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The subject considers the conceptualization of human rights in classical and contemporary Islam in theory and practice. The methodology is interdisciplinary in nature combining aspects of historical, religious, philosophical, international and legal studies.
The subject will consider the implications of conceptualizing human rights under sharia (Islamic law and norms) and Western and/ or international conceptualization of human rights.
Main themes covered are: the relationship of the sharia with modern international law and human rights law; the relationship of sharia with several of the controversial subjects within human rights law; and the possibility of reform and greater compatibility of sharia with human rights values.
A number of specific substantive issues, most notably freedom of religion and the rights of women will be studied in depth to illustrate the complexity of the contemporary debate on human rights and Islam.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed the subject should have an understanding of:
- the Islamic foundations of human rights;
- international human rights law;
- the relationship between sharia with modern international law and human rights law; and
- the challenges of the promotion and protection of human rights at the international, regional and national level from an Islamic perspective.
The student should be able to:
- explain the different foundations of human rights, in particular regarding religious and secular grounding of human rights;
- illustrate the cultural relativism argument in the context of Islam;
- discuss the discourse of the appropriateness of applying international human rights standards in different contexts; and
- critically examine the practise of human rights in various societies.
Students who sucessfully complete this subject should demonstrate:
- familiarization with key research methods in Islamic Studies;
- a developing ability to read and analyse a wide range of sources on Islam;
- a developing capacity to communicate knowledge in Islamic studies with confidence in self-expression, both written and oral;
- the ability to analyse and systematically evaluate complex cultural phenomena through examination of primary texts;
- the ability to employ textual evidence in constructing scholarly argumentation;
- the ability to examine complex and important cultural materials from a scholarly perspective and present arguments in structured formats;
- an understandin of major global cultural phenomena through examination of primary texts; and
- a developing ability to work independently and in groups.
Last updated: 3 November 2022