The American Madhhab – The Conversation Series
Channel: Sherman Jackson
File Size: 102.39MB
Okay, welcome back.
I welcome you back to the second panel which is entitled The American Muslim. I will introduce the panelists. Just make a very brief comments about the panel itself and then let them get right to it. So our first panelist will be Sherman Jackson. He is the King Faisal, Chair of Islamic thought and culture and a professor of religion and American Studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California. His research interests in Islamic law, theology, Muslim intellectual history, race, religious pluralism, liberalism and constitutionalism. I think that's not even the full list, span Islamic history and diverse geographies, as books include Islamic law and the state and
constitutional jurisprudence of Sahaba. Dean allottee Islam in the black American looking towards the third resurrection, Islam and the problem of black suffering. And more recently, the initiative to stop the violence a translation of the violent Islam is mobilizing. That's what
his next project is tentatively entitled Beyond Good and Evil should era and the challenge at the Islamic secular promises. This project promises another very thoughtful contribution which coincidentally intersects with the previous panel today. It would not be any exaggeration to state that he is one of the most inspiring provocative public intellectuals who scholarship has had a formative far reaching influence across subfields in Islamic Studies, from the early formation of Islamic law in the eighth century Arabia, to formulations of race, religion and political logic 21st century United States, I am very grateful that he has agreed to cross enemy lines from USC. For this
conversation here, you see him.
Our second panelist is our very
solid of all fellow who is Omar Esmeralda outfeed, distinguished professor in Islamic law at the UCLA School of Law, he teaches, among other things, international human rights, Islamic jurisprudence, National Security Law, and Islam and human rights. Among his many honors and distinctions, Professor Avila Pablo was awarded the University of Oslo Human Rights Award in 2007, named a Carnegie scholar in 2000 in Islamic law in 2005, as an international authority of Islamic law, human rights, terrorism political asylum, he consults with leading organizations such as the US commission for International Religious Freedom, Amnesty International, and the Lawyers Committee for
Human Rights on cases involving human rights, terrorism, political, asylum, and international and commercial law. He's the author of several books and numerous articles. His monographs include authoritative and authoritarian, Islamic discourses, rebellion and violence and Islamic law speaking in God's name, Islamic law and authority women on the great threat beffta wrestling Islam from extremists, and more recently, recently, we've gone reclaiming Sharia in our age. Professor, a little subtle is well known for his insightful, inspiring scholarship that takes on pressing, ethical and moral questions, some of which are particular to less terminal signs. He writes
extensively on universal themes of humanity and morality, human rights, justice and mercy and beauty as a horrible value of the song. So I can think of really no better authorities to engage in this public forum about the American Red Hat. I just want to say a few words before I turn it over to them about the panel itself. The title of the panel is a bit odd, and I think misleading. In some respects, there is of course, no such a thing that we can really call an American that does have that as a formal school of legal interpretation, Islamic legal interpretation, particular to the United States. The term however, calls to mind a whole host of questions and challenges in thinking
about the practice of Islam amongst Muslims, who are committed to what I would call a Sharia inspired or Shia guided approach in their lives. So the questions might be theoretical, really broad ones, like what is the place of Islamic law in a western secular democracy? Can secularism as an all embracing ideology coexist with religio legal systems of interpretation and these are not exclusive to Islam?
What does it really mean to be anti Sharia in the West? And if Islamic law is to be practiced in the West, who are the figures of authority who can produce, sustain and endorse its interpretations? Alongside these very theoretical questions, there are practical ones that might arise because of everyday concerns and challenges. So some of these might be related to the moral quandary is of a Muslim conscientious objector who doesn't want to serve in what he or she might think, is an unjust military conflict. There might be relations between Muslim sectarian groups,
you know, conflicts in terms of understanding what orthodoxy and heterodoxy aren't. They're also domestic issues of marriage, divorce, child custody, or inheritance. So given this very enormous scope and breadth of the issues at hand, I've given our esteemed panelists the liberty of framing, or I should say, reframing the questions in their own terms, I should say, an anecdote that I tried to impose some questions on them. But I think that it's better if we just let them take the word directions. And I trust this will prompt us to think in new ways. And other presentations will of course, promote many activities that we can take after tops. So please, welcome.
First of all, I want to thank you so much for that kind, generous introduction. And for making me feel so comfortable here, behind enemy lines, as well. As someone coming from USC, I want to preface my remarks by saying something that I think is very germane to this particular setting, it was brought up in the earlier session, but I think it bears repeating, I, one of the things that we're not going to talk about in terms of any kind of American myth, is the whole issue of money. And by that, I want to just invite you all, to heed the suggestion that you support the kinds of efforts that are going on to try and to sustain Islamic Studies, here at UCLA. And I say that even as
someone coming from from USC, of course, if you don't like UCLA, there is another institution.
But But But in all seriousness, I think that one of the things that we must understand in terms of the future of Islam in America is the relationship between money and institution building, and the relationship between institution building, and the quality of thought that comes out of the Muslim community. And to just keep this very short. If we if we think about the greatest thinkers in the history of Islamic intellectual history, and we ask ourselves, where did these people come from? Well, they came out of institutions that was supported by the Muslims, but the Muslim communities, money community, they were not institutions that were sponsored by the Ministry of Education or
Department of Education, it was private individuals who stepped up to the plate, recognize the need to support these institutions. And that's what they did. And that's what produced the great intellectuals that we have in Islamic history. So just want to listen to
both in terms of yourselves, and the rich uncles or aunts or whoever, you have to keep this in mind, because I think that without adequate attention to the institutions to continue to look to Imams and scholars who are on shoestring budgets, who who can't really devote themselves as they need to, to their craft, the quality of what we're talking about, can improve. Alright, enough of that. Now, on to my presentation,
Dr. Saeed raise the number of very important, I think, an interesting questions. But my concern, however, is that we put ourselves in a position where we're able to feel these questions in a manner that actually can promote greater understanding, as opposed to miscommunication and talking beyond each other. And I'd like to begin my comments in this regard. With an anecdote to anecdote,
way back in the last century,
around 1982, I was studying abroad in an Arab Muslim country, and One very hot summer day I was standing in line to get a soda. And believe me, you know, back then, that was something of a luxury and the particular country I was in, and so the line is about 30 people deep and we're standing there and it's hot and wiping our sweat and you know, we're waiting and out of nowhere pops. This little young Western white woman, who very unceremoniously just presses up to the front of the line.
And of course,
not being in the mood for that kind of thing. I sort of stepped out of line and said, you know, what the heck is this? Who is she supposed to be at cetera. And the guy who was behind the counter, very politely just popped off a cap of the soda and handed it to the woman. And then he turned to me and said,
This is a woman. What's wrong with you?
Now, in those days, back in this particular country, if there was an all male line, women didn't stand in line, period. All right, so she was perfectly within her right. And she was doing something that was actually expected of her. I was the one who miss recognize what was going on. And so the point of that story is that we all carry ideological prisms, right things that we were educated into ideological commitments that we have, the way that we were socialized. And those prisms can determine as much about our knowledge, as it were, then can the actual facts on the ground and those prisms can promote recognition. And they can also promote misrecognition.
