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Yilmaz, I - Ijtihad and Tajdid by Conduct (the Gulen Movement)

Yilmaz, I - Ijtihad and Tajdid by Conduct (the Gulen Movement)

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Ijtihad and Tajdid by Conduct
Te Gülen Movement 
 
    and local knowledge. Because law and sociocultural phenomena are interlinked and there is no absolute autonomy,any change in law or culture inevitably will influence the other. Because culturemust be conceived as law in Muslim understanding and life, any discussion of change, transformation, or renewal inevitably will be intermingled with the dis-cussions surrounding ijtihad. us, any new discourse is directly or indirectly a result of a new ijtihad, and it does not have to be in the field of law only, asstrictly defined and understood by legal modernity.In Muslim jurisprudence, an internal diversity of legitimate opinions is asociolegal reality. e existence of different types of Muslim legal pluralism posesboth challenges and opportunities regarding neo-ijtihad and tajdid (renewal)of Islam in the decades to come. In this regard, the movement that has evolvedaround the ideas of the charismatic figure of Fethullah Gülen provides an exam-ple of a renewal with a potential for influencing the Muslim world.Muslim advocates of renewal have been arguing for a return to the use of ijti-had to facilitate reinterpretation of the Islamic heritage to face the challenges of modernity. Yet the question is no longer whether the gate of ijtihad is open (Hal-laq 1984, 1986), but which ijtihads are necessary and can be followed. Today,many individuals and institutions claim a right to exercise ijtihad, and they in-deed exercise it. If a state makes ijtihad, it can end in civil disobedience, as it hasin the case of Pakistan (Yılmaz 2001a, 2001c, forthcoming b). If ijtihad is civil,then some people will adopt it freely, and some not. However, at this point, theproblem of postmodern fragmentation arises. To prevent this fragmentation andat the same time to implement new changes and ijtihads without confronting
 
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1. Owing to lack of space, I do not discuss the issues of science and education that other con-tributors to this volume discuss in detail.2. Even though the formal legal institutions enjoy a kind of monopoly in terms of the legiti-mate use of power, there are some other forms of effective coercion or effective inducement. eindividual belongs to various interposed fields between the individual and the body politic. esesocial fields have their own rules and the means of coercing or inducing compliance. Literature onlegal pluralism suggests that in all communities a number of modes of normative orderings coexist with the official state law. Local law, custom, and ethnic minority laws and customs can be cited asmajor factors that both influence and impede the effectiveness of law in modern societies. esefactors are the sources of multiple interpretations, incoherence, legal authorities, local interests,and local concerns. Other than being a source of justification for popular resistance, they also may affect the degree of respect for the official lawmaker.
civil disobedience, to renew religious thought and practice, and to transformsociety, leaders of faith-based and faith-inspired movements have a role to play (see in detail Yılmaz forthcoming a).In this context, I suggest that Gülen has reinterpreted Islamic understand-ing in tune with contemporary times and has developed and put into practicea new Muslim discourse with respect to some traditionally sensitive issues. Hisdiscourse and practice seem to be in tune with the zeitgeist. I suggest in thischapter that Gülen’s case consists of renewed Muslim discourses and practiceson religion, pluralism, jurisprudence, secularism, democracy, politics, and in-ternational relations.
1
e Gülen movement, appealing to an increasing numberof Muslims and non-Muslims all over the world, is a successful example of neo-ijtihad and tajdid, with its origins in Turkey, where the encounter between mo-dernity and traditional Islam has been experienced most deeply.I argue mainly that the transformative influences of Gülens discourse can beobserved initially and primarily in the movement he has inspired. At a secondary level, this transformation affects the surrounding wider society. In this regard, Ibriefly highlight Gülens ideas on ijtihad, neo-ijtihad, diversity, pluralism, secu-larism, democracy, politics, international relations, and dialog, and elaborate on what Gülen achieves in practice with respect to these issues.
Internal Muslim Legal Pluralism, Islamic Law, Fiqh, and Ijtihad 
In a plural society, the issue of legal pluralism (aside from political, cultural,religious, or structural pluralism) arises where normative heterogeneity exists.
2
 Legal pluralism can be found within both the most sophisticated and the lessdeveloped polity; it is a global phenomenon. e theory of legal pluralism triesto define legal pluralism not in terms of the state, but in terms of authority and
 
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Ihsan Yılmaz 
institutions. is theory envisages competing, contesting, and sometimes con-tradicting orders outside official law and their mutually constitutive relations toofficial law.Muslim law is a repertoire of precedents, cases, and general principles, along with a body of well-developed hermeneutical techniques (Al-Azmeh 1996, 12).ere is a kind of plurality of Muslim laws and customs. is plurality stemsmainly from three different cases: first, the four main law schools (madhhab);second, written law (high Islam), which does not completely coincide withpeople’s practices (custom); and third, some differences between the state’s Islamand folk or local Islam. From a legal pluralist point of view, Muslim law is notonly the law stated in the Muslim law books, but also what Muslim people apply in everyday life. In traditional Islam, the legal system is diffuse, lacking coher-ence in codes and enforcement, and entailing a multiplicity of authorities andsources of law. us, different changes have come into existence in a variety of contexts, which has caused a plurality of Muslim laws that vary depending onlocal context. It even has been asserted that the different perceptions of Islamthroughout the world in various local contexts have led to different “Islams.Islam demands full allegiance from a person once he or she has chosen toembrace it. Law is an essential and central part of a Muslim’s religion. us,many Muslims in both Muslim and non-Muslim polities relate themselves to theIslamic law rather than to the legislation of particular countries. Islamic law is asource of legal pluralism in our age. Furthermore, the legal pluralism inherent within Islam maintains a legally plural society even within a Muslim environ-ment. Law in Muslim understanding is a system of meanings and a cultural codefor interpreting the world. It “represents an order which governs all spheres of life, in which-.-.-.-even the rules of protocol and etiquette are of a legal nature”(Hoffman 1993, 126). Scholars such as Lawrence Rosen (1984, 1989) and Clif-ford Geertz (1968, 1973, 1983) thus conceive Muslim law as culture.Because Muslim legal pluralism is inevitable, even in non-Muslim spheres(Yılmaz 2000b, 2001b) and regardless of any official nonrecognition, and be-cause nonrecognition does not make Muslim law disappear, discussions regard-ing ijtihad and tajdid are still relevant wherever Muslims live.Muslim concern about knowing God’s will in order to implement it pro-duced classical Islamic law. Islamic law is a territory of considerable textual com-plexity, for there is no simple set of rules that constitute it, but rather a body of texts—including the Qur’an, hadith, and legal texts of various genres—thatsupplied the authoritative base for Islamic legal thought and practice (Tucker1999, 2).Fiqh is the product of human understanding that sought to interpret and

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