Mahmoud Bassiouni

Human Rights Between Universality and Islamic Legitimacy

Mahmoud Bassiouni

Mahmoud Bassiouni

Mahmoud Bassiouni is a research fellow at the Institute of Political Sciences, as well as the Institute for Studies of the Islamic Culture and Religion at the Goethe-University in Frankfurt/Main.

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Arabic world rights (Al-Kamel)

»It’s impossible to predict the position a Muslim will take in regards to human rights based on religious affiliation.«


Human rights are caught in a normative area of dispute in contemporary Islamic discourse. On the one hand, they have to be legitimised by Islam, i.e. ankered in Islamic legal thought; on the other, they have to be adaptable to a universal consensus.

In his ground-breaking book, Mahmoud Bassiouni develops a new possibility of satisfying both those requirements by conceptualising human rights as an institution to protect basic human needs based on the theory of Islamic legal objectives (maqāsid al-šarī a).


»This thoroughly researched study on the foundations of human rights in Islam is an important contribution to European Islam; in Germany, it will stimulate and facilitate the research and theory of a modern Islam, which finds itself subjected to attacks from Salafists and other radical challenges.« Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»Not only does the author deliver a good analysis of recent lines of conflict with his book, he also creates a way to transcend group-, culture- and period-specific notions of humans in order to develop a universal and culturally independent concept of the human and his universal rights.« Pankower Allgemeine Zeitung Online