Honour or Dignity? An Oversimplification in Islamic Human Rights

Human Rights Review 20 (4):461-475 (2019)

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In classical literature on Islamic human rights, the concepts of dignity and honour are used interchangeably. Distinguishing modern and pre-modern conceptions of human life’s value, dignity represents a value everyone possesses simply in virtue of being human, regardless of social hierarchy or religious preference. Honour, on the contrary, demonstrates a status which someone achieves because of a religious or societal preference. I will explain this difference further, relying on the works of Peter Berger and Charles Taylor. Afterwards, I argue that a large group of Muslim scholars who have tried to articulate a coherent Islamic version of human rights have neglected this crucial difference. I will focus my discussion on two scholars, Abdulaziz Sachedina and Mohammad Hashim Kamali, as examples of scholars who have neglected the difference. My conclusion is that anybody who intends to confront this topic must be clear about the difference between dignity and honour; otherwise, any argument for the compatibility or incompatibility in question is doomed to failure.
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DOI 10.1007/s12142-019-00566-w
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Dignity, Honour, and Human Rights: Kant's Perspective.Rachel Bayefsky - 2013 - Political Theory 41 (6):0090591713499762.

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