Muhammad Khalid Masud
Ikhtilaf al-Fuqaha: Diversity in Fiqh as a
Ikhtilaf, which means disagreement, difference of opinion and diversity of views, especially among the experts of Islamic law, is widely recognised in Islamic tradition as a natural phenomenon. In its meaning of ‘diversity’, ikhtilaf is also a recurring theme in the Qur’an, with references to the diverse phenomena of nature and diversity as a sign of God and proof of God’s existence and creation.1 According to a saying of the Prophet Muhammad, diversity among the Muslim people is a blessing (ikhtilafu ummati rahma).2 The Islamic tradition takes pride in sciences developed for studying the differences in the recitation and interpretation of the Qur’an and the differences in the transmissions of the Hadith, reports about Prophet Muhammad’s statements, and the Sunnah, his practices. Since the beginning of the development of fiqh, ikhtilaf among the jurists not only existed, but was also respected.
Click here to read the rest of the essay.