Islamic Law and Modernity

I believe that public order has to be built on civil values that are matters of consensus in the society. Consensus is a necessary practical and juridical consideration. The “Islamicity of the state” itself in the Islamic Fiqh is defined according to a number of values that must exist in the “Land of Islam”. These values, whether Muslims are majority or minority, define the Islamicity of a land. No scholar has ever said that the definition of an “Islamic state” depends on whether Muslims are majority or minority. An “Islamic State” is a state where Muslims are allowed to practice Islam as a way of life freely and where people enjoy good levels of justice, security, and the rest of these “civil” values.

Not everything that is mentioned in the Qur’an in clear language is a thing that is meant to be applied literally as an end in its own right. Diligent scholars have to ask: Is this verse a means to an end or is it an end in its own right? Means mentioned in the Qur’an such as horses, swords, and the like, and distributing spoils of war, non-Muslim tax, and the like … are not fixed ends. They are changeable means with the change of history, geography, circumstances, and people. Differentiating between means and ends is an important consideration when we talk about “applying the Shari’ah” today.

– Dr. Jasser Auda