I miss recognized what was going on abroad, based on prisms that I had brought from my own country and my own experience, my own education, my own socialization. All right. And what I want to submit is that
without becoming more aware of the interpretive prisms that inform how we tend to look at Sharia in America, and I'm speaking broadly here, both with regard to Muslims and non Muslims, we are likely to fall into traps of misrecognition that we don't recognize as immigrant misrecognition. And so to attempt to answer these questions, in this very confused context, I think we'll add more confusion than it will clarity. And that's why I want to take a few moments to try to set the stage in a way that we can promote greater understanding. Now, Sharia implicates at least two major constituents of our sort of Western schema for perceiving the world. And both of these constructs can promote
misrecognition of Islamic law. The first of these is religion. After all, Islamic law is a religious one. And I think that
sometimes we tend to forget the extent to which our sensibilities, our attitudes,
our outlook on religion, is part of a broader European narrative that comes to America, in a sense as a way out of that European experience, but it very deeply informs how we think about feel about talk about a religion. And among the sort of,
I would call them stereotypes but general assumptions that we have about religion, coming out of that experience, is that it is inflexible, domineering, and unchangeable. And in this regard, oftentimes, people tend to think of Sharia sort of as the 10 commandments, multiplied by 10,000.
Right, it is fixed, it is immovable, it is domineering, take it or leave it, it is unchanging. All right, that's one prison. And I think that that presents its own problem. The second is the construct of law, Sharia is religious law. Law, as we generally understand it, is the preserve the property, and the instrument of the state.
And as the interim instrument of the state, every law carries an earthly sanction. That's the whole point of having a law, you don't have a law, as we generally tend to understand law, without there being some earthly sanction attached to it. And so we can imagine that if this is our understanding of law, then we would tend to think that every commitment that Shinya has also carries with it an earthly sanction. And this can give the impression of Shinya being very totalitarian in its orientation. Whereas in point of fact,
the range of the issues that Shinya can take in is immensely broad. And yet, the number of those issues that carry an earthly sanction is quite narrow.
And so to know what Muslims think about let's say, eating pork, or charging interest tells us nothing about how that would translate into worldly sanctions. There are no worldly sanctions for eating poor or charging interest, prescribed worldly sanctions in Islamic law and as
This is something that we need to be made aware of. And keep in mind,
as we go about the business of trying to understand what how much shady have been negotiated in an American context, the second aspect of, of what typically comes to our minds, when we think of law, particularly because law, again, is the property of the state is, and I'm trying to keep this as non academic as I can, but
the modern state tends to tends to tends to subscribe to what scholars refer to as, as a legal mechanism. And this is very intimately connected with our notion of equality, the modern state tends to recognize one law equally applied across the board. And that equal application of the law across the board, that is a part of our commitment to the principle of equality. And so legal modernism goes along with law, the idea of legal pluralism, on the other hand, that you can have a state that did not seek to obliterate all other regimes of law, but rather could accommodate regimes of law, other than its own, is very alien to the concept of law, as we generally tend to think about it as a
distinct constituent of the modern state. All right. And so we can imagine, again, how that may have us predisposed to how we think about Sharia, as a religious law.
And this has a number of dimensions.
First of all, legal pluralism, again, keeping it simple, takes on two important dimensions. And this Canada is context. One, that because Islamic law is not the property of the of the Muslim state, nevertheless, all right. But rather, it is the product of legal science, methods and sources that some state actors commit themselves to try and arrive at God's will, through the assiduous interpretation of these sources, using methods
reason to arrive at their conclusions. All right. Now, what this means is that on a majority of issues, there's not one acceptable
point of view from the perspective of Sharia, but potentially many. And we all know that there are four schools of Islamic law, Sunni schools I'm talking about. And they're all equally Orthodox, and all equally recognized, all equally authoritative. And even within those four schools, there's much diversity. So when we think about Islamic law, we're thinking more often, I mean, a Muslim thinks of it more in terms of plurality than they do in terms of of a monolith. And yet, that tends to be the opposite of how we think of Islamic law, just in general terms, as we as we discuss about it, in the American in the American public square. The other dimension of pluralism has to do with how non
Muslims relate to Islamic law or Islamic law relates to non Muslims. All right.
I think that sometimes this point can be taken to extremes that I would not agree with, in an attempt to sort of domesticate Islam to to an American audience. But it still remains the fact that Islamic law does not assume that it automatically applies to everyone, Muslim and non Muslim alike. So there will always dispensations recognized for anonymous sums, drinking wine, eating poor charging interest. Some schools didn't even hold adultery to be something that Islamic law could punish non Muslims for. Right, that their own communities would handle those kinds of things. Now, lots of detail here. But the point is, is that on the one hand, among the Muslims, you have legal
pluralism, a lot of morality within the law, and Islamic law, in many aspects may not apply to non Muslims in the same way that we might assume it would, given our assumption that law always applies equally across the board. All right. So those are
a couple of things that I think it's important for us to recognize now. Now, when we when we look at this such things as as legal pluralism with regard to how we relate to Islamic law in America. I think one of the things that we have to acknowledge is that depending on how old and how
Urgent the issue is, it may not be possible to really pronounce a position at Islamic law on a particular issue, because the issue simply has not been debated long and wide enough to begin to produce some kind of general consensus, even if it's a consensus on three or four positions. All right, um, the issue is just still too young. I mean, to take a concrete example, what does Islamic law have to say about affirmative action?
Right, this would be an issue that on what's, you know, some scholar
we put forth a thesis, and the thesis wouldn't be met would be met with agreement, disagreement, argumentation, and if that issues they live long enough, then you will produce one, two or three or so positions, right, that generally could be referred to as the positions of Islamic law. Right. But outside of that, we may not be able to say definitively what the position of Islamic law when an issue like affirmative action in America happens to be. All right. So there's a real extent to which
aspects of Islamic law in America we'd have to accept are still in the process of development. And one of the things that sometimes both frightens and and frustrates me is that some within our community within the Muslim community are a bit hasty and pronouncing
positions, that not that have not been really, really thoroughly debated.
You know, there is such a thing as I don't know, let me think about that. Mitch reported that one of the founders of one of the schools of law, Imam Malik said he asked for your questions once and 36 times he said, I don't know.
So that's another aspect of Islam in America. Now, this brings me to another point. And that is how we relate to classical manuals of Islamic law. And this, to me, is a is a huge problem. Because Islamic law, including the law and the law manuals, that are two dimensions of any attempt to, to adjudicate an issue in Islamic law. On the one hand, you have material textual sources, such as the N, all right, such as the Sunnah of the Prophet. And just to keep it simple, we'll leave it we'll leave it at that. And then you have, you know, synthetic methods by which we extract meaning from from these sources. All right, and those are very broad and very intricate and very sophisticated.
All right. Now, when we find an entry in a law manual, all right, the tendency, the tendency is to assume that that is just the plain sense meaning of the sources of Allah, the Quran and the Sunnah. Whereas in point of fact, what is in the books, is more often than not a combination of those sources, and the synthetic reasoning that went into the process of extracting meaning out of out of those sources. So for example, if you read in Emanuel,
that, for example,
a woman does not have the right to not fast Ramadan if she's pregnant, because pregnancy is not an illness. We recognize
illness as an excuse for not fasting, but we don't recognize pregnancy. All right. Well, pregnancy as as as an illness or adult debilitation. All right, that's not contained in the sources. That's a matter of the synthetic extraction of meaning from the sources. And that can change from time to place. All right. Now, I'm not saying that those years are wrong. I mean, they're wrong to us. You understand what I mean by that, but only because we have a different factual assessment of the issue. They may have been right in there, and their context, wrong and ours. I see some lumps. Let me let me try this a different way. Let's suppose we are on a slave plantation in America, and 18th
The Muslim slaves come to the enamel the community and say,
Can we marry these white women here in America? All right. The Imam says none.
Right. And so he writes a manual and says What?
No marrying white women.
Right now. That is, that is more the product of Hisun
that agrees in it, then there's anything that's contained in the sources percent. All right. Why do you suppose he said no?
