'Human Rights and Reformist Islam' critiques traditional Islamic approaches to the question of compatibility between human rights and Islam, and argues instead for their reconciliation from the perspective of a reformist Islam. The book focuses on six controversial case studies: religious discrimination; gender discrimination; slavery; freedom of religion; punishment of apostasy; and arbitrary or harsh punishments. Explaining the strengths of structural ijtihad, Mohsen Kadivar's draws on the rational classification of Islamic teachings as temporal or permanent on the one hand, and four criteria of being Islamic on the other: reasonableness, justice, morality and efficiency. He rejects all of the problematic verses and Hadith according to these criteria. The result is a powerful, solutions-based argument based on reformist Islam - providing a scholarly bridge between modernity and Islamic tradition in relation to human rights.
About the Author
Mohsen Kadivar is Research Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Duke University. One of the most original and prolific figures of the Iranian reform movement, he is a versatile theologian, philosopher and intellectual historian who has written ground-breaking books on human rights and Islam, Islamic political thought, and Islamic philosophy and theology. His forthcoming 'Islamic Theocracy in the Secular Age' will be published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2021. Kadivar has been a vocal critic of Iran's doctrine of clerical rule and a strong advocate of democratic and liberal reforms in Iran as well as constructional reform in shari'a and Shi'a theology. He has served time in prison in Iran for his political activism and beliefs; his writings have been banned in Iran since 2009. Professor and Director of the Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, SOAS, and author of International Human Rights and Islamic Law (OUP, 2003). Niki Akhavan is Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Media and Communication Studies at The Catholic University of America and author of Electronic Iran (Rutgers University Press, 2013). She has been a Persian-English translator for over 20 years.