1.4.6 Shariah in Today’s World

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: Colonade III, United Arab Emirates. Andrew Moore, 2015.

Renewal of religious discourse in Islam (tajdeed) has taken center stage due to the turmoil in Muslim lands nowadays. While the concept of tajdeed is legitimate, the implication (occasionally stated explicitly) that religious discourse is the root cause of the many problems from which Muslim-majority countries suffer is unfair (Yaqeen Institute, 2019).

In this essay, Dr. Hatem al-Haj argues that renewal and adaptation are necessary to correct misunderstandings and restore values and principles, over and above technicalities, to practices that are now out of alignment given a changing world.

Read: Shari’ah in Today’s World: Renewing Islamic Discourse // Yaqeen Institute


Guiding Questions:

  1. What “measuring sticks” does Dr. al-Haj argue should be used to re-orient tradition?
  2. Does Dr. al-Haj believe that audience and context matter to religious discourse and practice?
  3. What dangers could be addressed by appropriate tajdeed, according to the article?
  4. How does the author suggest critical analysis and renewal should be done?
  5. Choose two examples of tajdeed from the article. What does Dr. al-Haj say was the original intent of the practice? Does he argue the practice should be changed? Do you agree with his reasoning?


Thumbnail: “Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: Colonade III” in the United Arab Emirates. Photo Credit: Andrew Moore, 2015. CC BY-SA 2.0.