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Farhana Mayer delivers a seminar on the ‘Qur’anic Principles of Integral Ecology’

On 30th January 2024, Farhana Mayer presented a research seminar at AMI on ‘Qur’anic Principles of Integral Ecology’, based on her publication Praise to God, Lord of the Worlds, An Introduction to Qur’anic Ecology and Resonances with Laudato Si’ (Laudato Si’ Research Institute, Oxford, 2023). In her presentation, having highlighted that integral ecology is based on the idea that everything is interconnected and includes socio-economic as well as environmental matters, she explained how the Qur’anic integral ecological perspectives are founded on the scriptural viewpoints of: unity and the interconnectedness of God, humanity and the cosmos (tawḥīd); all creation as ‘signs of God’ (āyāt Allāh) and constituting a book of revelation; and humankind’s role as the divinely-chosen deputy/successor on earth (khalīfah fi’l-ar). She discussed how the key Qur’anic ethical virtues of justice (ʿadl), equitability (qis), balance (mīzān/taʿādul), moderation (wasaṭīyah), and above all mercy (raḥmah) are applicable to integral ecology. Unpacking these, she related them to the principles enshrined in the Islamic names of God (asmāʾ Allāh al-ḥusnā) which, in addition to providing a portrait of God, also serve as an ethical framework within which to position good environmental and socio-economic practices. Describing the principles of the divine names as the ultimate scales, she drew attention to the pivotal role of raḥmah in configuring balance. Furthermore, she related the divine names to humankind’s God-endowed nature (fiṭrah), reinforcing the theological concept of humankind as deputies on earth. The ecological and environmental implications of the above were highlighted, including the evident imperatives for balanced, moderate, just, equitable and merciful ways for humanity to engage with each other, with the other living creatures on earth, and with regard to the planet and its resources.

 

Speaker Bio:

Farhana Mayer (MA; DPhil Cand, University of Oxford) is a published author in her field of Qur’anic hermeneutics. She is currently a Research Affiliate at the Laudato Si’ Research Institute, University of Oxford. Farhana was formerly lecturer in Sufism at the School of Oriental and African Studies (2010–2012) and at the Institute of Ismaili Studies, where she also lectured in Qur’anic Exegesis and headed the Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities (2012–2015). Her recent research at her alma mater, Oxford University, explores a Qur’anic perspective on the qualitative and ontological relationship between God’s nature and that of humankind. Her publications include An Introduction to Qur’anic Ecology and Resonances with Laudato Si’,  (Oxford, Laudato Si’ Research Institute, 2023); ‘Glimpses into Islamic Perspectives and Practices’ in Cohn-Sherbok, Dan & Chryssides, George, D. (eds), Religion and Covid,  (London, Bloomsbury, 2023), Spiritual Gems: The Mystical Qur’an Commentary ascribed to Jafar al-Ṣādiq, (Louisville, Fons Vitae, 2011), and An Anthology of Qur’anic Commentaries, vol. 1: On the Nature of the Divine, (co-translator and volume editor) (Oxford, OUP and IIS, 2008).

 

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