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We urgently need your help. We are slightly short of budget to fund the our research projects for 2020-2021 making an appeal to raise £10,000 to complete this project.

Islam and Artificial Intelligence (AI): An Essentialist Epistemology and Searching for a Legal (Fiqhi) Paradigm to Understand AI in Islamic Law and Theology

Project Summary:

The aim of the project is to attempt to understand how Islam will deal with Artificial Intelligence legally and theologically. There are three components to this research: intelligence, consciences and soul. Legal issues in Islam are solved via a ‘methodological legal framework’ (usūl al-fiqh). This was devised by early Muslim legalists to assist them in interpreting precepts from the Qur’an and Sunnah, thus making this ‘methodological legal framework’ over 1400 years old. Legal change and its precise processes and procedure are a contentious topic between Traditionalists and Modernists. ‘Islamic modernism’ as an intellectual trend that aimed at creating a synthesis between modern values and systems on the one hand and what were seen to be eternal Islamic values and systems on the other hand. Traditionalists believe that Islamic law are rules encapsulated in the Qur’an and Sunnah and documented in the views of classical jurists is Islamic law.

There is a great need for this project. Contemporary jurisprudential issues affect the global Muslim populous and in particular occidental Muslims where the technology is rapidly advancing and accessible.  This project will help identify Muslim trends and their attitudes towards AI. It will help grasp the lived situations to which the relevant fiqh applies and how it is to be applied.

We urgently need your help. We are slightly short of budget to fund the our research projects for 2020-2021 making an appeal to raise £7,000 to complete this project.

The impact of this project is to lay the foundations for further research that in the long run will shape, develop and create a new area of study: Islam and AI.

Brief Overview of Project Description

An important question this project aims to answer is how Islam defines: intelligence, consciousness and soul; and can and must Islamic law redefine these terms to include or cater for AI as the fifth being (angels, jinns, humans, animals and AI). There are two questions related to this project: legal and theological. This project seeks to explore the most suitable Islamic legal framework to understand rules pertaining to AI.  That is to say, can an archaic methodological legal framework devised by Muslim jurists over 1400 years ago be suitable to deal with an issue so idiosyncratic to the modern age and can it cater for the demands of providing accurate legal rulings conforming to the primary sources of Muslim law yet remain sensitive and practical to the needs to modern times. Why is this question important?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is progressing rapidly and making an ever dominating presence in our lives. From our mobile phones (SIRI) to self-driving cars and planes, the scope and potential seems limitless. Bolstered by science fiction movies, AI may be portrayed as robots with human-like characteristics, but the truth is that AI can encompass anything from Google’s search algorithms to IBM’s Watson to autonomous weapons. Currently, the aim is to keep AI focused on the betterment of society such as in the areas, from economics and law to technical topics such as verification, validity, security and control.

The area for the study of Islam and AI is vast and ever growing, and it presents moral, ethical and legal challenges. For the purpose of this project I am concerned with AI in robot form which resembles in design human-like features. Let us take for example a robot which is designed to learn from its environment and able to perform tasks accordingly. The important point here is that this ‘robot’ is capable of independent learning, learning from previous mistakes or incidents and capable to developing intelligence. Human knowledge is more experiential learning as much as it is formal education. If a robot is capable of learning and make sound decisions based on intelligence and free thinking can they be able to express consent.

This is an important consideration. This is because in order test how equipped classical usul al-fiqh is to deal with modern issues. This is because in Islamic law responsibility (known as taklif) is the cornerstone of theological connection with God. Responsibility in Islam cannot be realised without one key ingredient, to wit, intelligence. So how is ‘intelligence’ defined in Islamic theology? These are some of the complex issues this research will attempt to answer.

A Box Set of the Six Books of Hadith

Idea of the Book in a Snap Shot:

The idea of the project is to present 40 selected Hadith from each book of the six major books of Hadith to produce a box set. This box set will be the first of its kind in English. It’s like having a mini-copy of Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim  and others. This box set will be ideal for beginners to Hadith, new Muslims and teenagers.

The aim of this project is to select particular Hadith with the view to build character, promote spirituality, morals, manners and ethics. The explanation of the Hadith will focus on trying to highlight these aspects. Only Hadith which are authentic (Sahih or Hasan) will be selected.

The style and language will be non-specialised and thereby accessible to all levels of readership. It is aimed at introducing Hadith literature to Muslim readership. It will attract those adults who wish to increase their knowledge of Hadith in simple and easy to understand texts. Big books can be very daunting for beginners and may put off many from attempting to read the beautiful Hadith literature. Some readers might find reading big books less engaging. Hence, this box set is perfect for them.

Description of the Project:

Most of the literature available in English regarding Hadith are long and detailed and can be seen to be a big read and because it is a religious text can be daunting for many novel readers and beginners. There are mainly two types of book about Hadith in English. Either it deals with the science of Hadith in terms of its historical phenomena as a vital Islamic institution or thick volumes of English renditions of Hadith corpuses. Both can put off beginners to Hadith or people who do not have a specialised interest in the subject, but wish to enjoy Hadith literature and engage with the contents of Hadith in a size which they can manage and enjoy.

The idea is to make a box set of authentic Hadith. The set will be based on Hadiths from the six major books of Hadith collection.

1- Sahih al-Bukhari

2- Sahih Muslim

3- Sunan Abu Dawud

4- Sunan al-Tirmidhi

5- Sunan al-Nasa’i

6- Sunan Ibn Majah

What this book will provide is a simple discussion of the theoretical parameters of praiseworthy character every Muslim should aspire to achieve, supererogatory virtuous acts of worship, and the moral philosophy (in particular normative ethics) of these Hadiths. It is hoped that this will open the doors for the readers to enquire more about Hadith.

1- Manners and Etiquettes

2- Character of a Muslim

3- Exhortations and Admonitions (Targhib wa Tarhib)

4- Remembrance of Allah

5- Knowledge and Action

6- Beliefs