Justice and Rights

Justice and Rights: Christian and Muslim Perspectives

Copyright Date: 2009
Published by:
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Justice and Rights
    Book Description:

    Justice and Rights is a record of the fifth "Building Bridges" seminar held in Washington, DC in 2006 (an annual symposium on Muslim-Christian relations cosponsored by Georgetown University and the Church of England). This volume examines justice and rights from Christian and Muslim perspectives-a topic of immense relevance for both faiths in the modern world, but also with deep roots in the core texts of both traditions. Leading scholars examine three topics: scriptural foundations, featuring analyses of Christian and Muslim sacred texts; evolving traditions, exploring historical issues in both faiths with an emphasis on religious and political authority; and the modern world, analyzing recent and contemporary contributions from Christianity and Islam in the area of freedom and human rights.

    eISBN: 978-1-58901-722-1
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Participants
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction Christian and Muslim Perspectives
    (pp. ix-x)
    Michael Ipgrave

    This volume is a record of the fifth annual Building Bridges seminar of Christian and Muslim scholars, convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., in March 2006. In keeping with the pattern of earlier seminars, a theme of enduring and contemporary significance was addressed through lectures by scholars of both faiths, through study and reflection together on key texts, and through group and plenary discussion.¹ This volume presents the lectures and the texts with introductions and commentarial notes reflecting discussions at the seminar.

    The theme chosen for this seminar was “Justice and Rights—Christian and Muslim...

  5. Part I Scriptural Foundations
    • Chapter 1 The Ruler and the Ruled in Islam: A Brief Analysis of the Sources
      (pp. 3-14)
      Mohammad Hashim Kamali

      In addressing this subject, I refer first to two Qur’ānic verses on the rights and duties of the uli’l-amr (those in charge of affairs).¹ The passage in question, known as the āyāt al-umarā’ (the rulers’ verse) occurs in sūra al-Nisā’.² Qur’ān commentators have spoken in detail about the meaning of these verses and their implications regarding the nature of an Islamic government and the relations of the ruler to the ruled. Some of the salient points discussed are the precise meaning of uli’l-amr and the various interpretations given to this key Qur’ānic term; the qualifications of the uli’l-amr; how the...

    • Chapter 2 Biblical Perspectives on Divine Justice and Political Authority
      (pp. 15-20)
      Ellen F. Davis

      “Justice” is one of the root concepts of scripture, and so, as with most root systems, it is complex and multibranched. Justice is first of all a defining characteristic of Israel’s God, and further, it is a divine gift that enters into our world through the human agents of God. Further yet, justice is a divine demand—or turning that concept around, it is a discipline, one that every servant or child of God, and the people of God as a political body, are expected to take on and follow for a lifetime: “Tsedeq tsedeq tirdof; Justice, justice you shall...

    • Chapter 3 Scriptural Texts
      (pp. 21-48)
      Ellen F. Davis, Mustansir Mir, Michael Ipgrave and Timothy J. Winter

      This is the last of many psalms associated with the royal house of David, which cluster in the first half of the Psalter; an appended verse reads, “Here end the prayers of David son of Jesse” (20).¹¹ The psalm shows what might be called an “ecological” view of justice; it promotes a vision of tsedeqah (“right relationship, righteousness”) and shalom (“well-being, peace”) operative in both political and agricultural spheres. A challenge for interpreters, perhaps especially those in the contemporary context, is to discern the connection between those two spheres as envisioned by the psalmist.

      Early in the psalm, royal justice...

  6. Part II Evolving Traditions
    • Chapter 4 Religious Orthodoxy and Religious Rights in Medieval Islam: A Reality Check on the Road to Religious Toleration
      (pp. 51-62)
      Vincent J. Cornell

      According to several historical sources, this urgent plea was sent in 1058 CE by the ‘Abbāsid caliph al-Qā’im bi-Amrillah to the Turkish warlord Tughril Beg (d. 1063), the founder of the Seljuq dynasty of sultans. It refers to the capture of Baghdad by forces loyal to the Fāṭimid caliph al-Mustaṇsir (d. 1094), a Shī‘ite Muslim of the Ismā‘īlī sect, who ruled Egypt, part of the Arabian Peninsula, and a significant portion of the Levant. Upon their conquest of Baghdad, the Ismā‘īlī forces mandated the Shī‘ite call to prayer and proclaimed the name of the Fāṭimid caliph in the Friday sermon....

    • Chapter 5 Une Foi, Une Loi, Un Roi: Political Authority and Religious Freedom in the West, from Constantine to Jefferson
      (pp. 63-72)
      John Langan

      The period from Constantine to Jefferson is complex and rich; within the limits of this essay, the challenge is to find some key, a focus to enable us to order our perceptions of this vast, contentious, and immensely important block of time, which includes what are commonly characterized as the medieval and early modern periods of European or Western history. A starting point can be found in the famous slogan Une foi, une loi, un roi, which expressed the aspirations of monarchist conservative Catholics in France during the Wars of Religion between Catholics and Protestants, which lasted for almost forty...

    • Chapter 6 Traditional Texts
      (pp. 73-106)
      Rowan Williams, Vincent J. Cornell and Miroslav Volf

      The origins of the Donatist schism lay in controversy over Christian leaders who had collaborated with secular authorities during the persecution of the church; some of the more rigorist believers condemned these as traditores who had lost their spiritual authority and separated from their communion to form a supposedly pure and untainted church.³² The Donatists, claiming to be the true church of Christ, sought recognition first from the Roman see and then from the Emperor Constantine but were rejected by both.³³ The schism drew on grassroots support, fed by class divisions and by nationalist sentiment; in its extreme paramilitary wing,...

  7. Part III The Modern World
    • Chapter 7 Human Rights and the Freedom of Religion
      (pp. 109-116)
      Malcolm Evans

      I approach this topic as an international lawyer interested and involved in the protection of religious freedom by and through the means and mechanisms of international law, and particularly through the means and mechanisms of international human rights law. My central point here is that I believe human rights law is developing in a fashion that is likely to hinder rather than assist the realization of the goals of tolerance and religious pluralism. There are two reasons for this. First, the entire human rights approach to religious liberty is increasingly geared toward a form of “neutrality” that is inimical to...

    • Chapter 8 Modern Texts
      (pp. 117-174)
      Miroslav Volf, Seyed Amir Akrami, Carolyn Evans and Fikret Karcic

      The Barmen declaration can be seen as a direct response to one distorted pattern of political implementation of Luther’s “two kingdoms” doctrine—that led by the party of the German Christians, headed by Bishop Ludwig Müller. In opposition to his subordination of church to state, the resistance party within the German churches, uniting theologians of Calvinist and Lutheran confessions, came together to agree to a text drafted by Karl Barth (1882–1968) that, while accepting the principle that spiritual and temporal governments were united as coming from God, emphasized the possibility of their disjunction also. In the context of Germany...

  8. Index
    (pp. 175-181)