Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

The Role of Islam in Water Resources Management: Could it be Integrated into International Water Law Principles (IWLP) for the Islamic-dominated States?

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  • Considering the negative impacts of climate change along with the rapid increase in population in Islamic dominated states, e.g., the Middle East, water tension among upstream and downstream states is increasing. Despite the importance of water in Islamic culture and studies, the role of religion has been under-valued and under-emphasized by scholars. The aim of this thesis is to assess how religion, specifically Islam as the predominant religion in the Middle East, can contribute to water conflict resolution among riparian states. Using qualitative research and a case study approach, this thesis has sought to evaluate how water conflict was managed during the time of the Prophet Mohammad (610-632); to analyze the differences and commonalities of Islamic water management principles (IWMP) with international water law principles (IWLP); and finally to synthesize the two sets of principles into one comprehensive policy-oriented framework to address the equitable and sustainable use of water in Middle East. The findings from this analysis show not only that IWMP are in conformity with IWLP, but that in many cases, IWMP can be more effective. For instance, where international water accords between riparian states of a shared river basin are poorly developed and lack enforcement mechanisms under IWLP, those upstream can abuse their geographical location, depriving those downstream. By contrast, IWMPs stress the equitable use of water resources among upstream and downstream users. Moreover, although IWLPs emphasize the conservation and preservation of ecosystems and the environment, riparian states, especially those upstream, can pose significant harm to the ecosystems. On the other side, Islam as the religion of peace, has placed much emphasis on the preservation of nature. For example, the verse, “.... And waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters” (Quran, 7:31), illustrates the importance of the sustainable use of the environment. It is argued that if Islamic Water Management Principles are incorporated into International Water Law Principles, the issue of equitable and sustainable use of water among riparian Muslim-dominated states (e.g., Iran, Afghanistan, etc.) can be, to a great extent, resolved.
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  • Pending Publication
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  • 2021-03-26 to 2023-04-27



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