Monday, February 2, 2015

Islamization of Knowledge

(Photocredit: Sodastream)

(The following is an excerpt from Civilization Jihad and the Myth of Moderate Islam)

The Islamization of Knowledge is generally a topic that should fit under college or under public schooling because it has to do with adjusting what the American and Canadian people learn as a whole. However, when you consider that Dr. Ismail Faruqi’s intent was to place all knowledge that does not come through the lens of Islam through an analysis and then synthesis with Islam, it speaks to restructuring all knowledge. This means restructuring all the sciences, all history and all literature through a critical lens of Islam.

Dr. Shafiq writes that he believes the phrase “Islamization of Knowledge” can be misleading, because he believes all knowledge is sacred and a blessing of Allah. However, saying all knowledge is a blessing ignores issues like knowledge that is against Islam.

Dr. Muhammad Shafiq out of Nazareth College of Rochester gives the reasoning as to why western knowledge must go through Islamization in his book, Growth of Islamic Thought in North America. This book states that:
...the Muslim world’s current inferiority is due to its scientific, technological, economic, and military backwardness. The intellectual decline began during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, when the Muslim world was attacked and devastated by the Mongol invasions from the East and the Crusaders from the West. Politically depressed and without support, Muslim scholars lost their confidence to seal successfully with what passed for “modern” knowledge and technology at that time and became over-conservative. Gradually, an attitude of strict adherence to the letter of the law (the Shari’ah) was adopted…. The major source of Islamic thought and creativity – itjihad – was declared closed, the Shari’ah was considered perfect, and any departure from it was condemned. (Shafiq, M. (1994). Growth of Islamicc Thought in North America. Brentwood, MD: Amana Publications, p. 87.)
Dr. Aaron Segal, a professor of political science at the University of Texas, El Paso, wrote an article on the lack of scientific achievement in Islamic communities in 1996 for the Middle East Quarterly. In his article he posed what he called hard questions: “Is Islam an obstacle to modern science? If not, how does one explain the huge gap in scientific output between the Muslim world and the West or East Asia? And what must change so that science can flourish in Muslim countries?” (Segal, A. (1996, June). Why Does the Muslim World Lag in Science? Retrieved November 7, 2014, from Middle East Quarterly)

According to Dr. Shafiq, his mentor Dr. al-Faruqi believed that “the issues of revelation vs. reason and scriptural authority vs. science do not arise in Islam and science but between the Qu’ran’s interpreters and exegetes and those of modern science. The former have made many irrational and unscientific interpretations. What the Islamization of knowledge seeks to do is to reconceive and rebuild the humanities, social and natural science disciplines by giving them a new base consistent with Islam.” (Ibid, p. 91)

Keep in mind that what Shafiq is saying here is that knowledge needs to be processed through Islamization not because it is at odds with the Koran, but because accepted Islamic scholars disagree with scientific concepts. If he agreed that there was a conflict here, he would be making a statement that the Koran is in error scientifically.

‘AbdulHamid ‘AbuSulayman who like Shafiq writes for the International Institute of Islamic Thought, explained the need for Islamization of Thought more simply, when he wrote: “The modern ideas and instruments did not filter through and pass through the `u┼čul test” (AbuSulayman. (1987). The Islamic Theory of International Relations: New directions for Islamic methodology and thought. Herndon, VA: Internation Institute of Islamic Thought, p.61). Basically, this is an admission that some knowledge does not agree with the authorities of Islam (the Koran, hadith and, Sunnah). The important question here is if knowledge fails this test, is it now haram, forbidden?

If you want to know what Islamization of Knowledge looks like, President Obama provided this one:
Throughout our history, Islam has contributed to the character of our country, and Muslim Americans, and their good works, have helped to build our nation -- and we’ve seen the results. We’ve seen those results in generations of Muslim immigrants -- farmers and factory workers, helping to lay the railroads and build our cities. Muslim innovators who helped build some of our highest skyscrapers and who helped to unlock the secrets of our universe. (Obama, B. H. (2013, July 25). Remarks by the President at Iftar Dinner. Retrieved November 8, 2014, from White House.gov)
For more information on this topic and others like it, buy the book Civilization Jihad and the Myth of Moderate Islam

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