ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES029912-CRISIS OF KNOWLEDGE (azmat al marifat)OUTLINES1.0 MANIFESTATIONS OF THE CRISIS: ...
Crisis Of Knowledge
Crisis Of Knowledge
Crisis Of Knowledge
Crisis Of Knowledge
Crisis Of Knowledge
Crisis Of Knowledge
Crisis Of Knowledge
Crisis Of Knowledge
Crisis Of Knowledge
Crisis Of Knowledge
Crisis Of Knowledge
Crisis Of Knowledge
Crisis Of Knowledge
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Crisis Of Knowledge

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Crisis Of Knowledge

  1. 1. ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES029912-CRISIS OF KNOWLEDGE (azmat al marifat)OUTLINES1.0 MANIFESTATIONS OF THE CRISIS: QUANTITY & DUALITYA. Quantity and quality:B. DualityC. IrrelevanceD. Divorce from moralityE. Brain drain 2.0 UMMATIC MALAISE DUE TO THE KNOWLEDGE CRISESA. Role of the intellect and knowledgeB. Manifestations of intellectual failureC. Religious and socio-cultural failureD. Political and economic dependencyE. Military and technological weakness 3.0 HISTORICAL BACKGROUNDA. The first generationB. Destruction of the khilafat rashidatC. Intellectual stagnationD. SecularizationE. External factors 4.0 KNOWLEDGE, A PRE REQUISITE FOR TAJDIDA. Tajdid and knowledgeB. Revival movements in the early periodC. Revival movements in the recent periodD. Modern revival movementsE. Reasons for success/failure of revival movements 5.0 KNOWLEDGE: STRATEGY, OBLIGATIONS, AND ETIQUETTEA. Revival and educationB. The new knowledge strategyC. The schoolD. Higher educationE. Education of the masses 1.0 MANIFESTATIONS OF THE CRISIS: QUANTITY & DUALITYA. QUANTITY and QUALITY:The educational crisis manifests in 5 ways: (a) Deficient Quantity: inadequate, impaired or distorted knowledge (b) Duality: incoherent and contradictory sources of knowledge (c) Irrelevance: divorce from reality and inability to resolve current problems (d) divorce from morality (e) Brain drain There is pervasive ignorance of uluum al diin and uluum al dunia. Religious illiteracy, ummiyyat diiniyyat, and alphabetical illiteracy are common in many countries. Illiteracy is felt more acutely as a problem in the Muslim world because Islam is a religion of knowledge and Muslims should have done better. The message of Muhammad was essentially to the illiterate to enlighten them ( p 158 2:78, 3:21, 3:75, 7:157-158, 62:2). Secularization of classical Islamic sciences by studying and teaching them as academic subjects without the spiritual context. People get knowledge that does not change their behavior. Such knowledge has no impact on the general public who hear it from scholars. This in turn has led to another type of duality: between word and deed. What is said is not put into practice because of lack of conviction. Marginalization of classical Islamic sciences: Institutions that teach the classical Islamic sciences usually have the poorest facilities. The teachers are poorly paid. Their graduates have few opportunities in the job market. The brightest students are advised not to enter these institutions.Neglect of the empirical sciences: Some Muslims have considered empirical sciences not sacred and not worth learning. In some cases these sciences are studied but not with the spirit of mastery, use and further development by research. The aim of the student is to get some facts, pass some examinations, and get a certificate that opens the door to lucrative employment. B. DUALITYProblem of duality: There is a dichotomy in the education system: traditional Islamic vs. imported European,ulum al diin vs ulum al dunia. There are competing and contradictory world-views. Some Muslim students study at foreign schools in Muslim lands and others are sent overseas for studies. Other Muslim students study at traditional Islamic institutions in their countries or overseas. Graduates of the 2 systems speak different languages and use different terminologies. Graduates of the European system may not know Islam or its heritage and have little self-confidence in their Islamic identity. Graduates of the traditional system may not understand the contemporary world or the world of the next century. The consequence of this duality is confusion in the minds of students and intellectual schizophrenia of the elite and society’s leadership. Integration efforts: Integration of the 2 systems has failed or has been difficult in several countries. The attempt of integration of the 2 systems at university level by introduction of western disciplines at traditional universities like Azhar has been difficult. Integration of the 2 systems at university level by introduction of traditional disciplines at new universities like the International Islamic universities in Islamabad and Kuala Lumpur is being attempted with much difficulty and the results will be evaluated in due course. Integration of the 2 systems at the school level has many obstacles in front of it. The experience of Islamic schools in US and UK is so far of limited success because basic intellectual and conceptual issues were not worked out. It was therefore not possible to develop complete curricula and text books reflecting Islamic paradigms; these universities and schools are a continuing manifestation of duality occurring in the same building. C. IRRELEVANCEKnowledge dispensed at great expense in many educational institutions is not relevant to the contemporary needs of the ummat and can play no role in meeting the challenges. This runs counter to the teachings of the prophet about knowledge that is not useful, ilm la yanfau. D. DIVORCE FROM MORALITYThe process of secularization in education has succeeded in removing