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Forum on “Is Reforming Islam Deforming Islam?” & Book Launch of “Ke Arah Reformasi Islam: Kebebasan Sivil, Hak Asasi dan Undang-Undang Antarabangsa”
May 16, 2019
Professor Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na‘im
Prof, Dr Hunud Abia Kadouf, Kulliyyah of Laws, International Islamic University Malaysia
Prof. Dr Waleed Fekry Faris, International Islamic University Malaysia
Emeritus Prof. Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi, Faculty of Law, University of Malaya
Dato’ Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa
Book Launch of:
“Ke Arah Reformasi Islam: Kebebasan Sivil, Hak Asasi dan Undang-Undang Antarabangsa” by YB Saari Sungib. A translation of Towards an Islamic Reformation: Civil Liberties, Human Rights and International Law by Professor Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na‘im
Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF), Academic Staff Association (ASA) IIUM & G25
There were arguments that Islamic reform is unnecessary since Islam is perfect as it is and does not constitute a system of religious hierarchy as is the case of Christianity. Hence there is no need for a Martin Luther in Islam that would reform this religion. Moreover, such attempts could give rise to individuals like Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the founder of Wahhabi movement in the Saudi Arabia in the 18th Century or even Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the current ISIS. One wonders what were the reasons behind such assertions? Was it because in Islam there is no singular religious authorities that monopolises the correct interpretation of Islam? Or was it because of the strict adherence to the Islamic tradition that leads to the outright rejection of any change? Or was it driven by competing conservative ideology that considers reform a threat to long-established religious authority?
While it is true that theoretically Islam doesn’t really have any system of authority, but in reality, Muslim history and tradition showed us that the was a chain of command. Religious authority has been the exclusive right of a particular class of people, namely the ulama’. Religious prerogative rests in the hands of these so-called ulama’ and despite their views are not officially binding, the reality is that, almost all Muslims have no choice but to abide by their fatwas, indicating that in Islam, just like in the case with other religions, power lies in the hands of a few. And following the end of ijtihad or independent reasoning in Islamic history, there was basically a stagnation of rationality to be followed by intellectual bankruptcy. This state of philosophical laziness assumes that all solutions lie at the end of classical literature, the very narrative that groups like ISIS use to justify their atrocities.
On whichever side we are on, this forum will try to dissect the issue in a civil manner without accusing those with dissenting views as heretics and innovators.
5.00-5.10: Welcoming speech by Dr Narimah Awin
5.10-5.25: Book Launch of “Ke Arah Reformasi Islam: Kebebasan Sivil, Hak Asasi dan Undang-Undang Antarabangsa” by YB Saari Sungib.
5.25-5.30: Speech by moderator, Dato’ Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa
5.30-6.00: Speech by Prof Dr Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na‘im
6.00-6.45: Intervention by discussants Prof Dr Hunud Abia Kadouf, Prof Dr Waleed Fekry Faris and Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi
7.20 : Iftar/Dinner
Prof. Dr Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na‘im is a Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law, and Associated Professor in Emory College of Arts and Sciences of Emory University, and Senior Fellow of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion. An-Na‘im is the author of: What is an American Muslim (2014); Muslims and Global Justice (2011); Islam and the Secular State (2008); African Constitutionalism and the Role of Islam (2006); and Toward an Islamic Reformation: Civil liberties, human rights and international law (1990). His edited books include Human Rights under African Constitutions (2003); Islamic Family Law in a Changing World: A Global Resource Book (2002); Cultural Transformation and Human Rights in Africa (2002); and Human Rights in Cross-Cultural Perspectives: Quest for consensus (1992). He also published more than 60 articles and book chapters on human rights, constitutionalism and Islam and politics in African and Islamic countries. An-Na‘im’s primary current research project since 2007 is on The Future of Sharia under secular states and legal systems. The blog for this project, in addition to the full text of his book, Islam and the Secular State in eight languages and other materials can be downloaded free of charge are all accessible at www.scholarblogs.emory.edu/aannaim. Archives of previous projects on women’s access to, and control over, land in seven African countries, a global study of Islamic Family Law and fellowship program in Islam and Human Rights can be accessed at scholarblogs.emory.edu/aannaim/project-archive/
Prof. Dr Hunud Abia Kadouf was a Judge at the Court of Appeal, and Lecturer at the University of Khartoum, Sudan. He practised law as an Advocate and Commissioner for oaths. He is currently a Professor and was Dean of the Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyyah of Laws at the International Islamic University Malaysia. He specializes in Land Law, Customary Law, Public International Law, Comparative Law, Legal Research Methodology and Environmental Law. He is Editor-in-Chief, IIUM Law Journal and Associate Editor, Journal of Public Security and Safety, published by the Institute of Public Security of Malaysia (IPSOM), Ministry of Home Affairs, Malaysia.
Prof. Dr Waleed Fekry Faris is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). He got his BSc and MSc in Mechanical Engineering from Zagazig University, Egypt. His Ph.D in non-linear systems was from Virginia Tech, USA. Prof. Faris is a well-known internationally in the fields of dynamics and control and also in vehicle dynamics. He is a reviewer for major international journals in the above fields, and a committee member in most of the well-established conferences in the above fields. He is on the editorial board for four international journals in automotive engineering and vibrations. He has to his credit more than eight journal papers, 85 conference papers, five books and many book chapters. Professor Faris has been advising many bodies within Malaysia and outside Malaysia as a consultant in engineering fields and in higher education policies as well. He headed an international organization for quality assurance and accreditation under the Islamic Federation of Islamic Universities. Also, he is advising on management issues and published papers and books in the management fields, specifically quality assurance and strategic management.
Emeritus Prof. Datuk Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi is a Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Chair Holder, Faculty of Law in University of Malaya as Professor of International Law. He has served Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) in Shah Alam, Selangor in various capacities from 1971 until recently. He specialized in Constitutional Law and Human Rights issues. He is the author of Human Rights, Globalisation and the Asian Economic Crisis, Islam International Law and the War Against Terrorism, Islam, Democracy and Development, Document of Destiny: The Constitution of the Federation of Malaysia and The Bedrock of Our Nation: Our Constitution. He is the co-author of Media Law & Regulations in Malaysia and Co-editor of Decolonising Our Universities – Towards a Non-Eurocentric Paradigm. He has contributed over 350 articles to legal periodicals, anthologies and newspapers and has presented over 300 seminar papers in 15 countries including the US, UK, Australia, Germany and Japan.