The Reopening of the Islamic Code: The Second Era of Ijtihad

45 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2006 Last revised: 11 Mar 2010


Resisting radical proposals for change, most Muslim communities are refusing to discard the entire past.Although some Islamic regimes have experimented with secularism - and Turkey has officially adopted non-amendable constitutional secularism - most Islamic nations reject the secular model of law under which legislative authority is reposed in institutions divorced from religion and law is separated from the principles of the Quran and the Sunna - the Basic Code. Mainstream Muslim scholars and jurists from across the world seem to have reached a near-consensus that, although the Basic Code cannot be abandoned, it must be re-interpreted to establish legal systems that respect classical fiqh but also incorporate change. This evolutionary call - that history, as a continuous movement in time, is a genuinely creative movement and not a movement whose path is already determined - is made to extract Muslims from historical stalemate and expose them to ceaseless dynamism. Every day, in the words of the Quran, shines with new splendor, majesty and freshness (shan).

Keywords: Islam, Ijtihad, Shariah, Quran, Sunnah, Arabic, Fiqh, Islamic Law

Suggested Citation

Khan, Ali, The Reopening of the Islamic Code: The Second Era of Ijtihad. University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Vol. 1, p. 341, 2003, Available at SSRN:

Ali Khan (Contact Author)

Legal Scholar Academy ( email )

Topeka, KS 66610
United States


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