Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Jehaad and Ijtehaad- two facets of one process

The Quran is a book having multi-layered meanings.It requires a lot of efforts to discover in-depth and multi-dimensional meanings of the Quran. That is why Allah has enjoined upon mankind to contemplate over Quran. On the other hand, Allah has also enjoined upon mankind to think about their conditions- both external and internal including physical,socio-economic,political as well as psychological, moral and intellectual conditions- so that external issues/deficiencies-relating to external environment- and internal issues/deficiencies-relating to human intellect and soul- may be addressed.

These are two basic injunctions regarding "fikr" - contemplation about Quran and contemplation about human conditions-which have been enshrined in Quran. Holy Quran is the "Book of Guidance" as to how to live in a better way in the prevailing human conditions; it implies what has been enjoined upon human beings is to understand human conditions and find out Quranic solutions to any issues pertaining to such human conditions. "Jehaad" is understanding the nature of human conditions and understanding of Quranic guidance/text, and "Ijtehaad" is finding out Quranic solutions to any issues/deficiencies prevailing in such human conditions-both external and internal- by applying so far hidden/known meanings/inferences of the Quran.

"Jehaad" and Ijtehaad are complementary to each other; without "Jehaad", we can't undertake "Ijtehaad"; without understanding of human conditions and Qaranic text,we can't apply Quranic solutions addressing to issues/deficiencies pertaining to human environment and human soul and intellect. "Jehaad" and "Ijtehaad" are two phases of one process; both phases combined lead mankind to fulfill the purpose of their lives.Both "Jehaad" and "Ijtehaad", are endless processes in a Muslim society; we can't afford even to think about quitting any one of these processes.
To understand human conditions-both external and internal- is called "Jihaad" in the Way of Allah, If such a venture is taken in compliance with Allah's injunctions. Any person who is capable to peep into and understand human conditions is qualified to undertake "Jehaad", and any person who is capable of applying Quranic solutions to any issues pertaining to human conditions is qualified to undertake "Ijtehaad";( the rest may follow the "mujtahid", and may contribute to the process by extending physical support to the process). Everyone is capable of undertaking "Jehaad" at varying degree, depending upon level of his understanding of human conditions and Quranic guidance. But everyone is not capable of undertaking "Ijtehaad", because "Ijtehaad" is conducted on the basis of collective understanding of people about the issue/deficiency under consideration. Therefore, persons only having thorough understanding of human conditions and Quranic texts/guidance can undertake "Ijtehaad".

It is clear from foregoing that in case of both Jehaad and Ijtehaad, these are the prevailing human conditions which are the subject-matter of "Jehaad" and "Ijtehaad"; it implies that understanding of Quran in the perspective of past human conditions-i.e. when Quran was revealed- is not enough. In other words, "tafseer bil rawayat"(tafseer on the basis of "shan-e-nazool"), is not enough. Tafseer bil rawayat (tafseer on the basis of "shan-e-nazool" may helps in understanding some layers of Quranic wisdom; but it is not enough to understand all layers of Quranic wisdom.In order to undertake "Jehaad" and "Ijtehaad" in the proper context, it is essential to interpret Quranic texts not only through "tafseer bil rawayat" but also through other principles of interpretation derived from Quran and Sunnah.

Allah has gifted human beings with faculties of intellect; and Allah has made it obligatory for mankind to contemplate over Quran. It means human intellectual faculties must be free to think over Quran; they should not be confined to think over Quran through "tafseer bil rawayat". But one thing should be kept in mind; the function of human intellect is to prove Quran, not to contradict Quran. The outcomes of human intellect must be subordinated to/supported by  what has been enshrined-directly or by inference- in Quran and Sunnah; only with this condition, human intellect is free to think over Quran.

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