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Islamic Natural Law Theories$
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Anver M. Emon

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199579006

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579006.001.0001

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The Voluntarist Critique of Hard Natural Law

The Voluntarist Critique of Hard Natural Law

(p.90) III The Voluntarist Critique of Hard Natural Law
Islamic Natural Law Theories

Anver M. Emon

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an analytic overview of the opponents of Hard Natural Law, whose critique was launched from a Voluntarist perspective. Voluntarist jurists considered Shari'a values to be products of a Voluntarist divine will. Without a scriptural basis (shar'), they argued, there can be no Shari'a valuation or divine obligation. For them, obligation implies punishment and reward, praise and blame – all of which are the products of God's express will. While human reason can make evaluative judgments, their authority is limited by the contingencies and fallibilities of the jurist. To suggest that such judgments reflect a divine intent is tantamount to holding God hostage to human reasoning, and thus undermines the Voluntarists' theological commitment to God's omnipotence.

Keywords:   voluntarism, theology, legal philosophy, knowledge, reason, authority

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