Conceptual and Methodological Issues in Islamic Research_Mumtaz Ali

November 22, 2017 | Author: Fauwaz Abdul Aziz | Category: Reason, Islamic Philosophy, Epistemology, Quran, Islamism
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Islamic Research Methodology...












Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Kuala Lumpur 1996

First Printing 1995 Second Printing 1996 © Muhammad Mumtaz Ali 1995 All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Director General, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, P.O. Box 10803, 50926 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Negotiation is subject to the calculation of royalty or honorarium. Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia

Cataloguing-in-Publication Data

Au, Muhammad Mumtaz Conceptual and methodological issues in Islamic research: A few milestones / Muhammad Mumtaz Ali. Bibliography: p. 235 Includes index ISBN 983-62-4896-X 1. Islam--Research. 2. Islamic-Research--Philosophy. 3. Islam—Research--Economic aspects. 4. Islam—Research-Political aspects. I. Title. 297

Printed by Percetakan Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Lot 1037, Mukim Perindustrian PKNS Amparig/Hulu Kelang Selangor Darul Ehsan


About the Contributors






Preface Chapter 1

xiii Introduction: Contemporary Movement of Knowledge in the Muslim

World A Retrospect Muhammad Mumtaz Au —

Chapter 2

The Imperative and Objective of Islamic

Research Sayyid Abut Ala Mawdudi Chapter 3


The Meaning of Islamic Research

Irfan Ahmad Khan Chapter 5


The Philosophy and The Nature of

Islamic Research Muhammad Nejatultah Siddiqi Chapter 4



Islamic Research Methodology: Some Reflections

Faziur Rehman Faridi



The Role of Ijtihad and Its Scope in Islam Sayyid Abut Ala Mawdudi 113

Chapter 7

Problems of Islamic Research in Muslim Philosophy Sayyki Zainul Abedin


Problems of Islamic Research in Philosophy IrfanAhmadKhan


Problems of Islamic Research in Economics Muhammad Nejatullah Siddiqi


Problems of Research in Islamic Economics KhurshidAhmacl


Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Problems of Islamic Research in Political

Science Muhammad Nejatullah Siddiqi Chapter 12


Problems of Islamic Research in Political

Science: Some Methodological Issues Obaidullah Fahad


Chapter 13

Problems of Research in Islamic StudIes: Approaches and Sources S.M. Yunu~sGilani 199

Chapter 14

Problems of Research in Islamic Revealed Knowledge (Islamic Studies)

Mohammad Rafiuddin









Sayyid Abu ‘Ala Mawdudi One of the chief architects and leaders ofthe contemporary Islamic resurgence and the founder of the Jamaat Islami of the Indian sub-continent.


Khurshid Ahmad

Currently vice-President of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, Member Senate of Pakistan and the Chairman of the Islamic Foundation, Leicester, U.K. 3. Mohammad Nejatullah Siddiqi Professor at the International Centre for Research in Islamic Economics, KingAbdulAziz University, Jeddah. 4.

F.R. Faridi Prof. of Economics and Chief Editor, Journal of Objective Studies, Aligarh, India.


Irfan Ahmad Khan The author of Insight into the Quran: Reflections on Divine Signs, and an Islamic activist, Chicago, U.S.A.


Sayyid Zainul Abedin Former Editor, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah.


Mohammad Rafiuddin


Former Director Iqbal Academy, Karachi, Pakistan. 8.

Obaidullah Fahad Assistant Prof. Dept. of Islamic Studies, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India.


S.M. Yunus Gilani Associate Professor, Kulliyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University, Malaysia.

10. Muhammad Mumtaz Ali Assistant Prof. Kulliyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University, Malaysia.



All praise to be Allah (S.W.T) Whoblessed me the opportunity to complete this work. Before I record my sincere acknolwedgement of many of my senior professors and others for the work, I feel pertinent to recall a few of my reminiscences here. It was during early eighties when I was searching for the material on the research-methodology in Aligarh Muslim University library to prepare my own research methodology for my research that I got a treasure of invaluable material on the subject in a series ofjournal ofIslamic Thought of earlyfifties and sixties. A study of some of its papers struck me with its serious line of thinking on the problem of research methodology which was quite similar to the stream of thought on the issue generated by the Movement of Islamization of knowledge. It was about the same time when the philosophy of the Islamization of knowledge and its emphasis on methodology was greatly discussed and debated. Hence, I greatly enjoyed both the old articles of the journal, Islamic Thought and the new publications of the Movement of Islamization of knowledge at the same time. Then as Ph. D. research scholar, I decided to edit some of the articles of the Islamic Thought and present them in a form of a book as earliest reflections on the issue of methodology to identify the continuity and development of Islamic thought on the issue. But, my preoccupation on my own dissertation and later some other research activities could not give me sufficient time to venture into this work. However, better late than never! Alhamdu Lillãh now I feel a great pleasure in the completion of the work.


I therefore sincerely record my deep feelings of gratitude and appreciation to the distinguished contributors of the Islamic Thought, most of those who had been my professors at the University, Dr. M. Nejatullah Siddiqi, Dr. F.R. Fairidi and Dr. Irfan Ahmed Khan. I also fully acknowledge the leadership of the movement of Islamization of Knowledge of particularly Dr. Taha Jabir al-Alwani and Dr. Jamal Barzanji who always inspire Muslim Scholars to do serious works on the issue of research methodology. My thanks are due to honorable br. Dr. ‘Abdul Hamid Ahmed Abu Sulayman, Rector, IIUM, one of the pioneering leaders of the Movement of Islamization of knowledge and one of the leading thinkers on the issue of methodology, for his constant inspiration for the work. I am also thankful to Prof. Kamal Hassan, Deputy Rector (Academics) and Dr. Sidek Baba, Deputy Rector (Students Affairs) for their encouragement. I feel a deep sense of gratitude for most respected brother, Prof. AnisAhmed who painstakingly looked through my long introduction of the book despite his busiest schedule during his Deanship of the Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, hUM. His scholarly suggestions and comments greatly benefitted me in the improvement of the work. I am thankful to my wife Dr. Zeenath Kausar for constantly encouraging me for the completion of the work. I am indeed grateful to my children Roase, Muznah and Humnah for often sacrificing their evening outings with me for the work. My thanks are due to Br. Sya’ari ‘Abdullah, Deputy Director General, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, and his editorial staff for the publication of the book. -


Intellectual ingenuity, academic creative pursuits and ijtihadic endeavours are the factors which make up the chemistry of the political domination and intellectual supremacy of a community over other communities of the world. The community of people which takes initative on this path becomes the genuine guide and leader of other nations as its ideas become the dominant ruling ideas of the time. Those nations, on the other hand, which lag behind in this respect, are forced to assume the role offollowers and imitators. These latter may have their beliefs and ideals but they lose force and become too weak to maintain their hold on minds. They are unable to stand and are easily swept against the strong waves of ideas of the intellectually creative nation. Until the time Muslims kept their forward movement in searching and thinking, and proved themselves more creative than others, other nations of the world followed and imitated them; Islamic thinking remained the dominant paradigm of the whole humanity But when the Muslim community stopped producing thoughtful and industrious creative men of thinking, when the habit of thinking and probing was abandoned and the forces of tiredness and inertia took over them, they infact resigned themselves from their natural role of being the leader and guide of humanity. At the same time, on the other side, the nations of the west stepped forward to employ the faculties of thinking and searching. Theyprobed into the mysteries of universe and uncovered the treasure of powers hidden in the nature. The result of all this was same as expected. They became the leaders of the world and Muslims had to submit to their authority in the same way as once the world has submitted to the power and authority of Muslims themselves. The causes of our mental slavery by Sayyid Mawdudi Turjuman al-Qur’an, Lahore, Sept. 1934


Sometimes a quick glance at widely spread, green and blossoming branches of a tree attracts our attention to it’s freshness and young beauty to the extent, that we tend to concentrate only on it’s ‘greenness’ and ‘freshness’. This makes us either totally forget or ignore the fact that the ‘tree’ manifested it’s beauty and charm sometimes earlier with the same ‘greenness’, ‘freshness’ and ‘coolness’. There is a mutability and transciency in the life of man, nature and the world at large along with permanence and eternity. All Eternal is Allah (S.W.T) and Man’s soul which stays in his body for a limited period during his sojourn on the earth. Hence, it seems essential for him not only to enjoy the ‘present’ but also to look back in the past for an appreciation of the continuum of his heritage. Furthermore, for a worthwhile contribution for the future, we need a critical appraisal of the past. Far and above, we feel, that the past contribution should be duely acknowledged. Hence, in all aspects, an appreciation of the past contribution is essential, however, not to indulge in nostalgia, but for a sincere inspiration and progression. It is with all these considerations, that we have accomplished this work Conceptual and Methodological Issues in Islamic Research. A Few Milestones, with the help of an unbounded mercy and benevolence ofAllah (S.W.T) This has been a profound urge in us to bring to the fore-front the earlier contribution of the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s on the issues of research and methodology from an Islamic perspec-


tive to have an overall understanding of the origin and continuing of the current debate on the ‘issues’ and to keep in view the ‘milestones’ passed, passing and yet to pass in future. We would make it very clear here, that prima-facie, this earlier contribution looks too simple, general and sometimes even vague. But the ‘beauty’ which liesbehind simple thoughts can be appreciated only if we reflect deeply on the ‘ideas’ and ‘notions’, ‘questions’ and ‘suggestions’, presented by this band of early contributors. However, we do not intend to undertake a critical assessment of this ‘early thought’ on the issues because it is beyond the reach of this work. Here, we are simply reproducing their works on the ‘issues’ to enlighten our co-workers in the field ofIslamic Research and Methodology on the presence and significance of the earlier contributions on the ‘issues’. Hence, this humble effort is both for the students and scholars who are interested in this field. As for the structure and the chapterization of the book, we would give a brief account here. The book comprises fourteen chapters altogether. The first chapter is an ‘Introduction’ entitled “The Contemporary Movement of Knowledge in the Muslim World: A Retrospect”, by the editor. The second chapter “The Imperative and Objective of Islamic Research” is a thought-provoking speech of Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, given at the inaugural session of the Islamic Research Academy, Karachi, during 1962. We are extremely grateful to Dr. Jalalul Haq, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, I.I.U. Malaysia, who has kindly accepted our request for presenting to us a translation of this speech from Urdu to English. May Allah S.W.T. reward him for this, Arneen. The chapters (3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 14) are the articles or editorials from the Islamic Thought Aligarh, a bi-monthly journal, during 1950’s and 1960’s. It is to these contributions, we refer as an early Muslim thought on the issues of Islamic Research and Methodology. This forms the nucleus of the book. The rest ofthe chapters (5, 10, 12, 13) are comparatively new contributions of80’s taken from different sources. At the end, a select bibliography of the available material on Islamic Research and Methodology since 1980’s till date is also given. xiv


We are extremely thankful to all the contributors ofthe book and pray to Allah (S.W.T) to accept their intellectual endeavour and also our humble effort in his cause. Ameen. Dr. Muhammad Mumtaz Au




Muhammad Mumtaz Au

The origin of “the current debate” on the need ofresearch and the development of methodology from an Islamic perspective in the Muslim world can be traced to recent times within the last two decades. However, the objective of this introduction is to review the contributions of some contemporary Muslim scholars since the 1930s in addressing the problems of methodology and research. It is pertinent to point out at the very outset our contention that the origin of the intellectual malaise of the Muslim Ummah, as pointed out by some scholars, lies in the splitting up of political leadership from the Islamic thought after the four Rightly-Guided Caliphate.’ Obviously there should be a very close relationship between the origin of the “malaise” and the origin of the “discussion” on the malaise, and in fact history has shown it to be so. Whenever alien concepts, philosophies or methods crept into the Muslim world, they were refuted, checked and totally rejected by scholars who perceived Islam not simple as Faith, but both Faith and “Action”. Imam Ghazzali’s bitter criticism of the so-called rational and scientific Greek thought in his Tahafut at-Falãs~fahand Ibn Taimiyya’s condemnation of Greek logic can be cited as examples from the classical period. Even in medieval Muslim civilization, we find that knowledge has occu1

For further discussion see Ali, M.M., The Movement of Isiwnization of Knowledge: Some clarifications, unpublished paper, Kulliyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University, Malaysia, 1993.


pied the central position. Ibn Khaldun’s views on knowledge and his criticism of the philosophers who completely rely on rationality to achieve virtue, in his Muqaddtmah, lucidly points out his unshakeable faith in the superiority of Revealed Knowledge and its intimate relation with civilization. Later, between the fourteenth and the eighteenth centuries the history of the Indian subcontinent witnessed great scholars and leaders like Syeikh Ahmed Sirhindi, Syah Ismaiel Syaheed and Syah Wali Allah. They never accepted the alien concepts and culture but instead launched an intellectualjihad against alien influences on Muslim thought and life. They checked the infiltration of Hindu customs and ideas into Muslim society, condemned blind taqiki and emphasized ~jtthad. These show that they never compromised with the political leadership. Instead, theyguarded the Islamic thought against the evil intentions of all. The same foundational work of Islamic regeneration through eradicating all kinds of syirk, guarding Islamic thought against all alien influences, emphasizing the supremacy ofthe Syari’ah is also found in Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, in Arabia during the eighteenth century. Later, during the nineteenth century, we fmd the three most prominent Muslim leaders and scholars, Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, Muhammad Abduh and Rashid Rida who fInnly stood against the rising tides of Secularism, Nationalism and Materialism. Throughout their lives, they actively worked against syirk and bid’ah on one hand and the Western concepts on the other hand. Theyalso condemned taqlidand asserted the importance of ~tihãd, the Syari’ah and the unity of the Muslim world. In particular, Abduh’s work for the reformation ofAlAzhar cannot be overlooked here. All these again point to the fact that there have been always some Muslim scholars who were quite conscious about the disastrous implications of the separation of political leadership from Islamic thought and addressed the then existing problems of Muslim Ummah and suggested various remedies while asserting the supremacy of the Syari’ah and the importance of intellectual creativity and ytihãd. Quite interestingly, evenduring the critical period of the eve of the twentieth century, there were renowned Muslim scholars and leaders, such as Muhammad Iqbal, Hasan al2


Banna, Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, Sayyid Qutb working to lay the foundation for intellectual jihOd against the secularization and Westernization of Islamic thought and Muslim lands. Below we will present the views of these scholars and assess their contributions to the development of the Movement of Knowledge in the Muslim World.

Iqbal on the Critical Independent Examination of the Western Sciences Muhammad Iqbal, the poet-philosopher of Islam strongly held the view that the science established by Muslims and later introduced into the West was inspired by the empirical approach of the Qur’an. He writes: “But the point to note is the general empirical attitude of the Qur’an which engendered in the followers a feeling of reverence for the actual and ultimately made them the founders of modern science.” (Iqbal 1965:18) He was quite convinced that the rise and fall of Muslim Ummah entirely depends on its attachment or tachment to the advancement of knowledge, scientific quiries and creative research based on the Qur’an. observes:

the deenHe

“The political fall of Islam in Europe unfortunately took place, roughly speaking, at a moment when Muslim thinkers began to see the futility of deductive science and were fairly on the way to building knowledge. It was practically at this time that Europe took up the task of research and discovery. Intellectual activity in the world of Islam practically ceased from this time and Europe began to reap the fruits of the labours of Muslim thinkers.”

