Saudi Cleric’s Proposal To Establish New School Of Islamic Jurisprudence

Rejected By Salafists And Hardliners, Praised, Endorsed By Liberals


In an interview aired on the official Saudi channel Saudia TV on April 7, 2023, Saudi cleric Saleh Al-Moghamsy, former imam and preacher of the prestigious Quba Mosque near Medina, expressed his wish to establish a new Islamic school of jurisprudence and argued that there is a dire need for such a school, saying that reexamination of the work of ancient scholars is inevitable. Al-Moghamsy further stressed that “a new school of Islamic jurisprudence must be established whether by a group of people or by one person and I pray to Allah to be that person.”

Elaborating on his proposal, Al-Moghamsy said that “there is a dire need for [a new school of jurisprudence]. During every phase of construction of jurisprudence for the Ummah, something was exaggerated. Now, during our time, we should reexamine the exaggerated issue. We must reevaluate the issues. The issue of the chain of the transmission [of Hadith] was exaggerated which led to the inclusion of a number of Hadiths that would be difficult to attribute to the Prophet Muhammad. It would be very difficult even if the scholars of Hadith argued that the chain of transmission was authentic. That should not be enough. The Hadith text must be correct.”

As he had predicted in the interview, his proposal was strongly rejected by Salafi hardliners who questioned his credentials, ridiculed his justification and some even accused him of reviving the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology. Despite claims that his proposal was encouraged by the authorities in Saudi Arabia, Al-Moghamsy’s call was condemned by the highest body of scholars in Saudi Arabia as well as by individual top scholars in the country. On the other hand, liberal writers and commentators praised Al-Moghamsy’s proposal and noted that it should even go beyond the proposed idea to include removing outdated and radical texts from the Quran and Sunnah in order to make Islam compatible with modernity. Al-Moghamsy was fired from his position at the Quba Mosque in March 2020 for a tweet calling for the release of some imprisoned clerics. But in subsequent interviews, he blamed the Ministry of Endowments (Awqaf) for his dismissal rather than the Saudi leadership, the king and crown prince, whom he openly supports.


May 12, 2023 | Comments »

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