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May 08, 2009

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Uzair Kayani

This was an excellent conference.

I still think that it is incorrect to call purported scholars of Islamic law "clerics"; they have no religious authority. As best I can tell, the notion of an Islamic clergy is a hoax, or maybe an unfortunate transplant.

Also, "shari'a" and "fiqh" do not appear to be divinely ordained. They were created incrementally through analogical reasoning by a conservative judiciary over several centuries, almost exactly like the common law. This is why some people think that the common law has some Islamic roots. See, for example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia#Comparisons_with_common_law.

The common law analogy is a good one, I think. Remember that most of the progressive leaps that we prize today came from outside the common law- through revolutions, statutes, constitutions, and treatises. The common law itself is not revolutionary. Shari'a and fiqh can be understood the same way. Systems of incremental, top-down lawmaking are inherently conservative. This affair is really not as exotic as it appears.

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