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HIS367H5 Lecture Notes - Hanbali, Amputation, Ijtihad

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Rima Berns- Mc Gown

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Lecture 10 Seeing Elsewhere from Here
Funny Boy
Funny Boy was not set in Canada; it is set in Sri Lanka. However, Funny boy would not have been
written if he did not move to Canada and develop a “Canadian perspective”
o What is the “Canadian perspective”, how does it match with Brand, King, and Hoffman?
Sharia Law
Islamic institute of civil justice asked for a Sharia court to be established in Ontario. General asked
Marion Boyd to review the issue and make recommendations
Marion Boyd said under 1991 arbitration act, all religious groups already can seek arbitration
based on family distributes, it was already there in the law
o Tolerance and accommodations of minority groups must be balanced into individual
People had the right to make decisions in family law that were not according to Ontario law, this is
just a way of formalizing this law it makes it more established
Arbitration that was being discussed is separation issues and assets after death. However,
arbitration was not about granting divorce and cannot make decisions about children only about
The Concerns
o Women would be vulnerable to pressure and unequal settlements. Women would be
granted child care after a separation, the children would be disadvantaged as well
o Fear that there would be an idea that Sharia court is established, there would be more
extensive laws that would influence the Liberal practice
It was a reasonable proposal. This was because there were already particular Christian and
Orthodox courts instead of using Ontario law
o Qur’an, Sunna, Interpretation, Ijma can be the consensus of the religious authority at
any time. However, it will change over time depending on the context. This is obvious
because religious authorities always change over time
o Muslim women would interpret things themselves. Ijtihad Muslims would learn and
teach for themselves
Some times it was encouraged but other times it was discouraged
o There are also different groups that would interpret the readings differently
Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii, Hanbali
Each of these different schools have different ways of interpreting sources
The point is that there isn’t only one way to interpret the readings and teachings
Penalties this was one of the things that westerns believed was irrational
o In certain countries where Sharia courts have been resurrected, these penalties would also
be implemented
Amputation of left hand, eighty lashes of false accusation, etc.
You can never say you are not a Muslim ever
Topic of Women and Family
o This topic is sensitive because there are always overlays of colonialism
o It is really important to remember that how Islam came to be in the 7th century, it was
revolutionary in terms of what it did for women at the time
Before, men can marry anyone they want, marriage was a legal contract between
two families
After the 7th century, women can contract her own marriage. She herself can
receive the dowry, she is not an object for sale, can manage her own property,
and she was not an object
Colonialism was what caused this new type of thinking. Colonialism is
like a tiger that interrupts the change
Due to Colonialism, it interrupts and distorted the conversation about women
There are different mechanisms of how a Koran evolves
The question of feminist interpretation of the Koran
o There are now so many more women scholars
Therefore, law is not written in stone. It changes over time. With all these feminist interpretations,
there is now an evolution of the law
o Interpretations change (ie. Bible interpretations changed)
They wrote standards if you wanted to live in this area. The thing that was fascinating was when
this was posted; the population was very much made up of French Canadiens. There were no new
comers, and no immigration issues at all it did not have an influx of outsiders
o People needed to adapt to their social identities.