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[Slideshare]alkaff mosquesession(18 june-2011) (session#2)
 

[Slideshare]alkaff mosquesession(18 june-2011) (session#2)

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ELUCIDATIONS OF SELECTED EXCERPTS ...

ELUCIDATIONS OF SELECTED EXCERPTS
FROM THE BOOK BY HUJJATUL ISLAM
IMAM ABU HAMID AL-GHAZALI R.A.

Ustaz Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail

Information and Knowledge : epistemology from the Islamic perspective. (Part 2 - a continuation:
18 JUNE 2011
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    [Slideshare]alkaff mosquesession(18 june-2011) (session#2) [Slideshare]alkaff mosquesession(18 june-2011) (session#2) Presentation Transcript

    • “ O MY CHILD! “ ELUCIDATIONS OF SELECTED EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK BY HUJJATUL ISLAM IMAM ABU HAMID AL-GHAZALI R.A. THE HERITAGE READING CLUB OF: BY : USTAZ ZHULKEFLEE HJ ISMAIL IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, MOST COMPASSIONATE, MOST MERCIFUL. All Rights Reserved © Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) 2nd SESSION (18 JUNE 2011) A CONTINUATION
      • For me “ reading ” is about seeking “ meanings ” from
      • Signs ( Aayat ) - to arrive at understanding, and
      • therefore a book serves as impetus towards
      • enhancing whatever previous knowledge acquired,
      • hoping that Allah may open for me new insights;
      • new and beneficial knowledge; hopeful that He, the most Glorious and Exalted, grant me with deeper conviction and faith, conviction, and wisdom with TAQWA; and may He draw me closer to His Mercy and Redha .
      Abu Hāmed Mohammad al-Ghazālī   (1058 – 1111 C.E.) “ May Allah bless his soul, elevate his rank and make us to benefit from his knowledge, wisdom and secrets.” All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED
      • The book chosen to be discussed is available to be read by all, and therefore this session is not a session
      • in reading from it .
      • I will only select excerpts from it to highlight a
      • pertinent point for reflection. Points which I find to
      • be most relevant to expand upon, and thereby
      • I shall proceed to elucidate on it.
      “ May Allah bless his soul, elevate his rank and make us to benefit from his knowledge, wisdom and secrets.” Abu Hāmed Mohammad al-Ghazālī   (1058 – 1111 C.E.) All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED
      • As this book contain advice, it is couched in words which may be brief yet seminally pregnant with profound wisdom. By it, those grounded in traditional learning cannot help but be moved to expand and perhaps elaborate with clarity – insha-Allah , the deeper lessons which may be learnt.
      “ May Allah bless his soul, elevate his rank and make us to benefit from his knowledge, wisdom and secrets.” Abu Hāmed Mohammad al-Ghazālī   (1058 – 1111 C.E.) All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED
      • The points which I may elucidate may be basic, which some may regard as superfluous to belabour upon, yet I am humbly reminded that my audience are thinkers and those who aspire to be writers. Hope that you can tolerate this ( Faqir ) poor man’s rambling or, if I may seem to be off-tangent, please forgive me.
