JOURNAL: Islam and Civilisational Renewal (ICR)
- Special Issue: Islamic Perspectives on Civilisational Renewal and Reform
Islam and Civilisational Renewal (ICR) is an international peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by IAIS Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. It carries articles, book reviews and viewpoints on civilisational renewal and aims to promote advanced research on the contribution of Muslims to science and culture.
ICR takes a comprehensive approach to civilisational renewal (tajdid hadari) in an effort to respond positively to the challenges of modernity, post-modernity and globalisation. The journal seeks to advance critical research and original scholarship on theoretical, empirical, and comparative studies, with a focus on policy research. It plans to advance a refreshing discourse for beneficial change, in the true spirit of the Islamic principles of tajdid (renewal) and islah (improvement and reform) through exploring the best contributions of all school and currents of opinion.
ICR is non-political and non-sectarian, and welcomes contributions from a broad spectrum of scholars, community leaders and writers regardless of religious persuasion and creed.
Comments and suggestions as well as requests to contact one of the contributing authors can be emailed to the Managing Editor at: email@example.com
Vol 4, No 4: October 2013 - Special Issue: Islamic Perspectives on Civilisational Renewal and Reform
Mohammad Hashim Kamali
Islam and Civilisational Renewal has been in publication ever since the establishment of IAIS Malaysia in 2008. When we started with this choice of name for our flagship journal, our main objective was to broaden the scope and horizons of the Islamic discourse that had been unduly narrowed down during the closing decades of twentieth century and ever since. The post-Islamic resurgence and fundamentalist discourse focused on concerns relating to fiqh issues, mannerisms, food, personal appearance and dress, while paying scant attention to the broader themes and objectives of Islamic civilisation, such as justice, human dignity, good governance, poverty eradication, economic development and education. ICR was launched with this admittedly broad and challenging agenda of widening the scope and horizons of the discourse on Islamic civilisation, its objectives and values.
Tajdid, Islah, and Civilisational Renewal in Islam
Mohammad Hashim Kamali
The basic theme of this article is that civilisational renewal is an integral part of Islamic thought. The article looks into the meaning, definition and origins of tajdīd, iṣlāḥ and their relationship with ijtihād, and how these have been manifested in the writings and contributions of the thought leaders of Islam throughout its history. The article develops tajdīd-related formulas and guidelines that should lead the efforts of contemporary Muslims in articulating the objectives of inter-civilisational harmony and their cooperation for the common good.
Islamic Civilisation as a Global Presence with Special Reference to Its Knowledge Culture
The main aim of this article is to discuss the meaning and characteristics of Islamic civilisation and its global presence, particularly in the field of knowledge culture. Since both terms have been contested in contemporary scholarship to the point of their critics denying epistemic legitimacy to the concept of Islamic civilisation itself, the article devotes a lengthy discussion to defending its continuing validity and legitimacy. The most serious challenge comes from the concept of world-system developed by a number of Western thinkers, especially Immanuel Wallerstein. The article also explains the meaning of a civilisation’s global presence, which it argues exists at three different levels, namely territorial presence, cultural presence, and intellectual-spiritual presence. It argues that in the case of Islamic civilisation, its global presence exists at all the three levels. Since knowledge culture is presented as the very heart of Islamic civilisation given the fact that Islam claims to be the religion of knowledge, the article provides an introductory discussion of some important aspects of knowledge culture originating from Islamic civilisation that have become accepted through the West as integral parts of our common modern civilisation. The article concludes with suggestions for further studies and research on the theme of Islamic civilisation’s global presence but from new perspectives in the light of new realities in intercultural and inter-civilisational relations.
Ibn Khaldun and the Good Madina
Syed Farid Alatas
Ibn Khaldūn’s theory of the rise and decline of states, and the key concept of social solidarity, ‘aṣabīya, provides rich source material for elaborating normative or prescriptive discussions on the nature of a good polity or civilised society. This renders him extremely relevant to the study of modern societies, even those that lack the nomadic-sedentary dynamic that furnished the material for Ibn Khaldūn’s original science of human society. Ibn Khaldūn’s concepts of authority are of great relevance to the modern Muslim world, not least because of the prevalence today of mulk tabī‘ī or unbridled kingship in Muslim realms. In line with his overall science of human society was his interest in the relationship between education and society. The relevance of his outlook on education lies more in the area of the philosophy of education and displays timeless and universal applicability. Ibn Khaldūn covered the proper methods of teaching and learning and discussed learning capacity, memorisation, curriculum, teacher strictness and the breadth and depth of education.
The madīna, the form of social organisation which he saw all around him, was not all bad, in his view, but there was an inevitable movement towards degeneration and decay. In the early stages of the up cycle, the madīna displayed numerous political, economic and social dimensions that are worthy of emulation, and Ibn Khaldūn expounds on these in his discussions of the nature of authority, the role of the government in the economy, and the nature of education. Life in the madīna is founded on certain universal values such as the rule of law, justice, accountability, responsibility, and the quest for knowledge and truth. Unfortunately such values do not inform many modern societies of the Muslim world today and should be given more emphasis in our discussions on civilisational renewal. At the heart of the problem is perhaps education. Ibn Khaldūn’s reflections on education take into account politics, language, city life and social class. He also dealt with the methods and procedures of education and can be seen to be an innovator in pedagogy. For Ibn Khaldūn, the way to the good madīna is through an holistic education that produces not just competent but moral individuals. This view implies an entire corpus of practical recommendations in the educational realm in Muslim nations today.
