Comparative analysis of the Farāhī school of thought a case study approach
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In the past century a new school of Islamic scholarship has emerged and evolved which this thesis refers to as the Farāhī school of thought, henceforth written as the Farāhīs. Research carried out studying the Farāhīs has been very limited in the sense that it has been heavily focused on differences in conclusions, rather than approaches. Where approaches were discussed, only the main premises, as published by the scholars of the Farāhīs themselves, were covered. This thesis delves deeper, to explore the detailed methodological features of the Farāhīs’ approach that result from such premises. This is done through four case studies: stoning, apostasy, ḥijāb, and the return of Jesus. In each case study, after exploring contested areas, the Farāhīs’ approach to the subject is compared with the shī‘ah and sunnī approaches. Interviews with the current leading figure of the Farāhīs are carried out and reported to provide further insights into their approach. Where applicable, points of disagreement among the scholars of the Farāhīs are also discussed. On the subject of stoning, the Farāhīs highlight their method of deriving principles from the Qur’ān alone; they conclude that the law of stoning is associated with the concept of creating anarchy in the land and not adultery per se. On the subject of apostasy, the Farāhīs use the principle of itmām al-ḥujjah to conclude that the punishment for apostasy was related to the sunnah of God at the time of the messengers only. On the subject of ḥijāb, the Farāhīs attempt to remain loyal to the literal meaning of the Qurānīc words, while also noting the context. They conclude that covering the hair is not an obligation, unless it is embellished. On ‘the return of Jesus’, through literary analysis, they conclude that this belief is not fully in line with the Qur’ān. The findings from these four case studies lead to the identification of a number of methodological features in the approach of the Farāhīs, which are further substantiated by tracing them in other documentations of the Farāhīs. The strengths and challenges that these methodological features can bring to the Farāhīs are discussed. At the end of the thesis the Farāhī school of thought is also compared and positioned with regard to the other contemporary approaches.