What context? Why do you suppose he said, now? Let me keep this short, because I know my time is, it would be dead, you want to get us all killed?
All right, there is a principle in Islamic law called blocking the means, anytime a legal action is taken in such a way that may promote an illegal or harmful, undesirable end, that legal action can be bad.
All right. Now, the real point that I want to make here is this stuff.
We see that in that law manual. Was he wrong?
Are we right to second guess him on his factual assessment?
For our time, yes, for his time. No.
All right, and this is what often happens, we overreact, you know, we we attack him for his factual assessment. He knows more about his society than we do. All right. And the reason that we attack them, however, is that we don't understand that this synthetic element is subject to change, based on circumstances. All right. So we don't have to agree with him. We say in our society, that is no longer the case. And the rule changes.
Well, hamdulillah some people know what I'm talking.
No, no, no, no, not this, this. This, this this distinction here between the textual and the synthetic elements, takes us back to something I raised earlier, and I just want to be iterated.
And that is the whole question of jurisdiction.
Scholars of Islamic law, have jurisdiction of law, they are experts at extracting meaning from the sources of Islam.
They have a such the authority to tell us what the sources say, in terms of what is obligatory upon us, what is forbidden to us, etc.
Scholars, as well as law books, do not have jurisdiction of fact,
they are not determiner as a fact, not authoritative determiners of fat.
We don't follow the law books, as we just saw, in terms of determinations of fat, for determinations of fat, there are all kinds of other different facts assesses experts of fat, and Islamic law, as a proceeds in America is going to have to establish a healthy relationship between the determinants of law on the one hand, and the determinants of fat on the other.
And this is going to include all kinds of other
enterprises that have nothing to do with Islamic law. So chemists, and architects, will architects and, you know, all kinds of professions, all right, will be recognized for what they must contribute to the overall welfare of the Muslim community that goes beyond the business of Sharia percent.
All right, and here's where I'll come to come to my closing.
It's it's a general, I don't like the word stereotype. But it's a general assumption that Islamic law is infinite in terms of its scope.
And I think that that notion comes at a very heavy price. The price being that Sharia is charged, with proffering answers for everything.
Whereas in point of fact, it cannot do that.
It should it is charged with answers for everything. And these are authoritative answers. That also translates into the idea that the scholar of Sharia has infinite jurisdiction. And nobody else in the community really matters, but Him because He answers everything from soup to nuts. Now just to share an insight, the Mandela said a very famous jurist, spoke in one of his books of what he called the ignorant friends of Islam.
And these were people whom he said, condemned the natural sciences, all of them
because they were largely
the preserve of non Muslim communities, but they condemned the natural sciences
as being in contradiction to Sharia, they can't have been Sharia. And other Lavalley says, These people mean well, but they are ignorant friends of Islam, because Shinya has nothing to say about the substance of the sciences one way or the other.
In other words, if I'm an architect, all right,
Shinya may provide certain parameters, but the details of architecture, or physics, or biology, these are not the preserve of Sharia. And if we want to address those issues, we have to have biologists and architects and natural scientists and all kinds of other people. And so here
we come to.
We come to my closing point, I mean, this whole business of Sharia and the constitution of Muslims and American society.
I want to submit that, that we need to distinguish between three things. One, there are issues that *tier address that American law address, in which the two will find themselves in conflict. All right. So,
Sharia condemns adultery does it condemns alcohol consumption? The other issue is almost surely an American law will find themselves in perfect agreement. Sharia condemns murder, condemns that, etc.
The sanctions may differ, but the fundamental moral values are the same. But in addition to that, there are issues on which what we're really dealing with by separate jurisdictions, issues on Shadi, on which Sharia does not pronounce definitively. There is no Sharia based speed limit.
Right? There is no Sharia based procedure for tenure at the university or admission to the university. Again, there may be more parameters, but the actual substance is not based on Sharia. Now, what this means is that in the public domain, there are many issues on which Muslims and non Muslims can enter into debate discussion, and an attempt to build a healthy society. All right, on the basis of forms of reason, that neither draw upon Sharia directly, nor offender Sharia directly. So we could discuss gun laws, for example, immigration, for example, speed limits, except for example, with non Muslims on the basis of a logic, right, that is generically indistinguishable
between Muslims and non Muslims. And I wanted to offer that just to offer the idea that the notion that someone who is committed to Sharia alright is someone with whom a non Muslim has nothing to say that to me no conversation. That is that is a total falsehood. And I think that we need to be much more forthcoming and recognizing that fact and since estimates getting nervous I'm gonna stop
so, thank you very much, Professor Jackson. And actually that was 25 minutes on the dot
See, how are we doing? Are we doing on the other side
professor of Hong Kong I think we're really gonna challenge how we deal with
it was everything Sherman
could stop here.
Okay, yeah, I know Susan do agree with everything. She said. That they're there.
Couple of several points I want to make.
I'm not going to take one
because I think the q&a today and the discussion was fruitful.
on the issue of American Muslims that the relationship was shutting off wonderful that all Muslims
living in the US living in the West have to recognize is
all of us
feel please be careful
to keep it because
I'm usually like, that's perfect. That's
right. So I
almost feel that the extent of
accusation of prejudice that if you are a Muslim, and you are committed to Shining Armor, you are psychologically emotionally, your consciousness is placed on the defensive.
And this is the result of an industry and industry, that we use considerable amount of scholarship now on it the industry with sama phobia.
And the critical point that that is important to realize there is that
the relationship between race and this industry, Muslims in the West, and in the United States, and this is not a new thing, have been racialized, and made the subject of a consistent and systematic prejudice. Now, historically, the West has done that with Muslims, and whether it perfectible schools, as Turks or the more from assassins,
or even though how media was which was even an historically racialized group. But in often in the western imagination,
normative integrity of the faith of Islam
marginalized in fever, all racialization of the followers of Islam, and then making them the subject of a systematic prejudice. Why do I start with this? I started with this because I'm largely unhappy with the way that Muslims have in the West have
negotiate and then reacted to the systematic racialization and prejudice of
Muslims, because we often
are not quite sure what shall we are entails and what it means. And I'll get to this in a second.
And tend to ignore the fact that they are seen as primarily reading racial categories. And as such, they are also dominated in racial dynamics.
And their attempt to respond by explaining what their true beliefs are, and how harmless they are, and how you know,
flowery and beautiful they are, it's completely ineffective response, because you aren't responding to bigotry by attempting to tell them, you know, don't be scared of me, I'm a nice guy who doesn't hate you, because you're a bad guy, the Bigot hates you because of you you are.
And unless you recognize unless you realize the dynamic that you're in, you're not going to respond effectively.
Now, why do I start with this? Because there are two aspects to discoursing about Sharia.
And these may be for identity aspects, I want to say that the kind of discourse that you see Sherman Jackson in Asia and shut me up, takes a great deal of learning, a great deal of reading, not just in Sharia and the sources of shutdown, but in the social science of our day and age. And more specifically, in the field of law.
A lot of anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists talk about law, but don't understand the dynamics of law. And in fact, a lot of what you say is silly, because you don't understand the dynamics of law because you don't need legal theory. You don't leave legal history, and you don't read comparative law. Now, when it comes to Muslims, and I'm talking about Muslim intellectuals, for the most part, and Muslims in the West are lost cause they hardly read any of you know, forget legal theory for law, that legal history forget social sciences. And so what they want tificate upon
when it comes to the normal kind of intellectual discourse,
Since seems primitive and silly, and dogmatic and it is, I mean, let me put it this way. If you call yourself a philosopher, right?
