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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES-03

0310-WORKSHOP OF ISLAMIZATION OF KNOWLEDGE (PART I)

Presentation at the Intellectual Discourse Program organized by the Office of the Deputy Rector (Academic) at Port Dickson on 18th – 20th October 2003 by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr omarkasule@yahoo.com

OUTLINE

 

1.0 GENERAL CONCEPTS OF KNOWLEDGE

1.1 Nature Of Knowledge

1.2 Crisis Of Knowledge

1.3 Methodology Of Knowledge

1.4 Classical Islamic Sciences

1.5 Scientific Tarbiyat In The Qur’an

 

2.0 THE PROCESS OF ISLAMIZATION

2.1 The Concept Of Islamization

2.2 History Of Islamization

2.3 Reform Of Disciplines:

2.4 Misunderstanding The Reform Process

2.5 Practical Steps / Tasks Of The Reform Process (2-5 years):

  • Scientific Working Group (SWG) in each Kulliyah
  • Study of Islamic methodological sciences
  • Clarification of the discipline’s basic paradigms from the Qur’an and sunnat
  • Islamic critique of basic paradigms of the European discipline
  • Islamic review of textbooks and other teaching material
  • Islamic reformulation of the basic paradigms of the discipline, muqaddimat
  • Teaching notes that eventually become Islamized textbooks

 

3.0 TIPS ABOUT ISLAMIZATION IN VARIOUS DISCIPLINES

3.1 MEDICINE

        Islamisation is an Islamic context for medicine (epistemology, values, & attitudes)

        Legal medicine is application of the Law from a medical perspective

 

3.2 PHYSICAL SCIENCES

        Concepts of randomness and probability reflect human ignorance

        Scientific laws and theories if valid are sunan al llaah fi al kawn

        Order and harmony in the universe that indicate tauhid al rubuubiyyat.

 

3.3 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES

        Qur’anic concept of khalq vs. European theories of evolution and natural selection

        Perfection, differences, and similarities created by Allah de novo

        Harmony of the internal and external environments are signs of tauhid al rubuubiyyat

 

3.4 ENGINEERING AND ARCHITECTURE 

        The 4 Qur’anic phenomena: taskhiir, istri’maar, khilafat, and ‘ilm nafi’e

        Practical applications must fulfil maqasid al shari’at.

 

3.5 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

        The problem is with I (content) and not T (technology)

        Qur’anic concept of istiqamat is a methodological basis for objectivity and truth.

 

3.6 ECONOMICS

European concepts vs Islamic concepts

         Materialism as a motivator of human actions and economic organization vs. Duality of matter and spirit (rejection of the economic man)

         Scarcity of resources as the basis of economic thinking vs. Abundant providence (rizq)

         Money as a commodity to be traded vs. money as a medium of exchange

 

Concepts from empirical experience

         Production frontier

         Division of labor & specialization

         Laws of demand and supply

 

Methodological tools

         Measurement of GDP

         Prediction of economic trends

         Economic models

 

0310-WORKSHOP OF ISLAMIZATION OF KNOWLEDGE

Presentation at the Intellectual Discourse Program organized by the Office of the Deputy Rector (Academic) at Port Dickson on 18th – 20th October 2003 by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr omarkasule@yahoo.com

 

1.0 GENERAL CONCEPTS OF KNOWLEDGE

1.1 NATURE OF KNOWLEDGE

Knowledge is correlated with iman, ‘aql, qalb, and taqwah. Allah’s knowledge is limitless but human knowledge is limited. Islamic epistemology is based on the tauhidi paradigm and objectivity, istiqamat. Knowledge can be absolute, relative, or probabilitistic. The 3 sources of knowledge are revelation, wahy, inference, ‘aql, and empirical observation of the universe, kaun. Knowledge can be innate or acquired, ‘aqli and naqli.  It can be knowledge of the seen (‘ilm al shahadat) or knowledge of the unseen (‘ilm al ghaib). The unseen can be absolute (ghaib mutlaq) or relative (ghaib nisbi). Knowledge may be individually obligatory (fard ‘ain) or collectively obligatory (fard kifayat). Knowledge can be useful, basic or applied. There are many different disciplines of knowledge. Human knowledge is limited because human senses and human intellect have innate limitations.

 

1.2 CRISIS OF KNOWLEDGE

The most important manifestation of the knowledge crisis is dichotomy in the education system: traditional Islamic vs. imported European. Integration of the 2 systems has failed. Secularization of education contradicts the aim of Islamic education to produce an integrated and perfect individual, insan kaamil. The contemporary ummatic malaise is due to the knowledge crisis that started with the fall of the khilafat rashidah when the authentic ‘ulama were marginalized. This led to intellectual stagnation and widespread ignorance and illiteracy. Revival of the ummah, tajdid, requires educational and knowledge reform because tajdiid = idea + action. Ideas are from education. The vision of the knowledge strategy is an upright balanced person who understands the creator, knows his place, his roles, his rights, and his responsibilities in the cosmic order. The mission of the knowledge strategy is conceptual transformation of the education system from kindergarten to post graduate studies to reflect tauhid, positive moral values, objectivity, universality, and serving the larger causes of humanity.