the moral dimension from the education system. E. BRAIN DRAINBrain drain: There are two types of brain drain in the Muslim world. Some educated people move to Europe andAmerica where they can get better facilities for their work and where they enjoy physical amenities and feel secure from the political and security instability in their home countries. Such people become very productive in their adopted countries and are a net loss to the ummat. Some migrate away from their academic pursuits but stay within the country being engaged in business or politics. There are no attempts to reverse the brain drain by understanding the push and pull factors and doing something to reduce their effects. The main push factors are: lack of freedom, no respect for human rights, no recognition of scientific work, being isolated from interaction with other scientists, poor or inadequate research facilities, poor socio-economic environment. The pull factors are largely the same as the push factors but working in the opposite direction. 2.0 UMMATIC MALAISE DUE TO THE KNOWLEDGE CRISESA. ROLE OF THE INTELLECT and KNOWLEDGEKnowledge and intellectual weakness is the most significant manifestation of ummat’s decadence. Human history started with knowledge when Allah taught Adam names of things. The Islamic civilization started with the instruction to the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to read ‘iqra’ and was essentially a revolution in knowledge and ideas. Knowledge enables understanding and resolution of existing problems. Knowledge enables anticipation and solution of future problems. The intellect must be able to analyze and solve problems. It must have a correct knowledge base if it is to produce useful ideas and thoughts. Intellectual failure either results into new problems in society or renders the society incapable of solving its existing problems The knowledge and thought crises interact in a synergistic way to lead to ummatic malaise. Thought failure is a direct result of the crisis in knowledge. The starting point is knowledge. Knowledge (ilm) is the basis for research,  ijtihad, thought, and the rest of intellectual operations. Knowledge leads to thoughts. Thoughts lead to action. If the knowledge is wrong or deficient, the actions will be defective. Knowledge deficiency leads to intellectual failure. Intellectual crisis leads to ummatic failure. The crisis in thought worsens the crisis in knowledge. Clear thought of leaders leads to successful research that generates correct knowledge. Confused thought leads to wrong or misleading knowledge. Lack of clarity of ideas leads to failure in using available knowledge correctly.The intellectual crisis of the ummat is worsened by copying and using poorly digested alien ideas and concepts as well as use of analytic tools that are not relevant or suitable to the Islamic intellectual heritage or contemporary social realities.  B. MANIFESTATIONS OF INTELLECTUAL FAILUREThought failure in the ummah could manifest in the following ways: (a) intellectual stagnation: suppression of the freedom of thought, closure of ijtihad, blind following, taqlid, and fanaticism for madh’hab © Syncretism(talfiq)   which is juxtaposition of ideas that are incompatible without attempting to analyze and either arrive at a synthesis or favor one of them, tarjiih (d) lack of a guiding vision for the present and the future, ru'uyat mustaqbaliyyat (e) superficiality, satahiyyat, and concern with minor inconsequential issues (f) outward manifestations of religious rituals, shakliyaat, with a dead core (g) esoteric sects, al firaq al batiniyyat,  that claim to have secret agendas or knowledge exposed to a select few (h) sterile arguments, jadal,  that lead to no purpose or goal of practical utility (I) intellectual analysis using un-islamic terminology and concepts that compounds the intellectual confusion. Thought failure is responsible for the following issues that started in the past and are not yet resolved up to today. These issues are still causes of controversy when they should not be: (a) the role of human free will versus that of pre-determination, al jabriyah, in human actions (b) acceptance of repentance, taubah, or faith,iman, for persons who commit major sins (c) understanding the nature, dhaat, and attributes, sifaat, of Allah (d) understanding the scope of knowledge through reason, ‘aql,  and that of transmitted knowledge, naqli, as well as the relation between the two.(e) pre-determination, qadar, and causality, sababiyyat, and how they interact in human actions. Thought failure is also responsible for the following major contemporary intellectual issues still unresolved: (a) The woman (nature, role, rights, and responsibilities) (b) plurality of opinion and practice (c) leadership/imamat(qualifications, selection, roles, and scope of responsibility) (d) shura and practical application (e) application of Islamic teachings to today’s realities (economy, education, politics, and  international relations). C. RELIGIOUS and SOCIO-CULTURAL FAILUREAmong practical manifestations of the ummatic malaise in the 15th century are: deficient ibadat, action deficiency, political weakness, economic dependency, military weakness, dependence in science and technology, and erosion of the Islamic identity in life-style. Deficient ibadah: Acts of ibadat are carried as outward rituals with a dead core. There is little understanding ofwahy in all its comprehensive ramifications. Deviations and excesses lead to quarrels and divisions. Superstitions and  bid’a take over where there is little knowledge or understanding. Action deficiency: There is lack of dynamism and activity. There is lack of resolve and a sense of direction. Thinkers abandon practical work. Knowledge and intellect do not automatically lead to action. There must be an inner drive to change society in a practical way.  