(Iqbal 1925: 165) All these reflections of Iqbal vividly point out the central position which he attached to knowledge and research for the development of the Muslim society. In fact, his book, Recon-



struction ofReligious Thought in Islam(1968) is an example of his strong conviction on the originality and dynamism of Islam as the only way for the reconstruction of life. Another important point which is very much emphasized by Iqbal and which we also find in the current discussion on Knowledge, Research and Methodology is concerned with the critical approach towards human thought. He asserts: “Our duty is carefully to watch the progress of human thought, and to maintain an independent critical attitude towards it.” (Iqbal 1955, 2)

The Contribution of Hasan al-Banna and the Muslim Brotherhood Other important Muslim scholars are Hasan-al-Banna, who founded the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun), and Sayyid Qutb, the intellectual leader of the Brotherhood. Both are martyrs of the intellectual jihad against not only Western ideologies, concepts and theories but also the ruling authorities of their times. They attained martyrdom not because of their military preparation to depose the ruling authorities, but mainly due to their intellectual condemnation of all that went against Islamic teachings. Their critical examination of Western thought and their intellectual exposition of Islamic thought were a threat to the ruling power. For the establishment of Islam in all its entirety, “power” is most essential. But for the attainment of that power, knowledge is an absolute necessity. And to acquire knowledge, a deep and a comprehensive perception of the injunctions and the teachings of the sources of Knowledge the Qur’an and the Sunnah is inevitable. This entails two things: Firstly, that the “power” which we aim to achieve isnot the absolute power of “man”, but the sovereignty of Allah (S.W.T) and the vicegerency of man, that is the Caliphate, and secondly, that there exists an intimate relationship between Islamic thought and political leadership, which is quite obvious from the classical Muslim political-thought which centred on the necessity and importance of the Imãmah. Hence the Muslim Brotherhood was also concerned with the development of —



Islamic thought along with its emphasis on socio-political change. In fact, if Islam is defined as a Movement for faith, thought and action, then the Muslim Brotherhood can be looked upon as its organised machinery working towards the same goal, and hence can be described as the Islamic Movement. The Islamic Movement has its origin in Islam per se and the historical origin of Islam should not be traced back to 6th century A.D., during the time of the last Prophet, Muhammad (s.a.w). Islam which means complete submission to Allah (S.W.T), exists in the world since the existence of the first man and the first Prophet Adam (a.s.) on earth. All prophets received the same message and they presented it to the people throughout the human history to submit themselves to Allah (S.W.T) The Qur’an says: -

‘The same religion has He Established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah that which We have sent by inspiration to thee And that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.” -

(al-Syürã 42: 13)

What is this message? It is the fundamental knowledge the knowledge without which no other knowledge is attainable. All prophets invited the people to comprehend and implement this knowledge that there is no God but Allah (S.W.T) and man should submit himself to Allah (S.W.T) as His servant, agent and Caliph. All prophets carried the Islamic Movement at every successive period of human history, calling the people towards this Knowledge Hence knowledge is an indispensable part of the Islamic Movement as it is an intrinsic part of Islam as a whole. Later, even after the last Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), the Islamic Movement is carried further by the Rightly-Guided Caliphs and after these Caliphs, those ‘Ulemti’ (scholars) ofthe Muslim Umrnah who asserted and worked forthe unity of Islamic thought and the political leadership. Coming back to the point mentioned earlier, the Muslim Brotherhood intellectually attacked the separation of the political leadership from genuine Islamic thought and struggled for the re-union of thought and action the revival of —






Islam as such. All the scholarly contributions of the leadership of the Movement Mudhakirat at -Da’wah wa al-Di’ãyah of Hasan-al-Banna, al-Risalahat-Hasan al-Banna, at- ‘Adalah al-Ijtimã’iyyah fi at-Islam and al-Islam wal Musykilat atHadãrah of Sayyid Qutb, to name but a few works that exhaustively illustrate the critical attitude held so strongly by these scholars towards human thought and the importance which they attach to the Qur’anic teachings for the building of culture and civilization. An interesting point which we want to emphasize here is the importance which the Movement attached to the critical study of Western concepts and theories to keep knowledge and Islamic thought intact, which we find also dominant in the current movement of Knowledge and Research. Furthermore, the present Movement of Knowledge is not an ordinary Movement of its own sake, rather it also possesses the ultimate objective of the Islamization of the entire human society as a whole. We can refer here to Series 1 of the Islamization of Knowledge 1989, wherein the ultimate aim of the Movement of Knowledge is described in these words: -

“It mustbe madeexplicit here that, in fact, “Islamization” represents the truth, the justice, the transformation, and the reformation that concerns all Muslims. Its care and concern, by definition, extends to all human beings. It seeks to bestow dignity and honour upon all human beings on this earth. Islamization is the call that divinely based civilization has addressed to the present world which is torn apartwith disaster loominglarge and clear. A true Muslim is the standard bearer of that mission and he/she represents all salutary norms and values, symbolizing in practice the comprehensive model of a civilization based upon truth, justice, peace and security. Islamic civilization is the best one suited for the current age. It is the boon that all the wise and learned, and those imbued with insight and living conscience, have been awaiting all these centuries. It must be made clear that the “Islamization of Knowledge” represents only one aspect of Islamization.” (p. 84) It is quite explicit from the above lines that the ultimate goal of the present Movement of Knowledge knowledge not for its own sake but knowledge for the building of Islamic —



civilization vis-a-vis mankind coincides with the aim and objective of the Islamic Movement. As mentioned earlier, all the prophets were sent withthe message that there is “no deity but Allah” and Islam is described as the Movement because it bears this dynamic message. All the prophets of this Islamic Movement and the leaders and the scholars who carried the Islamic Movement eloquently presented the same message before the people. The message, in fact required and stifi requires clear and comprehensive exposition at every time in history to enlighten its viability, universality and dynamism against all the intellectual intrusions which are launched to undermine or to obliterate the message. During the early twentieth century, when al-Ikhwan at -Mustimun was established by Hasan al-Banna Syaheed, it stood for the exposition and the elaboration of the same message. It is highly important that the Muslim Brotherhood and its contribution should be seen from this perspective. The important contributions of Hasan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb and their intellectualjihad (battle) against Western ideologies, and their lucid presentation of Islam as the only peaceful world order have been mentioned above. But it is also equally important to understand the epistemological foundation of the Movement in order to appreciate from where it derives its intellectual vitality. We can trace briefly the epistemology of Sayyid Qutb for our comprehension and reflection. -

SAYYID QUTB ON THE CONCEPT OF KNOWLEDGE To begin with, the source of Knowledge, Sayyid Qutb identified, is Allah (S.W.T) He made it explicitly clear that knowledge of the past, present and the future and also all that man learns of the universe come from Allah (S.W.T) While making a commentary on the surah (al-’Alaq) “The Blood Clots”, he writes: “The Surah then states the source of learning which is Allah. From Him man receives all his knowledge, past, present and future. From Him man learns any secret revealed to him about this universe, life and himself.” (Qutb 1979:224) 7


It is important to note here, that what he really means by all knowledge of man is knowledge acquired by reason and experience. In other words, mans reasoning and experimental abilities are all blessed by Allah (S.W.T) and whatever he learns through reason and experience, he owes it to Allah (S.W.T) This can be elucidated from his following lines: Whatever man learns and whatever experience and knowledge he acquires comes originally from Allah. He has taught man what he did not know. (Ibid.) However, he was also aware of the limitations of “reason” and “experienëe”. He argues that man’s existence in the world is finite and although man’s “reason” possesses an absolute force but both “reason” and “experience” are limited to mans existence. He therefore maintains, that since Allah (S.W.T) is alone Absolute and the Qur’an is the revelation of Allah (S.W.T), all our “reason” and rational concepts should have their bases in the Qur’an the Absolute. He writes: -

“For what we call “reason” and its adjudication on what the Qur’an relates of events in the universe or in the history, in the world ofman or ofthe imperceptible, is no more than the net result of our finite human existence and experiences. Although this reason is, in essence an absolute force, not subject to, or limited by individual experiences or events, yet, it is, after all, confined to our human existence. This existence does not reflect “The Absolute” as this belongs to Allah. The Qur’an comes from Allah, the Absolute. Hence it is binding on us in the sense that whatever it states is the basis of our very “rational concepts”.” (Ibid., 302) Revelation, in other words, is binding for the conceptualisation without which we cannot have the “rational concepts”. Revelation is thus made the foundation of epistemology and methodology. All ideas and concepts should be drawn from the revelation the Qur’an and all our views concerning the universe should be formulated from the Qur’an. He writes: —

“We must approach the Qur’anic statements in order to derive our concepts and formulate our ideas from them human reason is not the arbiter of what the Qur’an states. When the expressions of a Qur’anic text are clear 8


and straightforward, they determine how our reasons should approach it in order to formulate our views concerning its subject matter as well as regarding other universal facts.” (Ibid.)

Now, with an understanding of his views on the source of knowledge, position of reason and experience, we can appreciate his definition of knowledge. Knowledge for Sayyid Qutb comprises three essential components comprehension, interaction and action. He states: —

“Knowledge is complete comprehension and interaction with this comprehension, in the depths of the soul and conscience, which is then followed by action in harmony with them.” (Qutb 1974:26) We can see that comprehension is the first component of knowledge, and not the whole and complete knowledge. It is clear that comprehension or mere understanding of anything is not knowledge but the beginning of it; its essential part. Comprehension is then followed by the second part the interaction with the comprehension. Interaction with comprehension is not superficial and formal but a conscious and a deep interaction which stimulates action. Thus, without interaction with comprehension and action on the complete comprehension, knowledge is inconclusive and incomplete. In other words, knowledge for Sayyid Qutb is both comprehension and action, and interaction is an intermediate link between comprehension and action because without interaction with comprehension, action is not possible. Action is virtually a practical realisation and actualisation of what is consciously comprehended. Hence, comprehension serves the purpose of knowledge action and with action, knowledge attains it complete form. Sayyid Qutb’s definition of knowledge is therefore both theoretical and practical. For him, knowledge is a unity of thought and action. Avery important and subtle point to be noted here is the fact that “action” is not outside the realm of knowledge, rather it is an essential ingredient of knowledge. In other words, itis not knowledge which fails to stimulate any action —




for its realisation. This unity of thought and action implies the unity of soul and body. Comprehension and interaction with the comprehension is done by the mind and soul and the action on the comprehension is undertaken by the body. Furthermore, the definition should be understood from his identification of the source of knowledge in Allah (S.W.T) and his views on the formulation ofthe concepts based on the Qur’an as discussed earlier. Obviously, through “reason”, an understanding of anything can be attained but that understanding remains incomplete unless itis based on the Qur’an because the Qur’an is “binding” for any rational concept, because it comes from Allah (S.W.T) who alone is Absolute. Undoubtedly, such a vivid comprehension through reason and revelation goes down deep into the soul and incites interaction within and without action. Another significant point which requires clear exposition here is his conception of the universe which also throws light on his theory of knowledge. He writes: “The Universe is a unity composed of the visible known and the invisible unknown. Life is a unity ofmaterial and spiritual energies whose separation results in imbalance or disturbance.” (Qutb 1980:30) However, we cannot go into details about his conceptions of the universe and life here, but a discussion of the relevant portions will suffice. For instance, universe for him comprises visible and invisible domains. What is visible is known and perceptible whereas the invisible is unknown and imperceptible through reason and experience for both are limited to human existence. However, knowledge is not confmed to the visible domain alone but also comprises the invisible. If knowledge is confmed to the visible realm, a mere understanding of the material world is attained without its spiritual foundation which lie in the invisible. Since, life is a unity of material and spiritual aspects, knowledge of the visible and the invisible is absolutely essential, knowledge thus comprises both, the visible and the invisible. This also points out Qutb’s rejection of Kant’s empiricism which confines knowledge to the phenomenon. 10


Besides this, his perception of Islam, his importance to ytihãd and his views on the rise and fall of nations are also relevant here to further elaborate his epistemology. For him Islam is knowledge and what is not Islam is Ignorance Jahiliyyah. He writes: —

“For ignorance is nothing but ignorance and Islam is altogether different from it. The only way to bridge the gulf between the two is for ignorance to liquidate itself completely and substantiate

for all its laws, values,

standards and concepts of their Islamic counterparts.” (Qutb 1979:331) It is quite explicit from the above lines that for Qutb, Islam is a complete system oflife based on Knowledge and all other systems of life which go contrary to Islam are ignorant systems. It is important to remind ourselves ofhis conception of knowledge which comprises both comprehension and action. Hence, he also looks at Islam as knowledge for the very source ofknowledge and Islam isAllah (S.W.T) and Islam is not only belief but also action as knowledge is not mere comprehension but interaction and action. Qutb is also conscious about the dynamic role of gtihãd without which the Muslim community stands either stagnant or would be influenced by alien philosophies. He maintains that it is “a closed environment that closed the gate to lltihãd and denied the role of the intellect in understanding the Syari’ah of Allah” which led some of the Muslim scholars to be influenced by some of the Western modes of thought. Hence, he strongly asserts that it is imperative for Muslim nation to maintain Islamic ideology, lest it declines and degenerates. He makes it abundantly clear that the Arabs rose from their uncivilized position to the status of being world leaders as long as they remained faithful to Islam. He writes: “The only ideology the Arabs advanced for mankind was the Islamic faith which raised them to the position of human leadership. Ifthey forsake it they will no longer have any function or role to play in human history.” (Thid., 306) 11


In fact, Qutb not only theoretically defined knowledge as both comprehension and action but practically lived by it. His practical and active participation in the campaign of “no deity but Allah” which culminated in his martyrdom stands as testimony to that fact.

Mawdudi on Education and the Need for Research Another luminary and prominent figure of the twentieth century, who not only contributed immensely to Islamic thought but also founded the Movement of thought and action the Jamaat-e-Islàmi, was Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi. Mawdudi devoted his whole life to intellectual jihãd in an Islamic analysis of the Western concepts and theories, in exposing lucidly the Islamic system of life concerning all its aspects and presenting his theories on various subjects based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah; in elaborating the message and the doctrines of the Qur’an and portraying beautifully the Seerah of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w). What do all these indicate? His greatest contribution lies in his diagnosis of the malaise of Muslims and his prescription and treatment of it. Even looking at the decadence of the Muslims and the hostile circumstances and conditions of the period, he never looked atjust political independence ofthe Muslims from the imperialists or colonialists as the solution of all the problems. Nor did he regard mere economic development of Muslims as the remedy to all the anxieties and difficulties. Rather he identified the panacea of all ills and sufferings in the detachment of the Muslim Ummah from its very purpose of the creation the establishment of at-khilafah on Earth on the prophetic pattern in space and time context. He strongly held the view that unless the Muslim Ummah takes up seriously its Prophetic mission of to witness the Truth to mankind, then there is no hope of its recovery from the fatal illness. The Jamaat which he founded in 1941 on the Indian subcontinent had and still has the same objective to witness the “Truth”. He observed that the complete manifes-

tation of the Truth is possible only with the establishment of



Islamic socio-political and economic order in the world in other words the revival of the Islamic civilization in all its aspects. He thoughtfully looked into every problem and issue of human-affairs. With all his deep insight in Islam and in the problems of the believers and the non-believers of Islam, he emphatically argued for the unity of Islamic thought and political leadership. He did not isolate himself, like some types of ‘Ulema’ or Syeikh, from the political debate of the period, which he rejects as null and void in Islam. Nor did he show himself as just another political leader motivated by some political interest. He was neither a Seaikh in its narrow and distorted sense nor a political leader with a mean and limited interest. He was a scholar of Islam who wrote in almost every subject and inspired and trained Muslim youth “to live Islam and to live for Islam”; an intellectual M~ijãhid whose pen was the sword against all alien influences on Islam and Muslim society; a Mujtahid who not only emphasized the importance of ytihãd but also did ~tihád on several issues; an Imam, a leader who had influenced and still influencing thousands of people both in the East and in the West, through his writings, and a Mujähid, a revivalist who devoted his life for the revival of Islam and Islamic civilization. Even the inception of the present Movement of knowledge can be traced back to the thought-provoking writings and leadership of Mawdudi, Hasan-al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb, which we would discuss later. Hence, all his writings stand as witnesses to the prominent position which he gave to the intellectual comprehension, exposition and the establishment of Islam. He was quite aware of the secularization and Westernization of the Educational System and its pernicious effects on Muslim youth. He condemned the educational institutions which adopted the Western bifurcation of knowledge secular and religious as the “slaughter houses” for Muslim youth. Here he reminds us of Iqbal who also looked at such schools as places where the young generation is far removed from the strong conviction in Tawhid the unity of Allah (S.W.T) Mawdudi’s writings and his speeches on the problems —




of the existing educational system throw ample light on his deep realization of the intellectual malaise of the Muslim. Being aware of the malaise, he also suggested that it is important for Muslim scholars to make the Qur’an and the Sunnah as the foundation to cany their research in any field. He writes: “In my opinion there are three or four areas which require immediateattention: Jurisprudence (Fiqh), Economics, Social-sciences, Philosophy and Theoretical sciences. In all these areas research should be conducted with firmbeliefin the philosophy that Qur’an and Prophets’s Sunnah are really the perennial sources of knowledge and we have to draw everything from this source alone. And in this solar system everything should circle around this source (Qur’an and Sunnah). Anything that deviates from this Centre should have no place in the system.” (Kirmani 1989: 142-1 43) Adetailed exposition ofhis philosophy ofknowledge and education, and in particular of Research Methodology is beyond the scope of this paper. However, an understanding of a few important points which underrine his philosophy would sufficiently reveal his deep insight into the problem of Research Methodology and his serious reflections for the framework of a correct Methodology. He writes: “The Holy Qur’an provides a correct perspective and a direction for research in the various domains of human knowledge. If we seek from this Book much time would be saved in resolving the many intricate problems oflife.” (Mawdudi 1988:68)

It is clear from the above assertion that he looked upon the Qur’an as the only Book which can lend the correct perspective and direction to research in any field. In other words, the Qur’an is the only source for a correct methodology. However, itdoes not mean that he completely rejects the scientific method of observation and builds his Methodology invoid. In fact, he emphasizes the importance ofthe faculties of listening, seeing and perceiving. But he maintains that their meanings should not be confined to their literal sense 14


but should be understood from the Qur’anic perspective. For instance, an observation should not be confmed to the physical phenomenon alone but it should extend into the noumena which would enlighten the researcher of the “signs” of Allah (S.W.T) and which would thereby strengthen his beliefin Allah (S.W.T) But this is possible only if the scientific method of observation and experiment is based on the Absolute Truth and Reality of the Qur’an and not on false assumptions, heresy, surmise, guesswork, preconceived notions and prejudices. He writes: “As far as the observation of facts is concerned, modern science isjustifiedbut when itbegins to presenttheories formulated on unproven hypotheses, modern science lapses into heresy, since it is ignorant of the origin and purpose of the universe. As a result a great deal of human energy and intelligence is wasted. Besides, a social system based on heresy breeds chaos and disorder.” (Ibid., 68) Thus, itwas very clear to Mawdudi that whether itis the rationalism of the philosophers or the scientific inethod of the scientists, they are based on unproven assumptions. Hence, the method based on conjecture and guess work for the most fundamental concepts of life God man and universe, cannot be a correct method and therefore, cannot provide correct conclusions. The correct method of research is one which reveals the signs of Allah (S.W.T) inherent in man and the physical world. He observes: —

