Roundtable Discussion on: “Rethinking Islamic Reform”

May 23, 2016

rethinking islamic reform

Date: Saturday, 28th May 2016
Time: 2.30PM- 5.30PM
Venue: Conference Rom, Law Faculty, University of Malaya


Presenter: Prof Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na`im

Opening Speech:
Prof Jeffery Kenny, Professor of Religious Studies, DePauw University, Indiana.

Dr Maszlee Malik
Dr Abdul Karim [email protected] Terebessy

Moderator: Dato’ Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa

Within the vast tradition of Islamic thought, lies two very important conceptual signifiers; Tajdid, which can be translated as “renewal”, and the other is “Islah” which is generally understood as “reform”; and these two concepts embodied the Islamic spirit of dynamism and creative thinking in renewing our understanding of the Qur’an and Hadith in the light of the contemporary context.

John Esposito, in his book “Voices of Resurgent Islam”, claims that the idea of reform and the call for a more creative and critical interpretation of the sacred texts in facing the contextual challenges was never an alien idea within the Muslim historical experiences. The reference went all the way back to a prophetic tradition. In a sahih hadith reported by al-Imam Abu Daud, the Prophet said: “Allah will raise for this community at the end of every hundred years someone who will restore its religion for it.” This reiterates the importance of reform and renewal in Islamic thinking.

But one ought to ask; what kind of reform that is needed in the Muslim world in its intellectual pursuit today? Intuitively the reform does not denote the establishment of a new religion, with a totally brand new essence and form. The focus of the project is to renew and reform not so much of the text, but the Muslim understanding and interpretation of it.

This roundtable discussion will consider what are the aspects of Islamic reform that is much needed in a globalized world today, and what are the roles of the Muslim scholars and Muslim community in general within this process.

230-300PM: Registration
300-305PM: Welcoming speech by Dr Azmi Sharom
305-310PM: Introduction by Moderator, Dato’ Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa
310-325PM: Opening speech by Prof Jeffery Kenny, Professor of Religious Studies, DePauw University, Indiana.
325- 400PM: Presentation on “ Rethinking Islamic Reform” by Prof Abdullahi Ahmad an Naim, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law, Emory Univeristy
400-415PM: Intervener 1: Dr Maszlee Malik
415-430PM: Intervener 2: Prof Karim Abdullah
430-530PM: Discussion
530PM : Tea

Jointly organized by:
Law Faculty, University of Malaya and Islamic Renaissance Front