      “ May Allah bless his soul, elevate his rank and make us to benefit from his knowledge, wisdom and secrets.” Abu Hāmed Mohammad al-Ghazālī   (1058 – 1111 C.E.) “ Allah suffices me! Glory be to You (O Allah), of knowledge we have none except what You have taught us, verily, You are perfect in Knowledge, the Most Wise.” All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED
    • When knowledge grows, the circle will expand. But with this expansion the circumference (RED line) also increases. Remember : RED line (circumference) indicates our encounter with knowledge which we now realize we do not know. The GREEN area represents whatever Knowledge that we have. BLACK space represents Infinite Knowledge “ We don’t even know that we don’t know them” “ The more we know, the more will we encounter aspects of knowledge which we do not know. And only realization of this which motivates us to grow in learning” *Extracted and elaborated from “Beginners’ Manual on Islam” by Ustaz Zhulkeflee Hj ismail (PERGAS) When you acquire them, your knowledge grows (DARK GREEN area ) All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED
    • “ Those who do not know that they do not know.” “ Those who know that they do not know.” “ Those who do not know that they know.” “ Those who know that they know.” And the wise (those who truly know), will always look at what they are ignorant of, maintaining humility , striving to continue learning, rather than become conceited with whatever little they had already learnt. THE HEEDLESS THE IGNORANT THE NEGLIGENT THE WISE All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED SPECIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE TRULY WISE
    • All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED
    • EPISTEMOLOGY Seeking an Islamic perspective ... All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED
    • All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED
    • Amongst the definitions: “ ....... Knowledge is the arrival * ( hu s ul - ) of the meaning ( ma’na - ) of a thing or object of knowledge in the soul of the subject; and simultaneously,..... Knowledge is the soul’s arrival ( wu s ul - ) at the meaning of that thing or the object of knowledge.” By “meaning” ( ma’na - ) is: “ the recognition of the proper place of anything in a system ...” : Prof. Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas * “ attainment; acquirement” is a better translation . EPISTEMOLOGY All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED
      • It is called “ Ruh ” – ‘spirit’, when we refer to its essence, which we do not know except very little.
      • When it is in cognitive mode of its own existence, awareness of its identity, it is called “ Nafs ” – ‘self’.
      • The word “ Qolb ” – ‘heart’, also refers to our Soul, when it is in the mode of reflection, or contemplation in understanding meanings.
      • When Allah s.w.t. grants Taufiq whereupon its understanding of ‘Reality’ penetrates deeply, it is referred to as “ Lubb ” - ‘innermost’
      • If is guided by Allah to go deeper still, it is referred to as “ Sirr ” – ‘secret’
      • ... Etcetera ...
      • But all these terms refer to the same thing i.e. Our Spiritual Self.
      • WaAllaahu a’lam
      EPISTEMOLOGY All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED
    • EPISTEMOLOGY All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) NOW, TO CONTINUE ...
      • Whatever is outside of the person – to be regarded as information ( ) – not knowledge ( ).
      • Knowledge resides in the person – and is also an attribute ( sifat - ) of the person him/herself.
      • * By person we mean the “ spiritual soul ” - RUH .
      * Unlike those with secular worldview that regard knowledge to reside in the person’s ‘physical’ (brain). All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
      • Information may not necessarily convey any meanings, but can be subjected to process or interpretation – by a human – striving to seek and arriving at understanding of “ meanings ” from it.
      • Knowledge has to do with “ meanings ” – which may include abstract concepts and construct, beyond the material forms.
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
      • Every one may have equal access to a given information.
      • Yet, there can be difference in levels and depths of meaning ( knowledge ) to a given information, depending upon who contemplates upon it.
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
      • Just as raw data input are meant to be processed by the computer , our readings, observations, news, data and information etc. are “ objects to be understood and possible meanings from it to be comprehended ” by us human.
      • It is when cognition of man are applied to process these information, that he/she may be said to arrive at, or possess, ‘ knowledge ’ (i.e. when it becomes meaningful).
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
      • THUS the Qur’an categorize these (information) as: “ Signs ” – aayat ( )
      • Al-Qur’an – aayat Qawliyyah
      • Universe – aayat Kauniyah
      • THUS the Qur’anic approach for man’s education enjoins him to “ Read ” ( ) these signs to arrive at the “ meanings ” – regarding the REALITY .
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
    • Note : Arabic word “ universe ” and “ a scholar; one who is knowledgeable ” is spelt: ( ) All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
    • All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
      • Information gathered are like pieces of jig-saw puzzle.
      • It may seem quite easy to get them, especially when they seemed to be scattered about almost everywhere.
