Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Shiite insight

Abdolkarim Soroush, an Iranian scholar currently at Princeton, is one of the most important thinkers of our day, on a global scale. His "The Hermeneutical Expansion and Contraction of the Theory of Shariah" is crucial to anyone who wants to understand the present state of Islam, not just the terrorist splinter of it. After discussing al-Sistani in this article, he says this:

These grand ayatollahs are not philosophers. They are scholars and jurists concerned with interpreting how religious law should be applied in the modern world. Their concerns are legalistic. That doesn’t make them illiberal either. I know that Ayatollah Ali Sistani did not take a position against my writings when they were presented to him. That, in itself, says a lot. He and the people around him are absolutely open, for example, to the education of women and promotion of women’s rights.