International symposium on „Rationality in Islamic theology between tradition and modernism"

Erlangen November 26th until November 28th 2015

The relationship between rationality and revelation was and has always been a constant challenge for Muslim scholarship from the very beginning of Islam. In order to begin a new discourse regarding this matter, the „Department of Islamic-Religious Studies" (DIRS) of the Friedrich-Alexander University organized an international symposium under the title of „Rationality in Islamic theology between tradition and modernism" together with the section for „Islamic Studies in German" (SISD) of the Al-Azhar University Kairo/Egypt from November 26th until November 28th.

Following the establishment of the Islamic canon, fierce intellectual debates on the function of rationality in revelation began within various main disciplines of religious sciences such as the Hadith, Koran sciences as well as Fiqh. Although the manner of the debates was different with regard to the various fields of knowledge and content, rationality as an argument was still present and up-to-date, not only within Koran exegesis but also for the application of the Qiyas by legal scholars.
Characterized by their tradition and driven by their struggle for an adequate interpretation of Islam in modern times, even current Muslim scholars such as Muhammad ´Abduh and Mohammad Iqbal made an attempt to revive rationality in Islam. This conference would very much like to devote itself to the investigation of these debates both in the light of tradition as well as in the light of modern times. Furthermore, the aim is to raise discussions concerning the different concepts which emerged from those debates. The debate on Islamic rationality expresses itself equally in the areas of Kalam, Koran sciences, Fiqh and Usul-Fiqh. These sections form the central core of religious scholarship, as this is where the foundation of Muslim self-definition and religiousness was laid. Therefore, all three topics are relevant and indispensable for an Islamic confrontation with modern times.
The introduction of Islamic theology as a specialist discipline at German universities offers a unique opportunity to initiate a holistic process of understanding the Islamic heritage and consequently encourages offering directional solutions particularly to questions of current events.
Thus, a sound occupation with the various facets of the rational access to sources in Islamic tradition would be utterly revealing, particularly with regard to questions such as:

- Of what nature is the traditional relationship between ´aql and naql, i.e. rationality and tradition?
- How can the socio-historic contexts of these debates be described?
- Are the contemporary discussions about modernizing Islamic law not merely a desire for adjustment to the challenges of modern times and thus a desire for rationalization?
- Which concept of reason underlies the current discourses: universal, normative, pluralistic etc.?
- How can we approach the sources and traditions whilst taking into account these discourses?

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The DIRS at the "Vocatium Mittelfranken" Job Fair

03.-04. July, Meistersingerhalle in Nuremberg

The DIRS will be represented at the Vocatium with a fair stand to inform about the studying possibilities at the department. Pupils and other interested persond are welcome to get advice from our team about every question related to our study programs and later career chances. Further information about the fair can be found here.

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The DIRS at "KUBRI - EuroArab Career & Education Fair"

16.-17. May 2014 in Munich

KUBRI is the EuroArab Career and Education Fair. Student, graduates and young professional visit KUBRI to meet the representatives of renown companies and educational organisations from Europe and the Arab World and to inform themselves about working and studying opportunities in the countries of the MENA region.

The DIRS will be represented at the KUBRI with a fair stand to inform about the studying possibilities at the department. Pupils and other interested persond are welcome to get advice from our team about every question related to our study programs and later career chances. Further information about the fair can be found here.

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Workshop "Religiosity and Thinking out of the Box"

03.-04. May 2014, Hörsaal A, Theologisches Seminargebäude (TSG), Kochstr. 6, Erlangen

The Zentralinstitut "Anthropologie der Religion(en)" and the Department Islamic-Religious Studies invite you to the workshop "Religiosity and Thinking out of the Box - Queer Questions in Judaism, Christianity and Islam".

