Sheikh Al-Issa: There is no innovation permissible in Islam as it is completed by God  

December 27, 2023

Saudi Gazette report

CAIRO Sheikh Mohammed Al-Issa, secretary general of the Muslim World League (MWL) and chairman of the Organization of Muslim Scholars, emphasized that there is no innovation permissible in the religion of Islam as it is a complete one. However, innovation is allowed in ijtihad, which is the process of applying the legal text to any particular event or issue, he said. Ijtihad is an Islamic legal term that refers to the independent or original interpretation of problems not precisely covered by the Holy Qur’an and the Tradition of the Prophet.

He made the remarks while delivering a lecture titled “Developments in thought between the East and the West,” organized by Cairo University. Sheikh Al-Issa came to attend the event in response to an invitation from Cairo University President Mohamed Elkhosht.

The MWL chief emphasized that God’s law came to achieve the interests of religion and the interests of this world, away from worldly desires. “The religion is complete because God has completed it, and there is no innovation allowed in it. Rather, innovation is in the diversity of ijtihad on major issues in accordance with its legal requirements,” he said.

Sheikh Al-Issa pointed out that the Islamic jurists in the past did not oblige anyone to practice their ijtihad because they know that the true jurist is the one who respects those who came before him, but he makes ijtihad in his spatial and temporal context. Hence, ijtihad is not limited to one person rather than another, nor a time without another, nor one place without another, he elaborated.

Dr. Al-Issa touched on the most prominent general features and intellectual changes that occurred between the East and the West and the points of difference and convergence between the two sides. “The developments between the East and the West relate to a large number of issues that are mostly related to the absolute and risky concept of freedom, which does not give any consideration to religion or human nature,” he said.

The MWL chief drew attention to the threats to harmony between nations and peoples that have emerged recently through religious provocations based on uncontrolled freedoms that have harmed the beautiful concept of freedom, including the recent incidents of burning copies of the Holy Qur’an. He also noted that absolute freedoms threaten world peace and the harmony of its national societies, especially igniting a clash of civilizations. “Intellectual debates are often addressed with understanding or conviction through the pillars of dialogue, not just dialogue. The pillars of fruitful dialogue lie in seriousness, effectiveness, the competence of the interlocutors, their influence, the ethics of their presentation, and their transparency,” he said.

Regarding confronting hate speech and racism, Dr. Al-Issa noted the important developments that he described as a “value-based agreement to confront hatred and racism,” including the decision taken by the United Nations General Assembly to proclaim March 15 as International Day to Combat Islamophobia, with the approval of all member states, including the Western countries. He also underscored the need to engage in serious and effective dialogue with respecting the right of others to exist in dignity, and without insulting or provoking religious sentiments of others.

At the end of the lecture, the Grand Mufti of Egypt Shawki Ibrahim Allam hailed Sheikh Al-Issa, saying the lecture presented a road map for correcting the course of religious thought.” On his part, Cairo University President Mohamed Elkhosht presented a golden shield to the MWL chief.

December 27, 2023
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