Book Launch and Panel Discussion ‘Defining Islamic Statehood: Measuring and Indexing Contemporary Muslim States’

Date : 31st March 2016 (Thursday)
Time    : 03:00pm – 05:30pm
Venue    : IAIS Malaysia

31MAR2016 book launch

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What is the definition of an Islamic state? How do the majority of Muslims govern themselves? How much do Muslims and non-Muslims understand about the elements of an Islamic state? How does an Islamic state function in a modern world? These questions bear heavily on the international community. They dominate the news. They spawn conflict. They generate misinformation. The answers are complex, but finding them is critical.

Harnessing the expertise of leading Sunni and Shia academics, Defining Islamic Statehood searches for answers through dialogue, and seeks to define how an Islamic state forms and functions. It examines how Islamic principles bear on a nation's governance, jurisprudence, culture and policies, and measures how Muslim-majority countries meet the definition by analyzing how they deal with the aspects of modern life.

Together with a group of eminent contributors, ranging from a retired Prime Minister, a former Chief Justice, and internationally recognized academics and experts on Islamic law and governance, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf identifies and fulfils the critical need to determine the right balance between institutions of political authority and institutions of religious authority within the context of modern day governance.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is the founder and chairman of the Cordoba Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving relations between Muslims and non-Muslims and promoting moderation. For over twenty-five years he was the imam of Masjid al-Farah in New York City. He has been ranked among the '100 Most Influential People of the World' by TIME magazine, 'Top 100 Global Thinkers' by Foreign Policy, and 'Top 50 Arabs' by The Middle East Magazine.


03:00pm Arrival of Guests & Registration
03:20pm Arrival of YABhg Tun Abdullah Hj Ahmad Badawi , Chairman, IAIS Malaysia
03:30pm Welcoming Remarks by Professor Dr Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Founding CEO, IAIS Malaysia
03:45pm Special Address and Book Launch by YABhg Tun Abdullah Hj Ahmad Badawi
04:00pm Presentation by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
04:20pm Panel Discussion:

- Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
- Professor Dr Mohammad Hashim Kamali
Moderator - Assoc Professor Dr Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil

05:00pm Q&A Session
05:30pm Concluding Remarks by the Moderator, adjournment and Refreshment


On 31 March 2016, IAIS Malaysia hosted a book launch event for Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder and Chairman of The Cordoba Initiative, who had published a new book entitled ‘Defining Islamic Statehood: Measuring and Indexing Contemporary Muslim States’. The book was launched by Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia and Chairman of IAIS Malaysia. In his speech, Tun Abdullah congratulated Imam Feisal for his success in bringing to fruition such an important project to provide realistic and practical guidelines on Islamic governance and statehood for the Ummah in the 21st century. Imam Feisal in turn thanked Tun Abdullah, as well as Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak, the current Malaysian Prime Minister, for their patronage and endorsement of the project. He highlighted the fact that the project required a stellar working group comprising notable Muslim scholars, policymakers, and court judges. He pointed out as well that the project’s mission was to find a consensus regarding the definition of an Islamic state in the context of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) in order to develop qualitative yardsticks for measuring the Islamicity of Muslim states. It was therefore am convergence of Islamic methodologies and scientific measurements.

Furthermore, the index developed in the project focuses on the degree of deliverables, measured against the five essentials of maqasid al-shari’ah, principles that have been unanimously agreed upon by Muslim scholars. The project utilised data provided by governments, supported by polling data in the pursuit of evaluating the current state of Muslim nations. In his closing remarks, Imam Feisal stressed that the book is in fact a stepping-stone for a living and ongoing project.

The speech was followed by a panel discussion, in which Prof. Mohammad Hashim Kamali pointed out that the concept of state in Islam, even though the Qur’an does not ordain any tangible model of governance, primarily involves overarching principles such as public benefit and welfare (maslahah), consultation (shura), justice (‘adl) and accountability (amanah). Therefore, presenting maqasid al-shari’ah as the core values of the new index, as well as the qualitative benchmark of a state, are laudable steps taken by the project. The discussion was followed by a question and answer session. [Ahmad Badri Abdullah]

Media Coverage


thestaronlinePak Lah launches Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's latest book



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