Islamic Concept of Knowledge

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HIST 1000 : INTRODUCTION TO HISTORY & CIVILIZATION
KIRKHS, IIUM

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    ‘Positive’ refers to positivism, i.e. theory of knowledge that knowledge can only be achieved through experimentation and observation, rather than metaphysics, theology and revelation.
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    ‘Agnosticism’ is the belief that God’s existence is unprovable. Don’t know if God exists or not. ‘scientism’ too much dependence on science; mechanization, dependence on machines.
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    ‘Mishkat’ i.e. niche.
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  • Islamic Concept of Knowledge

    1. 1. ISLAMIC CONCEPTISLAMIC CONCEPT OF KNOWLEDGEOF KNOWLEDGE
    2. 2.  Islamic Epistemology: Does it exist in Islam?Islamic Epistemology: Does it exist in Islam?  Islamic theory of knowledge: free inquiry,Islamic theory of knowledge: free inquiry, rational scientific thinking, theory and practice.rational scientific thinking, theory and practice.
    3. 3. DEFINITION OFDEFINITION OF KNOWLEDGEKNOWLEDGE  Rosenthal: ‘Knowledge versus ‘Rosenthal: ‘Knowledge versus ‘IlmIlm’.’.  Knowledge: mere informationKnowledge: mere information  ‘‘IlmIlm: theory, practice and education.: theory, practice and education.
    4. 4.  In the West, knowledge of Divine Being, andIn the West, knowledge of Divine Being, and physical world. Secularization of knowledge.physical world. Secularization of knowledge.  Religion has no role in science.Religion has no role in science.  Islamic stand. Unity of knowledge.Islamic stand. Unity of knowledge.  Ma`rifah,Ma`rifah, ultimate knowledge, springs from theultimate knowledge, springs from the knowledge of self.knowledge of self. .‫ربه‬ ‫عرف‬ ‫فقد‬ ‫نفسه‬ ‫عرف‬ ‫من‬.‫ربه‬ ‫عرف‬ ‫فقد‬ ‫نفسه‬ ‫عرف‬ ‫من‬
    5. 5. MA`RIFAHMA`RIFAH  Ma'rifahMa'rifah: against: against NukrNukr. To know, to realize,. To know, to realize, identify.identify.  ‫المر‬ ‫عرفه‬‫المر‬ ‫عرفه‬ : he informed him the matter.: he informed him the matter.  TECHNICALLY,TECHNICALLY, .‫لرثره‬ ‫وتدبر‬ ‫بتفكر‬ ‫الشيء‬ ‫إدراك‬.‫لرثره‬ ‫وتدبر‬ ‫بتفكر‬ ‫الشيء‬ ‫إدراك‬  Preceded by ignorance. Not for Allah.Preceded by ignorance. Not for Allah.  Imam Razi:Imam Razi: ‫حصول‬‫حصول‬‫اللتباس‬ ‫بعد‬ ‫العلم‬‫اللتباس‬ ‫بعد‬ ‫العلم‬
    6. 6.  Modern writersModern writers define it:define it: ‫إ‬‫إ‬‫مصادر‬ ‫طريق‬ ‫عن‬ ‫حقيقتها‬ ‫على‬ ‫لليشياء‬ ‫إدراك‬ ‫عملية‬ ‫نها‬‫مصادر‬ ‫طريق‬ ‫عن‬ ‫حقيقتها‬ ‫على‬ ‫لليشياء‬ ‫إدراك‬ ‫عملية‬ ‫نها‬ .‫المعرفة‬ ‫ووسائل‬.‫المعرفة‬ ‫ووسائل‬
    7. 7. DISTINCTIONS BETWEENDISTINCTIONS BETWEEN ‘ILM AND MA`RIFAH‘ILM AND MA`RIFAH  In the Qur’an, ‘In the Qur’an, ‘IlmIlm andand Ma`rifah:Ma`rifah: knowledge.knowledge.  Used interchangeably.Used interchangeably.  Objective knowledge with reality / no reality.Objective knowledge with reality / no reality.  Empirical or scientific /meta-empirical:Empirical or scientific /meta-empirical: Attributes of Allah,Attributes of Allah, AkhirahAkhirah etc.etc.
