Human Rights and Islam

Subject ISLM90013 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: This subject will be taught intensively over five days. Please see timetable for details.
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours per semester


Admission to the Master of Islamic Studies (coursework and minor thesis), Master of International Relations, Honours or Postgraduate Diploma in Islamic Studies, or permission from the subject coordinator.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Professor Abdullah Saeed

Subject Overview:

The subject considers the conceptualization of human rights in classical and contemporary Islam in theory and practice. The methodology is interdisciplinary in nature combining aspects of historical, religious, philosophical, international and legal studies.

The subject will consider the implications of conceptualizing human rights under sharia (Islamic law and norms) and Western and/ or international conceptualization of human rights.

Main themes covered are: the relationship of the sharia with modern international law and human rights law; the relationship of sharia with several of the controversial subjects within human rights law; and the possibility of reform and greater compatibility of sharia with human rights values.

A number of specific substantive issues, most notably freedom of religion and the rights of women will be studied in depth to illustrate the complexity of the contemporary debate on human rights and Islam.


A candidate who has successfully completed the subject should have an understanding of:

  • the Islamic foundations of human rights;
  • international human rights law;
  • the relationship between sharia with modern international law and human rights law;
  • the challenges of the promotion and protection of human rights at the international, regional and national level from an Islamic perspective.

The candidate should be able to:

  • explain the different foundations of human rights, in particular regarding religious and secular grounding of human rights;
  • illustrate the cultural relativism argument in the context of Islam;
  • discuss the discourse of the appropriateness of applying international human rights standards in different contexts; and
  • critically examine the practise of human rights in various societies.

A 5,000 word researh paper, 100% (due at the end of the teaching period).

Prescribed Texts:

Materials supplied by Asia Institute.

Recommended Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Familiarization with key research methods in Islamic Studies
  • Developing the ability to read and analyse a wide range of sources on Islam
  • Developing the capacity to communicate knowledge in Islamic studies with confidence in self-expression, both written and oral
  • Analyse and systematically evaluate complex cultural phenomena through examination of primary texts.
  • Employ textual evidence in constructing scholarly argumentation.
  • Examine complex and important cultural materials from a scholarly perspective and present arguments in structured formats.
  • Understand major global cultural phenomena through examination of primary texts.
  • Developing the ability to work independently and in groups
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Islamic Studies
150 Point Master of Islamic Studies
200 Point Master of Islamic Studies
Islamic Studies

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