Prof. Mohammad Fadel’s Lecture on Islamic Law and Global Justice at UIII

June 24, 2024

Contributor: Kante Hamed | Editor: Supriyono

The Center of Islam & Global Challenges (IGC) at UIII Faculty of Islamic Studies recently organized a thought-provoking public lecture titled "Islamic Law, Collective Obligations, and Pursuing a Just Global Order" delivered by Professor Mohammad Fadel, a distinguished scholar from the University of Toronto, Canada, and currently an IGC Senior Fellow.

Held on June 13, 2024, at the UIII Lecture Hall of Faculty A, the event drew attention to fundamental questions regarding Islamic law's interpretation and conceptualization of collective obligations (fardh kifaya). It delved into Islamic legal and ethical frameworks, shedding light on their capacity to enhance global endeavors aimed at achieving justice and equity on a worldwide scale. 

Read also: ‘On Critique and the Subject’: A/Prof. Ismail Fajrie Alatas' Lecture at UIII

Professor Fadel challenged the prevailing notion that our current times are abnormal. He posited that capitalism's constant innovation and transformation, described by economist Joseph Schumpeter as "creative destruction," render traditional institutions inadequate in regulating the rapid changes it produces. However, he expressed confidence in Islamic law to respond effectively to these challenges.

Additionally, the lecture delved into the profound impact of capitalism on societal structures, particularly in production, urbanization, and gender roles. Professor Fadel highlighted capitalism's disruption of traditional socio-economic norms, necessitating a revaluation of legal frameworks. Drawing on Rashid Rida's advocacy for a legislative approach, he underscored the importance of modernizing Islamic legal frameworks to meet the challenges of the modern world. 

Read also: Seek Common Ground while Reserving Differences

Professor Fadel also emphasized the spiritual significance of poverty, especially in the Islamic context, asserting that "As Muslims, we should be concerned about the persistence of poverty primarily because its continued existence contradicts our spiritual values in the face of the immense wealth capitalism generates."  

He then pointed out the adverse impacts of extreme wealth amid widespread poverty, citing instances from religious texts and historical accounts. He highlighted the dangers of wealth leading to pride, cruelty, and spiritual neglect, as illustrated in the narrative of Qārūn in Islamic tradition.  

Central to his argument, Professor Fadel critiqued global inequality, describing it as a moral scandal that undermines universal human dignity. He emphasized the urgency of tackling poverty and inequality on a global scale, calling for political will to address these issues effectively. Professor Fadel highlighted the potential of Islamic law to organize a coalition of states committed to eliminating poverty and fostering socio-economic justice. 

Read also: Flourishing and Well-being: Prof. Lindsay Oades’ Keynote Speech at FoE Conference

"Islamic law must shift its focus away from individual rights and towards collective obligations […] Establishing democratic means of government to minimize the abuse of individual rights and fostering a community committed to pursuing the public good will be instrumental in this endeavor,” Professor Fadel concluded. 

This impactful lecture has sparked vital conversations among UIII scholars and students, reaffirming the significant role of Islamic law in addressing contemporary global challenges. Professor Fadel's insights will undoubtedly influence future policies and initiatives aimed at fostering socio-economic justice through Islamic principles.