Appel à communications : Workshop “The Modern Discourse of Maqāṣid in Islamic Law”, The Discourse Research Center, Alexandrie (Égypte), 05-07/08/2015 — LIMITE : 31/05/2015

The Discourse Research Center, Alexandria

An Invitation to a Workshop :
The Modern Discourse of Maqāṣid in Islamic Law
Alexandria, Egypt, August 5-7, 2015

Several modern Muslim scholars have found in al-Šāṭibī’s (d. 1388 CE) concept of maqāṣid al-Šarīʿah a refuge to centralize human reason in the making of Islamic law. This concept helped them propose a form of Islam that complies with what they considered necessary conditions of modernity. Practically, however, the discourse of maqāṣid has been used by extremists, for instance to promote suicide bombing, by liberals, for instance to drop off ḥudūd, and by several other groups, which lie between these two ends.

We would like to examine if this modern discourse of maqāṣid contradicts some traditional principles, values and structures of traditional Islam. For instance, does this discourse ignore the central notion of ghayb? Does it downplay the basic principle of ṭāʿah? Does it contradict the traditional downplaying of the notion of truth in the making of law in traditional Islam? Speaking of truth, al-ḥaqq, can we find in some recent Western theories appropriate approaches to understanding Islamic law? Here, we point out to works such as Habermas’ integration of facts and norms in the making of the law, Baudrillard’s contrast of the rules of the game to rational laws, and Geertz’s reorientation of the notion of ḥaqq in Moroccan Islam. In addition, we want to reexamine al-maqāṣid in the entire oeuvre of al-Šāṭibī. Moreover, we will explore the uṣūlī definitions and distinctions of a number of concepts that have been (con)fused in the modern discourse of maqāṣid, such as sabab, maqṣid, ʿillah and ḥikmah. We will also examine modern texts that maintained a critical position toward the maqāṣid discourse, for instance, al-Būṭī’s Ḍawābiṭ al-Maṣlaḥah. One more topic that intrigues us is the frequent conflation of the discourse of maqāṣid with the other modern discourse of wasaṭiyyah.

If you are interested in this workshop, you may please send us a 300-500 word abstract and a short bio. We plan to finally publish all papers in an edited volume. The workshop discussions will enrich our ideas before we submit the final chapters. The organizers at the Discourse Research Center in Alexandria are open to sponsor a second meeting, if needed, before sending the manuscript for publication. Please, email your abstract and any questions you may have to Mohamed A. Mohamed at Mohamed.Mohamed@nau.edu by May 31, 2015. Accepted applicants will be notified by June 5, 2015. Both air-tickets and accommodation will be covered. We are very happy that Professor Devin Stewart is joining us as a co-organizer of this workshop.


Mohamed A. Mohamed
Assistant Professor, Sociology

Dept. of Sociology and Social Work

Northern Arizona University

SBS, Room 218

Flagstaff, AZ 86011 USA

P.O. Box 15300

Phone: 928-523-1697


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