Without knowledge action is useless, and knowledge without action is futile.
Research is the core of KARAMAH’s work, and serves as the bridge between thought and action in the struggle for justice. KARAMAH’s authentic, yet innovative research in Islamic jurisprudence is the source of the knowledge base essential to the promotion of the rights of Muslim women, and human rights for all, in an Islamic context. However, an understanding of Islamic jurisprudence alone is not enough to build networks of Muslim women and men around the world who support this mission. In order to become agents of change, future leaders also need knowledge and skills that will allow them to navigate sensitive issues and cogently present their thoughts. For this reason, KARAMAH also produces, collects, and disseminates research on leadership and conflict resolution.
KARAMAH’s Jurist Network – a network of over 400 scholars from around the world who contribute scholarly works on a variety of topics to our scholarship database, is vital to the success of many of KARAMAH’s endeavors. With their guidance and scholarly contributions, KARAMAH communicates knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence, leadership, and conflict resolution to the public at large by way of our educational programming and Law and Leadership Summer Program (LLSP).
What is Shariah and Why Does It Matter?
“At the most basic level, Shari‘ah is the Muslim universe of ideals. It is the result of their collective effort to understand and apply the Quran and supplementary teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (called Sunna) in order to earn God’s pleasure and secure human welfare in this life and attain human salvation in the life to come. While the Quran and Sunna are transcendent and unchangeable, Shari‘ah itself is the negotiated result of competing interpretations. In fact, most Muslims tend to speak not of Shari‘ah but of fiqh, which literally means “understanding” and underscores the distinction between God’s prescriptions on the one hand and the human attempt to understand these on the other.”
“For Muslims, Shari‘ah is the way they believe God wants us to live in the world. One would look to a particular source of understanding of what God wants us to do and would follow that way. Shari‘ah literally means “way” or “street.” Shari‘ah would be the way or the path a Muslim would want to follow what God wants us to do as living our lives in a spiritual way. What often gets mixed up and misunderstood are the particular details of laws that would govern an individual Muslim’s life. So often people have heard of particular Islamic law, they will call it Shari‘ah, that might be disagreeing with some particular values of gender equality or human rights. That is generally where the concerns come up in the West.”
“We all know the stereotype; a Muslim on an airplane follows an explosion. I know, I know, it’s over-exaggerated, but that’s what we’ve come to know and think in the post 9/11 era. I’ve been on numerous flights in, out, and within Pakistan, but I cannot explain the genuine terror that took complete control of my body and mind.”
Beyond Tolerance: Lessons on Religious Tension from Nigeria
“If we want to keep America’s religious tensions from erupting as they have in Nigeria, we need to move beyond mere tolerance and begin valuing and reaping the benefits of our nation’s diverse religious landscape. We also cannot take a peaceful civil society for granted. We need to fight for peace by having civil conversations with people who disagree with us and by learning about one another’s faiths, not to prove our own superiority, but to learn about and from each other. And most urgently, we need to resist the cheap demagoguery that seeks to generate and mine religious tension for short-term political advantage.”