The God of mankind (ilāh al-nās; Qurʾān 114/3) and His Message are to be open to everyone. Yet according to the dominant theological self-understanding of religiosity there are some opinions about practices like, for instance, homosexuality and queer lifestyles which are not in conformity with religion. However, who should determine the undeterminable divinity? Why is the way to God being denied to some people? What does one experience if he/she does not follow the dominant view? To what extent are the religious positions restrictive or liberal, if we speak about individual perceptions of life? How can the theological production of knowledge correspond to such questions and queer-theories? In this two-day workshop these and other questions about normativity and othering will be debated throughout film(s), other artistic expressions and rounds discussion. We kindly ask for your registration via E-Mail under Further information about the program can be found here.

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Conference "Exegetical Crossroads: Understanding Scripture in Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the Medieval Orient"

20.-22. February, Orangerie, Schlossgarten 1, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen

Judaism, Christianity and Islam have their cultural origin in the same region and feature numerous theological similarities. Through the centuries all three religions have developed methods to interpret the revelatory texts. Every generation of religious scholars tried to reveal the true meaning of the scripts and were confronted with the challenge to interrelate their own interpretation with the exegetical tradition while simultaneously trying to find answers to the questions of their particular era. The three exegetical traditions reciprocally influenced each other, whether by distinction or by adoption. For the most part the exegetical developments took place in a culturally heterogeneous environment which was characterized by the interaction of the religious communities.

Internationally renowned contributors from theology, religious studies, jewish studies and oriental studies will show their research findings in six panels. The conference is organized in cooperation with the WWU Münster and the PU Marburg, and it is promoted by the FAU, the cluster of excellence religion and politics at University Münster and the Dr. Alfred Vinzl-Foundation.

Further information on the conference is available here.

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Bavarian Oriental Colloquium in Winter Semester 2013/2014

Erlangen, Kollegienhaus room 1.011, every 2nd thursday at 18.15 pm

In the upcoming winter semester 2013/2014 the "Bavarian Oriental Colloquium" is going to take place in Erlangen. Experts on the Middle East are going to report from their research and discuss their results.
The Bavarian Oriental Colloquium is a continuing event which is held every 14 days in Erlangen (in winter semester) and in Bamberg (in summer). It is a main forum for interdisciplinary cooperation of members of the central institution of Area Studies for the Middle East and the Department of Languages and Culture of the Middle, Islamic and Jewish Studies of Bamberg.
The colloquium provides a forum for researchers and students of both universities as well as the public. It offers an insight on central issues of current research of various sections of interdisciplinary research on the Middle East and Oriental Studies.

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Colloquium "Justice: Aspects and Perspectives" Winter Semester 2013/2014

Wednesdays, 18-20 pm c.t. in the theological seminar building, auditorium B

The Department of Islamic-Religious Studies invites for the colloquium on "Justice: Aspects and Perspectives"

Justice is one of the most important and central terms in philosophy of law, social philosophy as well as of moral theology. In general it is seen as a basic norm that determines individual behavior and social relations that goes through all cultures and epochs.
In the context of the colloquium renowned scientists are going to present the results of their research from different perspectives on the topic, from a philosophical approach, social science, jurisprudential and especially theological.
For more information see the schedule. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Dr. Abbas Poya (
Furthermore if you would like to attend to the colloquium please note that application is obligatory.

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Conference "The Impact of Arabic Sources on Divination and the Practical Sciences in Europe and Asia"

21.-23. January, E-Werk, Fuchsenwiese 1, Erlangen

The International Consortium for Research in the Humanities "Fate, Freedom and Prognostication. Strategies of Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe" of the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg is delighted to announce together with The Warburg Institute, London, the EPHE, Paris and the Union Académique Internationale the international joint conference "The Impact of Arabic Sources on Divination and the Practical Sciences in Europe and Asia".
The presentations and discussions will focus on the impact on practical sciences like divination, astrology, medicine, algebra and mechanics (which are often distinguished from the Peripatetic tradition of the theoretical natural science). The aim of this conference is to examine the Arabic/Islamic influence on these branches – both eastwards and westwards, with a particular emphasis on the European Renaissance. Therefore, the transfer of cultural concepts and scientific knowledge will be studied by looking at a wide range of authors and sources (Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Latin, Greek) comparatively.
In case you would like to attend, please register here via our online registration form until Tuesday, January 14, 2014. For further information, see also the attached flyer.

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