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Colloquium | Qas Al-Haq: An Alternative to Capitalism, Nation-State, Parts I & II

Human life on Earth is unsustainable if humanity continues along the same path. The dominance of the nation-state, coupled with capitalism, results in the unprecedented depletion of Earth’s resources. For instance, if humans were to live like Americans, we would require 4.8 Earths to sustain our current lifestyle and allow the planet to regenerate itself. Simultaneously, viable alternatives for humanity seem elusive when compared to Dr. Jamel Akbar paradigm-shifting book, “Qas Al-Haq.”

Akbar argues that in contrast to the current capitalist economic and political models that fails to create sustainable environments, the Islamic legal system, rooted in Huquq (rights), offers an alternative approach. His book discusses how Huquq can address critical issues such as pollution, unemployment, and social stratification.

Within the Western mindset, societies are often seen as either state-controlled or chaotic. However, within Islamic culture, the concept of Huquq under Shari’ah suggests that activating individual and property rights would minimize the role of the state. It’s not a matter of state versus chaos; rather, Huquq fills the vacuum left in the absence of a strong state. Akbar’s proposal of looking at the role of the individual within the Huquq-based system vis-à-vis the state offers a new hope for humanity towards a sustainable future.

Dr. Jamel Akbar is an architect, educator, and theorist. His theoretical contributions center around the built environment, where he measures quality through concepts like responsibility, control, ownership, and interventions. He studied architecture at King Saud University and earned both M.Arch.A.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

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