Faith inspiration in a secular world: An Islamic perspective on humanitarian principles

17 February 2016 Lucy V. Salek

In recent years, there has been more and more interaction and engagement between "faith-based" organizations (FBOs) and secular humanitarian organizations. While humanitarian organizations operate under the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, it is often believed that faith-based organizations cannot be neutral or impartial due to their religious identity and agenda. Drawing on the research of Islamic Relief Worldwide, this article looks critically at connections that can be drawn between Islamic religious principles and those upheld as key to secular humanitarian action. The article outlines the Islamic maqasid al-Shari'ah framework as an example of how religious-based approaches can provide a basis for humanitarian action that is both relevant to Islamic communities and complementary to humanitarian principles.

About the author

Lucy V. Salek
Senior Policy Adviser on Conflict Transformation for Islamic Relief Worldwide

Lucy V. Salek is the Senior Policy Adviser on Conflict Transformation for Islamic Relief Worldwide, for whom she developed Working in Conflict: A Faith Based Toolkit for Islamic Relief1in 2014.