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Paper   IPM / Philosophy / 15998
School of Analytic Philosophy
  Title:   Human Dignity and the Future of the Human Rights Debate in the Islamic World
  Author(s):  Ebrahim Azadegan
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Asiatica
  No.:  2
  Vol.:  13
  Year:  2019
  Pages:   51-77
  Supported by:  IPM
  Abstract:
This paper seeks reconciliation between the principles of Shari’a and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since the basis for the declaration of human rights in the modern era is the modern conception of human dignity, it seems the reconciliation project should proceed by identifying the Islamic conception of human dignity and comparing it with the modern one, in order to see which differences in these conceptions lead to the alleged conflict between Islamic law and the Declaration. Accordingly, I first introduce the Islamic conception of human dignity. Nonetheless, some philosophers might argue that this religious account of human dignity cannot be used to support universal human rights as successfully as modern secular conceptions. I address two possible objections which could be leveled against this account. One of these objections, it is shown, cannot be applied to the Islamic conception; however, the other objection, regarding the importance of human interests in shaping human rights, seems to be attention-worthy. Several contemporary solutions to the reconciliation problem are then examined. I show that none of the mentioned solutions are capable of solving the problem, except for an enhanced version of Islamic Intellectualism or new Mu’tazilism. I argue that through this line of thought one can adhere to an Islamic conception of human dignity even while one respects others’ rational interests, because the moral commands of reason are ultimately a divine command. The rationale of this approach is that in the conflict of moral duties we never stray outside the bounds of morality and rationality; however, it still saves the Islamic duty-oriented world view.

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