The IIS hosted a series of international events in Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver in Canada and Leicester in the UK to launch A Companion to Muslim Ethics. This second volume in the Muslim Heritage Series, edited by Dr Amyn B. Sajoo, provides academics, students and other interested readers with an insight into the roots of Islam’s ethical framework – and how its teachings have branched out in the cultural, political, intellectual and religious lives of Muslims, past and present.
At each of the events, Dr Sajoo participated in a series of on-stage discussions hosted by local academics and community leaders. The discussions centred on the specific themes covered in the book such as literature, art, the environment and bio-ethics. The first chapter on Literature was written by Professor Eric Ormsby, Deputy Head of the Department of Academic Research and Publications at the IIS. Professor Ormsby explores how ideas of reasoning and moral teachings were disseminated via the popular ethical literature of early Islam, which he sees as ‘foundational’ to its literary tradition.
Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr’s, chapter on Ecology was also the topic of discussion at each of the events. The chapter elaborates on how reverence for the environment fits into the contemporary context, despite the perceived pressure on communities to ‘modernise’. According to Professor Nasr, there is no shortage of reminders to honour the environment both in the Qur’an and hadith. He cites stories of Prophet Muhammad not wanting to waste water for his ablutions and scolding his companions for doing so.
The volume also includes chapters such as Art by Dr Fahmida Suleman, a Curator at the British Museum’s Middle East Department, and Health Care by Ahmed Al-Khitamy and Abdallah S. Daar who was awarded UNESCO’s Avicenna Prize for Ethics of Science in 2005. Others look at gender, tolerance, dispute resolution and nonviolence.
The Muslim Heritage Series was launched in 2009, with the first volume, A Companion to the Muslim World. The next publication in the series will be A Companion to Muslim Cultures.