Hudud 2: Tradition

I am not against of a return to first principles and traditional systems in contemporary society per se but I worry about the integrity, justice and rationality of such scenarios as they re-emerge, not just in Malaysia but throughout the world today. Indeed, my concern is that many of those who do advocate for tradition do so under a deep misunderstanding about its nature.  I posit here that a living tradition, of any order,  is a dynamic set of fundamentals that has, in the past, been flexible enough to enable it to survive into the present. Any continuing tradition has, by definition, endured the ravages of history by being sensitive and responsive to the conditions of the moment. Indeed, it seems to me that there is a narrowness in the views of both the advocates and the detractors of the Malaysian Hudud bill that suggest that they might missing the true potential and import of contemporary Shari’ah. Indeed, I ask Malaysians to heed Kareem Elbayar call to the West, which is to support the reclamation for Muslims the “tradition of intellectual production, open debate, and inquiry, and to renew the continuous development of the law which once characterized the religion of Islam, and which can and must characterize Islam in a modern world.”

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