Many public and private institutions are weak. Administration is ineffective and inefficient. Poor planning, execution, and follow up are common. There is leadership and managerial anarchy.Erosion of Islamic identity in lifestyle: Many youths today are losing contact with the origins of Islamic culture and civilization. This has been achieved by secularization of education systems, changing alphabets from Arabic to Roman or Cyrillic, physically destroying ancient written material to deny access to the heritage left by the ancestors. The Islamic identity is being threatened by European culture being imposed and maintained by force. This culture is not a common heritage of all humanity. Media, arts, and literature in the Muslim world reflect more Euro-centric than Islamic values. The political and economic environment imposed on the Muslim world discourages growth of an Islamic social identity. People are left in suspension: they have lost the Islamic roots yet they did not fully pick up the western culture. D. POLITICAL and ECONOMIC DEPENDENCYPolitical weakness: There is political disunity. The ummat is divided into more than 50 unstable and artificial nation states. Each so-called nation state is divided along ethnic, tribal and sectarian lines. Even small remote communities do not escape the malaise of disunity on basis of sectarian, ta’ifiyat, schools of fiqh, madh’hab, ethnic or linguistic differences. Muslims lack a united credible and forceful voice at international forum. Political institutions are immature. Political suppression and human rights abuse are common. Economic dependency: There is dependency and weakness in the ummat despite immense natural resources. Muslims have relatively little control over resources in their land. They sell raw materials cheaply and buy expensive finished goods. A consumer society that does not produce its basic necessities has developed. There is no security of basic necessities: food, water, and energy. Many Muslim societies lack a future economic vision. Many current economic policies are not a reflection of the teachings of Islam. There is little intra-Muslim co-operation and economic exchange. Many of the national economies are weak being characterized by underemployment, unemployment, high inflation, social injustice, inefficient production and distribution. E. MILITARY and TECHNOLOGICAL WEAKNESSMilitary weakness: Muslims have little control over military technology. Technology is used but is not produced. Access to the more advanced forms is in the hands of enemies of the ummat; they guard its secrets closely. Colossal sums of money have been spent on ineffective weaponry that has not increased military effectiveness. Planning and organization are underdeveloped. There is no overall strategy and no sense of mission. Military resources are wasted in unnecessary internal conflicts planned or abetted by enemies Dependency in science and technology: There are few practical minds that work effectively and efficiently in research and development. The few who exist do not find sufficient encouragement. The situation is worsened by brain drain to Europe and America due to lack of local encouragement and support. Muslims have become users and not producers of technology. There is low understanding and appreciation of technology among the masses. There is no adequate infra structure for future development of S&T. 3.0 HISTORICAL BACKGROUNDA. THE GENERATION OF THE PROPHETThe causes of the contemporary malaise have a historical origin. Some solutions will have to be sought from a deep study of history to understand the genesis of the current problems. The generation of the Prophet (pbuh) was the best generation. The best teacher met the best students and excellent results were obtained. Companions had excellent knowledge and understanding. The momentum of the first generation continued in the era of the khulafah al rashidin and the next 2 centuries. Intellectual progress up to the third century was due to this early momentum. The so-called golden era of Muslim learning coexisted with the seeds of decay. Those seeds eventually became the phenomena of intellectual and knowledge failure that have been described. There is a lag time between reasons for decay and the actual collapse of a civilization. The seeds of decay that appeared after the khilafat rashidat took a couple of centuries before leading to the actual physical collapse of the Islamic state. On the other hand the ummat today is apparently weak but the seeds of a revival are evident. They will take time to bring about visible renaissance. B. DESTRUCTION OF THE KHILAFAT RASHIDATSeeds of the current crisis appeared towards the end of the khilafat rashidat due to the rapid geographical and demographic expansion of the ummat (12-40 AH) that occurred without sufficient time to teach, train and educate the leaders and the masses. As a consequence there was a decrease in the proportion of knowledgeable people who had a deep understanding and appreciation of Islam and its culture. The newly Islamized groups retained many of the old ideas and concepts from the previous societies. New citizens with little knowledge or understanding changed the basic character of the state. Major problems started in era of Othman and led to what is known by historians as al fitnat al kubrat. Othman’s words were prophesy: ‘If they kill me, they will never unite and will not be able to fight an