In America today or in Europe, immediately the question becomes what really you're a philosopher. So how do you place your discourses and philosophy in such and such school of thought is such and such, you will talk about other ways unless you are able to show that your philosophizing can interact with interpretive communities and used by layers of philosophy. People say that
you just think you're a philosopher, but you don't need it.
You're what you know, you just engage in effects.
We don't recognize the same dynamics from law.
Ma is every bit as sophisticated and complex field as philosophy.
Because there are numerous schools of thoughts, you will have schools of comparative law. And even as China draftsman sets out,
is narrow narrative, I can recognize the influence of various theorists and scholars of law.
And this is the type of sport that
when being constantly under siege, through a racialized accusatory process,
we only do a great disservice to ourselves, when we continue to engage the prevalence not
in terms that it deserves to be engaged, but in terms that are largely dogmatic.
not, I don't want to say it's missing, but rather, does not take our own tradition, that Islamic tradition series. Because if we do, now I get to the two layers of shunga. If we do find that Sharia, in its essence, the idea of a Muslim,
disconnected from Sharia, to me, match any coherence.
Fundamentally, what is shown now is not about legal commandments, or positive law as a law.
It commandment backed up the threat of use of force in the positivistic sense, or even in
it in a literal sense of natural law, you know, some people
So, John famous time period or philosophy national, but Shediac is fundamentally about a God that
has a covenant with human beings, not just most of human beings, God who created creation, and entrusted this creation, to those that God create human beings, particularly the verse that you saw referred to earlier about offering the trust to the heavens of the earth, and everyone rejects it, but you will, he even gets deeper on, it goes back to this theological continental idea of China. Now, every
jurists from every school we start with recognize the covenantal basis of Sharia. And it's also very familiar to those who know Jewish law. And it was a rather consistent steeple on you Jewish and Islamic law, and the idea of a trust that you exist in this earth as trustees, acting on behalf of
someone, a Divine Being who offered you that trust. Now, in Islamic theology that is even extended to the idea of even your physical body, that when you deal with your own physical body, you are dealing with a trust. And you are charged with taking care of that trust now.
Because you have that trust, and you have a God that in Islamic theology.
And there's a great deal about this in a great deal of writing and debates and so on. That this is a God that cares. As long as God gave the trust to human beings and said, you know, I'll talk to you at the end. Go do whatever you want to do.
You know, I'm done with you. This is a god that is so compassionate, so merciful that it's constantly engaged with the entrusted with the trustees do
mothering them in
in a suffocating sense, because of the choice of free will,
giving them a set of directions and instructions as to how to manage affairs so as not to screw up when they may be trusted, undone fundamentally what the notion of Sharia as a sort of premises of Sharia. Now,
the synthetic processes,
Shermer refers to the interpretive processes of how you go about engaging the instructions by the Divine. So we made sure that we do the best we can with the covenant that we have been offered, which includes our bodies, includes nature includes every living things includes anything you can imagine
that if you if you destroy something going, You're offending the owner, because you're not on if you're on nature, You're offending the owner, if you destroy your body, you're offending the older, if you mistreat your neighbor, You're offending the old if you betray someone or you cheat on your wife, You're offending the older and that order is not going to necessarily and he is that into notions of law is not necessarily going to punish you on this earth and doesn't keep them valid, give the power of punishment any particular force on this earth, not even the state, but will punish you in the Hereafter, or will reward you for what you do is that covered
Philosophical premises of Sharia is one.
And if you are like Sherman Jackson, you spend hours, hours, hours reading, but great intellects. How have said about this covenantal relationship with the divine. And every plant is bought occurs to you, you vet it out with the tradition of interpretive communities, you see whether it's really original, or whether other people have thought about it, and responded to it and maybe debunked it or developed it, or built upon it. Because a lot of times you think you are being brilliant, when in fact, everything you think of as beauty and genius. Other people are these thought about centuries ago and responded to. And when you read them you say, Oh, that was
Very rarely, after doing your homework, you say, Wow, I really have an original idea. That's very rare.
That's not because something is unique to Islam. But that's the nature of intellectual enterprises. If you do your homework, that's the way it works.
You know, you have 10 good ideas. If one of them ends up being original, you're freaking lucky.
Now, if you don't understand that, you think everything that comes out of your mouth is brilliant.
And you think that everything you write down is just wonderful.
And no one takes you seriously and you become victimized by Islamophobes and he will come easy prey for Islamophobes because they can treat your stupidity and ignorance in ways that horrifying.
Okay, now, the second aspect is not the philosophical premises. But the fact that surely I was the law of the land for over 1000 years.
So you have you ever heard of Bobby's of adjudications by judges in your house a lot when we come home from work and whenever had
actual adjudications, actual litigation.
In addition to that, you have whole books that were written by law professors. You have horn books that focus on them to get washable exercises to teach law students to think
These pedagogical exercises were never intended to be about actual law. They were intended to be about the type of scenarios we give law students in torts or contracts to stimulate their thinking.
And we give the very absurd hypotheticals. You should give follow the hypotheticals I give my students
one of you know, and rock fall from the sky in one yard and die gates and puts it in that yard and then a third pizza, and bears it and then a fourth comes along, you know, and then we asked the question, what is the proximate cause here? Now, at any upcoming century, Slayer can read the hypothetical and Rodon and say, Oh, that was American law. God, those Americans need to have a new conception of law. No, you don't understand the dynamics of legal discourse.
So the hypotheticals, the horn books, the law cases, and Julie patients and the legal response are, well, we're not intended to be binding law. But we're opinions often obtained by litigants by experts reports. When we go to court, one side hires and one set of experts other side hires experts, and you know what we get paid to disagree
on the same point, or say completely opposite things. And it's part of doing law. It doesn't mean we don't understand facts. It doesn't mean some anthropologists at Princeton said muscles look at the conception of reality, or facts, because they're always negotiating, they're always have a loose notion of what reality is none of you wrong. It has to do with the way the law works, the mechanics of law, and even with the practice of law. Now, having said all of that, and here's my meal scheme.
I started off by saying that Sherman Jackson, it takes a great deal of learning to produce that succinct, beautiful presentation that Sherman just presented.
The problem is that it takes and I completely agree not to teach institutions that back up the project of learning
and back it up, where it marries the most. In other words, where the discourses the mainstream discourses of philosophy or sociology or anthropology of law are equal face, it is, it is a complete false process to do what a lot of Muslims in the West have done. And that is to create with cheap institutions.
That discourse upon law, or disclose or by political science, or disclose a bottle, sky is ation of knowledge and not intending any particular organization not serious about that, what that hump amongst themselves in artificial terms that if
compared to mainstream discourses appear, people at the bottom married and rather pedestrian.
And that is a very serious problem, because it feeds the project of Islamophobia, which is, if you think, by the way, the attrition rate among young Muslims, I'm not saying this to say that you're not. But the attrition rate among young Muslims is extremely high in the West.
are leaving Islam by droves.
Don't keep your stuff, we're not the fastest growing religion, all that crap.
That is wonderful. So to make you feel good about yourself, and also in them to tell you and
the reason that is happening is that our kids
would see good mothers exemplary intellectual, moral models of success where they say, Wow, it's really cool to be yourself.
That is the real crux that is.
thank you both, for those wonderful
and provocative thoughts to get us started on a discussion as
we are collecting questions, actually, if you don't mind. I'll exercise water
readers prerogative and start with a few questions of my home.