      • Some people are keen to only gather them, to pick them up, to steal these pieces, and are obsessed with merely having as much of them as possible – not realizing its true meaning, its true significance, its true worth to benefit from it, its place and purpose to us.
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
      • Thus, some people may feel that they have ‘ knowledge ’, whereas what they possess may just be merely ‘ information ’.
      • Actually by “ knowledge ”, we are referring to the relevant “ meaning” from that subject that we “ seek to acquire, arriving in our soul .. .” – not merely the subject.
      • The “ Soul ” (or sometimes referred to as the ‘heart’, ‘mind’ or ‘intellect’) is the spiritual Self (of who we are) - our cognitive essence, capable of knowing and of learning.
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
      • Thus education is said to be “ organic ” liken to a living organism – which pertains, primarily, to the growth ( of meaning, realization and actualization ) of our soul.
      • Education, from the Islamic perspective, is not a mechanical construct , but it entails nurturing of a Muslim with ‘Life’ – and the Islamic educators to be likened as the ‘ gardeners ’ not ‘ engineers ’.
      • Actually, (in Islamic education), when acquiring any pieces of it ( information ), a student should also be learning what its meaning and significance is, and how it is to be applied (fixed or connected) unto what he/she already possess thus far – increasing spiritual growth.
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
      • This can only be possible when such pieces are given to them by one who has true ownership of these, and who consents to give these to them and helps them with how they should understand these, and to form (or attach) them unto their overall worldview.
      • Thus, students must be learning from the right person, i.e. those who has ‘seen’ the full - the completed picture.; those who have traversed the path themselves. Only such are the ones who can rightfully teach them how they are to make each pieces to become meaningful to what they already posses.
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
      • And the manner or approach towards making it meaningful (enlightening), may be seen from various perspectives (angles) amongst fellow students in the same class, because each student, although may have a limited vision of what the teacher was teaching, may be granted new meanings - ‘ arriving in his soul ’. Thus in a traditional teaching sessions, ‘knowledge’ expands and increases.
      • Thus being physically present in class with a teacher, learning face-to-face, sharing what they have learnt with the teacher and fellow students, seeking constant guidance etc. has always been a highly valued traditional method (which, unfortunately, we may have lost or slowly loosing through neglect).
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
    • All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) “ TRADITIONAL LEARNING FROM ISLAMIC TEACHERS AND SCHOLARS”
    • All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) MUQADDIMAH: (A senior student explained) : “I have acquired various disciplines of knowledge, spending the prime of my life in learning and accumulating this knowledge. Now I ought to find out, what knowledge will benefit me tomorrow and will be my companion in the grave, and what knowledge is useless to me, so that I may abandon it, as the Messenger of Allah – Allah’s blessings and Peace be upon him – has said: “ O Allah! I seek refuge with Thee from knowledge that does not benefit.”
    • “ Say (O Muhammad): Are those who know equal with those who know not? But only men of understanding will pay heed.” ( Qur’an: az-Zumar: 39: 9 )
      • The cure for ignorance is to ask question
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
    • “ ... Ask from those who possess the Message (az-Zikr : the remembrance; knowledge) in matters which you do not know.“ ( Qur’an: al-Nahlu: 16: 43 )
      • The cure for ignorance is to ask question
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
      • The cure for ignorance is to ask question
      “ Do you not ask if you do not know? Verily, the remedy for such (ignorance) is to ask question!” ( Hadith by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Daraqutni and Ibn Sakin ) PROPHET MUHAMMAD S.A.A.W. SAID: All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
      • Indeed, even after learning much from his teacher, having access to his books, yet the disciple here showed how greatly he was in need of his teacher’s continuous guidance especially when his teacher was alive and he still had the opportunity to refer directly to him.
      • REFLECT: This is the most glaring lesson (which many may overlook).
      • Today, people mistook information for knowledge. People ignore the ‘real’ in favour of only ‘traces’ of the real. They prefer just getting the notes and course wares, rather than striving to be in the direct presence of teachers and the learned; preferring ‘bread crumbs’ when they can attend ‘a full banquet.’ Where is the ADAB ?