 

1.3 METHODOLOGY OF KNOWLEDGE

There is no contradiction among sources of knowledge: wahy, ‘aql, and kaun. The Qur’an provides guiding principles: intellectual freedom, the tauhidi integrating paradigm, empirical observation, interpretation, evidential knowledge, objectivity (istiqamat), and application to build civilization (concepts of istikhlaf, taskhir, isti’imar, ‘ilm nafei). Muslims taught the empirical methodology to Europeans in the 15th and 6th centuries but forgot it during their centuries of decline. It is now coming back to them in a new context that reflects the European and not the Islamic world view. Muslims accept the empirical methods but reject the following concepts that have been added by Europeans: philosophical presumptions (materialism, pragmatism, atheism), arrogance (rejection of wahy as a source of knowledge and reliance only on probabilistic and relativistic empirical knowledge based fallible human observation and interpretation), lack of balance (rejection of the duality between matter and spirit, lack of a human purpose, lack of an integrating paradigm comparable to tauhid), and lack of excellence (being Euro-centric and not universal, not open-minded, not methodological, not accurate, not precise, not objective, and not morally neutral). A tauhidi universal, objective and unbiased methodology must replace the Euro-centric and philosophically biased context but not the practical experimental methods. The precepts of tauhidi science are: unity of knowledge, comprehensiveness; causality as the basis for human action, limitations of human knowledge, constant and fixed natural laws (sunan), harmony between the seen and the unseen, 3 sources of knowledge (wahy, aql, & kaun); khilafat; moral accountability; purposiveness of creation and existence; truth as both absolute and relative; human free will as the basis of accountability; and tawakkul.

 

1.4 CLASSICAL ISLAMIC SCIENCES

Concepts from classical Islamic sciences are applicable to S&T. Tafsir ‘ilmi and tafsir mawdhu’e parallel data interpretation in empirical research. ‘Ilm al nasakh explains how new data updates old theories. ‘Ilm al rijaal can ascertain the trustworthiness of researchers. ‘Ilm naqd al hadith can inculcate attitudes of critical reading of scientific literature. Qiyaas is analogical reasoning. Istihbaab is continued application of a hypothesis or scientific laws until disproved. Istihsan is comparable to clinical intuition. Istislah is use of public interest to select among options for example medical technologies. Ijma is consensus-building among empirical researchers. Maqasid al shariat are conceptual tools for balanced use of S&T. Qawaid al shariat are axioms that simplify complex logical operations.

 

1.4 SCIENTIFIC TARBIYAT IN THE QUR’AN

The Qur’an trains the mind to observe, analyze, think and act in a scientific manner. It condemns failure to use the intellect or to follow blindly. It emphasizes understanding and thinking. It encourages freedom of thought and creativity. Its verses deal with descriptive knowledge and analytic knowledge. It describes the constant laws of nature, sunan al laah fi al kawn, that are fixed and stable. It rejects false evidence and knowledge that is not evidence-based. It calls for objectivity and condemns following subjective feelings. It calls for careful observation of Allah’s signs. It uses tools such as logic, similitudes, differences, and examples in inference. Prudence in reaching conclusions is emphasized. The Qur’an teaches the etiquette of scientific discourse such as asking questions, respecting opposing views, truth, objectivity, evidence, and abandoning premises shown to be false. Asbaab al nuzuul are a rich field for training in problem-based learning.

 

2.0 THE PROCESS OF ISLAMIZATION

2.1 THE CONCEPT OF ISLAMIZATION:

Islamization is a process of recasting the corpus of human knowledge to conform with the basic tenets of aqidat al tauhid. All true knowledge whatever its kind and source is Islamic. Islamic knowledge has no time or space constraints because Islam is universal being suitable for every place and time. Islamized knowledge is for the benefit of all humanity and not monopolized by Muslims. The process of Islamization does not call for re-invention of the wheel of knowledge but calls for reform, correction, and re-orientation. Islamization is an evolutionary and not revolutionary movement. It is a corrective reformative movement. Islamization of knowledge is necessary for islamization and reform of the education system. Islamization of the education system lays the ground for the islamization and reform of society.

 

2.2 HISTORY OF ISLAMIZATION

The 2-3rd centuries H witnessed a disastrous process of Islamizing Greek knowledge involving astronomical, physical, biological, and mathematical sciences. Greek scientific knowledge was transferred along with Greek philosophy and ideas that caused confusions in ‘aqiidat. Greek science, being experimental and depended more often on deduction rather than induction, discouraged the scientific tarbiyat of the Qur’an which emphasized observation of nature as a basis for conclusions. The recent Islamisation movement towards the close of the 14th century H aimed at de-europeanizing education systems and building an education system based on tauhid.

 

2.3 REFORM OF DISCIPLINES:

Islamization has to start with reforming the epistemology, methodology, and corpus of knowledge of each discipline. The immediate goals are de-Europeanizing basic paradigms of existing disciplines and thus changing them from being parochial to being objective and universal, reconstructing paradigms of disciplines using Islamic universal guidelines, re-classifying the various disciplines of knowledge to reflect universal values and the tauhidi perspective, reforming the methodology of research to become objective, purposeful, and comprehensive; encouraging growth of knowledge through research, and inculcating morally correct application of knowledge.

