Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|02/01/02 at 10:53:17|
Watched FOX NEWS this morning about the "new" Bin Laden tape wherein he says that Islam allows the killing of innocent people. Now, without going into the politics of Bin Laden vs. the West, I'm curious as to what *Islamic* authority he has to issue statements as to what Islam allows or doesn't allow. Is it his level of religious study, his education...?
Please note that I am *not* trying to start a debate about Bin Laden. I just want to know how Islam decides "who's in charge" so to speak. If there's an old thread about this I'm happy to just be pointed over there.
|Re: Islamic Authority|
|02/04/02 at 02:22:06|
as salaamu alaykum / peace
Here's how I understand this. We have no papacy or clergy in Islam - no particular individual, or group of people, that we believe has been granted authority to interpret the divine texts or whose edicts and rulings are binding.
What we *do* have in Islam is a system of scholarship that grants a person legitimacy based on their education and study. There is the tradition of the [i]ijaza[/i], or a degree or license to teach and to give rulings in a particular subject/science, that comes after many years of study with a qualified teacher. (sort of like a pHd, I guess?) Obviously, the opinion of a person with an ijaza on a particular subject would be taken more seriously than that of a laypersons, in the same way you would take a neurosurgeons opinion over someone who's read just one biology book.
[i]'Ismah[/i], or the concept of infallibility and protection from error in understanding the divine law, is something that we believe is limited to the prophets, peace be upon them all. What's often times granted this same level of 'infallibility' (in the sunni tradition of Islam at least), is the unanimous consensus of the scholars.
So.. who's in charge? Again, there is no individual or group of people that are in charge. There's no title or label that a state or government can grant you that makes you in charge. It's a question of a persons qualifications, knowledge, scholarship, dedication, sincerity etc that grants that person "authority" and their words weight. And in this same vein, if someone makes statements that indicate a *lack* of any of the above things, their words no longer carry such weight.
Man, I hope that makes some kind of sense :) Please tell me if it didn't Sparrow, and y'all out there please add to this :)
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