‘The pre-requisite forresearch isthat you should give up your preconceived prejudices and listen to the message of those who claim that their information about the reality is based on Knowledge and not on surmises, guess-works, meditations and contemplation, abstract deductions, etc. Then consider deeply the signs in the universe to which the Qur’an invites your attention. If these also point to the Reality they claim to reveal, then there is no reason whyyou should deny the Truth taught by those Messengers.” (Mawdudi 1984:43) Hence, the prerequisite of research pointed out by him 15


is “the information about the Reality” which should be based on “knowledge” not on surmises. In other words the fundamental knowledge of the Reality is the cornerstone of Research in any field. Obviously, the fundamental knowledge for Mawdudi is virtually the Revealed Knowledge. It unfolds two important points: Firstly, that the Revelation is the primary source of knowledge and the criterion of correct information and conclusions of a research; secondly, the observing, listening and the intellectual faculties of man when founded and applied through the Revelation provide correct information and knowledge in the real sense and thereby bring peace and order to the society. On the contrary, if these faculties are based on false assumptions and surmises, then they lead to confusion and chaos. This also shows his understanding of the limitations of “observations” that are not based on or not directed through the “Revelation”. Similarly, he also talked about “reason” and “intuition”, and their implications when they are based on the Truth or the distorted Truth respectively. He says: “The West has developed a particular cast of mind, an intuition matrix in which hypothetical premises are incubated on the basis of these unestablished truths it has built a special system of life, which the West regards as credible and valid. Islam is against this myopic approach to the facts of life. Islam is not hostile to the established truth of knowledge but to the unreliable intuition which moulds and distorts these truths. Islam views the problems from adifferentperspective; it has its own distinct concepts, an angle of vision, a starting point, an intuition matrix, all of which are diametrically opposed to the West. Islam deprecates Western knowledge not because scientific truths are being borrowed from it but because the Western intuition matrix is also being adopted.” (Mawdudi 1988:36) The fact is Mawdudi was conscious and concerned not only of the limitations of Western methodology and its pernicious effects but also of the limitations and the defects of educational reform movement led by Sayyid Ahmed Khan (1817 98) and the establishment of the Aligarh Muslim University in 1920, in Aligarh, India. Hence, during the -



1930’s in the issues of Taiiuman al-Qur’an, a monthlyjournal in Urdu which started in 1931 in Hyderabad, Deccan, India, he presented his profound and serious reflections on the remedial measures for the university. He made it absolutely clear in the issues of the journal that a mere introduction of ‘Islamic Studies’ as a separate department, concentrating only on the formal understanding of Islam, cannot transform the whole education system. He strongly asserted that this made the bifurcation of secular and religious education more distinguished and established. He rejected the entire system of education which was a mixture or a blend oftwo contradictory ideologies. He strongly pointed out the inevitable need for a revolutionary change in the education system. When we penetrate into his thought on the revolutionary change in the educational system, we find the importance which he attaches to the necessity of Islamic research in human and physical sciences. This shows his awareness of the genesis of the problem ofthe Muslim Ummahvis-à-vis the whole of mankind and its only solution that lies in Islamic research in various fields. For instance, while writing on the need for research in Islamic studies and in social sciences, he makes it abundantly clear that Islamic studies should include all the human sciences wherein a research should be conducted in the Revealed Knowledge to come up with the socio-economic and political systems of Islam. He writes: there should be a separate department to promote research in Islamic studies, which would award doctoral degrees. Research in this field shouid be conducted along a revivalist design so that researchers may provide guidance from an Islamic point of view not only to

Muslims but the world at large.” (Mawdudi 1988:37)

Regarding the scope of Islamic studies, he writes: “This course (Islamic studies) should comprise an overview of the socio-economic-political systems of Islam. Students should know the ideological basis of Islam and

its guidingprinciples, and how they shape the personality of an individual and the social life of the community, 17


including the economics, politics and international relations, as well as the rights and obligations between an individual and society. This course should outline the limits prescribed by Allah, how far a Muslim is granted freedom of thought and action within these limits, and what impact transgression would have on the Islamic social-order. Allthese details should be comprehensively incorporated in the syllabus, placing them uniformly

over a period of four years.” (Mawdudi 1988:35) He emphasizes research in the Revealed Knowledge not only for the social sciences but also for the physical sciences. He writes: “There should be separate science departments where students can examine scientific data and conduct further research in the light of Qur’anic teachings.” (Mawdudi 1988:68) The fact is, as mentioned earlier, he was quite conscious of the limitations of modern scientific method which stops at the enquiries ofthe physical laws and does not penetrate into the Divine Laws working in the physical world. He observes: “For example, if you teach history, geography, physics, chemistry, biology, zoology, astronomy, economics, political science and other social sciences without any reference to Allah, without examining the complex phenomena of the universe and created beings as evidence of divine laws, without considering that physical laws are governed by divine law, without showing that Divine will operate behind the various events in this world, without discussing the Divine code of conduct which regulates temporal affairs, this world would be agodless one.” (Mawdudi 1988:64) It was with this deep realisation that he argued against the formal teachings in Islamic studies and contended that it would work only as an appendix intensifying the problems instead of solving them. He believed that Islam, being a complete system of life, discusses with all kinds of social and physical problems and 18


for that reason a deep and a comprehensive perception of Islam is essential for all researchers in every field of knowledge. Hence, he pointed out in his Tajhim al-Qur’art, his magnum opus, the Qur’anic exegesis, that what the Qur’an virtually meant by (/iqh) is to give a deep insight into the Islamic way of life in all its entirety. But, later when the term (flqh)was used as a technical name for Muslim Law, connected only with the external details of Islam, a misunderstanding was created which incurred the greatest harm onto the Muslim community. He writes: “It is true that this knowledge is of great importance in the Islamic system of life, but itis not all that is required by the Qur’an but only a part of the objective. It is not possible to recount here all the damages that the Muslim community has suffered because of this misunderstanding, but suffice itto say that this is the thing, which isresponsible forreducing the religious education of the Muslims to the knowledge and interpretation of the external form of Islam without paying any attention to the spirit of Islam. This inevitably resulted in making lifeless formalism the ultimate goal of the life of the Muslims.” (Mawdudi 1984:246) The above point can be understood better when he writes: the epithet “Islamic education” (Islamic dinyat) becomes absurd if it does not accord with the totality of life. The religious scholars who fumblingly apply their Islamic learning to the field of education and the everchanging problems of life have become obsolescent. Similarly those religious divines who profess their faith in Islam yet think in un-Islamic foundations have also outlined their usefulness. Islam owes its decline mainly to these two groups ofreligious scholars who have been dominating our community for a long time.” (Mawdudi 1988:30) “...

Hence, he strongly held the viewthat the only way to rise again as the leading community ofthe world is to revive Islam which implies the promotion of research and ~tihãd for the development of social and physical sciences. He categorically 19


asserts the fact that the development or the rise and fall of a community lies only in the importance it attaches to knowledge based or not based on the Divine principles. He writes: “There should also be a department of social sciences where students are taught the fundamentals of life with reference to the Qur’an and the Hadith. It should then be impressed upon them how Muslim communities which emerged based on these principles under the patronage of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) raised the edifice of an ideal socio-economic and political systems. It should then be explained how this edifice could be further strengthened by having resource to ~tihãd, how new developments in science and technology and the obligations of a modern life couldbe brought into line with this Islamic social system without transgressing Divine limitations. Students should study ancient as well as Muslim history to know how thefate of anation depends upon defiance or of obeisance of Divine principles.” (Mawdudi 1988: 68)

It should also be worth mentioning here that, as we maintained earlier, the decline of the Islamic Ummah can be traced back to the separation of political leadership from Islamic thought, the same conviction we find dominant in his philosophy of knowledge and of education. He writes: “Leadership depends on knowledge. Knowledge alone grants mankind the vicegerency of Allah on earth. Man has been endowed with the faculties of seeing, listening and perceiving, by virtue of which he enjoys superiority over other species of this world. Similarly, the community which is most advanced educationally assumes the most dominant position in the world.” (Mawdudi 1988; 56)

However he did not stop here as characteristic of him and his writing. He pointed out again an important fact, that is, if the leadership of any community employs its faculties (i.e. the reason and the scientific method of observation) without connecting it with Allah (S.W.T) and this Divine principles first, then that leadership would be a godless one. This godless leadership would not be a leadership at all for it 20


would not be a blessing to the people, rather an anathema. The reason is, it would not direct the world to the path ofAllah (S.W.T), but instead leads itto chaos and destruction. Hence, he believes that itis incumbent for the Muslim community to bring a revolution in the leadership replacement of the godless leadership by a God-fearing leadership. And this revolution in leadership is possible only through the revolution in the education system through the promotion of research and gtihãd in all sciences. The above outline of his philosophical ideas on knowledge, education and the education system shows his consciousness of the intellectual malaise of the Muslim Ummah even during the 1930’s. Through Ta~jumarial-Qur’ari and various lectures, talks and speeches at several educational centres, he already initiated a debate on the necessity of research methodology based on the Qur’an for all domains of knowledge. His foundation of the Jamaat-e-Islãmi in 1941 as the Islamic Movement should also be understood in the context of his ideas on knowledge and education. The ultimate objective of the Islamic Movement Islamization cannot be achieved without the educational programme oriented for Islamization. That the central council of the Movement, held educational conferences, even during its early period, in 1944, at Darul Islam, Pathankot, Gurdarpur elucidates the fact. Besides all this, his presentation of a scheme for an Islamic University to Râbitah-al- ‘Alam-al-Islãmi also shows his constant and serious reflections on this problem. —

The Contribution of Islamic Thought: A Quarterly Journal at Aligarh during the 1950s 1960s -

Apart from all this, the very fact that we see now right before our own eyes a team of Muslim intellectuals and scholars dedicated to the intellectual elaboration of Islam, all over the world, are all directly or indirectly inspired by his writings to a large extent. Now, before pointing out the team working actively in the West and its contribution to the Movement of Knowledge, let us look at those dedicated Muslim scholars who initiated a serious debate during the 1950’s on the 21


problems of the social sciences and importance of Islamic research in these fields. These Muslim scholars successfully started a quarterly journal entirely devoted to Islamic Research by the name Islamic Research Circle Bulletin in 1950 in Aligarh, India, which continued later with the name Islamic Thought, a quarterly journal of Islamic research. The editors of the journal were Sayyid Zainul Abedin (who later edited the Journal of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, Jeddah) and Nejatullah Siddiqi, one ofthe pioneers ofIslamic Economics and who is awarded the Shah Faisal Award for his immense intellectual contribution and is presently a Professor in King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah. The regular contributors to this Journal, including the editors, were F. R. Fareedi, another eminent economist and the present Chief Editor of the Journal ofInstitute of Objective Studies, Delhi, and Irfan Ahmed Khan, an active Islamist at Chicago Islamic Centre. Even a passing glance at the various issues of this journal throw abundant light on the serious and unassuming critical study of these scholars on the problems and confusions of the social sciences being indoctrinated by the Western model of science and scientific method. These scholars therefore greatly emphasized the necessity and the importance of Islamic Research to formulate their own theories and concepts for the social sciences based on the Qur’an and Sunnah. Below we present a few extracts from some of their articles and editorials to give a glimpse into their serious reflections on the problems of Islamic research as such and the problems of the research methodology in various fields. While writing on the meaning and the problems of the Islamic research, Irfan Ahmed Khan (1959) observes: “This discussion brings us to the problem of method. How should intuition be given a symbolic representation through which it should work? Knowledge (as a process) as pointed above is transcendence from what is given to what is not given. This transcendence is, mostly, an induction, a leap from some facts to some other facts. As its probability increases, it is deemed a more and more justifiable leap. Thus hypothesis gradually turns into a theory and then into a Law (when it has satisfied us to the extent of available facts). The discovery of each new 22


fact may involve a marriage action. We get our theories married with the newly discovered facts; we try to understand the new facts; we try to understand the new fact in the light of this theory and the theory is restated so as to explain this fact. One operation is thus directed to both ends. In all this process of advance ofknowledge and discovery of newer facts, we intuit, re-understand and our intuitions actualized in practice and theory. This research is, however, carried by the individual in a society. There is a group of such workers who through interactions, objectify their intuitions. The result is formation of better concepts and tools and development of a more scientific language. But in all this process the function ofthe Book (theHoly Qur’an) is still central. The Book as understood by the Muslim people is intuition of reality as grasped by the society (leaving apart the individual difference). It is that life-force of the group that lies behind all developments in philosophy, science, art and literature.” (pp. 44-45) On problems of Islamic research in politics, we reproduce here a few observations of Nejatullah Siddiqi (1957a): “To pursue the task of Islamic research seriously and systematically we need to consider the various aspects of life, and discover the main problems which should deserve our attention at this stage (p. 3) ...“.

“A discussion of the nature of the state brings the question of sovereignty to the fore. From the Islamic point of view as well, this is the most crucial issue of political theory. Nothing demonstrates the essential divergence between the Islamic approaches to political affairs as does the issue of sovereignty (Ibid) ...“.

“As we have seen above, sovereignty of Allah, reduced to practical terms, means nothing more than sovereignty of the Syari’ah — the Islamic Law. This, in the first instance raises the problem of “interpretation”. To bear upon the

actual affairs ofthe state, Syari’ah would continually call for interpretation and inference. Who shall be entitled to do so? And whose interpretation will be taken, for all practical purposes, to be synonymous with the will of the sovereign? The answer to this question would clarify how far Islam is akin to or different from “theocracy” as we know it


(p. 4)





Writing about the problems of Islamic Research in Philosophy, Sayyid Zainul Abedin (1957) points out: “One of the primary tasks before the student of philosophy today is to restore to his subject an independent identity. Philosophy, as indeed all branches of knowledge, has been immensely influenced by science, and the scientific method of analysis and deduction. While this has to some extent been conducive to its accuracy and clarity, it has detracted from the claims of philosophy to ascertain the total meaning and value ofhuman experience. The habit of concentrating on a limited aspect ofour experience, has by shutting out the broader view, robbed life of all grace and meaning. Modern philosophers subscribing to the view that the nonsensory is non-sense have endeavoured to build systems of thought on the fickle foundations of sense-experience in blissful disregard of the essential truth that the time is the whole. The need for a comprehensive, integrated view was never greater. Today we require a philosophy that takes into account the whole of mans moral spiritual and intellectual experience.” (pp. 1-2)

Following are a few reflections of Nejatullah Siddiqi (1957b) on the problems of Islamic Research in Economics: “On the other hand, the contemporary state of economics is also rather encouraging. Although the emphasis is still upon the “positive science” of economics, discussions on the normative plane, too are much in vogue. Side by side with the efforts to reduce economics to mathematical formulae and geometrical constructions, there has emerged a vast literature for the understanding ofthe economy, and ofthe economic aspect ofhuman

behaviour, from a sociological and psychological view point. Efforts at a synthetic, integrated approach to man’s economic problems have also paid good dividends and are gaining more and more ground ...“. (p. 1) “How shall the Muslim economist attempt a fresh understanding of the economic phenomena?” (p.2) “There is however an importance different in the nature of the norms assumed by modern economics and those recommended by Islam. The latter involve the realization of certain moral and spiritual values.” (p. 4)



“Paramount importance is, therefore, attached to the definition and formulation of the norms and values given by Islam. It is true with respect to the practical realisation of the Islamic Economy, as well with respect to the construction ofthe science of “Islamic economics”.” (p.4) It is quite obvious from some of the above extracts ofthe journal that a serious discourse on the problems of social sciences, the necessity of Islamic Methodology, research and other related issues already started during the 1950’s. A cursory reading of their reflections on Islamic research points out their ultimate objective of the research to manifest the Truth in both thought and action. Hence, “the current discourse” is not a discourse of the last two decades only but a continuation of the discourse in the 1950s which started through the journal Islamic Thought. As far as its historical origin is concerned, it can be traced back to the classical period when Imam al-Ghazzali raised his voice against the influence of Greek logic, philosophy and the rationality as discussed earlier. However, the shaping and presenting of the whole discourse in the form of an organized Movement ofKnowledge is a task accomplished by the AMSS and lilT. —

The Development of Islamic Economics However, before we go further on about AMSS and lilT, it is pertinent here to discuss the rise and development of Islamic Economics which is worth a brief exposition. The earlier phase ofIslamic economics can be traced back to the 1930’s. Earlier, they were the Muslim reformers and social thinkers who made their important contributions in this field. They were mainly concerned with two problems firstly, an intellectual explanations of Islamic teachings on economics and secondly a presentation of Islamic analysis of Western economics its various conceptions and theories. They provided the necessary ground work which was further followed by the Muslim economists of the 1950’s. Later, in 1976, the First International Conference on Islamic Economics became a landmark in the history of the Islamic Economics. The transition from the economic teachings of —



Islam to the shaping up of the Islamic Economics as a fullfledge discipline is quite visible during the 1970’s and 80’s. The establishment ofthe International Centre for Research in Islamic Economics, Jeddah; the International Institute of Islamic Banking and Economics, Kibris; the Islamic Research and Training Institute, Islamic Development Bank, Jeddah; and the School of Economics, Islamic University, Islamabad manifest a breakthrough in this field. Nonetheless, the teaching of Islamic Economics in more than ten universities in the Muslim world and the ever-mounting literature in the discipline during the last decade also point out to its fast development and progress. The bibliographies prepared by Muhammad Akram Khan (1983) and Nejatullah Siddiqi (1978) reflect the vast literature available on the subject. It is worth mentioning here that, all through the development of the discipline during this considerably long period from the 1930’s to 1990’s, Muslim scholars have not only concentrated on the exposition of Islamic teachings on Economics and the Islamic criticism of the Western theories of Economics but have also made an intellectual endeavour for the evolution of the discipline from an Islamic perspective as a model for the world at large. However, if it is commented that all its overall contribution is nothing but “Capitalism minus interest”, it can be safely rebuked that the comment is nothing but a “criticism minus health!” Well, the whole discussion of an Islamic Economics would remain spiritless if the main spirit behind all its development is not unveiled Khurshid Ahmad, Faisal Laurette, Founder and Chairman ofThe Islamic Foundation, U.K., a member of various International Organizations, Institutes and Centres, Chief exponent ofMawdudi’s thought and editor of several of his works, Vice-President of Jamaate-Islàmt, Pakistan and one of the greatest activists of the Islamic Movement, and an economist by profession. He stands in the forefront among the pioneers of the Islamic Economics and his contribution to the field is not only wide and comprehensive but analytical and creative. It has been both his profound scholarship in Western Economics and his deep and far-sighted perception of Islam that enabled him to make original contribution to the world. Besides being in-



volved in serious intellectual pursuits and the Movement activities, he stimulated and encouraged Muslim professionals in the field to do more research on the subject and this has led to a series of publications ofbooks in the field. In addition, his organization of several international conferences on the subject the world over accelerated its progress.

