Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Khan on Jurodynamics of Islamic Law
Posted by Mary L. Dudziak
The relationship between the past and the present is at issue in a new article, Jurodynamics of Islamic Law, by Ali Khan, Washburn University School of Law. It is forthcoming in the Rutgers Law Review (2009). Here's the abstract: Abrogation is a classical concept of Islamic law, which allows jurists to organize the normative complexity of divine texts. As a rule of temporality, abrogation invalidates prior rules found incompatible with subsequent rules. By stretching the rule, critics and reformers of Islamic law wish to abrogate substantial portions of the Quran and the Prophet's Sunnah. This methodology of modernizing Islamic law secures no following in the Muslim world, which jealously defends the integrity of divine texts. Jurodynamics of Islamic law offers a sophisticated methodology, which respects the integrity of divine texts, retains the jurisprudential heritage of past centuries, but at the same time modernizes legal systems to absorb modernity and constantly evolving spatiotemporal realities. No dynamic legal tradition cuts loose from the past or dwells exclusively in the past. Jurodynamics is the study of Shariah norms in motion, signifying both stability and change. Jurodynamics recognizes the Shariah as the Basic Code, which empowers Islamic states to construct dynamic bonds with classical jurisprudence (fiqh), positive law (qanun), and international law (siyar). Accusations that the Shariah is a barrier to modernity dissipate under the scrutiny of jurodynamics.