Public Lecture at IKMAS, National University of Malaysia (UKM): “Are Human Rights Compatible With Islam?”

May 23, 2016

are human right compatile with islam

Date: Tuesday, 31st May 2016
Time: 3.30PM – 5.30PM


Presenter: Prof Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na`im

The term “human rights,” or huqūq al-insān in Arabic, has only recently come into common use, as have the analogous terms huqūq-i insān in Persian, insan haklari in Turkish, and hak asasi manusia in Bahasa Melayu.

Yet arguably since the 1970’s there have been mounting demands by many Islamic movements for the enforcement of certain principles of Shari’a as the official law of the state. The struggle to form an “Islamic State”, a state that upholds Shari’a laws;
often framed as a responsibility of the collective Muslim community to free themselves from the domination of the West and their lifestyles.

This tension between the reality of secular national legal systems, on the one hand, and popular demands for the enforcement of Shari’a by the state, on the other; form the general background and context of current debates over the relationship of Islam and the idea of human rights.

At one end of the spectrum, proponents of Islamic state tend to either openly reject the idea of universal human rights as an imperial Western imposition, or engage in an apologia for conflicts between Shari’a and human rights.

But some contemporary Muslim scholars such as Abdolkarim Soroush, Asghar Ali Engineer and Khaled Abou El-Fadl, attempted to develop Islamic support for human rights through a critical examination of Shari’a and calls for ijtihad or independent juridical reasoning and re-interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunna of the Prophet.

This lecture will address some of the complexities of this debate and will put forward consistent framework of interpretation of Shari’a and its relationship with the notion of human rights.

Jointly organized by: IKMAS and Islamic Renaissance Front