And they won't be the questions that I emailed to. So
I sort of full disclosure, as I was saying earlier, I was trying to
look for Professor Jackson and a boil bubble in some,
some terms, address some of those questions that I think are bandied about sort of as, what does Islamic law have to say on certain matters, like woman leaving his congregation prayers, on pledging allegiance to the Constitution service in the military and things like that. But I think that after their presentations, you can see that it's complicated.
And that it's very difficult without engaging in meaningful terms with the substance of Islamic legal tradition to come up with answers to those. So I mean, I have a couple of actually, I'll start with one, I also want to give space time to the audience's questions. But
Professor Jackson here, there was a very interesting point that you made early on in your presentation, when you were talking about sort of
that in many cases, it's not possible to provide an authoritative opinion on a number of issues that come up with respect to contemporary context. Right. And, you know, I guess my question there is, do you feel I mean, when do you reach critical mass, right? Or do you reach critical mass? How do you ascertain that is actually what we might call a Western type opinion on a given legal issue? And just a related question that I think both of you can address.
As you both know, there's a real proliferation of like, sort of these ethos one and Muslim jurists in America websites. So do you see those as sort of furthering this cause of arriving at a critical mass in terms of factual errors or opinions? Or do you see them as undermining undercutting that cause? If there is such a clause?
Well, there's sort of two two layers of answers, I guess, to this.
On one hand,
I'm not sure that we can pinpoint in any kind of Bitsy fashion, where the Critical Mass is actually met, when you have what may go as as an authoritative opinion. And let me backtrack a bit on that. If you if you were to ask me a question about X, some unprecedented issue, some brand new issue,
and I do my due diligence, I go and I studied the issue and I come forth with an opinion, that opinion may be authoritative. And it may be authoritative to the point that you could actually act on that, on that opinion. That is a legitimate fatwa that authorizes you to act. But let us understand what the real goal in all of this is.
The real goal is, I had a friend of my wife got married one time, and she called my wife up, my wife asked me, she said that salsa is getting married tonight, and she wants to go, she can wear perfume.
You know, to go on a honeymoon. And it wasn't a silly question. The idea was that perfume has alcohol in it. And many schools consider alcohol to be ritually impure. Right? So she wanted to go,
you know, she wear perfume.
And so my response was, or there are schools that say that alcohol is not mentally impure. So, you know, she could wear you know, it's fine. And
the friend that said to my wife asked him, Is he sure?
Right. And he would come into the real issue. Because my response to my wife was, okay.
If if what she's asking is, am I sure am I confident that the results of my my research and knowledge on that issue is reliable? The answer is absolutely, yes. But if what she's asking is that she will never be accosted by other Muslims for doing that. The answer is no.
Okay, because and that's what we're talking about, we're talking about not whether I can get an opinion from a scholar that I can act on. But what kind of social life does that opinion have? Right? How does acting on that? What, what, what, how we're acting on that opinion? What kind of status what it plays me in within the community at large? All right. And so there's always a question of not simply the substance of the of the of the opinion, but the social sort of multiplier effect that it requires. And that takes time, how much time to what mechanisms, but I don't know, I'm, I'm, I'm not really sure. But but that is, that is a process, and I don't think it's an Ipsy
dicted a process. Now, sometimes you might have, you know, a jurist, who happens to be at a certain stature, that nobody questioned the
validity of his opinion. And his main pronouncement on it would be enough to gain that sort of social multiplier effect. And one could,
you know, act on the opinion and maintain one standard with within the community at large. But, you know, it all depends on what what what kind of variables we're dealing with there a very quickly with regard to the internet, I think the internet is, is very interesting. I mean, it's a double edged sword, because I think that
on the one hand, my own opinion is this, um, you have you have a couple of competing sort of inclination is one of the Muslim community now one is that,
that that that should be our knowledge is is a very top down practice, and only those who have been trained in a certain way you have a, you know, a chain and a genealogical connection to teachers going all the way back and classic computer etc. Only they can announce on Shinya another trend is that no, sort of more privacy trend, you know, people can go directly to the sources and access them for themselves and come up with their own opinions.
I think that both of these are problematic. And I think that the the mediating factor here is how much religious literacy can be spread among the community at large. And I think that the internet can be a mechanism for that, but it can also militate against that. So it's a matter of how much juice my own personal impression, I say impression because
I don't do a lot of stuff
is that the liability seems to be greater than the possibilities at this particular moment, in terms of how they've been employed in Access.
But that's just that's an accident of history. That's that does not say anything specific about the medium itself.
that, that, that, that, that, that I think that when people talk about authoritative opinions, there are two things in mind one, but the actual substance of the opinion and that's one thing to the sort of social status of the
The the, the point of the point I want to make the dynamics between sociology, society and law is it's remarkably complex and and it really places a
an enormous challenge to legal thinking and, and the dynamism and
responses responsiveness of legal thinking, if if
those who take it upon themselves to do the legal thinking, are
unable to engage with sociological developments
in a relevant way, they risk
as the embodiment of the idea of law itself. And and there are numerous problems like that. Among them is you know, when you see some people start imagining an Islam that is free of
you know, like that.
The rather popular book of my
that each one is a slot, which says basically, Islam is the product of whatever Muslims anthropologically produce, which is very problematic for for a religion. But I think the example that comes
to mind for something that if you think of and this is a question that hasn't been directed to us earlier, and it pleases complex issues,
the Muslim woman, for instance, marrying non Muslim men.
If you consult all the geometrical sources for cumulative interpretive communities, you find the matter is rather clear cut that the Muslim woman, it is forbidden for a Muslim woman to marry a muslim man.
That the issue though is sociology is moving forward, there are a lot of Western women that marry non Muslim men. And then the question that becomes that AdWords confronts as well. Do you respond to this by furthering the end? What What would God want? What, in terms of the covenant? And speaking for God's law? What? What is your moral expose slash Islamic obligation here? Would you further actively further alienation of these Muslim women who respond to the pangs of their heart they fall in love with a non Muslim man and and exclude them further from the community?
Or do you leave visit to improve your sources? We read your material and
introspectively look at your your covenantal obligations with God.
There is no easy answer. And I think that
my my Big Beef is that it would be done intelligently and responsibly. I cringe when I find on both sides, those who shoot from the hip and say, Well, you know, it's a matter of just gender equality. And of course, it's a woman's right. Screw everyone that says anything else. And book, you know, and say, on the other hand, have also created should I find those who said, Well, you know, brother, it's clear cut matter is there is mountain demand issue cheese outside the falls of Islam, if she marries a non Muslim, I think both of these
are problematic in terms of the primary covenantal relationship in
that you have with
speaking for God's law, and it's it's, after all, this is a very serious charge, and very serious responsibility to
interpret what the will of God, not you overwhelm
me in many ways, it's a it's only a fool to take it on. And that's quite often our jurists feel conscientious for
those who are pretentious, don't feel like fools. They feel brilliant all the time. Any person that speaks for God's Love feels brilliant all the time. No, they're sitting there. And they're, they're not.
It's a very good yardstick.
Just one little,
little thing? No, no, I mean, you know, in the way that Hollywood, particularly some of this, it reminded me of something. And I think that in terms of sort of, quote, unquote, an American men have, or the future present in America with regard to have a baseline clock is that you cannot separate the sociological reality, right, from the manner in which the law itself is engaged, is indulged, is sensed is felt is experienced. And what that means is that and this goes back to something that I was saying earlier about how the whole notion that Sharia is everything aligns us to the fact that should he needs a plausibility structure, it cannot sustain its own plausibility
structure. That is the cultural producers, that is the intellectual producers, that's other people in society. All right, the producers of social trends, etc. All right, in society, who have to contribute to the preservation and the health and sustainability of that plausibility structure. Otherwise you're going to mismatch between the law all right, and the sensibilities to which people aren't going to experience the love recognize the love, and that's not a sustainable disconnect for any religion, Islam or other.