The Contribution of Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas on the Conceptions of Knowledge and the Dewesternization of Knowledge Now, let us discuss in brief the profound as well as immense contribution ofal-Attas to the conception and the Dewesternization of knowledge. Let us first look into his conception of knowledge systematically. Al-Attas’s conception of knowledge is not only deep and philosophical but that it is deeply ingrained and interlinked with his conceptions of civilization, nature of man and nature of knowledge. First we would take up the interconnections of knowledge and civilization. This we would do through his own comparisons of the elements and content of civilization Western and Islamic and the interpretations of knowledge Western and Islamic based on the elements and spirit of the civilization Western and Islamic. Al-Attas, first invites us to direct our intention to the most serious and pernicious challenge thrusted upon by the Western civilization the challenge of knowledge. However, by the challenge ofknowledge, he never meant the challenge of true knowledge, but the knowledge which only wears a mask of knowledge the “mask” which is invented and prepared by the philosophers and the philosopher-scientists ofthe Western civilization to fit its own civilization. He writes: —


“It seems to me important to emphasize that knowledge is not neutral, and can indeed be infused with a nature and content which masquerades as knowledge. Yet it is in fact, taken as a whole, not true knowledge, but its interpretation through the prism, as it were, the worldview, the intellectual vision and psychological perception of the civilization that now plays the key role in its formulation and dissemination. What is formulated and



disseminated is knowledge infused with the character and personality of that civilization — knowledge presented and conveyed as knowledge in that guise so subtly fused together with the real so that others take it unawares in toto to be the real knowledge per Se.”

(al-Alias 1978: 127-8) It seems to al-Attas that knowledge, its definition, content, purpose, nature and methodology are all influenced by civilization. In other words, the very nature of knowledge is infused with the spirit and character of civilization. Hence, the Western interpretation ofknowledge is a true reflection of its civilization. Therefore, the challenge is not that of knowledge in its true nature, but the knowledge, the nature and content of which is infused by Western civilization. It is, therefore, essential for us to look into his ideas on Western civilization. Western civilization for al-Attas is a product of the fusion of cultures, philosophies, values and aspirations of ancient Greece and Rome and the amalgamation of all these with Judaism, Christianity and the further development of all these by the Latin, Germanic, Celtic, and Nordic experiences. However, he also pointed out the significant contribution of Islam to Western civilization and how that input was remoulded and reshaped to fit into the Western civilization’s mould. The natural and obvious consequence of such an amalgamation and fusion is the dualistic nature of the civilization. The fact is the conflicting views, dogmas, doctrines and philosophies that form the content ofthe Western civilization could not and cannot ever give it a harmonious unity. The same dualism is reflected also in its interpretation of “Reality”, ‘Truth” and “Knowledge”. The visions of its “Reality” and ‘Truth” for that matter are not based on the revelation but on philosophical premises, which are only speculations. The speculations are not

certain and absolute, rather they are always shaky, changeable and inconclusive. From this, we can deduce three important points of al-Attas concerning Western civilization. Firstly that its foundation is uncertain, shaky and always subject to change; secondly the uncertain foundation is due -



to the state of doubt and inner tension within the components of the civilization, i.e the conflicting philosophies and theories and doctrines which form the Western civilization, and thirdly, the insatiable thirst of the civilization for more and more discoveries because of the ever present doubt that pushes it to quench its thirst which is forever unquenchable. The main cause of all these doubts, inner tension and insatiable quest is also aptly pointed out by him in the origin of the inquiring spirit of the Western culture and civilization.

He writes: “The enquiry Western culture and civilization originated with disenchantment towards religion as that civilization understands it. Religion in the sense we mean addin, has never really taken root in Western civilization due to its excessive and misguided love of the world and secular life and of man and preoccupation with man’s secular destiny. Its inquiring spirit is basically generated in a state of doubt and inner tension; the inner tension is the result of the clash of conflicting elements, and opposing values in the sustained dualism, while the doubts maintain the state of inner tension. The state of inner tension in turn produces the insatiable desire to seek and to embark on a perpetual journey of discoveries.” (Ibid., 129) It is against this background of his ideas on Western civilization that we can appreciate his views on knowledge as conceived by the West. He contends that there is no original

and true purpose of knowledge in the West for the obvious reason that it has discarded the fundamentals of the revelation as futile illusions. He writes: ‘The fundamental truths of religion are regarded, in such a scheme of things as mere theories, or discarded altogether as futile illusions. Absolute values are denied and relative values affirmed: nothing can be certain, except the certainty that nothing can be certain.” (Ibid., 130)

Hence, the search for knowledge in the spirit ofWestern culture and civilization is a never ending game of pushing a ball up a mountain only for it to roll down and to be pushed up again. He writes: 29


“The pursuit of knowledge, like the struggle to push the stone from the plains up the mountain where at the top it is destined to roll down again, becomes a kind of serious game, never ceasing ...“ (Ibid.)

The fact is, according to al-Attas, Western civilization is a tragic drama, set-up by the misinterpretation ofknowledge. Behind the misinterpretation lies the conflicting philosophies which are mere speculations and hence uncertain and ever doubtful. What lies behind the conflicting philosophies or speculations is the sole reliance of the West on “human reason” as the true guide for man’s successful life and other factors which go with this reliance. He writes: “No wonder, then that in Western culture tragedy is extolled as being among the noblest values in the drama of human existence! Reliance upon the powers of human reason alone to guide man through life; adherence to the validity of the dualistic vision of reality and truth; affirmation of the reality of the evanescent-aspect of existence projecting a secular world-view ...“ (Ibid., 130—31) He, therefore, strongly asserts that to make knowledge

pure and genuine, the elements and the spirit ofthe Western civilization which has entered the body of knowledge should be purged. This is the “dewesternization of knowledge” which he advocates. With dewesternization, all the elements of the Western civilization would be dropped and “true knowledge” would re-emerge. Obviously, true knowledge woñld emerge from the “revealed knowledge” being based on the certainty of the ‘revealed knowledge’ the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The Qur’an and the Sunnah which form the basic sources ofDin al-Islam would give a definite purpose to knowledge and life the recognition of Allah (S.W.T) and would stimulate a willing submission to His al Din the Divinely ordained way of life. Thus, quite contrary to the Western civilization, it is the din which gives rise to an Islamic civilization (tamaddun). This, he has explained also with the conceptual links of the terms din tamaddun and Madinahto which we cannot go into detail here. Another basic difference which we can infer from the above discussion is the factthat the foundation ofthe Islamic -



civilization is “certainty” when compared to the foundation of the Western civilization which is doubt or scepticism. This again can be related to the Western and Islamic epistemological bases the foundation of knowledge. Again, “knowledge” in the West begins with “doubt” and continues with it while in Islam, it begins, continues and ends with “certainty”. As for his views on the nature ofman and its correlations with knowledge, we can only give avery brief exposition. Man, according to al-Attas has a dual nature for he is both body and soul. Similar to his nature, man also possesses two souls the higher soul (al-Nafs al-Nãtiqah) and the lower soul (alNafs al-I~Iayawãniyyah). With such a nature to man, Allah (S.W.T) has also blessed him the knowledge (al-’Ilm) of everything (al-Asyya’~which includes a little knowledge of the spirit (al-Rã!t) and the greater knowledge of accidents (sing ‘araçi) and attributes (sing sifah) concerning the things sensible and intelligible (maJ~üratand ma’qulat). Further, man is also given the knowledge of Allah (S.W.T) (Ma’rifah). The seat of knowledge ofboth al- ‘Ilm and ma’rtfahis the spirit of man (al-Nafs) his heart (al-Qalb) and his intellect (al- ‘Aql). The know-ledge ofAllah (S.W.T) (ma’nfah) to man infact has bound man to a covenant (mithãq) which determines his purpose (of life) and the thought and action. He argues, that to follow and obey Allah (S.W.T) is inborn in man through this covenant (mithag). He also aptly points out that this obedience toAllah (S.W.T) is in fact in the very nature (fitrah) of man. Hence, when man follows Allah (S.W.T), he follows the very true nature of his own self. He writes: -


“This “binding” and “determining” of man to a covenant with God and to a precisenature in regard tohis purpose and attitude and action is the binding and determining in religion (din) and in real submission (aslama) respectively. Thus both din and aslama are mutual correlates in the nature of man (selffitrah). Mans purpose is to do ibadah to God (51:56), and his duty is obedience (ta’ah) to God, which conforms with his essential nature (fitrah) created for him by God (q.v. 30:30).” (Ibid.; 133) Another point identified by him is connected


(ihsãn), in connection with the rational soul, (al-Nafs al31


Natiqah). He contends that the original recipient of the knowledge of Allah (S.W.T) (ma’nfah) is the “rational-soul”. Hence, the more man submits (aslama) to Allah (S.W.T) the more he excels in his iman and amal and attains the level of “ihsãn”. The submission of man to Allah (S.W.T) in other words implies the supremacy of the rational soul over the

animal soul through the powers (quwwah) and the capacity (wust) to do justice (‘adi) to ones self. From the above discussion we can deduce a few important points. Firstly, the close relationship that he pointed out between ‘ilm, ma’nfah and the nature of man. Secondly, the dependence of man on ma’nfah to satisfy his nature (fltrah) submission (aslama) Thirdly, howthrough ‘ilmand ma’nfah alone, man can govern his body and can discipline (‘adab) his life through bringing order and peace (‘adi) in himself and with himself and the rest of Allah’s creation. This is further explicated by him with his discussion on the microcosmic and macrocosmic representations of man. He writes: -


“The concept of man as a microcosmic representation (at- ‘almal-Saghir) ofthemicrocosmos (at- ‘atmal-Kabir) is most important in relation to knowledge — which is his paramount attribute responsible for the effective establishment of the just order in his self, his being and existence — and to the organization, instruction, inculcation and dissemination of knowledge in his education, specifically with reference to the university, as will be presently outlined.”. (Ibid., 136) Thus, the very exposition of man’s nature, he philosophically sums up all his important conceptions - knowledge, justice and order. Under the nature of knowledge, al-Attas discusses the distinctions between the different kinds of knowledge. He writes: “Knowledge has been understood to mean the Holy Qur’an; the Revealed Law (Syari’ah); the Sunnah; Faith (imàn); Spiritual Knowledge (‘urn al-Laduniyyah), Wisdom(hikrnah), and Gnosis (rna’rtfah) also generally referred to as Light; Thought; Science (specific ‘tim to which the plural: ‘uiflm is applied); Education.” (Ibid., 137)



Thus, there are distinctions between God’s knowledge and the knowledge of man about God given by God and the knowledge concerning the world (things sensible and intelligible) and the spiritual knowledge and wisdom and education. Then he points out that similar to the dual nature of man there are broadly two kinds of knowledge. The first kind of knowledge is given to man byAllah (S.W.T) for the “food and life for the soul” and the source of this knowledge is the Qur’an and Sunnah. This is the basic knowledge of the objective truths, absolutely necessary for man. The second kind of knowledge is concerned with the pragmatic ends of man’s life man’s equipment in the world. It refers to knowledge ofthe sciences (‘ulüm) which is acquired through rational effort and observation and research. However, it is very important to point out here that al-Attas has not separated these two kinds of knowledge altogether. What he says is that knowledge of the first is obligatory for all Muslims (fard ‘ayn) while the knowledge ofthe latter is obligatory to some Muslims only (fard k~fãyah).Furthermore, for knowledge of the second kind, knowledge of the first kind is a prerequisite, lest the whole body of knowledge would remain spiritless. He writes: —

‘The first knowledge unveils the mystery of Being and Existence and reveals the true relationship between man’s self and his Lord, and since for man such knowledge pertains to the ultimate purpose for knowing, it follows that knowledge of its prerequisites becomes the basis and essential foundation for knowledge of the second kind, for knowledge of the latter alone, without the guiding spirit ofthe former, cannottruly lead man in his life, but only confused and confounds him and enmeshes him in the labyrinth of endless and purposeless seeking.” (Ibid., 140) This shows that he never isolates the two kinds of knowledge and that he strongly advocates from the very beginning that without giving a spiritual foundation to the knowledge of the second kind, it would remain a fruitless endeavour. This again points out that his rejection of the Western interpretation of knowledge is also based on the argument that the other kind of knowledge should also be based on spiritual foundation, not mere speculation. 33


Now, let us move to his other contributions to the conception of Islamization of knowledge, which are also as comprehensive and deep as his conception of knowledge. Writing about the original contribution to this philosophy by al-Attas, Wan Mohammad Nor Wan Daud observes: “The task of officially formulating, defining and defending the Islamization of present day knowledge, of defining knowledge and its important related concepts, man, justice and wisdom has been carried out by Professor al-Attas. Islamization is first defined by al-Attas in a work published in 1978.” (1991: 34-35) Then he quotes the following passage from the writings of al-Attas: Islamization is the liberation of man first from magical, mythological, animistic, national-cultural tradition, and then from secular control over hisreason and his language. The man of Islam is he whose reason and language are no longer controlled by magic, mythology, animism, his own national and cultural traditions and secularism It is also liberation from subservience to his physical demands which inclines toward the secular and injustice to his tame selfor soul, forman as physical being inclines towards the forgetfulness of his tame nature, becoming ignorant of his tame purpose and unjust to it. Islamization is a process not so much of evolution as that devolution to original nature Thus in the individual, personal existential sense Islamizationrefers to what is described above in which the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) who represents the highest and the most perfect Example; in the collective, social and historical sense Islamization refers to the community’s striving towards realization of the moral and ethical quality of social perfection achieved during the age of the Holy Prophet (may God bless and give Him peace) (Ibid., 35) “...




It is interesting to note that what al-Attas defined as “Islamization” has already convincingly presented in his much earlier work in 1969 in Preliminary Statement on a General Theory of the Islamization of the Malay-Indonesian Archipelago. Another great contribution of al-Attas has been his 34


definition of knowledge and education. According to him knowledge is man’s cognizance of Allah S.W.T. and education “is the instilling and inculcation of adab in man it is ta’dib”. In addition, the vision of an Islamic University is also strongly proposed by al-Attas. He wanted the Muslim scholars: —

“to carry out a concentrated and detailed research on the Islamic conception of knowledge with aviewto establishing an Islamic University in which and through which such a conception of knowledge will be disseminated.” (at-Alias 1978: 99) Undisputedly, behind the existence of the International Islamic University of Malaysia and Pakistan lies the inspiration and philosophy of al-Attas. Apart from all this, one important point which is worth mentioning here is his concern for the leadership of the Muslim community. He maintained that the problem of the leadership of the Muslim community is also one of the important factors of the present dilemma in the Muslim world. He writes: ‘Thus to put it briefly in their proper order our present general dilemma is caused by: 1) Confusion and error in knowledge, creating the condition for: 2) The loss of adab within the community. The condition arising out of (1) and (2) is: 3) The rise of leaders who are not qualified for valid leadership of the Muslim community, who do not possess the high moral, intellectual and spiritualstandards required for Islamic leadership, who perpetuate the condition in (1) above and ensure the continued control of the affairs ofthe community by leaders like them who dominate in all fields.” (Thud., 100) It clearly points out that al-Attas also looked at knowledge and the Islamization of knowledge for the all-rounded development of an individual’s personality, the Muslim community vis-a-vis the entire world. This can be gleaned also 35


through his etymological and conceptual discussions of the terms din, tamaddun and Mad ~nah (Ibid.).