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
      • Indeed, it is not a coincidence that the word ADAB is related to the word for ‘banquet’, - as alluded to here, about the Qur’an:
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) “ Verily! The Qur’an is Allah’s Banquet on earth, so learn thoroughly, then, from (or of) His Banquet.” ( Saying from ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud r.a .)
      • Some people are obsessed only with information and tools when they should be concerned about the ‘ quality of the people ‘using these tools.
      • Some are too concerned in developing the curriculum , but they either overlooked or under-rate importance of the development of true teachers; even relegating teachers to become mere ‘facilitators’.
      • Wisdom, knowledge and experience resides in the person (‘ ALEEM ). Thus, it is indeed a great injustice ( ZULM ) in the loss of ADAB when those still living, who are known to possess these, are being ignored.
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
    • All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) “ He is not from my Ummah (community), One who do not respect our elders, or One who is not merciful (kind) to our young, and One who do not know our ‘Ulama’ - Islamic scholars (and respect their rights ) .” ( Hadith of reported by at-Tabraniy ) PROPHET MUHAMMAD S.A.A.W. SAID:
    • All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) PROPHET MUHAMMAD S.A.A.W. SAID: “ The best ones amongst you is the person who makes you remember Allah when you look upon him; and whenever he speaks it increases you your knowledge (of the Deen), and with his deeds it inspires (motivates) you to strive for your Hereafter.” ( Hadith reported by Hakim from Ibnu ‘Umar r.a .)
    • All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) PROPHET MUHAMMAD S.A.A.W. SAID:
    • All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) " Verily Allah does not remove knowledge from the (hearts of the) people, rather he takes away knowledge by taking away its people (the true scholars – ‘ULAMA ), until there are no more scholars, the people then take leaders that are ignorant, and when they are asked, and give religious rulings, (they give) without knowledge, so they misguide and are misguided.“ ( Hadith reported by Ashaab as-Sunnan from Ibnu ‘Umar r.a .)
    • SINCERE ADVICE TO MUSLIM ‘ INTELLECTUALS ’ All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
    • CONSIDER: Behold! Abraham said: "My Lord! show me how You give life to the dead. He said: "Do you not then believe?" He said: "Yea! but to satisfy my own understanding.“ * ( Qur’an: Baqarah: 2: 260 ) * l iterally: “to make my heart tranquil”
      • Beginning of wisdom in a person is when he
      • realizes that he does not know.
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
      • Western scientific approach to knowledge, uses “ scepticism ” as method of enquiry. Whether it is “ philosophical scepticism ” (which even denies possibility of knowledge) or “ methodological scepticism ”, we Muslims must be very careful of those who are using this when ‘ learning ’ and ‘ teaching ’ knowledge of al-Islam .
      • This is because it ( scepticism ) posited ‘ denial ’ to any thesis which cannot be empirically substantiated. Whereas, in matters of belief, Islam does not limit proof only in the use of the five senses ( EMPIRICAL ), but also include the proper use of the intellect ( REASONING ), innate pure instinct ( FITRAH SALIMAH ), as well as reliance upon true and reliable report ( TAUQIFIY ) especially authenticated revelations.
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
      • Our analysis of any new information (potential knowledge) is not made, as though from a void ( tabula rasa ), removing every known truth which we already hold, as a basis or criteria.
      • Especially when learning in Islam, a Muslim cannot be expected to learn something objectively (like the secularist), but must always subject himself/herself to every truth regarding the REALITY thus far acquired, and to build upon it. Just like Prophet Ibrahim a.s. , his ‘ intellectual curiosity ’ is not necessarily scepticism , and does not require him to negate whatever faith he already holds.
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
      • Also remember, “ one cannot ‘deny’ a thing to exist merely on the premise that it is not as yet known (proven) by him to exist . “
      • For even to ‘deny’ something, Islam requires a “ proof ” for its falsity. Without which one is simply to hold to a neutral position (neither reject nor accept), remaining open and not to blatantly deny it.
