Thursday, February 7, 2008

MSA Conference Timetable

1030 AM-1040 AM - Introduction of Conference and Speakers

1040 AM-1145 AM - 1st Session:

Nature as a Sacred Text: A Qur'anic Introduction to the Majesty and Mystery of the Natural World (Dr. Timothy Gianotti)

This talk would draw a clear and Qur'anically-based line linking the sacred ayat of the Qur'an itself and the sacred ayat said to be woven into the fabric of our bodies, souls, and the world we inhabit.

1145 AM-1245 PM - 2nd Session:

The Global Ecological Condition and Muslim Responsibility (Dr. Maged Senbel)
This talk covers the current discourse amongst environmentalists about the state of the world and the realities of climate change, peak oil, globalization and massive social injustice and upheaval. What ought to be the role of Muslims in light of these conditions?

1245 PM-145 PM - Duhr and Lunch

145 PM-330 PM - 3rd Session:

Rethinking the Caliphate: A Qur'anic Illumination of Human Responsibility Toward the Environment (Dr. Timothy Gianotti)
While most Muslims think of a kind of Islamic governmental system or Islamic History when the word "Caliphate" is uttered, this presentation shows that the term, understood in its Qur'anic context, actually points rather to humankind's special relation to the creation and, through that relation, ultimately to God as the Divinely appointed stewards, caretakers, or "vice-gerents" of the creation. How does the Qur'an describe Adam's role as caliph? How should Muslims view their roles as the descendants and heirs of that first steward?

Reviving Nature's Stature in the Islamic Tradition (Dr. Maged Senbel)
This session would present environmental and social ethics as derived from the example of the prophet (peace be upon him) and the Quran and Hadith. This discussion would draw heavily from the considerable scholarship put forward by Muslim environmentalists over the last three decades. Dr. Senbel will argue that the rise of popularized values of material consumption and desirable lifestyles have directly harmed people and the living beings upon which we all rely for our survival. How can contemporary measures of success be redefined to be in line with Muslim values and environmental and social justice?

330 PM-400 PM - Asr and Coffee Break

400 PM-545 PM - 4th Session:

Healing the Divorce of the Human Sphere and the Biosphere: Toward an Islamic Theology for the Survival of the Planet and the Human Family (Dr. Timothy Gianotti)
Here Dr. Gianotti, drawing upon the Qur'an, the Prophetic Traditions, and the writings of great sages from Islamic History, would argue for the need to rethink the Muslim community's relation with other religious communities and discover the Divine wisdom in the creation of religious and ethnic diversity. In the course of this talk, I would also make mention of contemporary initiatives -- including the open letter entitled "A Common Word" that was released last Ramadan by a host of Muslim scholars and religious leaders -- that are pointing in this direction.

Spirituality, Faith and Remembrance for Conscientious Living (Dr. Maged Senbel)
Here Dr. Senbel would discuss how inherent to Muslim practices of worship are the tools necessary for us to live in a more conscientious way. The essence of Islam and submission imbues Muslims with the levels of humility necessary to transcend our egos and live modestly. Everything from wudu' to prayer to dhikr enables us to remain in a constant state of awareness of our place in the universe. Muslim reverence, if practiced ubiquitously, can allow us to be sensitized to the plight of God's creations and our affect on them no matter where they reside on the planet.

545 PM-615 PM - Maghrib

615 PM-800 PM - Dinner