By Ustadh Ubaydullah evans
Photograph by Stephanie Strasburg / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette AP
Why did one straw break the camel’s back? / Here’s the secret/ the million other straws underneath it/ it’s all mathematics —Yasiin Bey (Mos Def).
Islamic law predates the creation of the modern nation-state. As such, the kind of legal monism (idea of there being a single “law of the land”) and centralization of power enjoyed by modern nations was unfathomable to Muslim political theorists in the classical period. By comparison, theirs was an ethic of non-domination and personal liberty vis-à-vis the State—at least with regard to a matter like the right to bear arms. Interestingly enough, it appears that this incidental feature of the pre-modern world (non-domination vis-à-vis the State) is an intentional moral commitment for those who refuse to countenance any nullification of their 2nd Amendment rights. However, our tradition subjects all moral commitments to an assessment of their impact on the Maqāṣid (objectives) of the Shari’ah. The preservation of: Faith, life, family, human cognitive ability, wealth, and dignity. Stated differently, where the will of God is concerned, no moral commitment that can be shown to harm or jeopardize the aforementioned values can be regarded as sound.