Morality, Ethics, and Law
Week 1: Three dimensions of morality and ethics: Virtue/Character, Universal Principles, Legal Rules
What is the role of self-purification and virtue/character development in understanding ethics? What is the connection to Sufism? (see previous month's section on spirituality)
Should Qur'anic commandments be understood as legal rules or general principles?
Are the commandments of the Qur'an timeless and universal or particular and contextual?
Is ethics rule-based or principle-based?
Week 2: Case study one -- Marriage and Divorce in the Qur'an
How does the Qur'an describe the rights and obligations in relation to divorce?
What is the legal rules pertaining to marriage and divorce in the Qur'an? How has the legal tradition (fiqh) interpreted these passages in the Qur'an?
How should we interpret the power hierarchy in marriage as described by the Qur'an? How do we apply these passages in our world?
Week 3: Case study two -- "War and Peace", fighting and violent conflict (jihad) in the Qur'an
How do different passages in the Qur'an address the issue of warfare? How does the message change over time and in different circumstances?
How has the Islamic legal tradition (fiqh) interpreted these passages of the Qur'an?
How have scholars in the past century and a half reinterpreted these rulings in our modern world?
Week 4: Methodology of Qur'anic Ethical Interpretation (reflecting on previous two case-studies)
What are the different paradigms or frameworks of interpretation for approaching the previous two case-studies?
How does the classical fiqhi framework view scriptural interpretation? How is ethical guidance derived from the Qur'an?
How do historicist models or frameworks differ from the fiqhi paradigm?
What different models of historicist interpretation of Qur'anic ethics are there?