Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Exploring the role of the self in the Islamic-Western human rights discourse : a comparative examination of foundational texts of key scholars from the Shī‘ī-Muslim and Western philosophical tradition - ‘Alī b. Abī Ṭālib, Zayn al-‘Ābidīn, Søren Kierkegaard and Immanuel Kant
Author: Panjwani, Imranali
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The goal of my thesis is to explore the role of the self in the current Islamic-Western discourse on human rights. This discourse is about whether the Islamic and Western worldviews on human rights are compatible with each other. It is my contention that the dominant voices in this discourse that aim to reform Islamic human rights or find ways for it to engage with Western human rights are primarily legal. I aim to shift the discourse and consider the way in which the concept of the self can play a role in informing this discourse but more importantly, offer a potential framework by which human rights are understood and implemented. Here, the self becomes a unifying concept for both worldviews and offers a different line of enquiry for the discourse. I aim to do this by basing my thesis on keys works of four scholars from the Shī‘ī-Muslim and Western philosophical tradition. These are Nahj al-Balāgha (Peak of Eloquence), which contains the sermons, letters and sayings of the first Shī‘ī Imām and cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muḥammad, ‘Alī b. Abī Ṭālib; Risālat al-Ḥuqūq (Treatise of Rights) by Zayn al-‘Ābidīn, the fourth Shī‘ī Imām and great grandson of Prophet Muḥammad; Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses by the Danish philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard and finally, The Metaphysics of Morals by the German philosopher, Immanuel Kant. By engaging in a comparative analysis of these texts, I aim to construct a role for the self that is appropriate for the human rights discourse and introduce a framework to access it. I argue that human beings from whatever religious background they originate need a way to understand their identity, personhood and the rights they claim for. This is particularly important today where human rights are not merely legal and political entities but show the endless empowerment of human beings to demand whichever right they wish for. This is dangerous as there is a lack of enforcement machinery on curtailing this empowerment which can lead to pursuing base desires through rights as well as causing harm to others. Thus, this thesis aims to carve out a practical framework for the self that can be sieved through human rights in order to help solve human rights conflicts, break the oppositional discourse between ‘Islām’ and the ‘West’ as well as bring the intellectual traditions of Shī‘ī-Muslim and Western philosophy closer together.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available