Social Justice and Poverty in Muslim World and Beyond
According to reports based on UN and other international organizations, “nearly 1/2 of the world’s population, more than 3 billion people, live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty, less than $1.25 a day.” The same sources report, “1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty.” According to UNICEF, “22,000 children die each day due to poverty.” Furthermore, “805 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat . . . [and] More than 750 million people lack adequate access to clean drinking water.” There are obvious public health indices for such staggering statistics: “Diarrhea caused by inadequate drinking water sanitation and hand hygiene kills an estimated 842, 000 people every year globally, or approximately 2,300 people per day.” The impacts are obviously long term: “In 2011, 165 million children under the age 5 were stunted (reduced rate of growth and development) due to chronic malnutrition.”
These troubling statistics include Muslim majority countries in Asia and Africa but are not limited to them. The question no longer is what does Islam have to say about these numbers. The question is what Muslims qua Muslims are going to do about these numbers.
Question of “Justice/Adl” is central to Islamic political thought and it is within the domain of Islamic political thought that we need to ask this question and find our way towards a global strategy for action. In these lectures I will work through aspects of classical Islamic political thought to work out an Ethics/Akhlaq of responsibility.