enemy together’. The Islamic state did not know sustained peace or stability after him. The Jewish convert Abdullah bin Saba played a leading role. He exaggerated in Ali until he declared that Allah entered into Ali and that Ali was the rightful khalifat. He spread his fitnah in Basra, Kufa, Syria, and Egypt. Fighting over leadership started and continued. For the first time Muslims fought Muslims. What started as political differences later became sectarian or ideological differences. Texts of the Qur’an and seerah were used in disputes by  ta’awil to support partisan points of view. The old asabiyyat al jahiliyyat returned. New social and political forces overthrew the khilafat rashidat and the ideals it represented were distorted or abolished. Opposition by scholars and thinkers to the new political and social order was defeated by force of arms. Then the authentic ‘ulama and opinion leaders who remained faithful to the ideals of Islam were marginalized and persecuted. Abu Hanifa (d. 150AH) died in prison. Al Shafei (d. 204 AH) was brought toBaghdad in shackles from Yaman and then fled to Cairo with his life. Malik ibn Anas (d. 175 AH) was beaten until his hand was paralyzed. Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241 AH) was beaten until his shoes overflowed with blood). Sterile arguments (Jadal) in the basics of religion appeared. New groups were formed: mu’tazilah, shia, khawarij, jabriyyah, marjiyah, asharites, falasifat, and sufis. C. INTELLECTUAL STAGNATIONSchism and isolation between the intellectual leadership on one hand and the political and social leadership on the other hand appeared. The political and social leadership could not benefit from the intellectual guidance of the scholars. The scholars had no contact with the decision-making machinery that controlled society and were thus denied the opportunity to study and analyze societal problems from that angle. Military regimes that followed started the process of secularization of the Muslim state. The soldier-rulers held political power in the office of the sultan while the khalifat was left to be a powerless figure-head and a source of religious legitimacy for the regime. Corrupt scholars, ulamau al sultan, who supported the new political order appeared. A lot of intellectual corruption ensued Ulama  were isolated from centers of influence in society with no political or social roles. They worked on the fringes to preserve ulum al Qur’an, ulum al aqida, ulum al lugha and ulum al sharia. These disciplines were deemed necessary for the preservation of the central essential dogmas of the diin. Other ulama developed natural sciences like medicine, physics, chemistry by translating Greek knowledge and adding on it. These disciplined were not seen by the new political order as a threat. They were on the other hand encouraged and patronized by the governments. Socially dynamic and politically sensitive fields like politics, sociology, and economics were neglected. This was due to the ulama not being involved in the field or for fear of persecution by the political leadership. Intellectual stagnation (starting 3rd century AH): The period of intellectual confusion was characterized by jadal. The companions and tabi’un had hated jadal in religion. With the opening of the door to jadal, several groups such as mutakalimun, falasifa, sufis and others emerged. Closure of the door of ijtihad became necessary to preserve the basics of religion from onslaught of hellenic and other philosophies. Intellectual failure and stagnation started. Widespread ignorance and illiteracy became common. As part of the intellectual stagnation, the fuqaha concentrated on ayat al ahkam and neglected ayat al kawn. This delayed scientific development in the ummat. D. SECULARIZATIONThe Tatar started the secularization of the Muslim society by institutionalizing the separation between the political and religious leaderships. The separation arose initially as a practical necessity since the new powerful military ruling class had little Islamic knowledge or legitimacy; they therefore found it convenient to rule under a figure-head ‘religious leader’ with the title khalifat. With the passage of time the separation became institutionalized and the pretense was thrown off. E. EXTERNAL FACTORSThe decline of the ummat had both internal and external causes. It is an unrealistic mistake to blame all theummat’s ills on its external enemies. Internal factors are more important and prepare the ground for external factors to operate. Ignoring internal factors is shirking responsibility and hence failure to admit mistakes as a first step to correcting them. Many non-Islamic ideas and facts without valid proof have found their way into the intellectual and religious heritage of the ummat making the existing crisis even worse. The paragraphs below explain some of those external influences. Abassid rulers depended on the Persians in building their state especially the organization of the bureaucracy. Persian ideas therefore spread. Persians had used Greek logic in their religion and this reinforced Greek influence on the ummat. Indian religion and philosophy had their impact. There was continuous exchange by means of trade between Arabia and India. The hellenic influence was most felt during the Abassid era. Abassid rulers wanted knowledge of any kind and any origin. Weakness of attachment to Islam helped acceptance of Greek ideas. Greek learning was adopted for the following reasons: (a) The need to defend Islam using Greek logic. (b) Greek logic was very precise and attractive. There were attempts to reconcile Islam and philosophy. Al-Farabi tried to reconcile philosophy and religion by resorting to ta’awil. Ibn Sina and Farabi tried to explain religion in the form of philosophy. These attempts to reconcile irreconcilables continue even in our times with, sometimes, disastrous intellectual consequences.Byzantine Christian Influences had impact on the following: (a) providing folkloric details on tafsir of Qur’anic stories (b) encouragement of  fabrication of hadith (c) introducing the idea that God can manifest in a person. Jewish influences are discernible in the following: (a) tafsir of Quranic stories using details from Jewish folk-lore (Israiliyat), (b) fabrication of hadith, (c) Attempting to identify resemblances, tashbiih, between Allah and humans (d) confusion about jabr and ikhtiar.   