But you can't deal with that. Do you think that she has everything?
Yeah, I'm, I'm dying to exercise moderators prerogative again, and follow up on that, but there are some really wonderful questions, but I do want to get back to this notion.
Sure you're being everything, we're not being everything, hopefully, soon. But I'm going to try to combine two questions here. So forgive me if they don't come up completely on here. But I think you can deal with them in any case.
So the question here, is there a limit on what issues or positions are found in classical law books that can be revisited reinterpreted with change in facts and time? And I think this is a related question, considering the specific geo social environment in which my post was founded. Is it possible for new American methods and quotes to be formed? That encompasses modern discourse on gender finance, sexuality, globalization, etc?
I mean, you know,
I mean, I really think they both have you dealt with this benefit. I think that, you know, if I can rephrase this, right, and go on some of what you were saying,
the point may well be how much is a shorter reformed and let's say, Muslim legal tradition and western context, really building in meaningful ways on an existing textual tradition and relying on it so much, yes. And how much is it? How much can we just call it sort of an ethical discourse by that is we talked about
inter religious emerges? Right? I mean, that's a discourse of ethics, rather than I think that rather than reaching back into the textual tradition for the precedents there. So in your vision, I mean, you know, what was a balance to be struck? How much can we reach back to the textual tradition? Are we going to start talking much more about ethics in the future?
Me, yes, here. And then I think,
I started getting myself into trouble. Because personally, I, most of the time, I have no idea what people are talking about was invented methods and concepts in the context of Islam.
By the way, I don't I don't mean that, that, that, that virtues such as kindness and mercy, and all those things have nothing to do with Islamic law. But the division between the law and ethics seems to me to be more one of the green that have come. And I'm not sure where people are drawing the line between law and ethics. It seems to be quite arbitrary to me.
I think that with regard to
the whole question you asked about, well, you know, what, really, are we doing? Are we going back and trying to resuscitate classical traditions? Or are we really saying, but you know, we really need to start afresh.
I mean, I think that if you just look out from a 30,000 foot point of view, I think you'll find a lot of things going on that could fall into either of those descriptions. I think that to me,
the sort of the pink elephant in the room,
is not so much what we're doing, but why we are doing it. And and that question acquires some, some concreteness, when we think about for what is the teleological goal towards which all of this interpretive energy is being deployed? And quite frankly, I think that even the synthetic elements within Islamic law.
I mean, if we talk about I can imagine, all right, in terms of them, I'm not saying this is my opinion, but I'm saying I could imagine someone do due diligence, arriving at the conclusion that under circumstance X, or Y, someone can eat pork, or maybe marry non Muslims, I'm gonna marry a non Muslim, under under that circumstances, based purely on the kind of synthetic interpretive apparatus that there is in the classical tradition. All right, Max, Maha and, you know, all kinds of things. We don't need to get into detail. But the question becomes, are we engaging in that practice in order to promote or preserve a value that itself comes out of the discourse of Islam itself? Or is
liberalism itself, the sort of invisible criteria that drives all of our interpretive efforts? And that is ultimately the teleological goal. That to me is two different that's two different enterprises, even if you arrive at the same at the same conclusion. Right? You know, the famous fact
the Mongol nothing was married whose mother or something like sister or something like that, and leave that guy alone. If you don't, I don't think this is going to kill the whole city. Leave them alone. I mean, you can see how with
then that apparatus, there's possibilities for doing all kinds of things. The question is, why are we doing? And for me, you know, that teleological question. That's the one that disturbs me most? Because I think that oftentimes, it is that sort of almost hybrid liberal norm that was speaking to
an even the, the legitimate interests that are causing the masala within Islam often ignored
I'll just build upon that or add to it
I'm just building
one, let me second that are the mature that said about ethics a lot. When we bought that example we, we gave it we can't say on Well, now we're dealing with ethics, not law, because that assumes
that a conception of law as simply about
determinative commandments that still themselves into a clear cut,
order to do or not to do something
that's the conception of positive or that we're all we have been raised with in the age of nation states. But there's some some guy who's meeting recently will say, well, Islamic law, what is called Islamic law, it's not really about law at all, because
Muslim was the, what is referred to as Islamic law is more about morality and ethics. And again, that that projects, an understanding of law that is a product of the nation state, mostly post colonial age.
back historically, why the phenomenon there is a far richer and complex dynamic than that. So for instance, we talk just as a footnote, talking about folklore, and folklore based legal systems.
Folk law is lost through metaphors and sports, and mythology. And it is every bit as long as the UCC, the uniform uniform commercial code that we use in the US.
So that's what that so when we talk about an example, like interfaith marriage, we are discoursing about law, because we are talking about yours, you ought to do or opt not to do if you don't do this, or eight, you will not or if you, if you do X, you will be rewarded, or you will be punished, because ultimately, when we tell someone very, I'm not married, we're not telling them what I like. That's not like the discourse of law is law always references a higher authority, whether you're talking about Islamic law, rabbinic law, Roman law, American law, you know, we're always, you know, whether the higher authorities, the founding fathers, or, you know, some legislative body or some
natural laws or some inherent laws, we did the craft of law is that you always camouflage your own will, into a higher authority. You You never admit that this is what you actually want, then you're a bad boy, because then people just dismiss, well, who cares what you want. But you dissimulate what you want into a higher frame of reference. That's the craft of why we train students to do that. It's purposeful, we actually reward them. When you do that well and punish them. When they fail to do it. The student comes and says, you know, well, it should be this because that's what I think to say, you know, who cares if
you shouldn't be lost? I don't care what you think or feel. That's the craft of law. It is if you don't like it, just don't do this. There's nothing weird about that. And nothing dishonest about that, because
that's what lawyers do. And lawyers across the board, all histories of all societies everywhere. My final thing I'll read this really quickly, I am also troubled by the
have the tendency to project
liberal values and even place them more specifically, I'm not troubled by philosophical liberal values, I am troubled by sociological, sociologically anchored liberal values, anchored in the historical experience of white privileged classes that have colonized and dominated the rest of the world.
And then the articulation of these values into imperialist projects. Whether it's sometimes you take the form of feminism, or human rights, in which, you know, the only correct way to see the world is through the the prism of that privileged white class that frankly hypocritical hypocritically dominated and violated the rest of the world that deeply troubled. And when Muslims jump on the bandwagon and start saying, Yeah, you know, feminism isn't one. There's a famous scholar who trashed my trashed me because I ignore feminism and my scholarship is not that I ignore feminism. I read feminism as a as a normative aspiration.
But to simply say, Well, this is what a theoretical paradigm of a certain liberal set of values demands. So throw away the tradition, because it comes from men, or it comes from certain classes or confront certain races, to me is extremely problematic. And I'm troubled by that as much as I'm troubled by the other side of the courtroom, you know, which I have talked a lot about the lobbyists and so on. Both of them are extremely problematic when it comes to their strong tradition.
have lots to ask as well. But anyone, again, I would like to give the audience members of the audience a chance to have a voice here. And I will say that I really would like to incorporate at least two more questions. So if you both could
have succinct answers to these? Actually.
I know, I know.
I mean, there are really some amazing questions, everyone, I really do want to try to get at least two of them. And so
this is the question, there is an increasing focus in progressive Islam on the concept of short.
