The 8th Annual Contemporary Fiqhī Issues Workshop, hosted online by the Al-Mahdi Institute, seeks to provide a forum for considering the regulations of im/purity (ṭahāra and najāsā) in Islam, in light of their wide-reaching practical, socio-ethical and theological implications.
The practical importance of regulations pertaining to purity (ṭahāra) and impurity (najāsā) in Islam are testified to, not only by the typical treatment of purity as the opening chapter within works of juristic rulings, but also by their immense relevance to the daily lives of Muslims. Jurisprudential discussion of impurities (najāsāt) – be they regarding essentially impure substances (najis al-ʿayn) or the different states of impurity – likewise are far from being merely theoretical. Such rulings inform the nature of Muslim communal life, social interactions with non-Muslims and are relevant to the financial regulation of permissible and impermissible trade and profit.
Many of these rulings are female-specific or female-centred, yet analysis of the gendered nature of these rulings, and their implications, is seriously underdeveloped. Furthermore, questioning the nature of regulations on im/purity – such as whether they are purely devotional (mawlawī) or simply instrumental (irshādī) – leads to further questioning the role of empirical knowledge and reason in understanding, and seeking to live in accordance with, divine intent.