Medieval Europe had its influence through the crusaders in the period 489-690 AH. Contact with crusaders resulted in a 2-way flow of ideas. Europeans who came for the crusades faced a more developed Muslim world. They were civilized by contact with Muslims. Europe learned the letter and not the spirit of Muslim knowledge. Some European ideas entered the ummat as a result of this interaction that lasted a couple of centuries. Europe in the colonial era had a decisive impact on the ummat. Comprehensive military, political, economic, and cultural invasion started with Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt at the end of the 18th century CE. He came with an army and a culture. Europeans in the colonial era faced a backward Muslim world. They imposed a new education system and a European epistemology that inculcated the following negative concepts: (a) refusal of the unseen, ghaib (b) exclusive use of empiricism even in matters beyond its scope (c) doubt of religion (d) refusal of morality (e) secularism. Secularism is the most powerful tool of Europeanization imposed on the Muslim word by colonial rulers. Some Muslims mistakenly thought that being Europeanized and adopting secularism will be a tool to be used in getting rid of colonial rule. The experience of the past 50-70 years in several Muslim countries has proved them wrong. The Muslim world has become even weaker vis-a-vis Europe and America. Europe in the post-colonial era continued to have an impact on the ummat. This was achieved by installation of puppet rulers as agents of Europeanization. Ideas of secularism and nationalism were spread and imposed sometimes by force. European powers have not been reluctant to intervene even militarily whenever there were signs of a return to the Islamic origins. 4.0 KNOWLEDGE, A PRE REQUISITE FOR TAJDIDA. TAJDID and KNOWLEDGEReform and revival of the ummat will occur through educational and knowledge reform. The process of reform and revival is usually referred to as tajdid. Tajdid is a recurring phenomenon in the ummat and is a sign of its health and dynamism. It is a basic characteristic of the ummat that periods of reform/revival alternate with periods of decay and return tojahiliyyat. At least one mujaddid appears every 100 years. Review of Muslim history shows that this has held true over the past 14 centuries. At times there were more than one mujaddid. Sometimes in the future themujaddid will not be an individual but an institution.Tajdid requires knowledge, ideas and action related by the following mathematical equation: tajdid = idea + action. Action without knowledge and guiding ideas will not lead to true change. Ideas without action are not change at all Tajdid requires and is preceded by a reform in knowledge to provide ideas and motivation on which to build. The rise of Islam in the Arabian peninsula was the first act of tajdid. Islam ushered in a new revolution in the world that started with a change in both the methodology and content of knowledge. It came as a  change in overall view/context, tasawwur) It re-established the principles of causality in both the physical and social arenas; these principles and laws had been forgotten during the times of superstition and worship of idols. It reiterated that causality was based on immutable laws of Allah in creation, sunan Allah fi al kawn. It called upon humans to derive some of their knowledge from empirical observation of both their contemporary universe and the historical experience of communities that came before and were destroyed because of unbelief. Islam emphasized objective and not subjective observation and judgment, hiwa al nafs. It also changed the way knowledge was acquired and was used by requiring that there exist a moral context. All successful societal reform starts with change in knowledge. Human history started with teaching names of things to Adam.  This is the first recorded human act of acquiring knowledge in a systematic way. The mission of all prophets started as a change in knowledge and understanding. These constituted a revolution in knowledge. Correct knowledge leads to the ideal society. The ideal society can not be created without a knowledge base. That knowledge base must be correct, relevant, and useful. The social reformers must have an intellectual vision of reformed society. The physical picture of the new reformed society must be constructed intellectually before it physically exists.  