Interpretation and the Quran
The doctrine of the infallibility of the consensus, farIbn Warraq. From Islam-watch
from allowing some liberty of reasoning as one might have expected,
worked in favour of a progressive narrowing and hardening of doctrine.
By the beginning of 900 C.E., Islamic Law became rigidly fixed because
Muslim scholars felt that all essential questions had been thoroughly
discussed and finally settled, and a consensus gradually established
itself to the effect that henceforth no one might be deemed to have
the necessary qualifications for independent reasoning in law, and
that all future activity would have to be confined to the explanation,
application, and, at most, interpretation of the doctrine as it had
been laid down once and for all. This closing of the gate of
independent reasoning, in effect, meant the unquestioning acceptance
of the doctrines of established schools and authorities. Islamic Law
became increasingly rigid and set in its final mould.
Great article for those who think that the Quran and the ahadiith (plural of hadith) can be reinterpreted in a way that will be more amenable to life in the 21st Century. Islam cannot be reinterpret. There is no room for interpretation. Period. An attempt to reinterpret is to transgress the boundries of Islamic orthodoxy.
BTW, the Islamic word for interpretation of the Quran is ijtihaad. It is a gerund, and is actually derived from the same trilateral root as the word jihad.