Marmura Lecture: Feriel Bouhafa

When and Where

Friday, March 18, 2022 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm


Feriel Bouhafa


Conceptions of the Good in Islamic Theology and Philosophy: The Relation Between Metaphysics and Ethics

by Feriel Bouhafa, University of Cambridge

In this talk, I share my new book project on the conceptions of the good in Islamic philosophy and theology in the classical period. More specifically, my discussion shall interrogate the following question: how do we grasp the grounds of morality related to God in Islamic theology and philosophy? My research puts forward a new perspective on Islamic ethics to showcase the variegation of ethical approaches in Islamic thought, which has been overshadowed by the dominant claim in the field that limited the ethical discourse into a jarring perspective between rationalism and literalism. Instead, I argue that the different grounds presented by some theologians and philosophers (11th- 12th) to explain the basis of morality are not premised on a commitment to rationality or the literal word of God rather on diverse construal of the correlation between metaphysics: the domain of God’s actions and ethics: the domain of human actions. After unpacking these different interpretations, I shall glean the different conceptions of the good in Islamic theology and philosophy and their imprint in Islamic jurisprudence.

Feriel Bouhafa is a scholar of Arabic/Islamic philosophy with a focus on moral/legal philosophy in medieval thought. After receiving her Ph.D. from Georgetown University in 2016, she has taken a postdoctoral fellowship in the philosophy department at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg and then served as a lecturer and senior research associate in the Faculty of Divinity at the University Cambridge.