Islamic ethical reasoning involves bringing together information, values and principles in the context of real human needs. The complexity of ethical reasoning requires the ethicist to be able to manage a great deal of information of varying importance as well as conflicting norms. Many scholars have stressed the importance of reason in Islam. Umar Abd-Allah, in his short paper ?Living Islam with Purpose? says ?The authority of reason forms the foundation of Islamic theological and legal thought.? Ibrahim Kalin explores the topic on a deeper level in his ?Reason and Rationality in the Qur?an? where he argues that reason is by itself ?neither a principle nor ground of knowledge, truth and rationality because our epistemic encounter with the world takes place in a wider context of relations and significance.? This context is the metaphysics of creation. In this lecture, Mattson will explore the way in which imagination, as a mode of thinking, relates to and forms an essential part of the reasoning process. Human imagination is both limiting and freeing as we contemplate the reality of the world in which we live and which we would like to see improved.
Ingrid Mattson is Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations, founder of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program and director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary. She earned her Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of Chicago. Mattson has written articles exploring the relationship between Islamic law and society, as well as gender and leadership issues in contemporary Muslim communities. Her introduction to the Islamic sacred text, ?The Story of the Qur?an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life,? has been called ?a delicate balance of highly scholarly material and inviting anecdotes.? From 2006-2010 she served as President of the Islamic Society of North America; she previously served two terms as Vice President. She is the first woman elected to those positions. Mattson is frequently consulted by media, government and civic organizations.