International Conference on “Islam, Science and Sustainable Development: Maqasid al-Shari‘ah and Humanity’s Well-being”

Date: 6 & 7 October 2015 (Tuesday & Wednesday)
Venue: IAIS Malaysia, Jalan Elmu, Off Jalan Universiti, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Organiser:  International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia.

Important timelines (revised):
Submission of abstract  Tuesday, 30 June 2015  Tuesday, 14 July 2015
Notification of paper acceptance  Friday, 10 July 2015  Friday, 31 July 2015
Submission of full paper  Friday, 25 September 2015
Last day of registration payment  Monday, 28 September 2015


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Crises are building in the current unsustainable practices worldwide that are causing impacts on global climate, sea levels, biodiversity as well as in social and economic fields from governance that is not effectively addressing these issues and causing instability in many countries. It is timely to focus upon the oft-neglected Islamic perspectives and its wisdom on sustainable development (SD), and allied fields of social justice, man’s spirituality and his role as khalifatAllah fi al-Ard with responsibility to restore the eco-balance and ensure the well-being of the living earth and its creatures. Human welfare objectives from Islam’s perspective should also be pursued in line with its Unitarian vision of tawhid and for the realization of human dignity (karamah). The theory of maqasid al-Shari‘ah (Higher objectives of Islamic Law) is very relevant in addressing the current and future challenges of Muslim communities across the globe. The eminent scholar, Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali first expressed the view that the essential (daruriyyat) interests of the maqasid al-Shari‘ah are five, namely: the protection of faith, life, lineage, intellect and property, to which al-Qarafi added a sixth, namely human diginity. In this respect, Muhammad Asad stressed that the goal of an Islamic polity is “the growth of a community of people who stand for equity and justice for right against wrong … who work for the creation and maintenance of such social conditions as would enable the greatest possible number of human beings to live, morally as well as physically, in accordance with the natural law of God [which is] Islam”.

2015 is also a timely juncture for this Conference with the promulgation of a new set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) as follow-on from the United Nations Rio+20 summit held in Brazil in 2012. The above Islamic objectives also seem closely in line with proposed SDGs. One insightful western scholar, Professor David Griggs, proposed six fields as potential SDGs, which arguably address many aspects of the last five of the enumerated maqasid al-Shari’ah objectives (including human dignity): (1) End poverty and improve well-being through access to education, employment, information, better health and housing, and reduced inequality while moving towards sustainable consumption and production, and provide for (2) Sustainable food security (3) Sustainable water security (4) Universal clean energy and reduce global warming (5) Sustain healthy and productive ecosystems, and (6) Transform governance and institutions at all levels to address the other five SDGs.   The Conference will pursue and deliberate upon priority aspects of the above concepts, not only to help focus attention of Muslim scientists on the critical issues but also to inform important Islamic approaches for the benefit of Muslims and non-Muslims alike.


  • To identify the key issues and challenges to be addressed or overcome in achieving Sustainable Development (SD).
  • To look at how key principles and values from an Islamic perspective can be implemented to guide and underpin SD.
  • To promote a better understanding and application of maqasid al-Shari‘ah in its application of addressing and resolving the imbalances within the earth and human society that are threatening its future sustainability and well-being of future generations.
  • Develop recommendations and policy statements on SD for the guidance at various levels of governments, institutions and also individuals, particularly how to develop Islamically-aware communities keen to contribute towards global SD.

Call for Papers
All interested scholars, academics, lawyers and practitioners from various related backgrounds are hereby invited to contribute papers for presentation to the conference. Abstracts should not exceed 250 words, which indicate the objectives, scope, methodology and important issues to be discussed, to be submitted by Tuesday, 30 June 2015  Tuesday, 14 July 2015. On notified acceptance of the abstract, full papers should be submitted by Friday, 25 September 2015. Information about the author/s, designation, organisation and contact details (phone/mobile/fax/e-mail) to be included, and sent to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fields of Interest

  • Concepts and definitions of Sustainability and Sustainable Development; Framework for sustainable development
  • The Living earth / the Natural environment  – harmony and balance; order and beauty (aesthetics); and interaction between scientific disciplines
  • Human societal development, social capital, social equity and amenity
  • Good Governance, justice and public policy
  • Urban planning and the protection of community property
  • Pollution, corruption and wasteful consumption (fasad; israf; darar), biodiversity loss, climate change and associated hazards & risks from man-made and natural disasters
  • Ensuring environmental protection – stewardship approach versus penal /legal provisions
  • Challenges to sustainability:  resources depletion, food security, water security, declining environmental health and quality of life
  • The Way Forward: restoring the balance; Waste minimization; Renewable energy use;  Industrial ecology;  Degrowth?  Etc.
  • Education for Sustainable Development.

