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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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Soft Natural Law

Soft Natural Law

(p.123) IV Soft Natural Law
Islamic Natural Law Theories

Anver M. Emon

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores how Voluntarist jurists, who rejected Hard Natural Law, nonetheless developed their own natural law theory by fusing fact and value, but nonetheless upheld their voluntarist commitment to divine omnipotence. Soft Natural Law jurists relied on a theology of God's grace (tafaddul, fadl), and the authority of source-texts to fuse fact and value in nature, but contingently so. By fusing fact and value on the basis of divine grace (fadl), Soft Natural Law jurists allowed for the possibility that God may change His mind. Divine grace in Soft Natural Law permits the fusion of fact and value in nature, while at the same time rendering nature contingent in a way that Hard Natural Law theorists did not allow. The chapter provides an overview of different jurists' Soft Natural Law theories, illustrating both the core concepts of Soft Natural Law, as well as the different approaches to this type of natural law theory.

Keywords:   al-Ghazali, al-Razi, al-Qarafi, al-Tufi, al-Shatibi, soft natural law, theology, legal philosophy, grace, nature

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