Protection of Languages and Self-Expressions under Islamic Law
Washburn University - School of Law
February 11, 2009
Journal of Transnational Law & Policy, Vol. 19, No. 1, p. 61, 2009
The Islamic law of speech diversity recognizes two distinct divine rights, one applying to speech communities and the other to individuals. The divine right to language allows each speech community to preserve and celebrate its native language free of coercion and disrespect from other speech communities. Native languages are the assets of speech communities. The Islamic law prohibits coercive degradation of native languages but at the same time it interposes no barriers in learning other languages. Closely related to the right to language is the divine right to individual self-expression or self-determination. Each human being is unique because God, the Master-Artist, shapes each human being with special attention. Social, economic, and legal barriers that refuse to recognize special talents or refuse to accommodate disabilities are incompatible with the divine plan. When individuals are given the maximum liberty allowed under Islam to pursue sciences, arts, knowledge, sports, and spirituality, Muslim communities will prosper. The study recommends that Muslim states recognize linguistic diversity and the right to personal self-determination in their positive law, including national constitutions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 62
Keywords: Islamic law, divine right to language, divine right to self-determination, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, TurkeyAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 11, 2009 ; Last revised: September 16, 2010
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