In addition to attempting a general survey of fiqh, this essay formulate a response to the basic question whether Islamic law has the capability and resources, and if so of what kind, to accommodate social change.The essay is presented in eight parts. The initial two sections address the definition of fiqh and shari'ah and delineate the salient differences between
them. The third section briefly looks into the history of fiqh and this is followed by a description of the major themes and subject matter of this discipline. Section five addresses the methodology and sources of fiqh and the formulae that are devised for the deduction of the rules of fiqh from their sources. The next section develops the theme that the textual sources of fiqh namely Qur'an and Sunnah, integrate a certain degree of flexibillity whithin the fabric of their laws and remain open to the possibilities of interpretation and ijtihad (independent reasoning). Section seven discusses recent developments and measures that are taken to facilitate easy access to the source materials of fiqh; it also describes recent reforms, introduced in many Muslim countries, that represent new development of fiqh. The last section attempts a brief discussion of ijtihad in the context of modern statutory legislation and explores the ways as to how the resources of fiqh and ijtihad could more effectively be utilized in the on-going efforts at legal reconstruction and reform............. Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)
The Muslim World LXXXVI, (1996), pp 62-85.