Muslim Ummah has long been taught to respect ‘ijtihad’ and those who practice it as leaders of the Ummah. The secularized and inherently un-Islamic intellectuals elites in Muslim countries and outside who backed up rulers claiming the ‘Islamic’ have turned the reverence for the principle to promote their own standing as well as that of the western ideologies to which they owe their allegiance. The have also used ‘ijtihad’ as an instrument to foster secularism.
Those who have hailed liberalism, clinging to socialism, Marxism, capitalism or nationalism, have suddenly discovered the virtues of Islam. They sing praises of ‘ijtihad’ as the road to progress and renaissance for the Ummah. The new champions of ‘ijtihad’, however, betray their true aims by their distortion of the concept of ‘ijtihad’. Three main used of ‘ijtihad’ can be identified:
First, instead of being an intellectual effort to extend the application of Islamic principles into all areas of life, or shape the life of Ummah in its vicissitudes according to these principles, ‘ijtihad’ in their hands becomes a convenient tool to subvert these very principles.
The second use of ‘ijtihad’ by the ‘enlightened’ elite is more revealing and widespread. This intellectual activity is seen as an instrument to reconcile various secularist ideologies with Islam by interpreting them as basically Islamic in their essence, spirit or intentions, if not in their outward manifestation. Liberalism is presented as the embodiment of the ‘shura’ principle and the various brands of socialism as pious realization of Islamic principles of human dignity and social justice.
The most sinister and scandalous misapplication of the concept of ‘ijtihad’ may be described as the function of ‘legitimizing’. Ijtihad is used to give an Islamic cover to all kinds of un-Islamic social, economic, cultural or political policies and tendencies that are imposed by the western-puppets ruling the Muslim world today.
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