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Call For Papers: Islamic Perspectives on Exotheology conference

Online Conference: 10-11 May 2022

Abstract Deadline: December 31 2021

There have been many developments in the nascent field of Islam and science in the past few decades. However, one neglected and understudied topic is the discussion of exotheology. Much has been said from Christian and Jewish perspectives, but Islamic perspectives are still marginal. Apart from Jörg Matthias Determann’s recent book, Islam, Science Fiction and Extraterrestrial Life: The Culture of Astrobiology in the Muslim World, and some works by Muzaffar Iqbal, there is very little development in this area. With increasing interest and attention given to extraterrestrial life in contemporary developments and discourses, Islamic perspectives on exotheology have become a niche area that require due attention. This conference aims to fill this gap by inviting scholars from all over the world and from different backgrounds to help make sense of this relatively unexplored territory. We believe this exploration will elevate Islamic discourses that are directly engaging with contemporary questions. The following are some non-exhaustive, guiding questions that can provide food for thought when writing abstracts

  • Are extraterrestrials even metaphysically or hermeneutically possible in Islamic thought?
  • Are there any theological constraints to there being smart sentient life beyond human beings?
  • Does Islamic scripture contain any affirmations or negations of extraterrestrial life?
  • Would extraterrestrials affect eschatological accounts? If so, how might eschatological accounts change in light of extraterrestrials?
  • How might extraterrestrials affect our understanding of prophethood? Did prophets know about extraterrestrials?
  • How might extraterrestrial life impact our understanding of miracles? If they have technology beyond our current measures, could they have played a part in prophetic miracles?
  • If extraterrestrials exist, how would this impact Islamic jurisprudence and/or ethics?
  • Would extraterrestrials be considered mukallaf?
  • Would Muslims be required to give da‘wa to extraterrestrials?
  • Would intermarriages between humans and extraterrestrials be possible?
  • What philosophical implications could there be for Muslims if extraterrestrial life exists?
  • Are humans really special if there are other sentient and perhaps smarter beings?
  • Could Muslims lose faith if their anthropocentric perspective (human uniqueness?) is strongly challenged?
  • Have you encountered works from pre-modern Islamic intellectual history that discuss extraterrestrials? If so, do their descriptions resemble modern phenomena?

Please submit an extended abstract (no more than 500 words) detailing your idea to shoaib.malik@zu.ac.ae. This should include your full name, institutional affiliation, and keywords.

The deadline for this CFP is 31st of December, 2021. The final decisions will be announced on 10th of January, 2022.

The conference will be held virtually, requiring no travel, on the 10th and 11th of May, 2022. Participation is free of charge. We are planning to publish selected papers in a special issue of a reputable journal.

Should you have any questions, feel free to email Shoaib Ahmed Malik at shoaib.malik@zu.ac.ae or Jörg Matthias Determann at jmdetermann@vcu.edu.

Organizing Committee:

Shoaib Ahmed Malik, Zayed University (Co-Chair)

Jörg Matthias Determann, Virginia Commonwealth University (Co-Chair)

Safaruk Chowdhury, Cambridge Muslim College

Ramon Harvey, Cambridge Muslim College

David Solomon Jalajel, King Saud University

Nazif Muhtaroglu, Bahcesehir University