Muslim ethics has a rich history of interconnecting Muslims with one another and with other communities, drawing upon a broad semantic field of Islamic cultural values and local traditions. Ethics spans a variety of personal interconnected spheres. On one level, ethics connect a Muslim to the community of believers through prescribed practices such as prayer, fasting, and giving of zakat. On another lever, ethics reflect a spectrum of Islamic moral values embodied in concepts such as ihsan (to beautify), ma’ruf (goodness), and rahman (being merciful). On a third level, ethics are formally enacted through adab, codifying personal relationships, comportment, and etiquette. On a fourth level, ethics are an unstated, informal set of practices and attitudes encoded in everyday interactions, reflecting personal values of hospitality, neighborliness, and moderation.
As a bridge between theology (din) and lived practices (dunyia), adab is the “glue of civilization,” underlying the ideals of social cohesion, tolerance, moderation, peace, and ultimately one’s humanity. Adab is the language and comportment of communication between human beings enabling the realization of the human potential. Adab, literally translated as inviting others to share a meal, implies a multitude of cultural traits an individual inculcates. Adab has a rich legacy emerging in Islamic history and continues to influence and provide a framework of social mores and morality to Muslim communities and cultures worldwide. Curiously, however, this important resource that emphasizes the philosophy of living with others is little studied and not utilized for positive relationships between Muslim and non-Muslim.
In order to map out the multiple meanings, practices, and significances of Adab, a two day workshop is being held in Islamabad on 23-24 May 2012, under the auspices of the Iqbal International Institute for Research and Dialogue (IRD) and the Islamic Research Institute (IRI) of International Islamic University-Islamabad (IIUI), and the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict (CSRC) at Arizona State University.
The workshop will bring together a select number of scholars with a predominate focus on Adab and everyday ethics. The concern of the workshop is to identify concepts, issues, and directions of research in Muslim lived ethics. The workshop is designed as an intensive dialogue among scholars sharing insights, issues and concerns.
The major themes and issues of the workshop will include:
Social Ethics: What is the semantic field of lived ethics? How is Adab practiced in different societies in various ages? Are there different cultures of ethics or Adab among Muslims e.g., urban/rural, Pakistani/Malay, Sufi/Sunni)? Have there been changes in everyday ethics and the practice of Adab historically?
Learning Ethics: How do people learn ethics and Adab? What role do school curricula and media compared to family play in the transmission of ethics?
Conceptual Contribution/Significance: Why is everyday ethics and Adab important to understand today? What are the politics of highlighting everyday practices of Adab? What comparative lessons can we learn from multiple Muslim communities of the importance of everyday ethics and Adab for peaceful co-existence with other religious and ethnic communities?
International Islamic University-Islamabad (IIUI) is a unique institution striving to produce a balanced and harmonious human personality, duly informed of and embedded in the Islamic world view and infused with Islamic idealism and fully aware of the human intellectual and scholastic heritage, including the most current developments in human knowledge. IIUI highlights and defines the relevance of Islam in changing modern times to the whole human life, thought and action; and, foster cooperation and promote mutual understanding among the institutions working for the advancement of Islamic learning and knowledge in different parts of the world for the realization of common objectives.
The Iqbal International Institute for Research and Dialogue (IRD) draws inspiration from the fundamental values and teaching of Islam as articulated by the writings of the poet-philosopher Muhammad Iqbal. The IRD works towards evolving a culture of peace, tolerance, and harmony in Pakistan and among the Muslim Ummah. It promotes and develops dialogical rationalism and fosters an awareness of humanity’s common aspiration and endeavor to build a morally-informed, just social order. More specifically, the objectives of IRD are:
● To provide an open forum for creative work, candid discussions and lively debates on issues of contemporary relevance to Islamic societies.
● To bring together researchers and scholars of the highest caliber from all over the world in the field of contemporary Islamic thought as Iqbal Fellows to give public lectures, conduct seminars, teach courses and interact with the students and faculty of Pakistani universities and other educational and civil society institutions.
● To transmit the dynamic and forward-looking message of Muhammad Iqbal to community leaders, trainers and civil society leaders.
● To create an intellectually stimulating environment which can promote new thinking and to develop a vision leading to personal and social transformation.
● To collaborate with like-minded persons and institutions in Pakistan and the world at large for the promotion of a better understanding of Islam and creating an awareness of humanity’s common endeavors to create a moral and just social order.
● To develop and introduce courses on Islamic culture and civilization using modern methodologies for students and others desirous of acquiring knowledge about Islam.
Established in 1960 under a constitutional provision, the Islamic Research Institute (IRI) is currently the research wing of IIUI. The institute strives to develop and disseminate methodology for research in various fields of Islamic learning. It has produced a plethora of insightful studies on Islam, Qur’anic Sciences, Hadith, Islamic Law and Jurisprudence, History, Culture, Philosophy, Tausawwuf, Islamic Thought, Muslim communities and cultures, and various other Islamic subjects.
The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University promotes interdisciplinary research and education on the dynamics of religion and conflict with the aim of advancing knowledge, seeking solutions and informing policy. By serving as a research hub that fosters exchange and collaboration across the university as well as with its broader public, local, national, and global—the Center fosters innovative and engaged thinking on matters of enormous importance to us all.
Committed to a model of scholarship that is trans-disciplinary, collaborative and problem-focused, the Center stimulates new research by bringing together faculty and students from across the disciplines, creating links between the academic world and that of professionals, policymakers, practitioners and religious leaders, and fostering cross-cultural exchange through partnerships and collaborations with international scholars, students and institutions.