JISPIL Vol 3 Issue 1 2007 - A2

Introduction

The rights of religious minorities occupies special place in Islamic law. The status of religious minorities in Islamic state has always been a matter of concern for Islamic authorities as well as jurists. Nowadays, when the majority of Islamic scholars as well as critics call for the harmonisation of Islamic law and international human rights standards, the special attention in this connection deserves the question of equal co-existence of Muslim with non-Muslims in Islamic countries. In the contrast, traditionalist scholars (ulamas) claim that Islamic law cannot be harmonised with any other legal systems of the worlds, since it is God's law, emphasising its immutability and sacred nature. There is a ground, however, for such claim which explains the unwillingness of traditionalists to change and modify the principles of Islamic law. Strikingly, it is Quran that makes most of rulings in Islamic law exempted from any change or reform. If one would compare the provisions of Quran with international human rights standards today, one would, surprisingly find that they are incompatible due to the religious character of Quran and secular nature of human rights. The concept of religious minorities did not emerge out of nowhere, but there were preceding events that affected the formation of the concept. First of all, it was the revelation of Quran to Muslims as guidance in the daily lives; second, it was establishment of first Islamic community in Medina; and the third; the most important, rapid expansion of Islamic empire, which in the short period of time would include the large territories from Indus valley to the borders of Spain.


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