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A month of ideas.
Giancarlo Bosetti Editor-in-chief
Association for dialogue and intercultural understanding
Resetdoc Videos
IT Friday, 29 November 2013

Islamic Law and the Rights of Others

Khaled M. Abou El Fadl, UCLA

Islamic Law and the Rights of Others - Part 1

“The more human beings are able to explore and establish principles of justice, uphold of human dignity and resistance to oppression – so to freedom and liberty – the more they come to the divine objectives. This puts human rights and democracy at the very core of what it is to be a proponent of Shari’a”, explains Khaled Abou El Fadl, one of the world’s leading authorities on Islamic law and Islam, and a prominent scholar in the field of human rights, as well as the Omar and Azmaeralda Alfi Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, USA.

Watch Part 2 of this interview


“True faith is to treat others as you would like to be treated. This is an original condition: If I would organize a society, if I would set laws, if I would set up institutions, how can they be set up where my rights, my duties and the way I am treated by the institutions of society would reflect that principle? Others should be treated as I would like to be treated. To understand a fundamental thing about human rights let’s not forget that early on, in Islamic theology and Islamic jurisprudence, Muslims found it unavoidable to speak of two categories: the rights of God and the rights of people. If one wants to resist oppression, resist hegemonic domination, search for justice and for a paradigm rights, a quality among human beings etc… all that is constantly shifting with developments in human epistemology and human understanding. What could have counted as justice and resistance to oppression in the Sixteenth century could have completely shifted two or three centuries later. Shari’a itself requires the objectives, the moral core values, be consistently approached and achieved through an ingenuity of means, an active search for a non-dogmatic application of traditional means or mechanisms. For instance, I often think that the arguments about traditional rules regarding Shura (consultation) etc. are misguided. What is important is the conception of Shura and the maximization of a consultative society, a society in which within a family the dynamic is not the one of patriarchy and power, but one in which there is a building of consultation and consensus within society is not the logic of domination and control, but the search for mechanisms of human intercourse, social intercourse and building of consultation, consensus and even at the world, at the level of humanity at large, a world that is not dominated by the paradigm of hegemony and control of the few over the rest. All this puts human rights at the core of what it is to be a proponent of Shari’a at the contemporary age.”, says Professor Abou Al Fadl.

Filmmaker: Edward Gerry
Producer: Nina zu Fürstenberg
Editing: Anna Fanuele

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