      • In FARDHU ‘AIN , Muslims are thought how to think; especially the three intellectual postulates: ( HUKM ‘AQAL ) – i.e. WAJIB (inevitability), HARUS (possibility), and MUSTAHIL (rational impossibility).
      • Have we learnt this? Perhaps many “ may not know, that they know !”
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
      • Muslims, who may have missed their subsequent acquisition regarding this in their FARDHU’AIN lessons on their development of AQEEDAH , but went on to be trained in ‘ scepticism ’ may be spiritually (intellectually) harmed. They should be told that “ scepticism ” is not knowledge, but only an admission of one’s “ ignorance .”
      • A doubt, or rather intellectual curiosity, only if managed with humility, leads to wisdom. So do not use scepticism as though it is a badge to highlight one’s ‘ intellectual superiority ’ in learning – (whereas it is but a conceited ‘ cynicism ’ , pretentiously disguised as “ wisdom” !)
      • So please, be humble. Adhere to the ADAB in learning.
      All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
      • Muslims make a clear distinction between :
      • YAQEEN – ”belief (in a certainty)”; and
      • SHAKK – “sceptical (with doubts)”.
      • We are guided by one of the principles ( QAWAA-ID ) :
      “ Certainty cannot be removed (overruled) by Doubt” All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
    • All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) LEVELS OF CERTAINTY LEVELS OF UNCERTAINTY ‘ ILMUL YAQEEN Certainty with knowledge and Intellection. ‘ AINUL YAQEEN Certainty by sight and sensory perception. HAQQUL YAQEEN True certainty – ‘tasting’; direct experience of Reality; RAIBA – suspicious misgivings; wavering doubt; uncertainty; SHAKK – doubt,; uncertainty, distrust; sceptical; DZONN – conjecture; assumption; yet still not certain; guess; inclining towards holding opinion even though still without valid proof of certainty.
    • All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) “ Knowledge is hostile to the haughty youth, just as flood water is hostile to the highlands.” A SCHOLAR WROTE (POEM)
    • All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) A SCHOLAR WROTE (POEM)
    • All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) “ Neither the teacher nor the physician advise you unless they are honoured. So bear your disease patiently if you have wronged its healer ; and be satisfied with your ignorance if you have wronged a teacher.” A SCHOLAR WROTE (POEM)
    • MUQADDIMAH: (A senior student explained) : “I have acquired various disciplines of knowledge, spending the prime of my life in learning and accumulating this knowledge. Now I ought to find out, what knowledge will benefit me tomorrow and will be my companion in the grave, and what knowledge is useless to me, so that I may abandon it, as the Messenger of Allah – Allah’s blessings and Peace be upon him – has said: “ O Allah! I seek refuge with Thee from knowledge that does not benefit.” All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
    • MUQADDIMAH: (A senior student explained) : “I have acquired various disciplines of knowledge, spending the prime of my life in learning and accumulating this knowledge. Now I ought to find out, what knowledge will benefit me tomorrow and will be my companion in the grave, and what knowledge is useless to me , so that I may abandon it , as the Messenger of Allah – Allah’s blessings and Peace be upon him – has said: “ O Allah! I seek refuge with Thee from knowledge that does not benefit.” All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
    • All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)
    • All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011) TO BE CONTINUED ... INSHA-ALLAH
    • http://an-naseehah.blogspot.com/ http://introductiontotauhid.blogspot.com/ http://oyoubelievers.blogspot.com/ http://al-amthaal.blogspot.com/ http://zhulkeflee-archive.blogspot.com/ http://criteriaforaholybook-quran.blogspot.com/ http://with-the-truthful.blogspot.com/ http ://muqaddam-nurul.blogspot.com/ All welcome to visit my web-blog: All Rights Reserved© Zhulkeflee Hj Ismail (2011)