This article is devoted to the contemporary Shi’a Iranian religious scholar and thinker Moḥammad Mojtahed Shabestarī (b. 1936).
Shabestarī daring ideas on the end of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) in recent years caused a commotion not only among the adherents of the so-called traditional approach to legal methodology (uṣūl-e fiqh) but among Islamic thinkers in general. Educated in a Shi’a religious ḥouzeh, Shabestarī belongs to an older generation of Iranian clerics who for years now has not been wearing a traditional clerical garment. Although retired from an academic career, the scholar remains active – gives lectures and participates in public meetings at the well-known Tehranian intellectual centre Ḥoseynīye Ershād where he conducts classes on modern hermeneutics and new approaches to Qura’nic exegesis. In recent years, Shabestarī became increasingly critical of the present state of Islamic jurisprudence in Iran and announced the end of fiqh and its methods. Challenging the idea that through the Qur’an, God has provided people with a timeless model of a permanent and universal legal and political system to organise the life of Muslims in every age, Shabestarī called for a change of paradigm in reading sacred scripture based on the adaptation of philosophical hermeneutics and phenomenology. He has also advocated for an endorsement of the philosophy of human rights which he believes is an ‘antidote’ to the current problems within Islam.
Title: The End of Traditional Islamic Jurisprudence in Hermeneutics of Moḥammad Mojtahed Shabestarī
Author: Magdalena Rodziewicz
Published in: Journal of Shia Studies, Volume 10, Number 2, Spring 2017
Length: 24 pages