The Contribution of AMSS Now, having travelled through the East, the Indian Subcontinent and Malaysia, let us move towards the West and see its contribution to the current discourse. We find a group of conscientious Muslims actively working for the cause of Islam in different parts of the Western world Europe and America. Here we are concentrating on AMSS and lilT, America which are presently leading the Movement of Knowledge. Being concerned with the problems of the Muslim Urnrnahand having examined the problems, a group ofyoung Muslims who were studying in Western universities established an Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS) in 1972. It is interesting to note here that some of the young pioneers of the Association are also actively involved in the Movement of Knowledge; people like Abdul Hamid Abu Sulayman, Anis Ahmed, Mahmood Rashdan to name a few. This Association is a professional, academic organization which keeps a higher objective of providing an international forum for social scientists for an Islamically oriented research. It organizes seminars, international conferences and annual conventions to address the problems of the social sciences and to encourage Muslim scholars to do Islamic research in different disciplines. However, for a wider and inner view of AMSS it seems more appropriate to look into the views of those who were earlier associated with it during its more formative years. In 1975, Anis Ahmed, as Secretary of AMSS, conducted a survey to obtain some of necessary information of personal and demographic nature from its active and prospective members. For this a questionnaire was prepared and mailed. From the data gathered, a directory of Muslim manpower in the U.S. and Canada was prepared. It was also expected that the Association would later be extended to the European countries as well. In a letter attached to the questionnaire Anis Ahmed writes: —



“You are kindly requested to fill out the following questionnaire at your earliest and oblige. The data received will be used solely for purposes of preparing a directory of Muslim manpower in the U.S. and Canada. Depending on the success of this venture, Insha Allah, we are likely to extend it to European countries.” (Ants Ahmed 1975: 72) Two important points we can draw from the above lines. Firstly, the earnestness of the members of the Association for its further development and secondly, an effort of the Association to provide a platform for all the Muslim social scientists of U.S.A and Canada to promote Ummahconsciousness. Regarding its membership Anis Ahmed writes: “Its membership is basically comprised of Muslim scholars from various disciplines ofthe arts, humanities, and the social sciences. Mostly the members are Muslim students and faculty members on the various campuses of the colleges and the universities throughout the U.S. and Canada. A sizeable number of its members are also working as professionals, consultants and researchers in many organizations across this country.” (Ibid., 71) It points out the composition of the Association which consisted of Muslim social scientists from different disciplines and different universities as researchers or professionals. These social scientists were mainly devoted to the problems of research in social science. They were quite conscious of the problems of the social sciences which lie at the Western world view. Hence, the main objective of the Association was to produce social sciences from an Islamic world view. Anis Ahmed (1975) writes: “In view of remarkable differences between Islamic Wettanschauung and the non-Islamic world-view Muslim social scientist has to reformulate his basic premises and stands.” (Ibid., vi) Research in the social sciences from the Islamic world view was not proposed for its own sake, but again for a higher objective a social change. However, they were not comfor—



table with the term social change in its Western common usage which implies a formal change. They referred to the term “revolution” with some reservations, since they aspired for a thorough and basic change. Anis Ahmed writes: “The Muslim social scientists have yet to define for themselves the nature and methodology of Islamic social change. Perhaps it would be more appropriate for them to use the term “revolution” with some qualifications instead of social change. At least this can be said at once that Islam intends to bring a basic change in the existing value system, means of production and distribution, political and social structure and cultural system.” (Ibid., v) The fact is, what they actually meant by the term “revolution” or basic social change was the Islamic reconstruction and revival which already began with the Islamic Movement. Theyactually intended to provide guidance based on their enlightened research in social and behavioural sciences to the leadership of the Islamic Movement. S. Farid Ahmed in his paper entitled Muslim Social Scientists: Raison D’être, Problems and Prospects observes: “It is increasingly becoming clear to the discerning eye that the Islamic reconstruction and revival has begun. Muslim social scientists have to play a constructive role in channelling and consolidating the Islamic Movement by providing the necessary leadership with insight from social and behavioural sciences. They can play a crucial role in meeting such needs of the Ummah and provide guidance for activities at all the levels like education, research, training, administration and provision of policy guidance as the movement advances.” (Farid Ahmed 1975: 14) Nevertheless, the above lines also point out two important facts. Firstly, the immense influence of the Islamic Movement on those who were associated with AMSS as mentioned earlier. Secondly, the importance and the necessity which they emphasize for the Movement oriented research as we find the same emphasis expressed by the Muslim scholars of the Islamic Thought journal of 1950’s of Aligarh. 38


Besides all this, it is now essential for us to look into their approach to the problem of research in the social sciences. We get two important points here firstly, their critical assessment of the Western social sciences and the research methodology of the West and secondly, the reflections on the formulation of a new research methodology. We reproduce below a few lines of S. Farid Ahmed for elucidation: —

“Western Sciences have their own assumptions, concepts and theories which do not cohere with the prevailing conditions in many parts of the Islamic and the third world. And not only that they do not reconcile with Islamic ideology, this inherent built in contradiction produces many interesting situations. For example, the cause and effectrelationship which dominates the thinking in social as well as natural sciences clashes directly with the Law of Divine causation”. (Thud., 16) “Research methodology in Western social sciences is another big problem. There are many “orientations” and “perspectives”.” (Thud.) “We have to develop our own research methodology for individual disciplines.” (Ibid.) It is clear from the above lines that they never intended for just a hotchpotch of Islam and Western social sciences, but for the evolution of social sciences originally based on the Islamic methodology. It was for this reason that they acutely felt the need for a separate research institute devoted for this purpose. The establishment of International Institute of Islamic Thought in 1981 is the result of this realisation. Far and above, the Association was also deeply conscious about the limitations and weaknesses of science and the scientific enquiry presented by the West for natural and social sciences. Ja’afar Syeikh Idris in a paper entitled “Islamic Social Sciences: Its Meaning and Desirability” observes: “It is true that there are discoverable laws of nature and society and it is true that the behaviour of the large scale material things is influenced by the behaviour of their constituent elements are all that there is, and it is not true that the so-called laws of nature are laid down by nature for Nature. The defect of the faulty ideology isnot 39


that it denies reality altogether but that it unjustifiably limits its scope and therefore, unnecessarily confines the sphere of scientific theories of explanation. One might say after Eddington that the scientific net which it casts in the sea of reality admits only fish of a certain size. It would be wrong to conclude that it is only that type of fish which actually exists in the sea.” (Idris 1975: 9) It points out his complete rejection of the scientific enquiry and method which bring forth its conclusion based on data which is observable, measurable and qualifiable. Hence, he suggests the revival of the old conception of ‘tim which is all comprehensive and includes not only the social sciences, natural sciences, and all subjects but also all the techniques of method. He writes: “Finally, we should try to revive our old concept of ‘tim’ which does not confine science to natural or social science, and which does not tie it to certain subject matters or methodological techniques.” (Ibid., 11) From the above brief exposition ofAMSS its objectives, composition, thought and reflections on the problems of research etc., it is quite evident that the establishment of AMSS marked a new epoch for the promotion of research in social science from an Islamic framework. The Association, since its inception has been seriously engaged in research activities. In collaboration with lilT, it produces a highly acclaimed journal The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences. It has been convening international conferences and seminars for the same purpose of research. This is a short historical and analytical survey of the vast panorama of Muslim thought since the 1940’s through to the 1980’s on the problem of research and methodology, prior to the current debate on the Movement of Knowledge. —

Islamization of Knowledge Movement and The International Institute of Islamic Thought Very few movements in history become so pervasive, global and eye-catching in a very short span of time as the Islami40


zation of Knowledge Movement of the contemporary times. It is pervasive because it is ever-spreading in different regions of the world; it is also global for its high demand can be witnessed from Lagos to Jakarta, Khartoum to Dhaka, Cairo to Delhi, Rabat to Istanbul. It is eye-catching, for the very term Islamization of Knowledge immediately catches the attention of both friends and foes alike. Those who turn towards it understand and become cognizant of its philosophy and urgent necessity, join it as an element and a dynamic force for the movement. Whereas for the West it is a very big question, a puzzle unsolved; except for some ofits luminaries like Huntington who comments that the Muslim world opts for modernization but not through Westernization, rather Islamization. However, we can neither make anyjustification here of its short but momentous history of more than a decade nor can we make a critical assessment of its progression. We intend here to look into the movement and lilT in general in its identification of the real malaise of the Ummah, its diagnosis, prognosis, purpose, aims and objectives towards the solutions of the long chains of the problems of Ummahvis-a-vis mankind. For this, we shall first make a short historical survey of lilT, a need for it and its establishment. The history of lilT can be traced back to the small meetings of the Muslim youth at various Western universities, unwavered in their faith in the viability and universality of Islam but shocked and thoughtful over the crises-ridden Ummah and reflective for its destined elevation. The Muslim youth having studied the intricate and complex problems of the Ummah came to the conclusion that the real malaise of the Ummah lies in “its current thought processes” which is due to its intellectual rigidity and stagnation. Having thus diagnosed the malaise they came up with the determination and all the enthusiasm of youth to cure the intellectual malaise of the Ummah and to that effect they established the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS) in 1972. Since we have already discussed AMSS, we need not go into detail. But we would emphasize here that the history of lilT cannot be isolated from AMSS, its aims and activities, its goal, literature and work all over the West. This is also illus41


trated through the first two-week International Conference in Switzerland in 1977, in which the distinguished leaders of the Islamic Movement and AMSS and the active leaders of the Movement in Europe and America and other scholars were represented. The purpose ofthis conference, as stated in the words of Abdul Hamid Ahmad Abu Sulayman (1989) was to make the Muslim thinker aware of his responsibility for the malaise of the Ummah in modern times”. The result of the conference was the awareness of the fact that the first step toward a genuine solution of the crisis of Islamic thought is the Islarnization of Knowledge; (i.e.) the critical examination ofmodern disciplines in the light of the vision ofIslam and the recasting of them under categories consistent with that vision”. (Abdul Hamid 1989:8). However, itwas also suggested to the Muslim scholars and young Muslims in the conference that to undertake the Islamization of Knowledge, “the mastery of the modern disciplines and of the Islamic legacy” is indispensable. Hence an acute need has been felt of an international institution for the Muslim researchers to make the modern disciplines and the Islamic legacy accessible to the researchers so as to enable them to embark on their goal of Islamization of Knowledge. Thus the greatest landmark of the conference was its resolution for the establishment of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (lilT) to actualize the purpose of the conference through a systematic and sustained programme and efforts. The Institute eventually came into existence in the United States of America in 1981. Since its existence all these years, it has held a number of international conferences, seminars and symposiums. It has also established its branches in different parts of the world. The first international conference of the Institute, which was the second International Conference on Islamization of Knowledge, was held in Islamabad, Pakistan, in 1982 in co-operation with the International Islamic University, Islamabad. This conference discussed the “whither, why and whence” of Islamization. The proceedings were published under the title “Knowledge for What?” by the International Islamic University of Islamabad in 1982. Selected research papers were published entitled, Islant Source and Purpose of Knowledge by the Institute (lilT). The main objective of the 42


conference was to come to a consensus among scholars on the general framework for Islamizing the disciplines and the eventual production of textbooks in each human science discipline. Hence the Institute successfully worked over the general framework and produced it under the title Islamization of Knowledge: General Principles and Workplan. The workplan provides a general sketch to the Muslim scholars to re-map their respective disciplines and areas of interest to re-orient it on the broad lines of Islamization framework. The Institute appealed and stimulated Muslim scholars the world over to shoulder the responsibility of the reconstruction of their disciplines. The appeal was well received, and the overwhelming response led to an International Symposium on Islamic Civilization. The Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sports of Malaysia, in co-operation with the National Museum of Malaysia and Berita Harian, one of the major dailies of Malaysia held the symposium. The symposium called upon Muslim scholars to take up the challenge of the Islamization. Gradually, the Movement was spread all over the world by conscientious Muslim scholars, researchers, lecturers and professors from elementary, secondary to university levels who wanted to raise their voice against the secularization and Westernization of knowledge per se. This isreflected by comments, critical questions, suggestions and queries sent to the Institute from different quarters of the world. In response to the heartfelt concerns ofthe people, the Institute held its Third International Conference on Islamic Thought in Kuala Lumpur in 1984. Including the Presidents, Deans and faculties ofthe Malaysian and other Muslim universities ofthe world, was the Prime Minister ofMalaysia Dr. Mahathir Muhammad who inaugurated the conference. Dr. Mahathir (1989) says: “We should re-organize our political, social and economic life in a way that fully incorporates the injunctions of Islam to ensure that a socially healthy, politically coherent, and economically efficient and vigorous Ummahwill emerge To understand the underlying relevance of these injunctions in contemporary society, and to work out the process of their implications in practice, is an acute spiritual need of the Muslim Urnmah (p. 19) ....




Dr. Mahathir Muhammad is not only attached to the movement’s objective of Islamization of Knowledge in theory but in practical terms he has been lending his full support to the International Islamic University (hUM) since its existence. Along with Dr. Mahathir, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, President ofIIUM, who is the Deputy Prime Minister ofMalaysia and also the Finance Minister lends his co-operation to the Movement of Islamization and he is even attached to the Institute (lilT). Thus, Islamization is not longer confined to the “academia” but has also penetrated the “politia”. The other contributors to the conference were Akbar S. Ahmed of Pakistan, Roger Garaudy and Abdul Hamid Ahmad Abu Sulayman. Akbar Ahmed presented a scathing criticism of Western anthropology from an Islamic perspective. Ahmed pointed out three methodological assumptions in Western anthropology (1) the anthropocentric view of the anthropologists who look at man in terms of the psychic characteristics of the ethnic group not as a cosmic agent transcending ethnicity; (2) the prejudiced view on Muslim societies as “fossils drawn from the past”, and (3) an extremely limited viewthat man is a product of historical and natural forces and not a unique creature to whom the angels were commanded to prostrate. Roger Garaudy, the former ideologue of the French Communist Party who by Allah’s grace accepted Islam presented a critical essay on contemporary Western philosophy which exposed the utter failure of Western philosophy and Western civilization. Garaudy (1989), while tracing the development of Western thought from Hegel to the contemporary, passing through existentialism, scientific Marxism, positivism, empiricism, pragmatism and semanticism, concluded that uncritical submission to Western philosophies is suicidal and that the only solution to all the problems lies in the Qur’an. He said: —

“Surrender to the logical implication ofWestern culture, or to its peculiar brand of growth and development after five centuries of Western hegemony, does lead and has led the entire planet earth to suicide (p. 402) ...


We must read the Qur’an with our eyes fixed on the 44


solution to our problems, with minds and wills determined to discharge our responsibility as the vicegerents of Allah (s.w.t) on the earth.” (p. 406)

Abdul Hamid Ahmad Abu Sulayman presented a critique of the traditional Muslim methodology and introduced some new concepts and terms for the reformation of Muslim Thought. His paper marked a breakthrough in Muslim social sciences and in Muslim law for it emphasized the need of a new approach and methodology for the investigation of social phenomena. We would discuss Abdul Hamids thought and his contribution to Islamization of Knowledge later separately. The other contributors to the conference who addressed different epistemological and methodological problems of different disciplines were Mehdi Golshani (Philosophy of Science); Hasan Langgulung (Psychology); Muhammad Nejatullah Siddiqi (Economics); Muhammad Abdullah alSamman (Fiqh); Ahmed Ibrahim (Law); Ismail R. al-Faruqi (World Theology); Lamya al-Faruqi (Art and Architecture) and Sayyid M. Sayeed (Linguistics), to name but a few. The papers of these Muslim scholars and others who contributed to the conference were published by the Institute entitled Toward Islamization of Disciplines in 1989. The goal of the conference was to reconstitute each human science discipline on the general principles and the workplan of the Islamization of Knowledge and to recategorize the thought from an Islamic perspective. The operational objective of the conference as stated in the Introduction of the proceedings was: “1. A new school of thought in each of the disciplines, 2. A school of thought whose ultimate principles stem fromthe values ofIslam and leadto them, and 3. Aschool of thought worthy of the greatest empiricism precisely because its methodology uniquely guarantees the inclusion of both material and axiological reality” (Toward Istamization of Disciplines 1989:8) No doubt the creation of a new school of thought based on an Islamic vision is the goal of the Institute per se. Apart from international conferences, the Institute pro45


duces its ownjournals, the American Journal oflslamic Social Sciences, which is published simultaneously in co-operation with the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS) in Washington, D.C., Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and Islamabad (Pakistan) and al-Muslim al-Mu’asir, Al-Ummah, in Arabic. These journals are mainly devoted to the problems and prospects of the Islamization of Knowledge. These journals are in fact the intellectual forums which have ushered an era of serious debate and discussion on the development of methodology and the reconstitution of Islamic thought. Some of the important discussions initiated by the American Journal ofIslamic Social Sciences include a thought-provoking discussion on the need for “An Islamic Alternative in Thought and Knowledge” by Taha Jabir al-Alwani, President of lilT, “An Approach to the Islamization of Social and Behavioral Sciences” by AusafAli, “Islamic Ethics” by Abdul Haq Ansari, “Paradigms in Political-Science” by Mona M. Abul-Fadl, ‘Theory Building in the Social Sciences” by Ibrahim Ragab, “Islamic Corpus of Knowledge and the Rise of the New Science” by Mahmood Dhaouadi, “Islamic Science” by Siraj Hussain and others. It seems pertinent now to present briefly a few important reflections of the leadership of the movement of Islamization of Knowledge, al-Syahid Dr. Ismail R. al-Faruqi and Abdul Hamid Ahmed Abu Sulayman. Even during 1930’s and 1940’s, when most of the Muslim lands were still colonized, history has witnessed the rise of an Islamic Movement under the name al-Ikhwan alMuslimãn in Egypt by al-Syaheed Hasan-al-Banna in 1928 and the Jamaat-e-Islami in the Indian subcontinent by Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi in 1941 as discussed earlier. The aim and objective of the Islamic movement has been the establishment of Islam in all it entire form and spirit, which had also been the objective of the earlier revivalists. The farreaching influence of the Islamic movement is obvious and pervasive in the contemporary Islamic resurgence worldover. However, we cannot delve here in detail the history and the impact of the Islamic movement in different aspects and arenas of Muslim society. We have touched briefly earlier it immense contribution to Islamic thought. What deems es46


sential to point out here is the need for a Movement of Knowledge along with the Islamic movement, which was nevertheless felt by the young Muslims and which was fulfilled by al-Faruqi, Abdul Hamid Ahmad Abu Sulayman and their colleagues. Although, the prolific pens of Mawdudi, Sayyid Qutb and Iqbal demolished to a great extent the influence ofthe Western philosophies and theories and culture in the Muslim society, al-Faruqi, Abdul Hamid Ahmad Abu Sulayman and others colleagues launched a movement by itself specifically for the dewesternization and desecularization, rather for the Islamization of Knowledge. It has provided a unique forum for the leaders of the Islamic movement and various other conscientious Muslim scholars, world over, to meet together and discuss the common issues of the Muslim Ummahvis-ã-vis mankind. The fact is, as stated earlier, the ultimate goal of the Islamization of Knowledge Movement is the same as the aim and objective of the Islamic movement, the complete Islamization of the society to bring forth a new civilization based on Islamic values and principles. The Islamization ofKnowledge Series No. 1 (1988) states: / “The objectives of the “Islamization of Knowledge” are to perfect the tools necessary for the ummah to progress smoothly in it Islamic role, to furnish itwith the essential powers and faculties for its proper functioning, and to clarify it vision and its methodology In itwidest sense, “Islamization” means a framework for human life, civilization, and human transformation.” (Istarnization ofKnowtedge Series No. 1, 1989, p. 87) ...

