Ijtihaad by the courts

Tahir Mahmood responds to the criticisms made by Javed Anand of the 227th Law Commission report.

He makes two interesting points. The first that the Law Commission since its inception in 1955 has never been consulted on any legislation dealing with Muslim Law. Even the infamous Muslim Women’s (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act was drafted by the Law Ministry. Secondly, noting the failure of the Indian state and Indian ulama to initate reform, he argues that “in some recent cases the courts have made admirable efforts to read principles of Muslim law in their correct perspective. Religious circles see these rulings as mudakhalat fid-din or interference in religion. That perception might continue, but so must the on-going process of judicial restoration of true Islamic law.”. The latter is perhaps an interesting evolution of Dr Mahmood’s views since in the past he had been fairly critical of courts which sought to offer “progressive” readings of Islamic law.

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