 

2.4 MISUNDERSTANDING THE REFORM PROCESS

Some misunderstand Islamization as rejection of the corpus of existing human knowledge and disciplines. Some may look at Islamization as creation of knowledge that is exclusive to Muslims and for their benefit and pride. The content approach aims at rewriting existing text-books to reflect Islamic themes without dealing with core epistemological issues. The spiritual reform approach is discipline reform by spiritual reform of the student, scholar, or researcher. Some approaches to Islamization have been superficial such as ‘Insertion’ of Qur’anic verses and hadiths in an otherwise European piece of writing, searching for scientific facts in the Qur’an, searching for Qur’anic proof of scientific facts, establishing Qur’anic scientific miracles, searching for parallels between Islamic and European concepts, using Islamic in place of European terminologies, and adding supplementary ideas to the European corpus of knowledge.

 

2.5 PRACTICAL STEPS / TASKS OF THE REFORM PROCESS:

It is recommended that a small Scientific Working Group (SWG) be set in each Kulliyah to work on Islamization of the curriculum. The group should meet regularly in mini workshops and compile their deliberations. The group must start by obtaining a good grounding in Islamic methodological sciences of of usul al fiqh, ‘uluum al Qur’an, and ‘uluum al hadith. This is then followed by studying selected sections of the Qur’an and sunnat that relate to methodological issues in their discipline to clarify basic epistemological issues and relations. They will then be in a position to make an Islamic critique of basic paradigms, basic assumptions, and basic concepts of their discipline using criteria of Islamic methodology and Islamic epistemology. This will be followed by Islamic reviews of existing text-books and teaching materials to identify deviations from the tauhidi episteme and the Islamic methodology. They should finally attempt an Islamic reformulation of the basic paradigms of the discipline. The initial output of the SWGs will be an Islamic introduction to discipline, muqaddimat, establishing basic Islamic principles and paradigms that determine and regulate the methodology, content, and teaching of disciplines. A parallel can be drawn with the Ibn Khaldun’s Introduction to History which was the first book of his universal History, kitaab al ‘Ibar. Ibn Khaldun’s muqaddimat presented generalizing and methodological concepts that make sense out of the narration of historical events. In-depth workshops should then be held with all academic staff to discuss and further refine the muqaddimat. The next step is teaching each course and making sure that Islamic concepts replace the European ones. Each lecturer should be encouraged to produce notes for the students. These can be refined, expanded, and upgraded everytime the course is taught. In this way Islamized textbooks will be available in a few years. They will not be perfect but they will be a start for a major educational and civilizational change.

 

3.0 TIPS ON ISLAMIZATION IN VARIOUS DISCIPLINES

3.1 MEDICINE

The vision of the curriculum has two closely related components: Islamization and legal medicine. Islamisation deals with putting medicine in an Islamic context in terms of epistemology, values, and attitudes. Legal medicine deals with issues of application of the Law from a medical perspective. The curriculum has 5 objectives: (a) Introduction of Islamic paradigms and concepts in general and as they relate to medicine (b) strengthening iman through study of Allah’s sign in the human body (c) appreciating and understanding the juridical, fiqh, aspects of health and disease, al fiqh al tibbi (d) understanding the social issues in medical practice and research (e) professional etiquette, adab al tabiib.

 

3.2 PHYSICAL SCIENCES

The concepts of randomness and probability reflect human ignorance because to Allah nothing occurs by chance since He knows everything with certainty. Scientific laws and theories if valid are sunan al llaah fi al kawn. The complex world can be explained by a few simple laws. There is order and harmony in the universe that indicate tauhid.

 

BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES

Biological sciences must be studied from the Qur’anic concept of khalq and not the European theories of evolution and natural selection. Allah created organisms to be perfect de novo. Similarities and differences among organisms were deliberately created and did not arise by chance. Perfection, differences, and similarities could not have arisen by chance as evolutionists teach.

 

ENGINEERING AND ARCHITECTURE 

Engineering and architecture are applied sciences. They have to be studied within the context of 4 Qur’anic phenomena: taskhiir, istri’maar, khilafat, and ‘ilm nafi’e. Their practical applications must fulfil maqasid al shari’at.

 

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY

The dominant theme of IT is collecting and disseminating the truth. The problem is not with the technology but with the content. Only the Qur’anic concept of istiqamat can provide the methodological basis for objectivity and truth.

 

ECONOMICS

The core concepts in European economics are materialism as a motivator of human actions and economic organization, scarcity of resources as the basis of economic thinking, and money as a commodity. These contradict Islamic concepts of duality of matter and spirit, abundant providence (rizq), and money as a only medium of exchange. There may be no problem with economic concepts arising from empirical experience (production frontier, division of labor & specialization, and laws of demand and supply), and methodological tools (measurement of GDP, prediction of economic trends, and economic models).
 

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. October 2003