OIC and ijtihad in Islam

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), is the most eminent and prominent inter-government institution and platform for 57 Muslim countries, established in Jeddah in September 1969. It has been striving to be a salve, succor, stand and voice of the Muslims on various issues and concern ever since its inception. This organisation, besides its role in the political realm, also has some sectors and strands for research and exposition of the Islamic History, Arts and Culture. The cultural aspects presently seem to present even greater challenges and avenues for the OIC. This is because culture is no longer a static sum, substance and expression of the collective way of life eliciting ideas, beliefs, values, language traditions, institutions, rules, actions and attitudes shared, manifested and passed from generation to generation by a society. But it is also being more rapidly influenced and altered by the innate material ingredients and natural resources of the societies as well as by their skills and innovation to convert them for their comfort, affluence, economic potential and eminence.
However, the Muslims in this age, being left far behind in the industrial and the technical expertise to avail and improve their resources, have been rather more intricately trapped in a stunning culture shock and sweep spurred by the rapidly changing patterns of human thought, lives, priorities, parameters and aspirations of regional and global interactions. The rapidly evolving global village has necessitated an unprecedented interaction and proximity of the disparate regional and religious beliefs, thoughts and cultures. The technologies, like mobiles, social media, surfing engines and the magic marvels of the artificial intelligence, have been molding the human habits, hobbies, skills, professions and the traditional social mores and ethics.
These transformations, triggered by the impacts of rapid innovations of science, tech, industry, business, trade, tourism and the compulsions of global interaction and dependence evidently are quite troubling for most Muslim segments. But their interactions with the different and disparate beliefs and cultures, are not merely inevitable but are also infusing even more stunning newer living, cultural and thought patterns. Some of this new irreversible spectrum of thought, culture and social norms plus practices, produces a puzzling revulsion or impasse exacerbating the need for Ijtehad to explicate or reinterpret some traditional peripheral Muslim perceptions and practices in the light of Quran, Hadith and the noble traditions. OIC, under these imperatives, can be the best shared global Muslim institution to lead, sponsor and accomplish this mission.
OIC, with its capacity and access to the vast wisdom and expertise of the most stellar and renowned scholars and thinkers of Islam, is also the most prolific, potent, prestigious and trusted forum to ferret out the issues that matter and merit Ijtehad. Ijtihad derived from the Arabic word “jahada” meaning attempts in this context, implies to perceive the spirit of the scriptures under the emerging imperatives of culture, ambience and environment. Almost all religions of the world including Christianity, the world’s largest religion, have experienced some iconic changes in their thought and practice. Pope, the global leader of the Catholics, even supported the movement to end the capital punishment. His assertion was a departure from the cruelest ever, punishments like burning the human beings on stake, conducted by the Inquisition, the grand Christian religious courts.
Some of these societies and cultures have far better and attractive means, facilities and avenues of life drawing millions of Muslims flock to seek better lives and livelihood among them. The Muslim migrants there, have owe and exhibit allegiance and respect to their states codes and culture. They must also exhibit a more amicable and cooperative ethos or rather a more symbiotic endeavours than generally perceived and propagated by the conservative Muslim cadres. Staying and EU the largest consensus based and democratic union of 27 countries an basic theme.
Muslims in this age similarly also need a new mindset, and approach to resonate and rhyme with the realities of a global culture that may soon be morphing into an interspace culture and compulsions. Malaysia, for instance, is already known to have issued a guidebook for offering prayers in space. The Saudi Crown Prince, has asserted to move from a religious to global culture. The religious leaders in Pakistan that once adamantly denounced a multi-party system by advocating that an Islamic state can only have a sole peerless God’s party making all others to be reckoned as the Satan’s swaths. Yet the country now has more than a hundred religious parties vying for votes and power.
Given the immense significance of the system and pattern of the government, proposing a preferred political system may be taken as a first crucial point for Ijtehad. Saudi Ulema Council’s recent Fatwa that none other than Allah has the right to judge the religious conduct of a person, can be yet another topic for the basic rights of the citizens. The rights, status and parity of women and their prerogative to marry, bear children or pursue the profession they aspire, the attitude, reaction and response of the Muslims towards diversity and the exigency of properly planned families, are also quite crucial.
Ijtehad for tolerance, interaction and symbiosis of Muslims with other global cultures and communities, would also impart a new life, role and future to the OIC as the role of religion as an instrument of state policies, has long receded in the advanced world, leaving OIC as the only interstate religious institution in the world.

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