February 01, 2004

2 Qutb 6

In the sixth chapter of Sayyid Qutb's Milestones, the Islamist thinker extols the universal law of Sharia. He adds,

Man cannot understand all the laws of the universe, nor can he comprehend the unity of this system; he cannot even understand the laws which govern his own person, from which he cannot deviate by a hair's breadth. Thus he is incapable of making laws for a system of life which can be in complete harmony with the universe or which can even harmonize his physical needs with his external behavior. This capability belongs solely to the Creator of the universe and of men, Who not only controls the universe but also human affairs, and Who implements a uniform law according to His will.

I thought of adding more to this, of writing about Averroes, or the non-Shariah legal systems that were adopted because of limitations of the former; of the various societies that have been fairly harmonious without benefit of the Shariah over the millennia; but it's late and I'm tired, and Qutb does not seem the sort who would invite debate. Let me simply say that while we may not know what the universe is, we certainly have the capacity to try to figure it out; it is one of the few sources -- but also the most powerful source -- of optimism I draw from our human condition.

Posted by Ideofact at February 1, 2004 11:36 PM