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Abstract

The idea of deducing legal rulings in Islamic law, or ijtihād, as well as the qualifications of the person who practices ijtihād, known as the mujtahid, has been a complex issue among Muslim ʿulamāʾ for centuries. Many Muslim ʿulamāʾ and Western scholars have maintained that the gate of ijtihād was closed. The title of mujtahid was therefore impossible to attain. The Moroccan intellectual al-Khamlīshī maintains that the strenuous conditions put forth by some of the Sunni jurists to qualify an individual to become a mujtahid actually contributed to the demise of ijtihād. These qualifications, according to al-Khamlīshī, were proven to be unachievable and stood as myriad obstacles in creating new generations to reform the old Islamic fiqh. This essay shows that, despite the extremely strenuous set of qualifications, through the writings of al-Khamlīshī, Moroccan women penetrated men’s domain in Islamic family law, breaking the long-standing monopoly men held therein.

Keywords

ijtihād, fiqh, madhhab, ʿulamāʾ, ijmāʿ, sharīʿa.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.