In recent years, the term “Islamic ethics” has become omnipresent: in the titles of an increasing number of publications, in the curricula of the Centres for Islamic Theology at German universities and in the context of society’s frequent demand for a Muslim perspective on ethical questions. However, it remains blurring what exactly is meant by the term “Islamic ethics” and what would be Islamic about this kind of ethics. The specialist conference “Wrestling with Ethical Decisions: Theories of Ethics in Islamic Theology and Law and their Relevance to the Modern Discourse on Applied Ethics” seeks to develop a working definition of “Islamic ethics”, hoping, to enable a reflective debate on ethical questions.

In this sense, “Islamic ethics” is conceived of as a domain of study within the larger field of Islamic theology, in which ethical concepts, principles and theories of several classical disciplines are critically reflected and analysed with respect to their relevance for the contemporary discourse on ethics. The conference aims to raise some reflections on the concept of (Islamic) ethics taking in consideration several questions raised within the different disciplines of Islamic theology:

  1. Historical questions: How did Muslim scholars approach ethical questions within the Islamic disciplines? What were the contexts of these discussions? Which continuities and discontinuities can be traced?
  2. Systematic questions: What are the sources of ethical thought in the Islamic tradition? What role does reason play in the different contexts of arguments and ideas? Which concepts and theories are of essential relevance to the development of a contemporary Muslim understanding of ethics?
  3. Applied ethics and societal questions: What can the theories of ethics in the Islamic tradition contribute to the current discourse on societal challenges (environmental ethics, peace war ethics and medical ethics)? How can “Islamic ethics” be established as a field of study within Islamic theology?

Information and Registration

For further information and to register for the conference please write an email to:

Please register until 28 September.

Click here, to download the program.

About the short-term research group

The conference takes place within the framework of the AIWG-funded short-term research group “Wege zu einer Ethik: Neue Ansätze aus Theologie und Recht zwischen modernen Herausforderungen und islamischer Tradition”, which is a joint research project of the Berlin Institute for Islamic Theology (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) and the Institute for the Study of Islamic Culture and Religion (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main).