Islamic principles related to Sustainable Development

  • Unicity of Nature and the universe ensuing from the prime principle of Tawhid
  • Humans as custodians of the Earth (khalifatAllah fi al-Ard) - implications of this role, including as trustee with amanah.
  • Building the earth (i‘mar al-Ard)  and sustainably
  • From al-Shatibi to Ibn Ashur: milestones in development of maqasid al-Shari‘ah theory
  • Maqasid al-Shari‘ah and legal maxims related to environmental protection
  • Wasatiyyah as one of the Maqasid for achieving sustainable development
  • Maqasid and its role in sustainable economic development; the daruriyyat as essentials for dignified living
  • Human welfare from Tawhidic Unitarian perspectives and realities of widening inequality
  • Qur’anic principle of karamah and the implications for human well-being;
  • The importance of developing qana’ah and generosity, and eschewing greed and wasteful consumption.
  • The importance of utilising waqaf and zakah funds in facilitating sustainable development
  • Perspectives of Religions other than Islam on Sustainable Development

It is anticipated that emphasis will be given by presenter-authors to the scientific aspects of the research undertaken, and they will also consider aspects of the maqasid al-Shari‘ah.


  • English
  • Bahasa Melayu

Submission Guidelines
Submission should be in Microsoft Word format, font 12, Time New Roman. The abstract should not exceed 250 words and it should contain the following information:

  • Title
  • Author’s information
  • Problem statements and objectives
  • Research methods
  • Significance
  • Expected findings

Papers submitted must be original and have not been submitted, presented or published in any other academic forums or publications. The length of the complete paper should not exceed 6,000 words.

Selected papers will be published by IAIS Malaysia.


  • The fee will cover the conference package (proceedings, meals) only. Participants cover their own travelling and accommodation expenses.
  • A group discount of 10% is available for three or more participants from one institution or corporation registering together.
  • Registration is not complete until payment has been made.
  • Any cancellation after Monday, 28 September 2015 will be forfeited.

 Registration Fees

conf fee

To be made payable to: International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia

Scan and email proof of payment inlcuding your Full Name, Email Address and Contact number to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Tentative programme (last updated 22 September 2015)

tentaive program22SEP2015


Download PowerPoint Presentations:

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Approaching Sustainable Development from the perspective of Islamic philosophy and Maqasid al-Shari’ah remains relatively unexplored. Realising the high potential of Islamic philosophy to further contribute to this fi eld, the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia, and co-organisers Global Movement of Moderates (GMM), University of Malaya, and Monash University jointly organised a two-day international conference entitled Islam, Science and Sustainable Development: Maqasid al-Shari’ah and Humanity’s Well Being. The opening speech was delivered by YB Senator Dato’ Dr. Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, and other eminent speakers included Prof. Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Prof. Datin Azizan Baharuddin, Prof. Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak and Prof. Mohamed Aslam Haneef.

Throughout the conference, several key Islamic concepts were repeatedly highlighted; namely the ‘Oneness of Being’ from the core Islamic principle of Tawhid, the divinely-ordained responsibility as trustees and vicegerents encapsulated in the principle of Khilafa, and lastly, the aiming towards ‘optimal balance’ guided by Mizan and Wasatiyyah. Oneness of Creator and Being (Tawhid) endowed all human beings the same dignity and equal basic rights. The concept of Khilafa invokes humanity’s spiritual responsibility as God’s trustees to responsibly administer earth’s resources and establish a just social order. Mizan and Wasatiyyah are guiding principles in balancing between the ‘developmentalist’ versus ‘protectionalist’ approach.

The conference covered wide-range of fi elds and topics, as illustrated by selected policy recommendations below:

• Suggestions to improve water-security in the Middle East via legislation, the introduction of solar power, establishing a court to mediate trans-boundary water disputes and a compensation system.
• To reevaluate the feasibility of palm oil as a source of renewable energy and fossil-fuel alternative;
• Increase the role of media to promote awareness and knowledge towards Sustainable Development;
• Th e need to develop ‘Islamicity’ indices to measure development projects;
• To further explore methods of Sustainable Development in Agriculture;
• Tougher laws to regulate and discourage privatisation of basic needs;
• To utilise Zakah and Waqaf for sustainable development projects;
• Renewed approach on Genetically Modifi ed technology;
• Tougher and more unifi ed laws on littering.

The Islamic contribution to the concept of Sustainable Development exhibits a lot of potential and promise for further conceptual enhancement. When Sustainable Development in its early stages primarily focused on the ecological aspects of development, Islamic philosophy re-emphasises the value of human dignity and responsibility. Islamic principles and Maqasid al-Shari’ah can be important contributors to the much needed ‘spiritual element’ of the highly mechanical and technical process. [written by Wan Naim Wan Mansor]


International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia.
Jalan Elmu, Off Jalan Universiti 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: +603-7956 9188   Fax: +603-7956 2188 / +603-7956 2966
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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