REFORM THROUGH TRADITION: AN ANALYSIS OF YŪSUF AL-QARAḌĀWĪ’S APPROACH TO ḤALAL AND ḤARĀM
The concept of permissibility (ḥalāl) and impermissibility (ḥarām) claims a central place in the Islamic ethos. Muslims are always conscious about the permissibility of whatever they commit or omit in their daily lives, be it in public or private spheres. The level of this consciousness is even higher when it comes to the matter of food. The bewildering range of edible materials and seemingly countless recipes in today’s food market present a formidable challenge for Muslim jurists (fuqahā) in dealing with the issue of permissibility. Among, Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī is one of the contemporary scholars who have addressed this issue in the context of today’s challenges. This paper discusses al-Qaraḍāwī’s reformative approach to ḥalāl and ḥarām with especial reference to the matters related to food. The paper analyses how al-Qaraḍāwī interprets the relevant Qur’anic verses and the Prophetic traditions (ahādīth) and attempts to unearth the underlying juristic principles that he relies on for his particular opinions. Also, the paper compares his interpretive strategies with those of the classical jurists. Theoretically, the paper revisits al-Qaraḍāwī’s approach and frames it with reference to Fazlur Rahman’s classification of different reform strategies in Islam. In this light, the article concludes that al-Qaraḍāwī’s approach seems to be what Fazlur Rahman calls ‘reform through tradition.
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