Logic Assignment

Logic Assignment
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  The American Muslim scholar, Hamza Yusuf in his article “Cesarean Moon Births” aims to dis cuss the debate between physically sighting the moon and scientifically calculating it to mark the beginning of month in the Islamic lunar calendar. The author gives a range of premises to support his Main Conclusion that sighting the moon through naked eye is the practice that is closer to the Holy Prophet’s teachings and Islamic Law. All of his arguments reside in the domain of Islamic legal theory and the sources of Islamic Law. Furthermore, the following main premises and sub-conclusions were identified: 1.   PremiseA: Hadith proves that Jews are in error. PremiseB: Jews abandones physical sighting and accepted calculated lunar calendar PremiseC: If we follow Jews and Christians, we will be in error. Sub-Conclusion: Therefore, we should not follow the Jews in their abandonment of physical sighting of the moon. 2.   PremiseA: Modern World requires plans for religious observances to be made in advance. PremiseB: The Islamic principle of Rukhsah (facilitating dispensation) states that once hardship has become absent, the srcinal ruling must be restored. PremiseC: Eyewitness Sighting was the srcinal ruling in Islamic law. Sub-Conclusion: In Islamic law, the srcinal ruling of Eyewitness sighting must be restored rather than calculation of new months. 3.   PremiseA: An Ambiguous (Mujmal)  Hadith of the Prophet permits the use of Calculation if visibility is obscure. PremiseB: Another Clarifying (Mubayyin)  Hadith states that one must complete the number of thirty days if visibility is obsure. PremiseC: In Islamic Law, It is obligatory (Wajib)to interpret the ambiguous one in accordance with the one that clarifies. Sub-Conclusion: Hence, the thirty days should be completed rather than calculation if visibility is obscure. 4.   PremiseA: Ancient ritual of moon-sighting profoundly connects us with the heavens and with God’s power and wisdom. PremiseB: People feel joy when the moon is sighted and the month is begun. Sub-Conclusion: Hence, we should practice physical moon sighting for the start of Islamic months. Analysis and Evaluation : Hamza Yusuf correctly explains the hierarchy of Islamic Law in Sunni Islam; namely Quran, Sunnah, Ijmah and Qiyas. However, the argument he uses to support this hierarchy of sources of law is invalid and contains incomplete reasoning. He cites a Hadith of Muadh as a premise, which although proves the use of Quran, Sunnah and Qiyas as sources of legal ruling but does not in any way prove the use of Ijmah  (scholarly consensus. H e says that the “this Hadith elucidates the methodology…” while it clearly does not prove Ijmah in any way. This is the first occurrence of an Invalid Deductive Argument in his article. Furthermore, in many instances he has committed the Fallacy of Inappropriate Appeal to Authority to support his sub- conclusions. For example, he has cited “Catholic Encyclopedia” and “Active Bible Church of God” as sources to explain Jewish religious history  and sacred beliefs while these sources are actually credible sources for Roman Catholic and other Christian Beliefs and not Jewish religion. Furthermore in the same argument, he uses the fallacy of Reductionism when he cites a particular Hadith of the Prophet and then criticizes Jewish traditions by using phrases like “Jewish abandonment of their srcinal tradition” and “dereliction among Jews and Christians”. In this instance, he fails to incorporate alternate and different interpretations of those Hadith of the Prophet on Jews and Christians and hence the reasoning becomes in error. Lastly, it must be stated that although the Main Conclusion of the author is clear but in his entire article he fails to incorporate the conflicts that may arise when using Eyewitness Sighting for the beginning of months. For example, in the context of Pakistan, the conflicts and controversies that arise with moon-sighting are immense. Every year, regions like FATA and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa begin Ramadan and celebrate Eid on different days than other parts of Pakistan. The author’s non -inclusion of these kind of problems and conflicts associated with the use of physical moon-sighting is a major downside of his whole argument. If he had included the problems with his stance and then countered them by providing viable, simple solutions his argument would have been much stronger.
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