Summer Institute for Scholars – 2011

Contemporary Approaches to Qur’an and Sunna

The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) is pleased to announce its fourth Summer Institute for Scholars to be convened at IIIT headquarters in Herndon, Virginia, USA between July 11- 22, 2011. The purpose of the Summer Institute is to bring together and engage senior and young scholars with a particular interest or expertise in Qur’anic studies or Sunna in focused, organized discussions of topics related to a contemporary understanding and articulation of issues involving Qur’an and Sunna. The specific objectives of the seminar are:

  1.  To develop methods or approaches of understanding Qur’an and Sunna that are both authentic and relevant to contemporary realities and sensibilities in the West and the Muslim world.
  2. To suggest means and instruments of engaging the scholarly community, the religious community, political leaders, the media and the public at large in learning processes, debates or experiences that make intelligible the wisdom of the Qur’an and the Sunna and their relevance to contemporary human affairs.
  3. To broaden the scope of conversations on issues pertaining to Qur’an and Sunna through the inclusion of social and physical scientists beside the scholars of the traditional Islamic disciplines.

The focus of this year’s program is on Iftaa and Fatwas within contemporary Muslim societies as well as where Muslims are minorities. Deliberations will center around the an status of Iftaa and Ftawas and their role within the nexus of the complex relations between religious institutions, the state and society at large.

Papers may address topics related to the following areas:

  • The history of Iftaa and Fatwas from the early period of Islam, to the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties, throughout the Ottoman Empire and up to the contemporary period.
  • Sources of fatwa and approaches to Iftaa with a focus on the major schools of Islamic jurisprudence, both Sunn and Shia. Of particular interest is a Maqasid approach to the making and understanding of Fatwas and its implications on interpreting Qurt’an and Sunna within a contemporary context.
  • The institutionalization of Iftaa in the contemporary era and the major institutions for Iftaa and fatwa (governmental, sectarian, independent, etc).
  • The major issues that face current practices of Iftaa both in Muslim majority and Muslim minority countries. In particular, issues of authority, legitimacy and relevance should be addressed.
  • The future role of Iftaa and fatwa and the challenges ahead.

Interested scholars should send a one page abstract to together with an updated CV by February 15, 2011. IIIT will notify scholars whose abstracts are accepted by February 28, 2011. Final papers should be submitted to IIIT by email no later than May 15, 2011. IIIT will notify scholars whose papers have been accepted for presentation during the program by June 15, 2011. Papers presented during the program will be considered for publication in an edited volume to be published by IIIT.

IIIT will cover the cost of travel within continental USA and Canada and hotel accommodation in Herndon, VA for participants with accepted papers. In addition, each participating scholar will get a $1000 (one thousand dollars) to cover living expenses during the ten days program and another $1000 honorarium upon submission of a publishable paper for the volume.

For further information or questions, please contact Khaled Troudi at or call 703 471 1133 Ext 112