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Brussels: Ulema to discuss the adaptation of Islamic jurisprudence to the European context

Thursday, 07 May 2015

Several Ulema and researchers met in Brussels to discuss ways to adapt Islamic jurisprudence to the European context and provide clear answers, unequivocally, to the many questions of Muslims in Europe.

For Khalid Hajji, president of the Board of the European Council of Moroccan Ulema, which is behind this two-day debate, the influence of the European reality on the jurisprudence for minorities (Muslims in Europe ) is now of paramount importance.

This influence is visible in the way the Ulema deal with legal opinions, he insisted on the need to rethink the relationship of each religion with international law and that of Muslims with the European population.

“We must, in a world where there is no geographic boundaries see how far the jurisprudence of minorities may accompany the Muslims in Europe, without destabilizing the relationship with the society in which they live and which are subject to laws that govern the differences”, said Hajji.

From this, the role of jurisprudence is to propose practical solutions for the major questions of Muslims, noting that case law cannot therefore be frozen, but should be consistent with the current social reality and religious texts.

He cited the example for the purpose of naturalization, recalling that there 'was a time when the ulema banned it, but now this issue is over,' 'mainly because of the confrontation with the reality of the Muslims in European societies.

For Tujgani Taher, president of the CEOM, jurisprudence of minorities, also called jurisprudence of coexistence or citizenship, poses difficult questions since the person entitled to exercise this jurisprudence is confronted on one hand, to real issues related to jurisprudence and on the other, to issues that find their justification in the European context.

Thus, before issuing religious opinions, the ulama are required to have a perfect and comprehensive understanding of the European reality. Because, he explained, many religious opinions shall not be applicable to all times and all countries.

It is therefore imperative to reconsider religious jurisprudence as practiced today by some, to better support the rapid changes in society and the laws of host countries, pleaded Mr. Tujgani, emphasizing the need to address the understanding of the history of European thought, the specificities of each country and the nature of institutions.

In the same vein, El Fassi El Fihri Idris, professor at the University of al-Qarawiyyin, said that the perfect knowledge of the context is a prerequisite before producing a religious opinion, noting that when the ulema can change their religious view as long as they do not violate the religious text.

The conference, which brings together researchers from many countries, will debate during two days many topics related to diachronic and synchronic approaches of Islamic jurisprudence, the specifics of the legal status of Islam in Europe, the foundations of jurisprudence of minorities and applications of Islamic jurisprudence.

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