A religious law for Muslims in the West

The European Council for Fatwa and Research and the evolution of fiqh al-aqalliyyat al-muslima

Authored by: Uriya Shavit , Iyad Zahalka

Routledge Handbook of Islam in the West

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415691321
eBook ISBN: 9781315794273
Adobe ISBN: 9781317744023


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Dublin, famous for modernist literary genius and beer breweries and home to a population of no more than several thousand Muslims, is an unexpected location to spearhead a revolution in Islamic law. Yet its southern, pastoral suburb of Clonskeagh is the residence of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, a juristic panel that for over a decade has led the systemization of an audaciously pragmatic and hotly debated doctrine on the religious law of Muslim minorities (fiqh al-aqalliyyat al-muslima). According to Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a paramount contributor to its construction, the religious law of Muslim minorities is not a specific doctrine but the field of fiqh that addresses the unique conditions of Muslims living among non-Muslim majority societies (al-Qaradawi 2007: 32). However, while the doctrine on Muslim minorities propagated by the European Council (which was initiated by an American-based jurist, Taha Jabir al-‘Alwani) is contested by other doctrines on Muslim minorities, the phrase fiqh al-aqalliyyat al-muslima is frequently used as a generic term for the Council’s doctrine. The Council’s relative liberalism reflects the attitudes of considerable numbers of devout Muslims in the West.

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