We can better appreciate the whole philosophy of Islamization of Knowledge Movement if we look into some conceptions of al-Faruqi. Al-Faruqi contends that taw~iidis the quintessence of Islam without which there is no Islamic civilization, culture and purpose of life and no Islam as such. He writes: the essence of Islam is tawhid as unization of God, the act of affirming Allah to be the One, the absolute, transcendent, creator, the Lord and Master of all that is. (at-Faruqi, 1982, 18) 47


Tawh~dis thus an integral constituent of Islam which unites all the other parts of Islam into a united whole and harmonizes the relationships between all the parts. On the basis of tawh(d as the primary and unifying principle, alFaruqi elaborates all his Conceptions of Knowledge, Metaphysics, Ethics, Economic Order, Political Order, Social Order, Ummah and the World Order. Tawhid as a methodological principle is also greatly dealt by al-Faruqi. He writes: “As methodological principle, tawhid consists of three principles: first, rejection ofall that does not correspond with reality; second, denial of ultimate contradictions; third, openness to new and/or contrary evidence.”

(at-Faruqi, 1982, p. 15) The first principle totally rejects all the unconfirmed opinions, whims, conjecture and speculation as deceptive knowledge. Confirmation to the reality as depicted in the Qur’an becomes the criterion to judge the validity of any statement. The second principle identifies the essence of rationalism in Islam and the importance of the revelation which stands above the manipulation ofman. He emphasizes the unity of the two sources of truth viz, revelation and reason. Whereas the third principle gives intellectual humility and convinces on man the fact that “Allah knows better” and that he is blessed by Allah (S.W.T) a very small amount of knowledge of all the things. Similarly, al-Faruqi’s views on Ummah are also too deep and comprehensive. He does not look at Ummah as “an

accidental growth of nature”, rather as an instrument of Allah’s will for the concretization of His will in space and time. He looks at Ummah as an organic society with imàrah or

government. He writes: “The Prophet (s.a.w) rules: it is not permissible for three Muslims to find themselves in a land without their assigning one of them to their leadership. For, since, their purpose is to uphold their rites, enforce the Divine injunctions, realizejustice, execute the hudüd, and fulfil happiness in this and the other world, there is no escape from forming themselves into an Ummah, an organic 48


society with imarah or government.”

(at-Faruqi, 1982, p. 133) Thus, we find al-Khilafah is already included in his conception of Ummah. The caliphate is looked as Ummah in terms of it vicegerency and Ummah is referred as al-Khal~fah, being the vicegerent ofAllah (S.W.T). The Ummah, in short for him is a three-fold consensus of vision, will and action. Al-Faruqi also strongly asserts that the task ofbringing a new world order in the world which can restore peace to the world lies on the Ummah. He argues, that in the fulfilment of this task, the Ummah manifests it submission and obedience to Allah (S.W.T). He writes: “Islam and it adherents regard themselves as committed to the task of bringing about a new world order. They regard this commitment as the only viable response to the present predicament; first, because this is how we can render obedience to God ... and second because this is the only way to save humanity.

(at-Faruqi 1987: xxiv) Besides his well-acclaimed work, tawhid: It Implications for Thought and Life, al-Faruqi with his wife Lamya Faruqi also produced a monumental work on Islamic culture and civilization. Abdul Hamid Ahmad Abu Sulayman’s life, thought and action can be phrased as a passionate and self-less love for Ummah vis-ã-vis mankind. A serious study of the problems of the Ummah, identification of the real malaise of the Ummah, reflections on it cure and recovery and aspirations for it glorious future is all the concern of Abdul Hamid and every problem which he has addressed is always related to the ‘Ummatic problem. One can only appreciate the real and serious concern for Ummah which echoes from his recent work Crisis in the Muslim Mind, as though the words weep and moves ones heart from within and then pushes him forward with a promising determination to do something for Ummah, for the mankind at large. He was born in Makkah, in 1936, presently, Rector of the International Islamic University, Malaysia, former President and founder-member of lilT and AMSS, Secretary49


General of World Assembly of Muslim Youth and various International Islamic Organizations, author of several articles and the books including The Islamic Theory of International Relations: New Directions for Islamic Methodology and Thought and The Islamic Theory of Economics: Philosophy and Contemporary Means Crisis in the Muslim Mind, etc. Abdul Hamid from the very childhood, became a serious student of Ummah’s history, it rise and fall and grew up with a strong determination to bring a sweeping change in Ummah so that it can fulfil it destined role of leadership in the world. He writes: —

“As a child, I opened my heart and soul to the Ummah’s trials and anguish as expressed by it writers and poets. When I grew up, in Makkah, in the classroom and

between the covers of my books, the pages of history opened before my eyes and, in my imagination, I relived the Umrnah’s best and worst moments along with the finest and most courageous of it heroes. Often bitterness and frustration crept into the depths of my soul; but more often did the urgency of the crisis fill my heart with

determination and the conviction that things must change.” (Abdut Hamid 1993, p. xiii) No one can be left unmoved without realizing the great depth of the concern for the Ummah being overflowed in the above lines in extremely moving literary style. No wonder if we find the pain, anguish and the strong resolution to bring a revolutionary change in Ummah in his writing because he has made the problems of Ummah as his own problems. Now let us look into his study of the historical roots of the crisis of the Muslim Ummah. While tracing the roots of the crisis, he points out that the first cause of the decline of the Ummah is the fltnah (infighting) of the civil wars within Khilãfah during the last periods when our third and the fourth Khulafah ‘Uthman ibn Affan and ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with them) were martyred. Thus the true Khilafah came to a close and was “replaced by the profligacy, despotism, and tribalism of the new rulers of the Ummah, the ‘Umayyah royalty”. Abdul 50


Hamid contends, that the political foundations of the Khiläfah underwent a fatal change because the number of the Bedouins ascended when compared to the respected companions of the Prophet (s.a.w) for they were martyred. It was also one of the crucial factors of the downfall because the Bedouins were still imbued with ethnocentrism and prejudices. While analysing the whole predicament of the period of fall, Abdul Hamid argues that the replacement ofthe Khilafah with the ‘Umayyah royalty led to a rift between the political and religious leadership. One of the important causes of the crises in Islamic Thought and institutions is the rift between the Ummah’s political and religious leadership. He writes: “The rift between the religious, intellectual and the political leadership was the underlying cause of all the maladies that would later beset the Ummah. This bitter rift led to the removal of the intellectual leadership from all practical and social responsibility within the Ummah. This in turn, became the most important reason for the paralysis of the Muslim mind, which literally retreated into the confines of the mosque.”

(Abdut Hamid 1993:26) Finally this rift led to the closing ofthe door of~tihãdi.e. the stagnation of thought and the political leadership was deprived an intellectual base which alone would have guided it to the true direction. Hence he says that the present political leadership of the Muslim world is despotic and dictatorial in nature and for the same reason, Ummah is gradually faded away as a world civilization. Abdul Hamid, then analysis the crisis and finally concludes that the Ummah’s crisis is mainly one of thought more than belief and the methodology more than anything else. He writes: “In the final analysis, this confirms that the Ummah’s crisis is essentially of method and not of meaning and that the issue involved is one of means and not of ends.”

(Abdut Hamid 1993:31) Abdul Hamid, then aptly points out that the conse51


quences of the confrontation between the intellectual and political leadership was the conflict between Reason and Revelation. This conflict also effected the relationship between concepts and purpose of religion and between a social life and institutions. Since Islam is a complete system of life and embraces all aspects of life, there is a need for such a Methodological Framework of Islamic Thought which should not seclude any aspect of life. The fundamentals of Islamic Methodology and thought pointed out by him are (1) unicity (2) vicegerency and (3) responsibility. On the basis of these principles, he argues that all the civilizational sciences which include the SocialSciences, the humanities, the Sciences of technology and the natural and applied Sciences should be evolved to usher an Islamic Civilization again in the world. Lastly, Abdul Hamid asserts the fact, that Islamization is the issue of the Ummah. Hence there should be a coordination between the contemporary Islamic Movement leadership and the leadership of the Islamization of Knowledge Movement to establish the Khilafah society on earth that Allah commanded”. He writes: “It is hoped that Islamization in general and the Islamization of Knowledge in particular become the most important issues on the Umrnah’s agenda in the coming decades. It may also be hoped that the leadership of our contemporary Islamic movements will not look on Islamization as in a way depreciative of as detracting from thevalue of their own efforts. Rather political action and mobilization without sound ideas or people capable of delivering them is surely wasted.”

(AbdutHamid 1993: 159) From the above brief sketch of the ideas and views of the leadership of the Islamization of Knowledge Movement, it is quite understandable why and how the movement became global and eye-catching within a very short time. We hope from Allah (S.W.T) that the Islamic Movement and the Islamization of Knowledge Movement would go hand in hand to achieve their common objective Islamization of society and the common goal to win the pleasure of Allah (S.W.T)! —


No doubt, “it is high time that we march ahead and unfurl



the banner of Islamization”. This goal is ingrained in the very conscience of the Ummah and emanates from the very depths of it being. It must, therefore, be right to regard “Islamization” as the goal of the Ummah and of all it brilliant star. In the end, slogans such as “Westernization” and “modernization” are redundant and superfluous and will become obsolete”. (Islamization of Knowledge Series No. 1, 1988: 83).



REFERENCES Abdul Hamid A. Abu Sulayman 1989. “Orientation guidelines for the International Conference on Islamization of Knowledge” in Toward Islamization of Disciplines. Herndon, U.S.A.: International Institute of Islamic Thought. Abdul Hamid A. Abu Sulayman 1993. Crisis in the Muslim Mind, Herndon, U.S.A.: International Institute of Islamic Thought. Al-Attas, Syed Muhammad Naquib 1969. Preliminary Statement on a General Theory of the Istamization of the Malay-Indonesian Archipelago, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Al-Attas, Syed Muhammad Naquib 1978. Islam and Secularism, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Islamic Youth Movement ofMalaysia. Anis Ahmad 1975. “Letter to Colleagues” in FromMuslim to Islamic: Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Convention of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists, Indianapolis, Indiana. Daud, Wan Mohd. Nor. 1991. The Beacon on The Crest of A Hill: A

Brief History and Philosophy of The International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, International Islamic Thought and Civilization, International Islamic University, Malaysia. Farid, Ahmad, 5. 1975. Muslim Social Scientists: Raison D etre, Problems and Prospects in From Muslim to Islamic. Faruqi, Ismail Raji. 1982. Tawhid: Its Implicationsfor Thought and Life, Herndon, U.S.A: lilT. Garaudy, Roger 1989. “The Balance Sheet of Western Philosophy” in Toward Islamization of Disciplines, Herndon, U.S.A: lIlT. Idris, Jaffar Shaikh 1975. Islamic Social Science: Its Meaning and Desirability in From Muslim to Islamic. Iqbal, Muhammad 1925. In a letter of Sahibzada Aftab Ahmad Khan, quoted by C.A. Qadir, Philosophy and Science in the Islamic World. Croom Helm, New York, 1988. Iqbal, Muhammad 1965. Lectures on theReconstruction of Religious Thought. Lahore. Irfan Ahmed Khan 1959. “The Meaning of Islamic Research” in Islamic Thought. Aligarh, India, 6, 1, 1959. Islamization of Knowledge Series, No. 1, 1988. Islamization of Knowledge: General Principles and Work Plan, Herndon, U.S.A: international Institute of Islamic Thought. Khan, Muhammad Akram 1983. Islamic Economics: Annotated Sources inEnglish and Urdu. Leicester, U.K: The Islamic Foundation. Kirmani, Mohammad Zaki 1989. Islamic Science Moving Towards

a New Paradigm inAn Early Crescent The Future ofKnowledge and the Environment in Islam, edited by Ziauddin Sardar, 54


London: Mansell. Mahathir, Muhammad 1989. Islamization of Knowledge and the

Future of the Ummah in Toward Istamization of Disciplines. Herndon, U.S.A: International Institute of Islamic Thought. Mawdudi S.A.A. 1988. Mawdudi on Education, Translated and edited by Prof. S.M.A. Rauf, Karachi, Pakistan: Islamic Research Academy Karachi. Mawdudi, S.A.A. The Meaning of the Quran, Lahore: Islamic Publications. Mawdudi, S.A.A. 1984. The Meaning of the Quran, vol. 5. Lahore: Islamic Publications. Nejatullah Siddiqi 1957b, Problems of Islamic Research in Economics Islamic Thought, Aligarh, India, 4, 4 & 5. Nejatullah Siddiqi 1978. Contemporary Literature on Islamic Economics. Leicester, U.K.: The Islamic Foundation. Qutb, Sayyid, 1974. Fi at Tarikh... FikrahWaMinhaj. Cairo: Dara;— Shuruq, quoted by Ahmad Moussalhi, “Sayyid Qutb’s View of Knowledge” The American Journal ofIslamic Social Sciences, 7, 3, 1990, p. 318. Qutb, Sayyid, 1979. In the Shade of the Qur’an. London: MWH, London Publishers. Qutb, Sayyid, 1980. At-Adalah al-Ijtimaiyah fit at Islam (Social Justice in Islam). Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq, quoted by Ahmad Moussalhi, op. cit. Syed Zainul Abedin, 1957. “Problems of Islamic Research in Philosophy” in Islamic Thought, Aligarh, India, 4, 3. Toward Islamization ofDisciplines, 1989. Herndon, U.S.A. :IIIT.



THE IMPERATIVE AND OBJECTIVE OF ISLAMIC RESEARCH Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi The variety of different sciences and arts that are to be found in the world can be divided into two broad categories. One category comprises the knowledge and information about the world and man’s life in it that man receives as the cumulative experience of mankind in different ages. In the second category lies what the different communities and nations do by way ofarranging those information from a certain point of view or perspective which is their own. As far as the basic facts are concerned, or, in other words, whatever is our information about the things of this world, not much difference can be found among the different communities. The difference occurs onlywhen the mind organises and arranges those information in a certain way and constructs upon its basis a philosophy of life and a theory of thought and action. It is for this reason that the forms of cultures continually change. The cultures and civilizations that are now to be found in the world are all based on the same set of information which man has gained about the universe but each culture has arr.anged it in its own peculiar way making an exclusive system of theory and praxis which, in turn, characterises that particular culture and serves as its chief distinguishing mark. Now, in this connection, it should be clearly borne in mind that if there is a community of people which has abandoned the task of thinking, searching and gathering information and data about the facts, itwould inevitably fall into a state of inertia which would lead to its decline and


ultimately its subjugation by some other nation. And when one nation comes to dominate another, it is not only in a political and economic sense. Over and above, it is an ideological domination, i.e., the culture itself is subjected to the ideas of another. What happens as a sequel to this cultural subjection is that the subjugated people begin to imitate their conquerors and eat what is the “leftover” of the latter. Others do research, assemble and arrange their data, make a system and a philosophy of life out of them. These people, on the other hand, just follow them and accept and embrace whatever comes from them. The more this tendency grows and reaches towards its perfection the more the nation loses its individuality until it finally dies. There have been communities and nations who perished in this way. Their culture is now known only through history dead nations with no life left in them. When the Islamic movement arose and spread, Muslims did not achieve only a political or military conquest over the other nations; the greater fact was that Muslims themselves were at the time in the forefront of research. They not only collected more and more information but also arranged the information from the point of view of their own beliefs and thoughts. As a result, there came into existence an overpowering culture which affected the style of thinking and living of the whole world. Is it not for example a fact that even a cursory reading of the books on medicine written by Muslims shows that these are the writings of a people who have a system ofbeliefs which is peculiar to them. They would begin with the praise of God; they would select the drugs in such a way that nonpermitted ingredients are excluded and that the prescriptions contain only permitted elements. While doing this they would in between recall the name of God, saying that the powers of these drugs are not of their own but have been given to them by God. The cure of the illness is also in the hands of God as is the efficacy of the medicines themselves. When they touch the pulse they always first remember God’s name first. They search for help and guidance from God. It could obviously be realised here that the knowledge on which the practice was based was all that any practitioner in the world —



would have of them. But the handling and moulding of that knowledge was from their own different respective points of view.

