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date: 11 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the relation and differences between the legal concepts of shariʿa and fiqh and their implications for the reinterpretation and reform of specific legal rulings today by qualified American Muslim jurists and academic scholars through the process of ijtihad. It indicates some of the intra-Muslim debates concerning the purview of shariʿa, its objectives (maqasid al-shariʿa) and the particular challenges faced by the American Muslim community, which is situated within a larger secular non-Muslim polity. It then proceeds to discuss three American Muslim organizations—the Fiqh Council of North America, Karamah, and the Shura Council of the Women’s Initiative for Spirituality and Equality—and their seminal roles in spearheading innovative legal reasoning within scriptural and classical shar‘i parameters in the United States. Specific legal issues dealt with in this chapter include the articulation of a “jurisprudence of minorities” (fiqh al-aqalliyat), creation of egalitarian marriage contracts, and reinterpretation of the permissibility of adoption within Islamic law.

Keywords: shariʿa, fiqh, ijtihad, maqasid al-Shariʿa, Islamic law, jurisprudence of minorities, fiqh al-aqalliyat, Fiqh Council of North America, Karamah, Shura Council, Women’s Initiative for Spirituality and Equality

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