Al-Ra’y, al-Bid‘ah and the Challenges of Muslim Unity in Contemporary Society (Download)

    Prof. Ibrahim Olatunde UTHMAN, ibrahimuthman@yahoo.com , 08036201617

    Abstract: This paper examines the concepts of al-Ra’y and al-Bid’ah in the light of the contemporary challenges confronting Muslim unity. The Sharī’ah teaches strict conformity to the injunctions of the Qur’an and Sunnah, which make many people including some leading Islamic scholars to argue that al-Ra’y is un-Islamic. This view is strengthened by the Sharī’ah concept of al-Bid’ah, which has been explained by many to show that in the Sharī’ah there is no freedom of speech and opinion. Against this background, I propose to interrogate the concepts of al-Ra’y and al-Bid’ah using the comparative method, which I have described in a recent presentation as a kind of combination of the synthetic, thematic, stylistic and comparative analyses of the teachings of the Qur’an by studying the corpus of Islamic texts as a whole that differentiates between the spirit and letters of the Sharī’ah because while it’s universal and eternal principles are rigid, its derivative application is dynamic and flexible. The paper concludes that though the Sharī’ah permits freedom of speech and opinion, they are moderated by the regulations of al-Bid’ah.