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Epistemological Crisis in Ethical Governance and Constructing a New Islamic Episteme as an Ethical Theory: A Case of Institution of Hisbah

KHALEEL, FAWAD (2016) Epistemological Crisis in Ethical Governance and Constructing a New Islamic Episteme as an Ethical Theory: A Case of Institution of Hisbah. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The research presented in this thesis explores the governance within Islamic thought in the case of the institution of hisbah as well as exploring the episteme that is the cause of the recognised and unrecognised incoherencies and inconsistencies in the theories, regulations, and laws associated to the institution of hisbah. The analysis is based on conducting an epistemological examination in moral philosophical dialect in relation to the historical regulative institution of hisbah. Institution of hisbah constitutes the focus of this research, because this institution was politically structured, theologically positioned and theoretically entrusted to maintain public law and order, with the objective of supervising the behaviour in society and market from an Islamic perspective by using Islamic legal theories within its own theoretical framework with the aim of subscribing good and forbidding evil.

The analysis presented found that the institution of hisbah was subject to continuous institutional failures throughout its history. In advancing the analysis, the research deconstructs the theoretical framework upon which the institution of hisbah located its operations for the moral governance of the market and the society. The deconstruction of theoretical frameworks point to the use of Islamic legal theory and juristic subjectivity for judging the moral conduct of activities as the root cause of the problem. The study further deconstructed the Islamic legal theory along side exploring for the alternative episteme within the broader view of Islamic thought, given the diversity of philosophical standpoints on good and evil within Islamic discourse. However, the result of this exploration suggests that epistemological crisis embodies the whole of Islamic tradition, which pave the way to a rise in crisis in morality and crisis in legitimacy within the tradition, which resulted in institutional failures, such as the ones witnessed in the operations of institution of hisbah.

The study further discovers that consequent to the crisis in the Islamic tradition, the key questions on good and evil, within the realm of governance can no longer be settled by using the historically established tradition’s epistemological sources, because within the current settings of tradition, there is insufficient or no method of enquiry, form of argumentation and episteme that can address the crises, or through which a solution for the crises can be derived.
By using MacIntyre’s work as a conceptual structure, this research attempts to construct a new epistemological source that may address the crises by specifying a model justified through model-dependent realism with the objective of creating a new point of orientation through which reality and dichotomy of good and evil can be objectively understood, whilst safeguarding the life form of the fabric of belief that is central to the traditional Islamic thought. Such episteme can then be used as an ethical theory by the institution of hisbah for judging the moral conduct of activities in the market and society.

The new episteme is constructed, while preserving the tradition’s consequential essence. The consequential essence is inferred down to morality based on objectiveness and universality, and away from public choice, along with the notion of survival as episteme for philosophical perspective and theological stance. The consequential essence of tradition is maintained by using objectivist ethics and environmental sustainability within the outlines of classic theories on sovereignty of internal and external realm, as a foundational framework to construct the proposed model of ‘objective subjectivism’ as a theory of normative ethics. This proposed episteme as an Islamic ethical theory asserts that standard of value is life and measure of value and purpose of life is sustainability, and through this notion good and evil can be objectively distinguished for each realm, and therefore institutionally subscribed or prohibited for that realm, thus providing a workable framework for the operations of hisbah.

As a research methodology and model construction process, the research presented in this research utilises discursive reasoning to conduct an epistemological enquiry based on critical discourse analysis, which is ontologically justified by model-dependent realism and epistemologically framed under consequentialism.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Epistemological Crisis, Fiqh, Hisbah, an Ethical Theory
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:15 May 2017 15:48

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