Epistemological Reform and Embracement of Human Rights. What Can be Inferred from Islamic Rationalistic Maturidite Theology?
Open Theology 2019; 5: 347–365
19 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2019
Date Written: September 11, 2019
The authors argue that there is an epistemological crisis of conservative Islamic scholarship and Muslim mind, rooted in the centuries-old confinement of a role for reason within strict limits, and in the disappearance of rationalistic discursive theology (kalam) as a dynamic science. Moreover, epistemological crisis is exemplified by seriously insufficient level of protection of human rights under Sharia when judged by contemporary principles of human rights. This crisis demands a necessity of undertaking epistemological reform, which denotes the incorporation of international standards of human rights and justice into the epistemology and methodology of producing Islamic norms (usul al-fiqh). It is argued that the key epistemological premises of rationalistic Islam, such as acceptance that human reason can find goodness and badness independently from revelation and non-acceptance of ethical voluntarism, may offer a good ground to make epistemological reform, which would induce the Muslims to critically approach and reinterpret the pre-modern religious interpretations and to construct an Islamic legal and ethical system that is appropriate for the context of the 21th century. In the end, reason, being the human capacity for shaping reality in a humane way, is indispensable to read religious sources from a historical-metaphorical point of view.
Keywords: epistemological reform,rationalistic Islam, human rights, kalam, Maturidite theology
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation