, ‘Shariah’ refers to the ‘co
ect way’ (Al-Islam,2018). It is basically an Islamic religious law which defines a right path, (mentioned in Quran) to be followed by the Muslims to reach their eternal Allah. The Shariah is the teachings of Prophet Mohammad and definitions of these teachings by few Muslim juristic scientists The Muslims contemplate Shariah virtuous, as it was originated by Allah in Quran. 
According to Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Bassam Tibi and others, Shariah is the way to seek happiness and deliverance from sin, or in other words, it is a right way of following Islamic religion. The five essential features (or pillars) of Shariah include trust in Allah, holy prayers (salat), Hajj, fasting and offering zakat (charity) to poor. Shariah also expounds the right manner of offering prayers which is known as Ibadat. A major part of Shariah defines Justice which is the manner in which Allah wants all the living beings to be treated mentioned under the heading Muamalat. Shariah also directs to care and protect five important things in best possible manner: Religion, life, property, family and intellect (Al-Islam,2018).
The paper illustrates the use and meaning of Shariah in Quran at Prophet Mohammad’s era, in A
asid period, in post-colonial Islamic discourse and finally in today’s modern world.
Shariah at the time of Prophet Mohammad
In the Quran, Shariah directs us to trust in oneness of Supreme power, fasting, prayers, hajj and aids to support the poor. In Prophet Mohammad’s time, the reference of Shariah was mainly taken as a belief and principles, and not as a law. Mohammad unveiled majority of Quran (84/114 siirahs) in Makkah, all of them represented Quran as a belief and moral principles (Kamali,n.d.). During this period, law and the governance were not presented in Quran. The legal impact of Quran is quite limited and rare in content mainly based on the same moral values and beliefs. Prophet repeatedly attributed Quran as a source of power. In his subsequent years of journey at Madinah, he refe
ed to his examples (known as Sunnah) as a guide to behavior and conduct. In Sunnah, the words Figh and Shariah are not present in their normal meaning. It is evident from the popular sayings of Prophet Ibn Jabal: When Prophet Mohammad was sending Jabal to Yemen as a Judge and ruler; he asked him – as a judge, on what three things his decisions will be based on? Jabal replied that he will consult Quran at first, after that the Sunnah delivered by Prophet and thirdly he will trust his own judgment ability and ijtihad. He did not refer to Shariah or Figh in his statement. Even the Shariah of Figh word was not used in legal reference even after the demise of Mohammad (Kamali,n.d.). Both of these words evolved much later in terms of jurisdiction. During Mohammad’s time, Shariah was a defining attribute of Islamic society which was independently based on its own five pillars. Giving it the form of legal code is just an approach which developed later on, and was not included initially while the message was delivered as a message of God. Prophet Mohammad once said: We put you on the co
ect path (Shariah) of religion. Just follow it, and don’t follow the mischievous and playful aspirations of the people who have no knowledge.
Shariah in A
asid’s period (750-1258)
According to Ibn-al-Muqaffa, the initial phase of A
asid’s period had several administrative and legal practices as contradictory to the basic values of Shariah. Therefore he said that the caliphs must have improved the existing practices to initiate a new set of rules but any of the caliphs had no powers to ove
ule the core values of Shariah. Different writers expressed their own perception about the inte
elation of siyasah and the religion. Most of them considered the two as distinct from each other. According to Al-Jahiz, Siyasah being confined to the limits of present world while religion to be concerned with another world, both were different but not contrast to each other. Abu Hayyan perceived both as complementary to each other. He regarded Shariah as the government of humanity as directed by God, while Siyasah is the government framed by the human beings. Shariah is incomplete...

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