The Diverse Interpretation of Islamic Jurisprudence

As a Muslim I do believe, Islamic teachings that are written down in the Holy Qur’an and explained in Hadith (prophetic traditions) are complete, perfect, and thorough. The Islamic teachings were revealed to human beings because Allah SWT loves them. The purpose of the teachings is to guide the humankinds to act upon the straight path. The Almighty God does this because He will never let His creatures live unguided and confused. This is coincidence with the God’s guidance revealed through His several manuscripts as Torah, Psalm, Bible and Al-Qur’an Al-Karim.

Based on the process of revelation, it is seemingly that there is a religious evolution stretching from unnamed through the named ones. This also looks that the evolution corresponds human’s civilization. When the human civilization is simple, the form of religious belief seems simple. On the contrary, when the civilization is moving advanced, the form of religious belief also looks very thorough. Through the way, humans are wished to be able to answer all their problems through the beliefs. Since Islam is the latest religion, it is not profuse to say that Islam is the most advanced religious belief.

Yet, when revelations arrive on human hands, they will respond them differently. Some refuse God’s commandments and others need a long process to accept and the others welcome the revelations enthusiastically. Those who have received the God’s guidance will be various in interpreting the commandments. These will entail different paradigms that may be unfamiliar one another. The differences may share from individuals to individuals, communities to communities, and from areas to areas. Therefore the difficulties – as being explained by Kecia Ali, in encountering the instructions including Islamic law, are not only undergone by the progressive Muslims in contrast with the conservative ones but also inside the progressive or conservative Muslims themselves. They argue and debate among others to preserve their ideas through reasonable excuses. Even though they still could not come into the same agreements.

The differences in responding Islamic law are because Muslims posses different capacities. Because of the differences do the interpretations vary from scholars to scholars. For the reason, Kecia Ali says that every, innovation including the innovation she proposes, is not the most improved. The interpretation is not equal with God’s plans so this is not absolutely perfect. Even though, I think that God will never make the unformed interpretations. If God likes, God will absolutely consider the ideal wants recommended. God lets human beings try to approach from different points of view. Thus this is coincidence with the nature of human beings that are different.

The types of Islamic laws’ response are various from place to place, community to community, and area to area because of several reasons. The first is in what circumstances are the Islamic laws assimilate. The circumstances elicit the conformity of the laws and the concerning community. Secondly, in what extent do the Islamic laws influence the community? The extent of the adaptation may cause the width of the influence. The third is the intensity of the assimilation whether the Islamic laws’ influence is stronger or weaker. If the laws are stronger, the other influencing factors will be shaped by the religious laws and vice versa. The last is the given cultures in which the Islamic laws interact since the cultures have very big influences to the laws themselves.

Amin Abdullah proposed three approaches to the study of religious laws. They are doctrinal-normative, cultural-historical, and critical-philosophical. The three of them must be linearly applied if we want to get improved comprehension. The separation of them of course will create incomprehensive understanding and study of the laws. In fact, some Muslim scholars – the conservatives, use one of them – only the first one and leave the others behind. Thus, the study that is based upon the other approaches is not covered. The later – the progressive scholars usually use the three of them linearly. However, the approaches they use cannot be falsified since this is their rights to do so. They put big respects to the others, though they have different approaches. The Interpretation of the laws is, in fact, the matter of paradigms and beliefs.

In short, it is natural if there are difficulties and problems encountered by progressive Muslims in facing conservative supporters because of different approaches used to interpret the Islamic laws. The important thing is we should perform the very religious laws based upon the argumentative reasons we do convince.

Contributor: Ruwandi, MA


Diverse (adj.): berbeda

To encounter (verb): menghadapi

Thorough (adj.): menyeluruh

To reveal (verb): mewahyukan

Profuse (adj.): berlebihan

To entail (verb): menyebabkan

To undergo (verb): mengalami

To preserve (verb): mempertahankan

Scholars (noun): kaum terpelajar

Incomprehension (adj.): tidak lengkap

To convince (verb): meyakini