On the 4th of December 2014, AMI’s Shaykh Arif Abdulhussain spoke about “An existential approach to Islam and human rights” as part of a series of Research Seminars held at the Islam, Law and Modernity Centre (ILM) at Durham University. The centre was established with the purpose of providing an interdisciplinary environment for research, discussion and commentary on a variety of social, political and legal issues relating to the Islamic world.
An abstract of his paper reads; “This paper will look at a possible compatibility between Islam and Human rights discourse through a distinction between the notions of form and essence set within an existential framework constructed through the Ibn Arabian idea of unity of being and the Sadrian concept of substantial evolutional motion. This will be done by first highlighting the areas, and causes, of the apparent inconsistencies between Islamic teachings and human rights. Thereafter, at a second stage, the paper will focus on elaborating certain existential facets yielded by the notions of unity of being and substantial motion with a view to outlining an alternative to the traditional legal hermeneutics which are at the heart of the tension between the system of rights within Islam and the human rights discourse. This will allow for a fresh reading of the Islamic texts in line with existential properties. Finally I will argue that Islam, in terms of form and essence, can be a positive tool in securing human rights and provide further insights into the nature and application of human rights in the contemporary context.”
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