Shari’a Responsibility; Conditions and Conflicts

The second AMI Contemporary Fiqhi Issues Workshop held on the 3rd to the 4th April 2014. The dominant fiqhi reading of Sharīʿa perceives a system of orthopraxic precepts (aḥkām) in the knowledge of God that regulate every aspect of the lives of humankind. The all inclusive scope of this regulative system is held to include personal and interpersonal realms as well as Human-Divine relations. Central to the fuqahā’s vision of this regulative system is a body of religious duties or responsibilities that apply to all who meet the inferred criteria for the endowment of such Sharīʿa responsibility. These conditions for Sharīʿa religious responsibility are listed to include considerations such as sanity, capacity, maturity and in some cases a prior acceptance of Islam- not withstanding the considerable intricacies of the debates in each case, generally speaking at least, those who do not meet the conditions are not deemed to bear Sharīʿa responsibilities.

The basis and implications of the various conditions for religious responsibility have been subject to debate and discussion throughout much of the history of the traditional Muslim scholarly discipline of fiqh. Yet due to a multitude of factors the current circumstances in which Muslims find themselves raise many new questions in this regard. For instance, developments in medicine and psychology have revealed the complexity, diversity and prevalence of mental health issues in societies offering a new prism of analysis to the traditional criteria of sanity. Modern notions of the inherent worth of autonomy and self determination resonate with the traditional conceptions of capacity as a criteria for religious responsibility, yet how such criteria may help negotiate challenges arising form fiqhi regulations apparently conflicting with the competing legal frameworks that Muslims find themselves in is still an open question. Prominent cases of such conflicts include situations where parents may assert the authority to marry off their daughters or where regulations require circumcision of male infant children. What’s more the traditional notion of maturity , which has been identified as being as early as nine years in girls and thirteen years in boys, is itself highly contentious when viewed in light of the changing sociological and legal considerations which inform the basis for considerations of the boundaries between childhood and adulthood adopted in most other normative frameworks throughout the world.

Presenter Title of Paper View Abstract
Dr Anicée Van Engeland
SOAS, University of London
The Tensions between Shari’a and International Law through the Lens of CEDAW Click here
Professor Hamid Mavani
School of Religion, Claremont Graduate Studies
Two Shi‘i Jurisprudential Methodologies to Address Contemporary Challenges: Traditional Ijtihad and Foundational Ijtihad Click here
Shaykh Komail Rajani
Al-Mustafa International University
Sharīʿa: Legislative Delegation to the Prophet or the Word of Allah? Click here
Dr Ali-reza Bhojan
Al-Mahdi Institute
Non-Muslims and Sharīʿa Responsibility, between Imāmi Fiqh and ʿAdliyya theology Click here
Professor Ayatollah  Mohaghegh Damad
Faculty of Law, ShahidBeheshti University
The Basic Subject (the axis) of Shari’a Responsibility Click here
Professor Haider Ala Hamoudi
University of Pittsburg
Capacity and Authority in Western and Ja’fari Law Click here
Professor Micheal Bohlander
Durham Law School, Durham University
Of Higher Intentions and Lower Expectations – A report about a failed comparative survey project on maqasidi approaches to Shari’ah responsibility Click here
Dr Rahim Nobahar
Faculty of Law, ShahidBeheshti University
Towards a Diverse and Gradual Concept of Maturity (bulugh) in Shi‘i Jurisprudence Click here
Dr A. Fanaei
Al-Mahdi Institute
The Role of ʿAql as a General and Specific Condition for Religious Obligation Click here
Shaykh Abdoulrahim
Marvdashti Al-Tanweer, Kuwait
The Age of Responsibility Click here
Shaykh Arif Abdul Hussain
Al-Mahdi Institute
Meta-legal Discussions on the Nature of Taklif and their Implications for Shari’a Responsibility Click here
Professor S. Mohammad Ghari. S. Fatemi
Al-Mahdi Institute
When and Why is One Responsible for What? A Quranic, Mystical, Ethical and Fiqhi Notion of Taklif Click here