The example of medicine is especially pertinent as it is one area which any one could think is value-neutral. But one can see that when there is a community with a definite ideology, it always moulds the things in its own special framework and it is that then which also becomes dominant. It can also be seen that as a result of what Muslims did with the different sciences, the whole world thought that if there is culture it is the culture of Muslims and if there is a civilization it is the civilization of Muslims. The non-Muslims had their prejudices, even a sense of enmity against Muslims, but still they followed them. Muslims uprooted the polytheistic faith and spread the belief in God’s unity with such force and established a system of thought with such vehemence that even for the polytheists it became difficult to maintain their claim as the truth. The pagans who earlier used to express their feigned surprise at the Islamic declaration of oneness of God, themselves became apologetic. Tawhid was no longer a strange or unfamiliar idea. What was more difficult to assert was the belief in multiple gods. The shirk was defensively explained by saying that although God is ultimately one, we require some other smaller gods to act as the mediators to attain the nearness of that real God. Many monotheistic sects emerged among polytheistic communities as for example in the Indian subcontinent itself. Similarly, different natural and social sciences, philosophy and other disciplines developed by Muslims also became dominant throughout the world. The Western renaissance movement was largely an outcome of the ideas taught by Muslims to the West. The people who studied different sciences and arts in the universities of Muslim Spain became the chief representatives of that movement. There was a time when European scholars took pride in expressing themselves in Arabic. Even religious luminaries used Arabic in their personal letters. There are in fact written records of observations made by many of them complaining that their people have abandoned their own language and have adopted in its place Arabic as the medium of expression 59


in their personal lives. Naturally, it was all because during that time the scholarly work was done by Muslims and other communities used only the leftover of Muslims. They studied and received the knowledge the way Muslims have arranged them and as a result their mindset was also moulded on the pattern designed by Muslims. If one reads the books written by a certain group of Christian scholastics one gets the clear impression that the works are merely copies of Muslims scholastics. The same issues are discussed, the same nuances used and the same controversies grappled with. If there is a difference, it is only in the fact that they introduce some specific Christian ideas into their discussion. One indeed cannot find any difference between the writings of Christian and Muslim scholastics except on the issue of the doctrines of trinity and prophethood. But then there came a time when Muslims almost abandoned the work of doing creative research. The research done by earlier scholars were studied and taught. Commentaries upon commentaries were written. The progress of knowledge nearly stopped. At this time (on the other hand) the Westerners started doing intellectual work. They collected new information and new facts, arranged and systematised them and built on their basis new philosophies. The end result ofthis was that while Muslim scholarship came to be gradually fossilized, the Western power increased due to their advances in science. It was obvious that in so far as they gathered new information and data, did innovative researches, they would also accordingly find new means and new methods of using that knowledge. On the other hand, if one completely ignores this kind of work one will inevitably face stagnancy and decline. Even a cursory look at history reveals that a great gap came to exist between the two cultures by the beginning of the eighteenth century. The two or three hundred years of decline ultimately resulted in the domination of Muslims by European nations. The way the Europeans invaded and conquered the Muslim nations during and after the eighteenth century is in itself a clear proof of the consequences of ignoring intellectual and scientific research and what benefits we (earlier) reaped by involving ourselves in that same task. —



The point being stressed here is that just as in earlier times, when others thought that all knowledge, all sciences and arts and technologies belong to the Muslims, so in our times the Muslims themselves have come to think sciences and arts, literature and technology, belong to the West. This may not be admitted overtly; it may even be denied at a conscious level. But the fact remains that we have practically given to the situation in which the Western concepts and ideas and ideals dominate our whole life. Now, clearly, in such a situation the only way to retrieve our position is to restart scientific search and research. Here, it needs to be clarified the kind of intellectual work that is desirable from our point of view. The first thing is to realise that there is a type of research which some Western scholars often ask us to do; this consists of editing of books, comparing different texts of old manuscripts, and collecting biographical details of authors etc. Obviously this kind of research is meaningless and unproductive, although, of course, it helps in increasing and promoting knowledge. Nevertheless, it is definitely not the kind of research which infuses the breath of life into a lifeless nation or awaken it from its slumber. It is cold and aimless and very different from another kind of research indulge by Westerners. It is a kind ofresearch that is dynamic and a source of strength and power that enables one nation to dominate another. There is a third kind of research which has been started in some Muslim countries. The idea is to create, in the name of an Islamic research, a new Islam that is in accordance with the values and ideals of the West i.e., whatever is good or bad in the West is shown tobe equally good or bad from an Islamic point of view. The aim here is to fit Islam into the Western mould and thus giving it an appearance of being merely anotherversion ofthe Western culture. It goes without saying that such type of research is of no use to us. What we need instead is a type of research where different areas of science and arts are explored and developed in the light of Islamic principles and built on the basis of that research a system of ideas and ideals that is truly Islamic. The salient objectives that can be enumerated here for this research are as follows. First and foremost, the task is of course to break the 61


spell ofWestern ideas and philosophies. It needs to be shown through a logical and intellectual argument that whatever truth or factual content there is in Western sciences it is the common property of the world and there is no question for that matter of having a grudge against it. Equally important is to show that the philosophies and systems they built on the basis of that knowledge and also the civilization that has emerged on their foundations is false and totally deceptive. The social sciences and philosophies they have concocted are a source of anomie and disorder. It is not in the interest of humanity. It can lead to the destruction of humanity and the destruction of themselves. This is the first necessary task that is required to end the magical spell that the Western philosophies have cast upon the Muslim mind. It is through this that Muslims can be liberated from their mental slavery and defeatism. For so long as they suffer from such weaknesses they cannot be expected to be creative; instead they will remain as imitative as they are now. At present, they are just blindly following the line of the West. This state of affairs cannot be changed unless they are told clearly that factual data is one thing and the world-view created out of those data is an entirely different thing. The facts in themselves may be entirely genuine and true but the philosophy based on them is not necessarily so. The second task for us is to rearrange and reconstruct the different sciences from an Islamic point of view so that they may become the basis of an Islamic civilization. We require a new philosophy oflife which may be satisfying to the human intellectual curiosity ofknowing the reality but which is also in accordance with the belief system of Islam. The search for reality, and to be restless about, it is a part of human nature that cannot be avoided. There are obviously “ways” of philosophising and among those the best way is that shown by the prophets. We have to mould all our conceptions of the ultimate reality, of the world and the life in the world and also their meaning according to an Islamic perspective so that a new man is created through that mould. This objective, naturally, cannot be achieved through the philosophy or psychology or any other philosophical discipline that is being taught in our universities. It needs to be changed and replaced by another kind of philosophy. 62


We know that in Russia, the development of a culture entirely different from the Western culture was attempted when the people there adopted communist ideology. They could not bear to teach what they called bourgeoisie theories in their universities and colleges. They knew that as communists it was necessary for them to have a communistic philosophy to teach to their new generations. They also knew that unless they replaced the old bourgeoisie philosophy with their own new ideas the minds could not be changed and no new system could be built. In short, all the different social sciences whether economics or law or philosophy have to be rebuilt and be made a part of the curriculum in our colleges and universities. This is the only way; not only do we have rebuild a new Islamic civilization, but we have to preserve whatever is left of it. A child can be “taught” to believe in the unity of God or prophethood or, for that matter, in the Qur’an as a revealed book. When the same child goes to a missionary school or (later) enters college, he finds that whatever he is learning now has no place for God or the hereafter or any such beliefs. Whether he is studying science or a subject of social science he never feels the necessity ofGod’s presence in the world. He is never confronted with the possibility of there being an economics or science of law which is given by God’s messengers. On the contrary, he learns that perhaps many of the things the prophets did were wrong, as for example, the forbidding of interest taking which he believes is indispensable for the working of any financial system. He is also told that to cut the hands of a thief for stealing is barbaric and equally barbaric is the punishment for such harmless entertainment as fornication. One can imagine whether a student given such a perspective on life’s problems can ever feel convinced or committed to the Islamic cultural principles. As it happens, those very students, the products of the Western system of education, are also given the responsibility to run the establishment having become secretaries, officers and generals. So how can we expect them to think ofthe workability ofIslam in government or state affairs. Among the educated in fact, the idea has gained ground that Islam is quite unworkable in —



our present times. The reason is that they were educated in such a way that they are not allowed to think that there can be a system other than or better than the Western system of living. What they find before them is a system which is being practised and works successfully. On the other hand, an Islamic system is a vague idea which is not in use and which has no conspicuous presence in the arts and sciences that he has learnt. Apart from this critical work, one has also to think of a more constructive work which has become necessary in the present context. The work is the rearranging of the different aspects of knowledge in such a way as to make the new generations convinced of the truth of Islam, convinced of the workability ofIslam in modern times and also arouse in them the will and desire to make it practicable in the existing world. After this, what we have to do is to prepare texts on the pattern suggested above. For while at present everybody, from the top to the bottom, professes his desire to implement the Islamic system of education, no effort has been made as yet towrite books from an Islamic point ofview. As said above, the communists never tolerate the teaching of any subject, whether economics or law or any other, using books written by bourgeoisie authors. In fact, not only they are not prepared to teach social sciences based on books by such authors but they are also trying to develop a “soviet” science.’ The scientific texts are being rewritten from a new viewpoint so that the new generations may not have the necessity to use books prepared by capitalists. In our society, the position is such that by Islamic education what one means is to teach about the beliefs in a separate single period while devoting the rest of the time to those sciences which are found in the books authored by Western wiiters. The beliefs (whether in God or the prophets or life after death) are there but not actually operative anywhere in the curriculum. The different subjects being taught are along Western lines or based on books written by those who unimaginatively have imitated the Western style of 1

The author had delivered this speech during 1962 the Soviet Union was a super power.



thinking and writing. Given this situation one cannot hope that there will ever emerge a generation which will be able to revive or even preserve Islam. Our path is the path to destruction. We are slowly killing our own individuality. Our governments, our officers and the elite, our businessmen and technocrats, are concerned with showing the Westerners that we do not differ much from them, and that whatever ideas or ideals or culture they have are also ours. They would evenapologise for thinking whatever they have been thinking with regard to good and bad, forbidden and permissible, and so on. This is obviously not a very promising or satisfactory situation as it does not offer any hope that our coming generations being trained in the current system will ever do anything for the renaissance or revival of Islam. A related task is of preparing a common Islamic literature which may appeal to Muslims of all nationalities and satisfy their individual needs. Various Muslim nations had had varying degrees of exposure to Westernization such that while in some cases there is some material written to fulfil certain requirements, and put up some resistance to the foreign onslaught, others do not have any material or have it only nominally. There are of course people everywhere who are engaged in the corrective work but there is a need that all should share in each other’s work. This objective, obviously, can be achieved by translating whatever is written in each other’s languages. Books written in Urdu for example must be rendered into Arabic and vice versa; and they should also be translated into other languages. Above all, there is a need to have a good collection of books2 in English, which, for fortuitous reasons, has become the liaguafrarica of the elite classes everywhere. The people of this class, who rule and guide, generally have an un-Islamic upbringing which is reflected not only in their general lifestyle but also in the ideas that they expound and the rules they legislate. Having been exposed to an English education only, they cannot under2

This suggestion was well taken by the International Islamic Federation of Students Organization (IIFSO based in Kuwait) which has prepared a collection of books in English written by various scholars for this purpose.



stand or appreciate Islamic nuances evenwhen they want to. It is necessary to approach such people in English, both in language and in style.




Why Islamic Research Before we move headlong into the discourse on the philosophy and the nature of Islamic Research, it seems pertinent to ask a few relevant questions: Why Islamic research? What compels us to look into it’s philosophy and nature? What is the rationale for giving it top priority in the scheme of work for Muslim students in the contemporary age. In fact, these questions form the central argument of this chapter per se which can be camed to its far reaching conclusions. However, for a better appreciation of the argument, we have to remind ourselves the comprehensiveness and viability of Islam. Islam, as we all know, is a faith and a way of life. It is a faith in Allah, the One; thus explaining the ultimate fate of the cosmos, and whence and where-to of life. Then, it is a faith in the Prophet implying the acceptance of the Book as the revealed Word of God, giving us a way of life which we must translate into practice. This way of life enjoins a personal conduct as well as a social outlook and a social conduct. It is comprehensive and relates to all aspects of human life, and is to remain valid for all times. By its very nature the injunctions related to social life are laid down mostly in the form of norms of actions and guiding principles for social policy. A close study of the Qur’an will confirm this statement. The Sunnah of the Prophet further elucidates these principles and gives us their


fuller practical implications within a particular historical context. Muslims are therefore required to live up to these injunctions and uphold the tenets of their faith as laid down in the Book, irrespective of temporal and spatial considerations. That is to say, with the change of the space-time relationship, the injunctions of Islam, and also its articles of faith, do not permit any change or modification. But with the onward march of the historical process certain conditions change which are very basic to man’s life. Technological progress changes the mode of production of the means of livelihood and affects far reaching changes in the form of increasing intercommunication and transport, and thus reducing the importance of spatial differences. They also tend to change the material involvement of man’s life. The scientific discoveries and the progress of man’s thought direct the attention to new planes of understanding the nature of the cosmos and pose new questions before man’s mind. Increased material involvement, increased social intercourse, accelerated pace of living and the new development of thought all subject the individual’s personality to new strains and call for renewed adjustments. These very changes call for readjustments of man’s way of life, in the organisation of production (which is bound to call for a reorganisation in the distribution of the products); and in the forms of political organisation, social concourse, and in almost every sphere of social life. Thus every age presents a new challenge to the adherent of the Faith. Those who owe allegiance to certain given rules of conduct and norms of social action and behaviour have to affect a double readjustment adjustment of the forms of social institutions and material process of ordinary living to the changed conditions; a fresh understanding of the given principles and norms with reference to the changed conditions of life. This readjustment is vital, for it is only through it that they can be able to live up to the eternal guiding principles laid down for them. It is quite distinct from the first one as it implies the maintaining of the spirit of their way of life while its forms are changing. Their success as men and as Muslims lies in their being intellectually capable of —



effecting these two types of readjustment in such a manner that the resulting way of life is as fully an embodiment of the cherished norms and values as it is fitted to the changed material conditions. Obviously, the process of double readjustment required in the dynamics of social life has its counterpart on the personal plane. The new personality has to resolve all conflicts and ease all strains while retaining the vigorous purposiveness and enthusiasm of a servant of God, of one who, in all his mundane activities, is constantly in preparation for the hereafter, accumulating his assets for the last reckoning and securing at the same time the best of this worldly life. The mind and heart have to retain the natural buoyancy of their cosmic vision, derived from the Qur’an, while accepting all genuine knowledge and insight offered by the onward march of science a process in which it is itself expected to be an active participant, nay, the leader and the torch bearer. At this stage it would be worthwhile to digress into the important question whether the metaphysical truths of the Revelation, and the injunctions of Islam relating to individual personality and conduct are capable of such a fresh understanding? Without going into the question analytically, we shall remind ourselves that such a premise directly follows from the attributes ofAllah (S.W.T). HisJustice, His Wisdom, as also His Mercy ensure that having given us the relevant truths, norms, values and also laws of eternal validity, He must have made these capable of fresh understandings and readjustments whenever the changed conditions necessitate such a process the changed conditions which are nothing but a manifestation of His will. Coming back to the main thread of our argument, it is but obvious that the vast changes which have led man’s history to the end of the twentieth century are probably the biggest fundamental changes human life has ever experienced. It therefore calls for a process of double readjustment. To what extent, if any, have we been able to conceive of such a process? That is the vital question. This question has a practical as well as an intellectual aspect. But we shall forthe moment leave consideration of the former and concentrate upon the intellectual aspect of the problem. Our question is —



how far have we been intellectually capable of conceiving such a reorganisation of political, economic, and social life which fully incorporates all the relevant injunctions of Islam and ensures a socially healthy, politically coherent and vigorous and economically efficient and developing life? Have we been able to evolve the truly Islamic personality in the changed conditions intellectually speaking? And lastly, have we been able to understand and restate the metaphysical truths revealed in the Book, in terms more familiar to the modern intellect and more fully comprehensible to the modern man? Any comprehensive inquiry into this problem is obviously beyond the scope of this chapter. We would do well to concentrate our attention to on only one aspect of the problem and endeavour try to see what it really means to. Let us imagine what would have been achieved had we really been able to meet the intellectual challenge successfully. This can be done by taking up one or two injunctions of Islam relating to the economic and political aspects of life; and seeking to know what is to be done in their respects by way of understanding, formulating and elaborating them to meet the challenge successfully. Let us take the values of “co-operation for the good” and “decision by mutual consultation” as applied to the economic and political life respectively. These values have been laid down in the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) and practically manifested in his life and also followed by the earliest Muslim society to a great extent. Here we need not go into the question in what forms and through which institutions were these two values realised. The problem to which we have to address ourselves is how to realise those values in the contemporary situation? What is the pattern ofhuman relationship that would best realise the “value of co-operation” while ensuring efficiency in production of wealth as well as development and growth of the economy? What institutional arrangements would secure a distribution of wealth and income consistent with the value of “co-operation for the good?” Hence, in this regard, our first step would be to look into the mechanism and problems of the virtual operation of the -



injunction “co-operation for the good”. It implies that the injunction must not only be given practical content but the implications must also be explained in concrete terms before it can become the basis of the economic organization of modern society. Obviously, it would not suffice for Muslim producer, under modern conditions, to be told to co-operate. This injunction must be given practical content, and its implications explained in concrete terms before it can become the basis of the economic organisation of modern society. The large numbers of those involved in the process of production, the many dimensions in which co-operation in this field must be conceived (producers, labourers, consumers, state), the complex technicalities involved in production, the extent of the relevant knowledge of the actual needs of the consumers, of the priorities of the state, of the intentions as well as circumstances of the other producers, and of the circumstances of the labourers, etc. all factors have turned the erstwhile simple question how to co-operate into a very complex and difficult one. Its solution now requires, if any thing, a very big intellectual and imaginative effort, involving a deep insight into the objective condition as well as a fuller understanding ofthe nature, objectives, and the scope ofthis principle. There is bound to arise a few problems, both simple and complex in all this process. But, it is only in the solutions of these problems lies the practical content of the injunction. Hence, a greater and sustained research is required in this area to adopt the injunction as a way of economic life in the contemporary situation relevant values and objectives would emerge. It is only what by solving all these problems that we can know is co-operation and how can it be adopted as a way of economic life in the contemporary situation. A similar conclusion is reached when we examine the principle of syürã with reference to political life. Here again the question of the nature, objectives and scope, of the principle conspicuously arises. Moreover the various levels of decision making, the corresponding areas of mutual consultation, the appropriate technique for its effective practice, and the hannonization of the claims of these principles with those of efficiency, speed, security and several other questions would also arise. —