If the vision is not clear, the reform will fail. It is very difficult to construct the vision as you go along. Successful Islamic reform/tajdid movements in the past 14 centuries started by scholars and involved educating then mobilizing the masses. The following is a partial listing of reform movements in Islamic history. Distinguishing characteristics of the successful ones were that they were led by scholars and involved change and promotion of knowledge and understanding.B. REVIVAL MOVEMENTS IN THE EARLY PERIODRevival movements in the early period (until 10th century) were more ideological, spiritual, and knowledge reform and led by Omar ibn Abdul al Aziz (d….AH), Hujjat al Islam Abdul Hamid al Ghazzali (d. 505 Ah), Sheikh al Islam Taqiyu al Din Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah (d. 661 Ah), and Sheikh Abdul Qadir al Jilani (d. 605 AH). C. REVIVAL MOVEMENTS IN THE RECENT PERIODRevival movements in the recent period (11th and 13th centuries) had a regional focus and were led by: Imaam Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab (d. 1206 AH) in the Arabian peninsula, Imaam Muhammad al Sanussi  in  North Africa, Amir Abdulqadir in North-west Africa, Sheikh Othman dan Fodio West Africa, Shah Waliullah al Dahlawi (d. 1175 AH) in India, and Imaam Ahmad Muhammad al Mahdi (d.  AH) in the Sudan. D. MODERN REVIVAL MOVEMENTSRevival movements in modern period (14th and 15th centuries) were characterised by having a wider geographical impact outside the region in which the leaders worked directly. They were led by: Jamaluddin al Afghani (d. 1314AH),  Sheikh Muhammad Abdo (d. 1323 AH), Rashid Ridha (d. 1353 AH), Imaam Hasan al Banna, Badee Zaman Nursi, Shibli Numani (d. 1333 AH), Muhammad Iqbal (d. 1938 AD), Maulana Abu A’la al Maududi (d. 1399 AH), and Shaikh Abdul Hamid ibn Badees. E. REASONS FOR SUCCESS/FAILURE OF REVIVAL MOVEMENTSMovements that succeeded in creating a permanent impact had the following characteristics. (a) Scholarly leadership. (b) Revival of knowledge and its spread of knowledge among the masses. (c) Getting the masses to gain a new understanding of their social reality which leads to changes in attitudes and behaviors of the masses (d) Mobilization/organization of the masses (e) Change of social systems, and (f) Establishing new political/social institutions (g) Continuity. Many reform movements failed. The reasons for failures of these reform movements included: (a) personalizing movement which leads to personality cult (b) dealing with symptoms and not the root problems © reactive and not pro-active strategies (d) tarbiyyat and mobilization with no strategy (e) movements based on tribal, ethnic, or nationalistic considerations alone (f) loss of vision and sense of direction and becoming a sect, or order dedicated to a founder. The experiences of the past can not be transplanted to today without modification. Attempts to reproduce a historical experience in its details is doomed to failure because they ignore the changed spatio-temporal circumstances. We can however learn the following from them: (a) Reasons for success (b) Reasons for failure (c) Methodology and not tactics. 5.0 KNOWLEDGE: STRATEGY, OBLIGATIONS, AND ETIQUETTEA. REVIVAL and EDUCATIONToday is watershed in the history of the ummat. The ummat is witnessing the dawn of a new era, an era of change from weakness to strength. Muslims have recognized, identified, described, and analyzed the weaknesses of the past. There is a determination to correct past deficiencies. Resources are being mobilized to achieve fixed goals. Aspiration and planning for a better future vision are in high gear. Muslims realize that nothing can be achieved without strength and power. Strength is both spiritual and material. Material strength consists of knowledge, science, technology, organization, and management. Spiritual strength lies in the return to the eternal guidance of the Qur’an. The contemporary spiritual revival is not unique to Islam; other faiths are also experiencing a revival. The secular alternative is losing credibility in many parts of the world. Only the Muslim world has a credible ideological and practical alternative The ummat is experiencing an all-out effort of total Islamization of society. There is an unstoppable momentum towards Islamization of all aspects of society: thought and knowledge, political systems, legal systems, economic systems, education systems, and social systems.The Muslim ummat is a potential economic and political bloc whose potential is not yet realized. The Rabat-Jakarta geo-political axis comprises of more than 60 states.  There are also influential Muslim minorities in many states along this axis. If this Islamic bloc were to work in unison and co-ordination, it would have had a decisive impact. The Rabat-Jakarta demographic and economic axis has a relatively big population because of a high rate of natural increase among Muslims and falling birth rates in non-Muslim societies of the industrialized countries. Muslims are 25% of humanity and are increasing. Allah blessed Muslims with rich natural resources in their lands. There is generally unity of ideology and culture in the Muslim world. This unity is more real among the peoples than governments. It will come to fruition as soon as governments represent the will of the people. Muslims are now experiencing growing self-confidence, and self-assertion. All these augur well for the future. The contemporary tajdid movement has a lot of strengths but also has basic deficiencies that must be corrected if it is to succeed. Attempts to reform have so far not benefited from deep enough intellectual analysis. The reform movements are more reactive than they are pro-active; pro-activity requires more intellectual preparation. The knowledge and intellectual crises are still a barrier. Reform movements unguided by correct knowledge and understanding will falter and fail or will be deviated from their paths. There is an internal crisis within the ummat that is a remaining obstacle: the educational and knowledge crisis. Real and permanent change must be