    8. 8.  Scientific or general/ knowledge about God.Scientific or general/ knowledge about God.  Realities/ outer appearance.Realities/ outer appearance. ‫وعلمته‬ ‫زيدا‬ ‫عرفت‬‫وعلمته‬ ‫زيدا‬ ‫عرفت‬ ‫صالحا‬‫صالحا‬..  For Allah/ for humans.For Allah/ for humans. .‫كذا‬ ‫يعرف‬ :‫نقول‬ ‫ول‬ ،‫كذا‬ ‫يعلم‬ ‫ال‬.‫كذا‬ ‫يعرف‬ :‫نقول‬ ‫ول‬ ،‫كذا‬ ‫يعلم‬ ‫ال‬
    9. 9.  Raghib al-Isfahani:Raghib al-Isfahani:  A) general conception/ detailed information.A) general conception/ detailed information.  B) throughB) through tafakkurtafakkur andand tadabburtadabbur / through this/ through this and without.and without.  JurjaniJurjani says:says: ‫المعرفة‬‫المعرفة‬،‫بجهل‬ ‫مسبوقة‬ ‫وهي‬ ،‫عليه‬ ‫هو‬ ‫ما‬ ‫على‬ ‫الشيء‬ ‫إدراك‬،‫بجهل‬ ‫مسبوقة‬ ‫وهي‬ ،‫عليه‬ ‫هو‬ ‫ما‬ ‫على‬ ‫الشيء‬ ‫إدراك‬ .‫العلم‬ ‫بخلف‬.‫العلم‬ ‫بخلف‬
    10. 10.  ThanawiThanawi: Ma`rifah:: Ma`rifah: Tasawwurat,Tasawwurat, and ‘Ilm:and ‘Ilm: Tasdeeqat.Tasdeeqat.  Abu SulaimanAbu Sulaiman says:says:  Ma`rifah:Ma`rifah: Juz’iyyatJuz’iyyat through senses; ‘Ilm: generalthrough senses; ‘Ilm: general principles through ‘principles through ‘aqlaql..
    11. 11. What is Knowledge?What is Knowledge?  ‘‘Ilm, Ma`rifah = knowledge.Ilm, Ma`rifah = knowledge.  Through revelation, observation, studying,Through revelation, observation, studying, reasoning, and experience.reasoning, and experience.  Confident understanding with the ability toConfident understanding with the ability to apply.apply.
    12. 12. Epistemology/Theory of KnowledgeEpistemology/Theory of Knowledge  (Greek(Greek epistemeepisteme = “knowledge”;= “knowledge”; logoslogos == “theory”).“theory”).  The nature and scope, definition, sources,The nature and scope, definition, sources, criteria, classification etc.criteria, classification etc.  "What is knowledge?", "How is knowledge"What is knowledge?", "How is knowledge acquired?", and "What do people know?".acquired?", and "What do people know?".
    13. 13. PLATO’S THEORY OFPLATO’S THEORY OF KNOWLEDGEKNOWLEDGE
    14. 14.  BesidesBesides truthtruth andand beliefbelief, knowledge should also be, knowledge should also be justifiedjustified..
    15. 15. THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE:THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE: ISLAMIC AND WESTERNISLAMIC AND WESTERN  Islamic: sacred, revealed and spiritual conceptionIslamic: sacred, revealed and spiritual conception of man and universe.of man and universe.  Comprehensive. revelation, reason,Comprehensive. revelation, reason, experimentation and senses.experimentation and senses.  Harmonious concept of life and universe.Harmonious concept of life and universe.  Ibn TaymiyahIbn Taymiyah: divine knowledge.: divine knowledge. ) )‫م‬ِ )‫ل‬ْ‫ِم‬‫ع‬ِ ) ‫ل‬ْ‫ِم‬‫ا‬ )‫ن‬ْ‫ِم‬ ‫م‬ِ ) )‫ك‬َ ‫م‬ ‫ء‬َ ‫م‬ ‫جءا‬َ ‫م‬ )‫مءا‬َ ‫م‬ )‫د‬ِ )‫ع‬ْ‫ِم‬ ‫ب‬َ ‫م‬ )‫ن‬ْ‫ِم‬ ‫م‬ِ ) )‫ه‬ِ ) ‫فهي‬ِ ) )‫ك‬َ ‫م‬ ‫ج‬َّ ‫حءا‬َ ‫م‬ )‫ن‬ْ‫ِم‬ ‫م‬َ ‫م‬ ‫ف‬َ ‫م‬) )‫م‬ِ )‫ل‬ْ‫ِم‬‫ع‬ِ ) ‫ل‬ْ‫ِم‬‫ا‬ )‫ن‬ْ‫ِم‬ ‫م‬ِ ) )‫ك‬َ ‫م‬ ‫ء‬َ ‫م‬ ‫جءا‬َ ‫م‬ )‫مءا‬َ ‫م‬ )‫د‬ِ )‫ع‬ْ‫ِم‬ ‫ب‬َ ‫م‬ )‫ن‬ْ‫ِم‬ ‫م‬ِ ) )‫ه‬ِ ) ‫فهي‬ِ ) )‫ك‬َ ‫م‬ ‫ج‬َّ ‫حءا‬َ ‫م‬ )‫ن‬ْ‫ِم‬ ‫م‬َ ‫م‬ ‫ف‬َ ‫م‬6161.‫() آل) عمران‬.‫() آل) عمران‬
