Receiving an ‘A’ in ‘Islam And The Modern World’ felt good, it was a course that required a whole lot of reading, and the teacher demanded that ideas be expressed clearly. I would say that this class schooled me in the origins of Islamic law. I do understand that Elijah’s and Fard’s version of Islam had nothing to do with the actual historical accounts of Islam. I’ve known this for some time, and have come to realize that what Fard conceived in that prison cell in San Quentin Penitentiary was valid as a philosophy for social reform for Black People in North America. What Elijah carried out as a result of what he learned from Fard was also social reform. Was it Islam? The Asiatic Mythology he incorporated in his mission for social reform was not Islam b.u.t. it was however a valid psychological mechanism to usher original people into certain aspects of social and self awareness. Is the Black Man God? Well of course he is, however what must be understood is that anybody can say that their God, and if they choose to deal in that understanding of themselves well then that is their choice. The exclusiveness of the Black Man being God is only with the ‘Black Man’. If an Aryan White Male decided to call himself ‘God’-to the exclusiveness of that group he himself validates his own truth. My point is that under the ‘Freedom of Religion’ in the U.S. Constitution that exclusiveness to call yourself whatever you so desire is available. The Nation of Gods and Earths would not exist or could not exist in America without the ‘Freedom of Religion’ found in the first Amendment. The first degree regarding who is the Original Man would not have made its way to Original people nowaday had it not been for the First Amendment. If Fard would have came out of a prison in Saudi Arabia in 1929 screaming the ‘Black Man is God’ he would have only done so till that following Friday upon which he would have been publically executed after Jumah. It is the law that defines the social context in which we live. Defining ourselves as God and confusing it with anything in history regarding Islam is not right and exact. There is nothing wrong with being God b.u.t. it should be understood that to think that ‘Islam’ has in anyway historically catered to that notion is incorrect. Falsely Islam has been attached to Original people as though it is our natural religion. Islam is a religion like any other religion, and its early theocratic government sought to colonize by way of the Quran and the Sunna of the Prophet Muhammad.
This was the question I chose to answer in the final exam.
1. In the Book of Religion, Alfarabi argues that religion and more specifically Islamic law mediates between philosophy or the science of universal ideas and the constantly shifting political/social/cultural fabric of the society. This mediation is, in turn, possible through the renewal of Islamic Law. Based on Wael Hallaq’s exposition of the structure, mechanism and sociology of Islamic law, to what extent do you think it can fulfill the task Alfarabi assigns to it? What picture of the role of religion in the political sphere and the relation between the private and public spheres does it depict?
Alfarabi’s ‘Book of Religion’ and Hallaq’s, ‘An Introduction to Islamic Law’ make it evident that Islamic Law does not act as a blind ‘mechanistic social entity’ but instead Islamic Law is morally based in its intent. Islamic law does not fail to adapt to modernity, modernity on the other hand fails in many aspects to adapt morally-particularly in secular based societies where outlandish moral acts occur daily(Connecticut shooting). First and foremost Islamic law acts as a moral force (Hallaq, Pg.41) within the society, working as a moral force in the individual and then in the society as a whole. I found it very interesting that piety is a prerequisite for jurist and that such a quality as piety was/is an integral part of legal Islamic training.
Alfarabi paint’s the picture of virtuous religion as similar to political science. Virtuous religion seeks to gain true happiness for the inhabitants of the community (Alfarabi, Pg. 89.). It would seem that balancing religion and politics would indeed be difficult however Islam proves historically that it can be done. Western thought would have you believe that there exist a disconnection and separation between religion and politics which is in my opinion why we witness every day on the news evidence of a moral bankruptcy plaguing the West. In my view there should not be a disconnection between religion and politics, and I definitely think Alfarabi demonstrates the harmony of how religion and politics connect. The practical things in religion are those whose universals are in practical philosophy. (Alfarabi, Pg. 97), it is in these practical things we determine the stipulations restricting them. Alfarabi is in my opinion suggesting by this statement that the particulars of the law are both practical and applicable to effectively governing a society.
Friction between political points and religious law were constantly negotiated (Hallaq, Pg. 44) in Islam, and it is in this effort to reconcile politics with religion that Islamic law triumphs over many social challenges. Education is a pivotal social challenge that all societies must face. ‘Waqf’ were endowments which were very instrumental to the early educational advancements in Islam. Providing a Waqf endowment for ‘Raising a Madrassa’ was a great act of Zakkat (Hallaq, Pg. 48) and acted as a pervasive moral force in the society. The Madrasa of Mamluk sultan Hasan in Cairo was huge and it had four professors each representing a respective law school; Shaffi, Maliki, Hanafi, and Hanbali with student facilities. They offered classes in Quranic exegisis, Prophetic reports, language, logic, mathematics, and medicine and it is said that over one hundred Quran readers maintained a non-stop recital of the Holy Quran (Hallaq, Pg. 50). This was to me very impressive. The fact that the student was privileged to hear a master Hafiz recite the Holy Quran daily must have created a powerful atmosphere for learning in the university and had a profound moral impact on the educational environment. This is in keeping with Alfarabi’s ideal of virtuous religion as being a practical element in the society.
