The Golden Rule in Islam: Ethics of Reciprocity in Islamic Traditions

In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

My academic thesis for the University of Wales TSD degree of Master of Research in Islamic Studies was on the topic of the ‘golden rule’ or ethics of reciprocity in Islam. The work can be summarized as follows:

The ethics of reciprocity, known as the “golden rule,” is any moral dictum that encourages people to treat others the way they would like to be treated. The principle exists in the sacred texts of the world’s religions as well as the writings of secular philosophers. Due to its ubiquity in many contexts, it has become an important focal point for interfaith dialogue and the development of international human rights norms. Islam, as a world religion with over one billion followers, has an important role to play in facilitating dialogue and cooperation with other groups in the modern world. The golden rule in Islamic traditions has been explicitly invoked by numerous Muslim leaders and organizations towards this end. This study examines the phenomenological appearance of the golden rule in Islamic texts and modern interfaith dialogue with Muslims. Sources include the Qur’ān, Ḥadīth traditions, exegetical commentaries, extracanonical or apocryphal literature, and contemporary works. Sections are organised by genre of literature and are loosely chronological. Key interpretive points from the classical period are related to modern interfaith initiatives and universal human rights, with a view of demonstrating the ways in which the classical heritage informs the experiences of Muslims today.

Read the entire thesis here: The Golden Rule in Islam: Ethics of Reciprocity in Islamic Traditions

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