    16. 16.  Western: secular, not sacred.Western: secular, not sacred.  Reductionist: depends on experiment, reasonReductionist: depends on experiment, reason and senses.and senses.  Rejected revelation, metaphysical sources.Rejected revelation, metaphysical sources.  AUGUSTE COMTEAUGUSTE COMTE: ‘objective learning of: ‘objective learning of information in its true reality; throughinformation in its true reality; through experiment and observation.’experiment and observation.’  AMIEL PATROAMIEL PATRO: collection of human: collection of human ‘positive’‘positive’ knowledgeknowledge..
    17. 17.  Doubt, skepticism, agnosticism.Doubt, skepticism, agnosticism.  Is it value free?Is it value free?  Partial from Western worldview. No harmoniousPartial from Western worldview. No harmonious conception of life.conception of life.  Mind-body conflict. Ultimately body prevailed.Mind-body conflict. Ultimately body prevailed.  Scientism and mechanization.Scientism and mechanization.  Problematic, temporal and changing.Problematic, temporal and changing.  Hossein NasrHossein Nasr: The West did not take spiritual aspect: The West did not take spiritual aspect from Avicenna (980-1037) and Averroes (1126-1198).from Avicenna (980-1037) and Averroes (1126-1198).
    18. 18. Imam Ghazali’s definitionImam Ghazali’s definition  Information that leads to successful attainmentInformation that leads to successful attainment of the true goal of life.of the true goal of life.  Allah, the Light of the heavens and the earth.Allah, the Light of the heavens and the earth. [Nur: 35][Nur: 35] ‫ه ا‬َ‫ا‬ ‫فهي‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫ة‬ٍ ‫ك ا‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ش‬ْ‫َك‬ ‫م‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫ك‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ه‬ِ‫ي‬‫ر‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫نرو‬ُ‫و‬ ‫ل‬ُ‫و‬ ‫ث‬َ‫ا‬‫م‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ض‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫ر‬ْ‫َك‬ ‫ل‬ْ‫َك‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ولا‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ت‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫ولا‬َ‫ا‬ ‫م ا‬َ‫ا‬ ‫س‬َّ ‫لال‬ ‫ر‬ُ‫و‬ ‫نرو‬ُ‫و‬ ‫لل‬َُّ‫و‬ ‫لا‬‫ه ا‬َ‫ا‬ ‫فهي‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫ة‬ٍ ‫ك ا‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ش‬ْ‫َك‬ ‫م‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫ك‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ه‬ِ‫ي‬‫ر‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫نرو‬ُ‫و‬ ‫ل‬ُ‫و‬ ‫ث‬َ‫ا‬‫م‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ض‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫ر‬ْ‫َك‬ ‫ل‬ْ‫َك‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ولا‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ت‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫ولا‬َ‫ا‬ ‫م ا‬َ‫ا‬ ‫س‬َّ ‫لال‬ ‫ر‬ُ‫و‬ ‫نرو‬ُ‫و‬ ‫لل‬َُّ‫و‬ ‫لا‬ ‫ء‬ُ‫و‬ ‫ش ا‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ي‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ن‬ْ‫َك‬ ‫م‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ه‬ِ‫ي‬‫ر‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫نرو‬ُ‫و‬‫ل‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫لل‬َُّ‫و‬ ‫لا‬ ‫د ي‬ِ‫ي‬‫ه‬ْ‫َك‬ ‫ي‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ر‬ٍ ‫نرو‬ُ‫و‬ ‫ل ى‬َ‫ا‬‫ع‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ر‬ٌ ‫نرو‬ُ‫و‬ .... ‫ح‬ٌ ‫ب ا‬َ‫ا‬‫ص‬ْ‫َك‬ ‫م‬ِ‫ي‬‫ء‬ُ‫و‬ ‫ش ا‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ي‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ن‬ْ‫َك‬ ‫م‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ه‬ِ‫ي‬‫ر‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫نرو‬ُ‫و‬‫ل‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫لل‬َُّ‫و‬ ‫لا‬ ‫د ي‬ِ‫ي‬‫ه‬ْ‫َك‬ ‫ي‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ر‬ٍ ‫نرو‬ُ‫و‬ ‫ل ى‬َ‫ا‬‫ع‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ر‬ٌ ‫نرو‬ُ‫و‬ .... ‫ح‬ٌ ‫ب ا‬َ‫ا‬‫ص‬ْ‫َك‬ ‫م‬ِ‫ي‬ )3‫م‬ٌ ‫لهي‬ِ‫ي‬‫ع‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ء‬ٍ ‫ي‬ْ‫َك‬ ‫ش‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ل‬ِّ ‫ك‬ُ‫و‬ ‫ب‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫لل‬َُّ‫و‬ ‫ولا‬َ‫ا‬ ‫س‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫ن ا‬َّ‫لل‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫ل‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ث ا‬َ‫ا‬‫م‬ْ‫َك‬ ‫ل‬ْ‫َك‬َ‫ا‬ ‫لا‬ ‫لل‬َُّ‫و‬ ‫لا‬ ‫ب‬ُ‫و‬ ‫ر‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫ض‬ْ‫َك‬ ‫ي‬َ‫ا‬‫و‬َ‫ا‬)3‫م‬ٌ ‫لهي‬ِ‫ي‬‫ع‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ء‬ٍ ‫ي‬ْ‫َك‬ ‫ش‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ل‬ِّ ‫ك‬ُ‫و‬ ‫ب‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫لل‬َُّ‫و‬ ‫ولا‬َ‫ا‬ ‫س‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫ن ا‬َّ‫لل‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫ل‬َ‫ا‬ ‫ث ا‬َ‫ا‬‫م‬ْ‫َك‬ ‫ل‬ْ‫َك‬َ‫ا‬ ‫لا‬ ‫لل‬َُّ‫و‬ ‫لا‬ ‫ب‬ُ‫و‬ ‫ر‬ِ‫ي‬ ‫ض‬ْ‫َك‬ ‫ي‬َ‫ا‬‫و‬َ‫ا‬3535((
    19. 19. Isma`il Raji FaruqiIsma`il Raji Faruqi  TawhidicTawhidic concept of knowledge is based onconcept of knowledge is based on recognition of Allah asrecognition of Allah as al-Haqqal-Haqq, and that He is, and that He is One.One.  A) Anything contrary to reality be rejected,A) Anything contrary to reality be rejected,  B) No contradiction with ultimate reality, andB) No contradiction with ultimate reality, and  C) Open to new or contrary ideas.C) Open to new or contrary ideas.  E.g. Ibrahim’s observation on sun, moon, stars.E.g. Ibrahim’s observation on sun, moon, stars.
    20. 20. Naqib al-`Attas says:Naqib al-`Attas says:  Knowledge refers to the Qur’an,Knowledge refers to the Qur’an, shari`ahshari`ah, faith,, faith, spiritual knowledge,spiritual knowledge, ma`rifahma`rifah and others.and others.  A system of learning which recognizes Allah asA system of learning which recognizes Allah as Master of the universe and man as Caliph.Master of the universe and man as Caliph.
    21. 21. SARDAR: ISLAMICSARDAR: ISLAMIC EPISTEMOLOGYEPISTEMOLOGY  Islamic Epistemology: a holistic concept ofIslamic Epistemology: a holistic concept of knowledge and values.knowledge and values.  Knowledge is related to its social function.Knowledge is related to its social function.  Unity between man and his knowledge.Unity between man and his knowledge.  No specialized, value-free information.No specialized, value-free information.  No dehumanization, isolation or alienation.No dehumanization, isolation or alienation.
    22. 22.  Knowledge, a tree, and sciences are branches.Knowledge, a tree, and sciences are branches.  Grows leaves and fruits with the nature of theGrows leaves and fruits with the nature of the tree.tree.  As the branches do not continue to growAs the branches do not continue to grow indefinitely, so is a discipline, not to be pursuedindefinitely, so is a discipline, not to be pursued beyond a limit.beyond a limit.

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