Muslims and Modernity: After Two and a Half Centuries What Have We Learnt? A Meta-Study of the Main Lessons of an Eventful Encounter
My aim in this paper is to explore, from an epistemic point of view, the main cause of the failure of the ‘projects’ introduced/developed by Muslim intellectuals/activists in response to the challenges posed by modernity/postmodernity in the past two and a half centuries. The paper discusses four different responses by Muslim elites to the challenges of modernity and post-modernity. The paper suggests a conjecture concerning the main epistemological cause of Muslims underdevelopment and follows this by critically assessing one particular project, namely, Islamisation of Knowledge, as a typical case which exemplifies the conjecture in question.
Islam and Civilisational Renewal: The Case for “Sacred Science”
Abdul Rashid Moten
The Islamic or Muslim civilisation was once at an incomparable peak in terms of all possible indicators of development. But a destruction of the spirit of inquiry and original research so distinctly associated with civilisational development served to sow the seeds of decay and render it easy prey for colonial exploitation. Confronted with a world dominated by Western science and technology, Muslim scholars have been searching for ways to regain their freedom, control their collective lives and link their past to the future. Some opted for a “secularisation thesis”, others advocated liberalisation, still others advocated adoption of science since the Qur’an and science could be seen to complement each other. Seyyed Hossein Nasr asks for the revival of Islamic science. Through a textual analysis of his writings, this study shows that Nasr provides a critique of the Western science and technology, while urging Muslims to study it in depth in order to undertake an authentic critique and to develop a new paradigm to usher in the new golden days of Islam.
Civilisational Conflict, Renewal, or Transformation: Potential Role of the OIC
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) came into existence at the end of the 20th century during the Cold War, a period that also witnessed concerns among many Western intellectuals about the decline of the West. By the end of the century and the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the “clash of civilizations” thesis had placed Islamic civilisation at the center of international politics, once again raising questions about world peace and co-existence between civilisations. Could Islamic civilisation as represented by the OIC play a role at this juncture of history? Does it possess the capacity and know-how to meet this challenge? Such questions relate also to ideas of worldview: the Renaissance worldview of the West may be seen to have been tainted by Darwinism and Freudianism while the Islamic worldview appears corrupted by extremism. Can the OIC revive the universal Islamic values such as those upheld by Muhammad Iqbal – the 20th century student of Rumi? Can it do so in the context of tumultuous intra-Muslim relations? These questions frame our discussion in this paper.
Constitutional Governance and the Future of Islamic Civilisation
Tengku Ahmad Hazri
The article advances the argument that Islamic law, more than a mere legal system, represents a legal tradition. A legal tradition stands at the heart of civilisations generally, and Islamic civilisation particularly. Constitutional design in Muslim states must have this backdrop in mind because modern constitutionalism is typically carried out within the framework of modern nation-states, instead of civilisations. The danger then is that the constitution may end up as a kind of “fiat constitution”. By excavating the historical and philosophical foundations of the modern constitution, the article then shows that the very idea of constitutionalism itself actually accommodates the idea of legal tradition, but unfortunately in practice, it is often ignored when designing the constitution of Muslim states. The article also identifies six core constitutional fault lines of contemporary Islamic civilisation, areas which are most vulnerable to conflicts.
The Impact of Nationalism on Civilisational Development and Human Security: Works of Said Nursi and Musa Jarullah
This essay is an attempt to outline the ideology of nationalism, its types and impact on the well-being of societies from the viewpoints of two Muslim intellectuals, Said Nursi and Musa Jārullāh. Based on the predictions of these two scholars and the current political developments, it identifies the ideas of negative nationalism and racism to be one of the main reasons behind moral corruption, social, political and economic injustice prevalent in the modern world; and it offers some solutions to bring compassion, security, peace and harmony to humankind. The essay suggests that the universal principles of peace, fairness and virtue derived from the revealed religions can produce true civilisations, and offer true happiness and harmony to all members of the society regardless of their ethnic or ideological backgrounds. It also suggests that modern methods of studying political and social developments in the Muslim world should be urgently revised.
The Religious Thrust of Islamic Civilisation
Mohammad Hashim Kamali
Civilisation implies settlement, to be sedentary or settled in a region, as distinguished from a bedouin or nomadic lifestyle. The renowned historian ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Ibn Khaldūn (d. 1406) used ḥaḍārah (civilisation) in the sense of transformation from nomadism to ʿumrān, to an urban milieu inhabited by settled populations and societies. The antonym of badāwah (nomadism), ḥaḍārah signifies the interaction between man and his environment, and has its genesis in man’s quest to harness the existential world around him in the pursuit of worthy objectives. Mankind’s mission as God’s vicegerent places upon man the responsibility to ‘build the earth’ in a manner that befits his status as the most honoured of God’s creatures.1 The English word civilisation is derived from civitas, a Latin term which means ‘pertaining to the citizen’ or ‘a state’, thus implying a transformation from nomadism to urbanity and settlement.
Modernism and Traditionalism in Islam: A Plea for Realism
The benefits of modernisation cannot be ignored any more than its failings. Nothing should be accepted or rejected merely because it is modern. Likewise, nothing should be accepted or rejected merely because it is traditional. There is much that is good in modernity, and much that is good in traditional societies. There is much that is bad in modernity, and much that is bad in traditional societies.
In practice, any politically active movement that opposes Westernisation and calls for the enforcement of Islamic law is termed “Islamic fundamentalism.” One must be careful to distinguish so-called fundamentalists from traditional Muslim groups, for there are Muslim groups that have been anti-intellectualist, anti-philosophical and rather outwardly oriented throughout the history of Islamic civilisation. On the other hand, there are some revolutionary Muslims who have been philosophers and mystics.