However, how much does consultation in quotation marks requires the fits sufficient education? Who determines correct education to be able to adjudicate Islamic law? In other words, is it possible to have a democratic Islamic conception of law without the risk of self serving self justification? Super succinct answer to that.
This is a this is a very difficult question. And I really hesitate to answer it because, you know, the question is sort of cocked, it's not it's not stable on its mouth, when you answer questions like that universe, susceptible to being misunderstood,
but let me let me just say this, I mean, I mean, when we talk about democracy, again, to my here, most of what I hear in American society, when especially when it comes to Islam, is informed by a very deep commitment, again, you know, to the liberal project. So are we talking about a democracy? All right, that simply means, you know, full participation? Or does that democracy also outlaw authority, outlaw or hierarchy? I mean, it depends on what we're talking about there.
And, again, we get into questions of are there acceptable forms of hierarchy or they're not?
And again, I think we are very much
sort of influenced in the way we think about hierarchy in America, but how originally should right it's, it's something that we don't we don't want even risk. All right. And yet when we're talking about communities and how they navigate, you know, their collective existence moving on into some future, I mean, decisions have to be made. There are going to be people have more architectural experts.
He's not somebody else, should I be in a position to veto
the opinion of an architect on an architectural issue or whatever? I have no knowledge. And if we take that across the board, so I'm not sure we can answer these kinds of questions, and Ipsy takes it, it takes it away. So fast fashion. But I do think that party, perhaps the starting point of this is for us to recognize that as a value in Islam, all right, those discourses, those forms of knowledge, all right. In addition to Sharia, there are not shattering forms of knowledge. All right, but also equally valuable to the enterprise of building sustaining and navigating communities ways into the future. And I think that once we can begin there as a point of departure, all right, then
the value of all these other voices, is enhanced greatly. And I think that's a first step for a much more effective conclusion. Right, that can be much more effective in bridging the discourse in such a way that can actually meet the standards of what we need, and what we need in terms of moving into into the future. Now, the detailed mechanics of all that that's another that's another question, which is probably better answered in motion, rather than sitting on stage trying to participate.
Okay, I'm trying to make this. I mean,
I, I guess I'm less sensitive to being
misunderstood can be controversial. So I'll just I'll make it very. To me the idea of Islamic law as a product of, quote unquote, democracy is nonsense. But I'm sorry. Just one second. What was the question about Islamic law? Oh, come on Muslim communities. And it says,
also was just about law.
And the point that I'm making, it's about sharing knowledge where you have to have started knowledge. But who were you yourself? The minute sorry, everyone. Hi, everybody.
So, but so obviously, you guys know, like the stuff on progressive Islamic law, I've gotten better than I do. And sort of in the way that the word SRA has kind of become a catch all term in a lot of these, this discourse. And, and I guess what I'm interested in, especially in light of your discussion of socialization, right, and this gets into your comment about the marriage, right? So we're socialized into certain social worlds, through which we understand those worlds, we then dissipate via mechanisms and short with consultations on what's legal and what's not legal, but then we think, Oh, well, that's okay. Because they have a certain kind of education. What kind of hat
again, sure, um, is, is is not about the shirt, I hook them. We don't do shoulder up on the hookup. We do Sure. On the practical decisions that we're making, which may include all kinds of things beyond. All right. So you know, there may be a token, you know, okay, we have certain number of Muslims, we are now in a particular locale, we gotta have a masjid, we got to have Joomla. Okay.
All right. Where do we build the Masjid? How big is it? Who do we hire as an architect? Oh, whatever. These are things that was shorter comes into the floor, it comes to before, but the whole question of the shattering hookah on the status of a manager? That's not a question I'm sure any more than whether a ham sandwich is permissible is a question Sure. We can have we don't ensure are on on again, we do show up on your decisions, discretionary actions that that that we have to take and I think you know that that distinction between the two is very important to to maintain and the distinction is very important to maintain on both sides. Because the legal scholars have banned non
legal scholars from the from the shorter practice on issues that are a matter of you know, discretionary actions and architecture and culture and all these kinds of things. Any more than that, you know, the other side that said, No, we think drinking wine Tuesday afternoon three to four is permissible.
I completely agree.
I am sorry, I misunderstood the original question. So that's
there's a lot of people who use Shut up quite expensive
and there's a lot of overreaching by
you can't remember for tracking cars and shining bright
although they would, they would, they wouldn't they would probably rely on such
We can differ, but we're talking about if you follow.
But but but there's a different, you know, and this is where the importance of recognizing the boundaries of Sharia the hokum is bounded, the hokum is bounded. And when I, when somebody gives a talk, this is what Allah has given explicit information about from once we can extract a photo. All right? What's going to make my wife happy? That's not a revelation.
I'm sorry. Thank you very much. I'm sorry. It's a it's a legal ruling is the status of a thing before God. All right, and there are five statuses, obligatory, recommended, neutral, discouraged and forbidden. Right. When I asked a jurist about an action, I'm asking him to tell me which one of these five statuses that action falls into.
Okay, may I get on to the next question?
Can you all hear me? I just don't have to keep moving.
Eye. So question is thinking about denominationalism referred to by Professor Curtis. The umbrella of Islam in America is getting wider and wider progressives traditionalist Celebes, other sects of caring groups, how do we widen the discourse to include all those groups within the boundaries of theological tolerance?
All right, well.
You can't have tolerance, without values.
Tolerance, without boundaries is simply empathy.
It's not that I'm telling me, I don't care. It doesn't matter. Worship trees, whatever, it doesn't matter. That's not Collins that that's empathy. So we're talking about theology being
a foundational consideration, and how broad the 10 of the slime is, then that, by definition, implies boundaries. That means some people are going to be in some people are going to be out.
What we don't want are over inclusive, or under inclusive? Boundaries. But I think that again, I mean, it was it was it was Ed Curtis, who brought up this issue alongside the whole question of denominational ism. Again, you know, our Muslim notions of theological tolerance, developing as a response
to the winter conditioning, the support the disciplining of Muslims, into the moral paradigm of liberalism, that you will only be accepted to the extent that you accept that you accept this. And quite frankly, I think that Muslims have to be resistant to this, for two reasons, one substantive All right, and that that cannot be sustained alongside parameters that are the result of a a good faith due diligence and diligence of the sources themselves on one hand, and then to to this will backlash in three generations.
And then we will know where to start from.
Okay, she has a specific she wants to ask, and she she says
no, I actually I don't have you know, you have both. And in some cases, I would say in some respects, model citizens and that you have completely agreed with each other on just about every point, I think. But let me actually if you don't mind my concluding question, and that's something that I'm curious about. Professor Jackson, you spoke and I hope I'm not misunderstanding or
sort of miss reading what you said but when you call the limited scope
and fresh target will follow you spoke about
again, I hope I'm not misunderstanding but an all pervasive call
argument, which to me really sounds like.
Also researchers. So let me let me ask you both. Is this really a point on which you agree? Or is there a fundamental fundamental disagreement between the two of you? How you understand the scope?
I mean, if you just want some differences, we can call it
we have our we have our differences. And I think that and I mean this very sincerely, you know, when you when you when you get into differences with people, who will Muslims who recognize the same sources, the same parameters, the basic same synthetic processes,
you know, those differences, in a sense, are a sign that the system is working.
Right, in that in that person, the Muslims.
There is a theological doctrine to the effect that no one is infallible, except the Prophet Muhammad. No individual is infallible, except the Prophet Muhammad. And it is a violation of the spirit of Islam, for me to pretend that, right. And that means that when we get into discussions and debates with each other, they may very well end in disagreement.
