Studying Law

30 Jun 2024 Ref-No#: 6093

I have two questions. I am a University student and in the next semester i have a law course. If I study man made law will i become kafir? If i don’t agree with it and study it just for education purpose?
And another thing am i allowed to study human rights? Does it fall in the same category as studying law?

Answer

Wa‘alaykum as-salām wa raḥmatullāhi wa barakātuhu,

Hereunder are the responses to both questions:

  1. Studying Man-Made Law:

In Islamic thought, the permissibility of studying man-made laws (Fiqh al-ḥukm al-basharī) primarily hinges on intention and application. Islam emphasizes the importance of knowledge acquisition, including secular sciences, as long as they are approached with the correct intention and understanding.

    • Intention (Niyyah): Your intention behind studying man-made law matters significantly. If your intention is to gain knowledge for educational purposes, to understand legal systems and their impact, and not to adopt or promote beliefs that contradict Islamic principles, then this endeavor is permissible and can even be meritorious if pursued with a view to benefit society positively.
    • Understanding vs. Agreement: There is a clear distinction between studying something for understanding and promoting it. Islam encourages critical thinking and knowledge-seeking without necessitating agreement with every aspect studied. As long as one maintains their Islamic beliefs and practices and does not propagate views contrary to Islam, there is no issue with studying man-made laws academically.
    • Avoiding Takfīr (Charging with Kufr): It is crucial to avoid the misconception that merely studying man-made law makes one a kāfir (disbeliever). Islamic scholars emphasize that declaring someone a kāfir is a serious matter requiring clear evidence of apostasy, which studying man-made law for educational purposes does not constitute.
  1. Studying Human Rights:

Human rights studies encompass principles that align with many Islamic values, such as justice, equality, and dignity. While human rights discourse often interacts with legal frameworks, studying human rights differs from studying purely man-made laws in its focus and intent.

    • Permissibility: Studying human rights from an academic standpoint is generally permissible in Islam, especially when approached with the intention to understand and promote justice and human dignity. Human rights principles often overlap with Islamic principles of social justice and ethics.
    • Differentiation from Man-Made Law: Human rights studies do not necessarily equate to studying man-made laws in the sense of adopting legal systems contrary to Islamic teachings. Rather, it often involves examining ethical and legal frameworks aimed at protecting human welfare and rights, which can be compatible with Islamic values.
    • Educational Benefit: Learning about human rights can enhance one’s understanding of global issues, contribute to social justice advocacy, and align with Islamic teachings on upholding rights and dignity.

In conclusion, as a university student, your approach to studying man-made law and human rights should be guided by a sincere intention to gain knowledge beneficial to yourself and society, while ensuring it does not compromise your Islamic beliefs and practices. Islam values knowledge and encourages critical thinking within ethical boundaries, making academic pursuits like these permissible when approached with the right intention and understanding.

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