What the "real ISTAC" was and should have been - as envisioned by its Founder-Director, the honorable Prof. Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas
Foreword by Prof. Al-Attas in the translation of al-Asʾilah waʾl-Ajwibah (Question and Answers) of al-Bīrūnī and Ibn Sīnā.
"The International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC) was officially opened in 1991. Among its most important aims and objectives are to conceptualize, clarify, elaborate the scientific and epistemological problems encountered by Muslims in the present age;to provide an Islamic response to the intellectual and cultural challenges of the modern world, and various schools of thought, religion and ideology; to formulate an Islamic philosophy of science; to study the meaning and philosophy of Islamic art and architecture,and to provide guidance for the islamization of the arts and art education; to publish the results of our researches and studies from time to time for dissemination in the Muslim world; to establish a superior library reflecting the religious and intellectual traditions both of the Islamic and Western civilizations as a means to attaining the realization of the above aims and objectives. A significant measure of these aims and objectives has in fact already been realized in various stages of fulfillment. ISTAC has already begun operating as a graduate institution of higher learning open to international scholars and students engaged in research and studies on Islamic theology philosophy, and metaphysics; science, civilization, languages, and comparative thought and religion. It has already assembled a respectable and noble library reflecting the fields encompassing its aims and objectives.
In order to learn from the past and be able to equip ourselves spiritually and intellectually for the future, we must return to the early masters of the religious and intellectual tradition of Islam, which was established upon the sacred foundation of the Holy Qur'an and the Tradition of the Holy Prophet. With this in view, one of the principal means of attaining the aims and objectives of ISTAC is the publication of major works of illustrious Muslims scholars of the past together with critical studies of the texts in oder to introduce the brilliant minds that represent Islamic classical thought and tradition to the present and future generations. The availability of such sources will provide the Muslim nation with the fundamental basis for the promotion of its material and spiritual life. As part of our efforts to achieve this end, ISTAC has established a series entitled "Islamic Thought", devoted to translation and critical studies of Islamic texts on subjects dealing with theology, philosophy, and metaphysics, including the sciences of the Muslims pertaining to them.
We are pleased to announce that we have published the first and second volume in this series which is the Kitāb al-ʿalā Jālīnūs of Muḥammad ibn Zakariyya al-Rāzī, and the Bayān al-Ḥaqq of al-Lawkarī. The publication of this series is done under our supervision with the able assistance of Professor Mehdi Mohaghegh who is Distinguished Professor of Islamic Philosophy at ISTAC. The present volume namely al-Asʾilah waʾl-Ajwibahof al-Bīrūnī and Ibn Sīnā is the third in the series.
We pray to Almighty God for success in this venture and solicit scholars and Islamologists from all over the world to help us in this important and worthy task."
Professor Dr. Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas Founder-Director and
HolderDistinguished Al-Ghazali Chair of Islamic Thought
International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization
- cited from Al-Asʾilah waʾl-Awjibah (Questions and Answers): Including the further answers of al-Bīrūnī and al-Maʿṣūmī's defense of Ibn Sīnā edited with English and Persian introductions by Seyyed Hosein Nasr and Mehdi Mohaghegh, part of Islamic Thought (al-Fikr al-Islāmī) Series of Texts, Studies and Translations - III (Kuala Lumpur: ISTAC, 1995) pg. v-vi.