Dutton was educated at Jesus
College, Oxford, where he received both his first degree, in Arabic and
Urdu, and his doctorate, in early Islamic law. Having taught for some
years at the Oriental Institute, Oxford, he is now Lecturer in Arabic and
Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh. In addition to specific
research interests in early Islamic law and the textual history of the
Qur'an, he is also particularly interested in Islam and the environment.
He has published several articles on these topics.
Abstract of paper given at Islam
and Ecology conference:
This paper will first consider the legal position of Islam with regard to the use and abuse of the environment, and second indicate how a knowledge of this can enhance not only our understanding of Islam but also of the nature of the environmental crisis of our time and of possible options for combating it. After a brief introduction to the question of scriptural authority and its relations to "scientific" authority, this paper will look at the main environmental texts in the Qur'an and the Omagaad-th and see how these build up into the overall picture of Islamic law on the environment. Particular attention will be paid to Islamic land and water law, animal welfare in Islam, and Islamic economic theory (especially the all-important issue of usury and its role in the degradation of the environment). Finally, there will be a brief assessment of the potential contribution of Muslims to solving environmental problems of our day, while also considering to what extent an effective response to such problems should be based on communal politics or individual spirituality, or both.