Fanā and Baqā Infinities of Islam: Approaches to Islamic Law and Behavior

48 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2010 Last revised: 3 Nov 2011

Date Written: August 10, 2010


This article draws two main conclusions. First, meeting both the permanent and evolutionary needs of Muslim communities, Islamic law is a normative composite of baqā (eternal) and fanā (transient) sources of law. Islamic law founded on the Quran and the Prophet’s Sunnah (Basic Code) offers normative permanence to the extent that fundamental values of the Basic Code cannot be amended or repealed. However, Islamic positive law, comprised of fiqh, legislation, case law, local customs, and international law, evolves under the submission principle, a principle that requires positive law to submit to the Basic Code. Accordingly, no rule of positive law can breach the Basic Code. No rule of positive law is Islamic unless it submits to the supremacy of the Basic Code. This study rejects text-skepticism under which the interpretation of a legal text can achieve the same purpose as textual amendment. Second, Islamic baqā and fanā temporalities, interweaving the worldly life with afterlife, offer instructive insights into Muslim behavior. Because Muslims comply with laws to please God and to maximize personal rewards in the afterlife, their behavior cannot be fully explained, much less manipulated, through a worldly system of rewards and sanctions. Pleasing God, in some cases, can lead to unacceptable forms of self-righteousness.

Keywords: Islamic Law, Positive Law, Submission Principle, Supremacy Clause, Eternal and Transient Sources Of Islamic Law, Life and Afterlife, Muslim Behavior

Suggested Citation

Khan, Ali, Fanā and Baqā Infinities of Islam: Approaches to Islamic Law and Behavior (August 10, 2010). University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Vol. 7, No. 3, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Ali Khan (Contact Author)

Legal Scholar Academy ( email )

Topeka, KS 66610
United States


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