Islamic tradition, like other great traditions of the world, is undergoing constant changes in order to adapt to the evolving cultural environments. While changes are particularly slow in legal aspect, however, once the a religion like Islam becomes integrated into the political system, such changes become more rapid, and of course more inevitable. In order to explore some of those changes in the legal arena, an area rarely addressed by the researchers, we have put together a panel by scholars in the field to address various aspects of development in the Islamic legal thought.
On the panel, Abdolkarim Soroush will discuss his new findings in the area of nation building in Islamic societies. His research titled "The Shari'a and the Notion of Modern Nation-State" will address the recent emerging calls for reinstating the Islamic umma, in an era that the modern world superimposes the concept of nation confined within territorial boundaries.
Mohsen Kadivar will address the functions of Ijtihad, and the way this method can be used to rejuvenate the tradition, by replacing the ritualistic Islam with a more profound and spiritual approach. His talk titled "Ijtihad in Ossul al-Figh" will try to tackle the very delicate - and largely ignored - topic of basic structure of inducement of laws and fatwas from the principles of Sharia, and how a qualified Islamic jurist can potentially reform those tenets.
New approaches in determining the higher objectives of Islam (مقاصد الشریعه ( will be discussed by Ahmad Kazemi Mousavi. His study addresses the higher goals of Islam such as justice and cooperation, which should be observed, rather than paying homage to unforgiving rites of the religion.
Rasool Nafisi will address the newly ratified Islamic Penal Code in Iran. In his comparative study, he will address the changes made in the law compared to the previous version, and tries to determine those underlying sociological factors that might have led to those changes. Dr. Nafisi will also serve as the chair and discussant of the panel.