And yet the agreement? All right, isn't that we're still both operating within the same parameters. All right. And this is where I think that
if I couldn't adjust a little bit, I don't think that the issue. I don't think that, that when you talked about the future being in further diversification
Yes, but only in unity and unity itself. Right implies disagreement.
Right. Uniformity negates it. Right. And I think that's an important point to make now, specifically, your question.
Okay, here, here's
here's my understanding.
is knowledge of I can have rulings?
Right? That's how you'll remember rulings, No, all right.
five categories, right? rulings,
that discourse is necessarily bounded.
All right, not everything, as such will be subjected to a ruling. All right. The temperature at which water boils is not subject to a shadow a rule.
Right. So that's outside the boundaries of Sharia. Okay, now,
but to say that Sharia is bounded,
is not to say that Islam as a religion is bounded,
in that the divine days is unbelievable.
And so, you have Cherie again, all right, that are very explicit. Okay. And then you have, for example, you know, be kind to your wife. Well, what does that mean?
I mean, I remember once I was on a bus in Cairo, God got on the bus with a duck.
And you can tell he's about to start his weekend. No, no, no, he was going home. His wife was gonna be
I can't take a duck home to my wife.
I'm very serious about what what is big time what is being good to your wife means there is no hookup on there's no do this as as as an act of kindness. All right. But the divine gaze, if I what I mean by that, as I go about the enterprise of trying to be kind, is that
all right, and holding me accountable for what I do. That is infinite. Okay. That realm of explicit rulings, on the other hand, is bounded. So in that way, and this is not the secularization of Islam, which is what many people I'm sure are thinking, all right, at all. Right, because that would that would that would assume, well, who will Groeschel says that we can proceed as if God did not exist. We can never proceed. As if God did not exist. We can proceed
However, as if there were no *en
on this issue, does it mean that my behavior therefore is not still subject to the Divine gaze?
Okay, what microphones
someone I heard from someone
I heard from someone that say, oh,
it's exciting, Sherman Jackson were huddled
together because I heard they don't like each other
in the the, we disagree about
but we respect each other. And we respect each other because our disagreements are based on a foundation of doing due diligence. In investigating
our in discharging our obligation
and and striving obligation towards knowledge. So we promote garden air.
So it is similar to an if someone comes and again I'll because people have a hang up about law, and I'll use if someone comes and says, you know, I want to talk about sociology. And fine, you can talk about sculpture, but if someone speaks as a as a sociologist,
then whether I, it's not an issue, whether I agree with them or not, the issue is whether I respect what they say or not. And I would respect what you say, depending on whether they actually know what they're talking about
their actual command of what generations of scholars have been used in the field of sociology.
Same thing words, for example, use in philosophy, it's one thing to talk speak about philosophy. It's another thing, it's another, it's another thing that you probably even legitimate to philosophize. Now, it's completely different to claim that you are actually
a philosopher producing and the same was why
it's whether someone the issue for me is not whether I agree with someone, the issue is whether I respect the work product. And whether I respect the work product depending it depends on whether we do their due diligence in mastering
generations of thoughts,
if they attain mastery over their field by excluding all types of challenging material, I call that cheating.
You know, it's like trying to do mathematics by saying, Well, let me exclude all these fields, I don't understand. And let me do equations that I'm really good at. And then be impressed by me, you know, and say, No, not at first, because you've excluded all types of things. Same thing, when we talk about Islamic jurisprudence, you cannot claim to be to do Islamic law by cutting down all the stuff that is challenging. It's like when someone who did the transmission of rules last fall
and tried to publish it, but he took out all the took out the introduction, because he didn't understand it. We took out the discussion on understanding it. In all the stuff there's
a translation of the software that doesn't know it's a bastardization of almost as far as some idiots might be impressed, but not anyone in Salford respects their own knowledge and respects the field.
So this is this is a critical point. And, and I, I think it is all premised on the notion of due diligence and in the striking of obligation towards your field of knowledge. It's what we expect from students is what we expect from colleagues. It's what we human beings have developed institutions to launch. The other thing about this the scope of Sharia, you know, a lot of it is an old philosophical debate in in in Shanghai.
You find it in the basically debate about technique for obligation, when the presumption of the five categories shown and spoke about is that there is a presumption of permissibility or of whether everything is permitted permitted, unless otherwise forbidden. Now, there's this
debate about whether this presumption is itself a legal category? Or is it simply a state of affairs. So, you know, if you
if, if your wife likes, the fact that you bring the duck home, is that and we say the talent, because, you know, now, do we really only have an ego issue, if your wife complains about the fact that you really get a call, and says, That's not kind, you're not being kind, you're not being nice, I don't like it. And that's when luck kicks in, or does lock again, from the moment that there is a presumption of permissibility that everything is permitted unless otherwise forbidden by law,
that they are not going to resolve that. Again, it goes back to discipline categories of thought, not.
So I can meet the agree.
It foundationally Goddess is omnipresent and everything. The issue that we often get into with a lot is whether
there are a whole set of things that God's simply neutral about, or
does neutrality imply a normative value in itself?
I promise I, in response to something that he said, I just want to say this, you know, one of the things that's been most humbling to me, and my experience as a student of a son in law is to come to those scholars
who actually differ with themselves, who will say, you know,
I thought this, now I see that that was inadequate, and I've changed my mind. So a different with a person is enough to be named all like them. Now, a lot of schizophrenic people.
And I agree wholeheartedly that we call it that disagreement is not the issue, it is is the respect. That is the foundation of relationship and our relationship is based on mutual respect, no mutual agreement.
Okay, I think we are approaching that time, we're able to do some conclusions. Just in terms of concluding the symposium as a whole as well as this President's panel. I started off in my welcoming remarks by saying that the forum of two panels as a whole were designed to explore how Muslims, like every other religious group, have engaged the process of being and becoming American.
I talked about how a number of other religious groups engage in similar questions and processes. And I threw out a bunch of very ambitious broad questions in the beginning of the symposium that I said, are really common to adherence of different American religions. They include questions like, how do we translate scriptural ideals about an individual's relationship with the divine? And with each other in the secular system? How do we organize as citizens and stakeholders to maximize our influence and voices in the democratic process? How do we deal with inter religious diversity via doctrinal, economic, racial or social? And what should our congregational spaces in worship look
like? As they're mindful of
pluralism of all these stores and gender or gender participation as well. And I think that this
symposium, thanks to the talents of its participants of panelists was remarkably successful in answering these very, very broad questions. And I have to say that some of the insights that Professor Curtis offered are good ones to conclude this book, which is that success comes from competition in the religious marketplace. And we have a very healthy competition in terms of ideas here. And diversity, especially diversity of thought is a strategy for claiming power and voice in the United States. And we certainly saw plenty of that as well. I want to just end with really just perfuse thanks to Professor or fellow Professor Jackson, Professor Curtis and Miss Murray scattering
for taking time out of their very, very busy schedules for being here with us today to talk about these what I consider to be really important issues in terms that make sense to a very broad audience.
I also want to extend a very special thanks. I mean, there are many students here who
also wanted to be here but also got extra credit points for being here. But a special thank you to those community members from beyond campus who didn't get extra credit points but still took a lot of time to engage in these conversations and to participate and what I consider to be the broader mission at UCLA of educating the public. This is a mission that the Islamic Studies program takes very, very seriously. And as salaam Marathi said, Professor Jackson said, much of our work really requires the support of community members who are here, and we cannot offer this program alone. And just with the university resources, so for those of you community members who are still here who are
interested in supporting the program and working with us, I really invite you to be in touch with me that there's a sign up sheet outside to do that. And I'd like to thank you all and especially the panelists for being here. So let's