from the bottom. The bottom is weak . A weak bottom leads to a weak top. A weak top has no inner ability to lead a revival. The bottom can only be mobilized and strengthened through knowledge. The top requires knowledge to create a vision and plan for its realization. A social change requires change in attitudes, values, convictions and behaviors of a critical mass of the population. Attitudes, values, convictions, and behaviors are determined by the knowledge base. Good knowledge will lead to positive changes. Bad or inadequate knowledge will lead to negative changes. Societal changes without underlying change in knowledge and thought will be temporary and will soon lose sense of direction. In the past knowledge change and transmission could occur in the informal sector. Today knowledge is transmitted by the formal school system. Efforts to change or reform knowledge must translate into efforts at reforming the school systemKnowledge alone is not enough.  Action is needed to put knowledge to good use. Action without knowledge leads to disaster. Those in dynamic action acquire even more knowledge from field experience and are better placed to spear head intellectual growth. B. THE NEW KNOWLEDGE STRATEGYThe 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. He participates actively and positively in building society (socially, culturally, and technologically). He understands that development activities must find a just equilibrium between material and spiritual, control of nature and preservation of the environment, technology and humanityThe 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. The goals of conceptual transformation of knowledge are (a) to identify and eliminate parochial aspects of the basic paradigms of the disciplines of knowledge and reconstruct paradigms on basis of objectivity and universality (b) define objective research methodology for development of new knowledge (c)  guide use of knowledge for the good of humanity and the environment The goals of practical reform of the education system are to: (a) abolish duality of education systems in the Muslim world (b) develop school curricula (c)  develop, test and publish teaching material (d) expand access of masses to knowledge through formal and informal institutions. The desired system of knowledge will have the following characteristics. (a) Everybody must have access to knowledge without discrimination based on gender or social class.  (b) Learning must be free/affordable and continuous.  (c) Personal relations must exist between teacher and student so that morals are transmitted at the same time as knowledge. (d) Privately or community-owned schools are the ideal; government should play only a facilitatory and/or regulatory role (e) quality will come from quantity. The aim is mass education in the start; improvements in quality are achieved with time. The following are possible opponents of the proposed education system: (a) The European secular system is well entrenched and has vested economic, political, and military interests (b)  local or national stakeholders who will lose privileges when society is reformed. It is a mistake to start building institutions before minimum theoretical guidelines are in place. It is also a mistake to wait until all the theory is worked out before action starts. Theory development and practical application must go hand in hand. C. THE SCHOOLThe school (kindergarten to 12th year of education) is passing through a moral as well as an academic crisis both locally and internationally. The moral and social behavior of children is worsening. Academic achievement is falling. What is needed is to redefine an Islamic school that should set itself the objective of imparting Islamic education and producing a complete individual, insan kamil, as described by the Qur’an.Islamic education sets itself the goal of guiding a child to an Islamic personality, character, and behavior. The ultimate objective is taqwa. Children are born pure in fitra. The way they are educated and brought up determines whether they will be good or bad. The scope of an Islamic school is wide and includes faith, intellectual, moral, social, and practical skills or attributes. Learning in such a school should be Qur’an-based learning. This means not only teaching the Qur’an but teaching everything else from a Qur’anic perspective including inculcating iman, understanding, and practice of religion. The teaching of the Qur’an should emphasize  tadabbur, reasoning,  substantiation, observation of the world, and critical analysis. The school is a socializing agent. It is a laboratory for islamization of the total society. It should exemplify theadab of the teacher: kindness, sincere advice to the student, humility, being a good example and role model, knowing the characteristics of each student and dealing with him or her as an individual. It should also inculcate the adab of the student: commitment, ikhlas, humility, respect for teacher, and applying what is learned. The school curriculum must be designed with care. It should emphasize the following. (a) Relation between the pupil and the creator, other people and the environment. (b) iman. (c) complementality (body & soul, individual & society, practical & applied. (d) Knowledge-based social engineering (e) Continuity of education and learning outside the class-room (f) Appropriateness to the growth and development needs of the child (g) Equilibrium and harmony, tawazun-wastiyyah-i’itidaal (h) Preparing the student for ibadat and ‘amal salih. Besides human experience, the sources of Islamic education should be the principal sources of Islamic law: (a) Qur’an (b) sunnat © opinions of sahaba (d) Ijma (e) qiyas (f) istihsan (g) istislah (h) istisbab and (i) urf (j) siirat (k) tarikh. The methodology of instruction must have the following characteristics: (a) gradualism, tadarruj (b)Reality/realism, waqi’iyyat © positive attitude to human nature, fitra (d) balance, tawazun.All subjects must drive home the basic thrust of Islam. The aim should be to avoid too many periods devoted to teaching Islam. It is best that Islam is taught in an integrated way with the rest of the curricular subjects. Curricular subjects to be included in the school curriculum are: (1) Qur’an (2) Qur’anic language (3) other languages (4) Islamic studies,tauhid/aqida, fiqh, tahadhib and tarbiyyah, moral and social etiquette, adab,, seerah  (5) science (6) mathematics (7) history (8) geography (9) arts and crafts (10) liberal arts. Liberal arts (music, drama, painting) should be islamized. Islamic art forms should also be considered as alternatives: calligraphy, non-representative painting, tajwiid).Extra-curricular activities should be encouraged such as: essay competitions, art competitions, drama, trips, excursions, camps, songs, sports, practical dawa experiences, amr bi al maruf & nahy ‘an al munkar,  D. HIGHER EDUCATIONThe objectives of the university should be to produce leaders of Islamization. It should extend the frontiers of knowledge by research. Universities must be active partners in societal development by researching and involvement in science and technology. E. EDUCATION OF THE MASSESLearning is an obligation.  Essential knowledge is what each individual adult must know about diin in order to live as a Muslim. Fard ‘ain: are those religious obligations that are incumbent upon each individual like salatand zakat. Each Muslim must know enough about them to carry them out correctly. Fard kifayat are obligations that are incumbent upon the whole community. If some members of the community know and carry them out the obligation is fulfilled. Those who have knowledge are obliged to teach and disseminate it. Useful knowledge must not be hidden from others (kitman al ‘ilm) but must be taught. Harmful knowledge should not be suppressed but should be known only to those able to handle it and not become confused. If it is completely suppressed and in unknown by anyone of the good people it may come into the community secretly and confuse the less educated. Some useful and correct knowledge should not be taught to the less educated who may be confused by it. Etiquette of searching for knowledge, adab talab al ‘ilm: Intention: the student must have as intention learning so that he may serve. If the intention is glory or personal gain, there is no blessing in the learning. The story of Musa (AS) and khidhr is very educative about the adab talab al ilm. The student must try to seek to understand first. Unnecessary and sterile argument, jadal, is not part of the Islamic tradition. Etiquettes of teaching, adab al mu’allim: The teacher must transmit both knowledge and character. In the earlier history of the ummat, teachers were models of character. With the secularization of education, morals became separated from knowledge and teaching. It should be the aim of the new education strategy to close this gap. Knowledge can not grow and develop in an atmosphere that lacks freedom of expression. Assuring freedom of expression for everybody implies among other things that even the ignorant who can mislead others must have their freedom. This risk is worth taking because there is no humanly possible method of knowing in advance what someone will say. If they say something wrong it can be countered with argument and evidence. On balance when both truth and falsehood are given equal chances for expression, the truth in the final analysis predominates. The Qur’anic educational method, tarbiyat qur’aniyyat, is a guidance in this matter. The Qur’an has preserved for eternity the words and opinions of the worst people in human history like Pharaoh, Nimrod, and the polytheists. Their opinions are reported honestly as they were said sometimes in direct speech using their actual words. These bad people had freedom of expression even in the Qur’an. They were countered by Qur' anic arguments and evidence to the ultimate benefit of knowledge growth. DISCUSSIONDescribe the education system in your community or countryDescribe the general education level in your communityDefine the meaning of the term illiteracyWhat do you understand by the term ‘dichotomy of education systems’Describe your personal experience of dichotomy as you were growing upWhat are the main problems of the Islamic religious education in your communityWhat do you understand by the term ‘transfer of technology’.  What are its advantages and disadvantagesDescribe aspects of the malaise of the ummat as they manifest in your communityWhat do you understand by the term tajdidWhat phenomena in your community or country indicate that the process of tajdid is activeWhat does the term ‘Islamization of Knowledge’ mean? How does it relate to your professional training and work?What un-resolved intellectual issues exist in your society today?What are the main causes of differences and arguments among Muslims in your society?Describe the strengths and weaknesses of the primary school curriculum in your countryDescribe the strengths and weaknesses of the secondary school curriculum in your countryWhat roles do universities in your country play in social reformWhat are the means of mass education available in your society. How effective are they?<br />© OHK December 1999<br />

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