Alfarabi’s enumeration of the sciences is extensive and well laid out, providing a blueprint of multiple aspects in regard to how a society should approach a myriad of universal things. It was Alfarabi’s sixth enumerated point in regard to dialectical yields that I found most in accord with Hallaq’s ‘An Introduction to Islamic Law’. Piety was the preeminent quality used to ascertain correct judgment and correct judgment was of critical importance. I contend that the dialectical yields were of the highest importance, in that those making an argument did so with strong presumptions. According to Alfarabi these strong presumptions were based upon demonstrative proofs with specific examination into the dialectic. The average person within the Islamic society did not have to be of high social station to understand persuasive things. Thus the dialectic and the rhetoric was of high social value because it could be used to lead, or mislead the people into error. This proves that the average person in the Islamic society was in most cases a critical thinker. To know that a quest for piety undergirded the nature of social interaction is impressive and again an example of the moral force present in Islamic society.
By the end of the fifteenth century, the Shaykh Al-Islam (Chief Mufti) possessed a de facto power to depose a sultan (Hallaq, Pg. 56). This fact has in my view a direct connection in theme with Alfarabi’s tenth enumerated point as it pertains to jurisprudence, in that religion acting in the context of jurisprudence encompasses the particulars of political science (Alfarabi, Pg. 101). This gets into the area of ‘Kingly Craft’ mentioned by Alfarabi, who holds that this craft should be virtuous. He makes it clear that an ignorant King produces an ignorant city or nation and also states that it is impossible for a human being who is part of the virtuous city to be living in an ignorant city, voluntarily or involuntarily (Alfarabi, Pg. 104). Alfarabi depicts a political sphere of political cause and social effect: if the ruler is incompetent and or ignorant then the society suffers.
Wael Hallaq describes the ‘Traditionalist’ as distrustful of political power in early Islam and that Caliphs sought legitimization via the jurist, and so fostered Islamic legal education. Hallaq explains that caliphal legislative function was minimal, falling well short of the role of exemplary religious and political leader (Hallaq, Pg.40). The ‘Traditionalist’ were said to be distrustful of government, equating government with corruption and in some cases dreaded being appointed to legal stations in the society (Hallaq, Pg. 41). According to Hallaq, The rulers were in dire need of legitimatization which they ultimately found in the circles of the legal profession. The Caliphs had no choice but to endorse the Islamic law. This confirms Alfarabi sentiments as they pertain to the ‘Kingly Craft’. Alfarabi writes, ‘It explains that the things such as to be distributed in a city, in cities, in a nation, or in nations so as to be practiced in common are only brought about by means of a rulership that establishes those actions and dispositions in the city or nation and strives to preserve them for the people so that they do not disappear or become extinct.’ Thus the Caliph’s endorsed the legal scholars for the sake of the common good and for the preservation of a social piety. This precisely describes how the common good can be extrapolated from a moral force, in this case the moral force is Islam.
Wael Hallaq depicts the genius of early Islamic legal academia and its progenitors that acted as substantive educators for the social and political engine in early Islamic society. Waqf endowment assisted in making the law a moral institution in the society. Hallaq’s touches on Waqf in his exposition as being subject to exemption and that such property is not classified as any other property, explaining how Islamic law and Islamic education flourished using this discrete area of the law, in particular the law of property acquisition and inheritance. Also Hallaq in his exposition uses his exposition to explain how these first generation and early Islamic legal scholars used their lectures and writings to explain Islamic law in all its historical richness and character. The legist formulate the bulk of Hallaq’s exposition, how they combined the disciplines of history, law and their politics in their lectures so that they could articulate to their students the origins and evolution of the law.
Alfarabi makes ultimately what amounts to a sound argument that religion or Islamic law does effectively and efficiently mediate between philosophy in terms of universal ideas and their relationships to ‘particulars’ as they relate to political science and the Kingly Craft. Though Islam has endured a constantly shifting climate, it has managed to hold together the universal ideas found in the challenges of society, culture and the political sphere. In dealing with this mediation it has provided a rich compendia of juridical ideas via the constant renewal of Islamic Law. Islamic law has essentially acted as an evolving corpus of laws that have adjusted to the unique circumstances that arise when addressing the human condition. Wael Hallaq’s exposition is highly insightful portraying Islamic law as an advancing content of ideas, as well as in its development of legal instrumentation that both set the moral foundations for the court and settled complaints among disputants. As well as the Islamic court’s aim to restore opposing parties (Hallaq, Pg. 60) and efficiently mediate disagreements. The Shari’a is a full and complete juridical mechanism demanding an exacting logic that corresponds to the moral essence found in Islam. Islamic jurisprudence in practice fulfills to the fullest extent what Alfarabi ideally believes it should aspire to. The religion acting as the law establishes the nature of the political sphere and applies a cohesive relationship between the citizen and the state.