Nevertheless, what is more important is to understand these questions and ponder into their appropriate solutions in the context of our faith and the conception of life. Without these fundamental considerations, the importance and the significance of these queries cannot be realised. The fact is, the extent we fail to understand the values of these injunctions with reference to the contemporary reality, and to the extent we are unable to see through the whole process of their absorption in actual living, we fatally fail to comprehend Islam as a living reality to the same extent. Consequently this would lead to the failure in the fulfilment of the socio-political conduct of life desired by Allah (S.W.T). All this points to the spiritual draw-back from which the contemporary Muslim societies are suffering. Not only they have failed to live up to the Islamic guidance but to a very large extent, they have failed to understand it too. Therefore, the need to comprehend fully the Islamic injunctions particularly relevant to socio-political life and to work out the process of their practical implementation is an urgent need. Undisputedly, it demands a serious reflection and a thorough research on the practicality of the injunctions the laws, the actions and the institutions that they require. Presently, the darkness of ignorance on the practicability of the socio-political injunctions of Islam envirous us so grossly that the light of knowledge seems to be too far to penetrate. However this is only a transitory period. Our journey from “ignorance to knowledge” is not impossible. But it requires an effort an effort at the finding out the ways and means for the practical implementations of the injunctions in the contemporary times and this is to what we refer Islamic research. The contemporary Islamic resurgence world-over further increases the need of such a creative Islamic research. The socio-political future of Islam depends much on a successful demonstration of the validity of our claim that a modern society would lose nothing and gain much if it is reorganised on the basis of Islamic injunctions. It depends upon the emergence of the Islamic state and society which besides being spiritually healthy and virile, should also be politically strong, economically sound and socially progres—




sive. Obviously enough this is the only positive step to meet the intellectual challenge mentioned above. It isonly through Islamic research that we can provide ourselves, the resurgent Muslim people, an understandable and workable formulation of the injunctions of Islam. It seems also important to mention here that disastrous consequences are liable to follow if the resurgence is not accompanied by an intellectual effort at a realistic and workable formulation of the sociopolitical injunctions of Islam. Nevertheless, when we look from the perspective of the Ummaticmission witness the truth unto mankind, the need for the Islamic research is felt more acutely and seriously. In fact, we wish to emphasize that the Islamic research is an intellectual and creative dimension of the Ummatic responsibility per Se. The magnitude of the task cannot be exaggerated; it requires all the energy and resources that we can command, and the more we delay the more insurmountable it would become. So we appeal to all those who have faith in Islam as a way of life and who wish to see it abreast of the times answering to the spiritual, moral and socio-political needs of contemporary society, to come forward and devote themselves with a spirit of dedication to this noble task. Let us not forget the Qur’anic promise: —

And those who strive In Our (cause) We will Certainly guide them To Our Paths For verily Allah is with those Who do right -

(at- ‘Artkabüt 29:69)

The Spiritual Content of Islamic Research That Islam embraces the spiritual and the material, few would deny. This, and the fact that Islam strikes a balance between the two is a distinct feature of this system. When matter runs things the result is chaos and dissolution. Disillusionment and utter disgust gradually lead to a disintegration of human personality. When the 73


balance is tilted to the other side, that is, spiritual, the result is a suppression of activity rarely conducive to mundane progress and development, scientific discoveries and inventions. An optimum combination of the material and the spiritual could avoid these dangers. This does not imply however that Islam conceives of the temporal and the spiritual as two distinct realms facing against one another in the Islamic order of life. It is not that they are two separate departments of life. Life is one and Islam includes all these indivisible aspects in a blend of harmonious unity and integrity. The above mentioned balance owes itself to the unique nature of Islam. It finds no parallel in the modernisms or in contemporary religions. This uniqueness lies in placing all human acitvities in a spiritual perspective; in providing the mundane affairs of life with spiritual bases while investing spiritual content to every human action. This applies with equal validity and strength to all aspects of life with spiritual bases while investing spiritual content to every human action. This applies with equal validity and strength to all aspects of life such as sex and family relations, social intercommunications, consumption, production and exchange of goods and services, political organization, legislation, disbursement of justice, supervising the markets, and international relations in war and peace, etc. There is no a single realm of life that is not attended by the spiritual content. To substantiate this statement with quotations from the Qur’an and the Hadith is hardly called for. Even the least acquainted with Islam would be aware of this characteristic feature. We shall rather proceed to enquire how Islam could do so and what is the impact of this feature of Islam on the nature and content of Islamic research. The spiritual content which Islam basically provides to all human activities is due to the ultimate objective of human life as envisaged by Islam, and to the logical consequences that follow. This ultimate end is Rida-e-Ilãhi the pleasure seeking of Allah (S.W.T). This is the ultimate end and everything else constitutes only the means. Hence it becomes imperative that all human activities be directly conceived as means to this ultimate end. The problem of ultimate end immediately gains prominence. There would be a chain of sub74


ends no doubt, but the ultimate end must be the motivating force behind all activities generating and directing them. Allah (S.W.T), whose pleasure is to be sought is Omniscient and Imnopresent, observing our actions, reading our thought, knowing our intentions. No where, in no aspect of life, is man outside His surveillance. This belief, so deeply rooted in the heart of the Muslim makes him end-conscious and spiritually motivated. It is further reinforced by the doctrine of Accountability on the Day of Judgement and of the final Reckoning which ever reminds him that worldly life is short and fleeting while the Hereafter is eternal and infinite. This consideration is significant and produces a far reaching impact. It further deepens man’s end-consciousness and invests the end and the motive with a high degree of urgency. Finally, the personality of Muhammad (peace be on him) acts as a powerful impetus not only in strengthening the faith but also providing a spiritual basis of man’s attitude to life in every aspect including intellectual. This creates a link, a natural harmony between the physical and the metaphysical. He is the practical guide and an ideal exempler in all aspects of life following whom the ultimate end can be achieved. He lived in this world of trials and travails, yet successfully brought revolutionary changes in all dimensions, social, economic, political and what so ever. He totally transformed the uncultured Bedouins society into a most highly cultured society ofrefined intellectuals. What was the force behind this transformation? It was nothing but the ultimate objective of life which was firmly grounded on the fundamental beliefs Tawhid and Akhfrah. Belief in Tawhid and Akhb-ah and the conduct of life as presented by the Prophet based on these beliefs offer man a conceptual as well as a practical framework for the actualisation of his life individually and also collectively. This actualisatian ofman’s conduct of life can be further comprehended by the concepts of ‘Ibãdah and Zikr. ‘Ib&dah which connotes serving Allah (S.W.T) implies the actualisation of Allah’s commandment through out life in its every aspects. And Zikr, remembrance of Allah (S.W.T) also signifies the realisation of Allah’s Will by practically submitting -




one’s life and will to the will of Allah (S.W.T), represented in the Shari’ah. This once again points out the spiritual foundation, the spiritual content on which stand the whole economic and socio-political structure of man’s life as envisaged by Islam. All this is, of course, very obvious. It is not its validity that forms the subject of our enquiry today. We shall rather ask ourselves: How is this spiritual content of human activity, as envisaged by Islam, relevant to the Islamic researcher? Taking the field covered by the social sciences we can restate the problem as follows: What is the relevance and significance ofthe spiritual content ofeconomic, political and social activities as envisaged by Islam to the researcher? The relevance seems to be direct and immediate. The ultimate end is the chief driving force behind every activity. The spiritual nature of the ultimate end is reflected in the nature, content and purport of all the sub-ends down to the lowermost rungs of the hierarchy of ends. It creates a world of difference to see whether an economic activity is spiritually motivated or not. The presence or absence of such a motive affects the means adopted for the desired end. A spiritually minded people look towards political association, legislation and justice entirely different from spiritually indifferent people. Human relationship be it between employer and employee, the ruler and the ruled, or between two neighbours or two strangers is effected in important details if it is based on spiritual considerations rather than on material considerations and self-interest. All these activites and relationships are seen by the doer as means not only to the immediate material gains he seeks to attain also as a means for the attainment of the ultimate objective: the good of the life hereafter; the pleasure of God. How far, then, is it wise to abstract the spiritual element from any study of these activities and relationship? Is it not rather imperative to attempt an integrated study? A social analyst who ignores the spiritual motive behind a particular act, for example, ignores something which might have been decisive in giving the act its particular content, direction and scope. For example, the essence of an economic act is supposed to lie in the maximisation of results in the employ—



ment of scarce means directed towards them. The spiritual element is of decisive relevance to his act at all stages. It affects the very desire for the results selected. It may modify the very urge of maximise; it may give a value to the employment of means and scarce resources, and may also affect the choice of means as well. Then, would not it be essential to include spiritual content in an economic analysis to prevent it from becoming barren and irrelevant to reality? We may concede the necessity of such an abstraction at the intermediate level of analysis only if it is followed by the ultimate end which integrates the various aspects in order to arrive at a complete picture. How can one allow over all pictures of individual economic behaviours of the market, and of the economy as a whole, to be drawn without any reference to the forces which generate these activities, guide these behaviours, mould these institutions and exercise a decisive influence in giving them their particular content? One finds experts offering policy suggestions to the individual, the household, the firm and to the economy as a whole and basing their study on “economic analysis” in isolation from any spiritual considerations at all. Would this be advisable for an Islamic researcher or an expert? What is true of economic activities is true of all other human activities. A picture of human behaviour is incomplete if it does not take the spiritual element into account. It is vital both for analysis and for policy recommendation that we take this most essential element of life into account. Furthermore, Islamic research also aims at telling men how to live an Islamic life individually and collectively. In other words it has to suggests a conduct to men as individuals and to men in society. It has to suggest policies which are appropriate forthe establishment of the Islamic state and also its functions in contemporary society and time context. The fact that modern social sciences have developed in an atmosphere where life had lost its balance and was more or less divorced from the spiritual content deserve special attention from the Islamic researcher. Therefore, an integrated approach should be taken by the researcher on any subject, striking a balance between spiritual and material. There is, therefore, an urgent need for evolving a new 77


methodology for research from an Islamic perspective. This method should enable the researcher to take the spiritual content of human activities into account and thereby to discover the combined effect of the spiritual cum material contents on human behaviour. For example, the behaviour of the entrepreneur seeking profit as well as the pleasure of God (and all that it implies); the behaviour of the members of a polity, organising for security and material well-being as well as for a better and more righteous conduct of their collective affairs in order to win for the entire society the approbation of God all these should be considered by the Islamic researcher for his research and analysis. It is rather difficult to make precise suggestions as to what this method should be. But it should be possible to get some insight into the situation by asking ourselves the question: What a conscientious Muslim or a group of Muslims would do in such a situation? The resulting conclusion would be less precise and more removed from exactness, as compared with the findings of a method which abstracts all aspects other than that subject under study the spiritual content. But it would undoubtedly be a truer approximation to the Islamic reality. Someone may object to the very crude nature of this type of analysis of the problem of research but it should not be forgotten that this simple question is the starting point of research in all the most exact and inexact social sciences. One cannot expect more refined methods and precise and exact results when one is embarking upon an entirely fresh adventure in the realm of knowledge. The important thing is to see the need of making this adventure. Does not the unique feature of Islamic life emphasize such a need? —




What does Islamic research means? I shall attempt to answer this question in the following pages. The idea of Islamic research is closely related to the conception of1 Man and Nature that Islam envisages. This question has its philosophic implications which, despite their basic importance, are not always fully realised. In my attempt to discover the meaning of Islamic research, I shall be constantly reverting to this conception. This philosophy has not been fullyworked out yet, and it cannot be elaborated here to its full length. Nevertheless, it would be fortundte if this humble attempt w~iildstimulate other scholars to come forth with a more defined and distinct concepts. For a proper understanding of “Man” and “Nature” in Islam, a clearer and more concrete comprehension of Islam as a dynamic way of life is inevitable. Islam is revealed to mankind for all times by the Creator, Sovereign and AllKnower Allah (S.W.T) Who is well-nigh aware of all the stages of human development. Hence Islam by its very nature is dynamic enough to lead mankind in every environment, at every age and in all conditions, ever fresh and ever modern. Islam is, therefore, conceived as man’s approximation for the realization of the Divine Guidance. -

Divine Guidance Divine Guidance is used in a very comprehensive sense to include all forms of Hidãyah- at- ‘urn(knowledge from Revela-


tion), fli’ad (The heart or the intuition of reality) and Sama’ and Basar (hearing and seeing knowledge that come through observation and experience, both personal and social). We shall return to consider these instruments of Islamic research later when we will discuss the problem of method. Here it must be pointed out that these three forms are only three aspects of the same Rusyd which is one. Al‘Hrn for the individual is the Book as understood by his own F~’ad and in terms of his personal experience. Likewise Sarna’ and Basar do not vouchsafe intimation of reality that remains untouched by desires and purposes. On the other hand, the direct knowledge of reality is the meaningful and purposive reading ofan actuality that is greatly influenced by man’s general consciousness or his intuition of reality. This Fi2’ad in turn has been formed in the light of at- ‘Ern revealed in the Kitãb and more concretely actualized in the Sunnah. His Fü’ad becomes the purely Islamic Fü’ad only when the reality revealed to the prophet becomes the one revealed to himself— when his feelings, his thoughts and his cations are those of a Qur’anic individual. -

The Nature and Significance of Change Universe as a Whole


in the

Change which has been so much emphasized in this definition has always been recognized by the Qur’an as real. In its most general appearance itis a continuity from which if items are conceived fixed at following intervals of time they would appear like the terms of an ascending or descending series. In other words it is either a process of development and growth or of degeneratIon and decay. The Qur’an declares that creation is a smooth process of development that took six days: “Your Guardian - Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in sixdays, then He established Himselfon the Throne (ofauthority). He draweth the night as a veil over the day, each seeking theother in rapid succession: He created the sun, the moon, and the stars, (all) governed by laws under His Command. Is it not His to create and to govern? Blessed be Allah, the Cherisher



and Sustainer of the worlds.” (al-A ‘rãf 7:54) In the above verse “Rabb” is He Who is leading the Universe along this evolution. The word Tabãraka also signifies growth. All processes are but actions of God, as every event has been brought about by His own Hands, they have growth when they not only maintain what were valuable in the past but also gain something more. Here I am intentionally avoiding the issue whether time as duration is the sole reality (in which all static representations are merely false appearances) or that, what is real are the discontinuous events that rapidly follow each other thus giving an appearance ofcontinuity. The first theory of change was initiated by Heraclitus in Greek philosophy and was elaborated in modern times by Henri Bergson. The second point of viewwas suggested by the Asharites in the history of Islamic philosophy and finds more scientific support from the Quantum Theory. None of the basic theories can be conclusively proved or disproved. We may admit change as growth without knowledge of its ultimate reality and at the same time realise that these are the two ways in which we may study it. This would raise no serious difficulty in the explanation of the seeming continuity or the Real Omnipotence of God. If there is continuity in growth, God may decrease or increase the velocity of change infinitely so that there is possibility of zero velocity giving the idea of rest or of sudden change or annihilation. Likewise, if there are infinite number of discontinuous events one rapidly following the annihilation of the other so as to give the appearance of continuity than there would be no difficulty in understanding even its growth and seeming law and order as the Convention of God (Sunnah-Attah). In the light of the above, Khalq and Arnr may be fully understood. Khalq and Arnr are really one and the same thing. Actions of God in their aspect of making a thing existent after its non-existence, in the aspect of their being completed and having achieved a thing are “Khalq”, while they, in the aspect of their continuity, as always following from Him and as maintaining, governing and leading to —




further progress the thing that might be conceived as existing, is Tadbfr-Amr or simply Amr. The word Tadbfr only emphasises that Amr is a properly directed activity. Thus when we see from the point ofview ofKhalq we find that the present state of affairs is arrived at, through a smooth process, in six days. Here again we shall not involve ourselves in the controversy about the actual meaning of six days whether they mean six stages in the evolution of the Universe or they are six periods or six large spans of time according to some given standard.’ Apart from these controversies there is one thing that is quite certain. God, Who has the power to create the Universe in no time with a single command of “kun” (Be), does not actually do so. It is His convention that He completes the task gradually. It is not one single “kun”, and the thing is there, but an infinite number of “kuns” leading through a smooth process of development towards a fixed end, from whence a rapid decay would follow. —

Change in a Living Being Change as a process ofgrowth and decay that may be studied in the creation of the Universe and particularly this planet, is, on a smaller scale, observable in the life of every living being. In plant life the most common example is that of seasonal growth that is referred to by the Qur’an in so many places. The earth is dead and barren, that is, the germ of life and the potentiality of growth is awaiting an appropriate moment. “Rahmah” (Kindness of God), a positive element, which is the force behind all evolution, brings the clouds. The earth acquires new life. Small plants grow and soon they reach the apex of their growth. Their “ajal” fixed time is reached and they are dead again. As one plant dies, the process of bringing dead (seed) from the living (plant) and living from the dead continues till a greater “ajal” is arrived at. The process as a whole comes to an end, paving the way for a quite different order of existence. —


The day in the second meaning is used at another place in the Qur’an: The angels and Spirit ascend unto Him in a Day the measure whereof is (as) fifty thousand years:”



Likewise in human life Khalq and Amr take place in a smooth process of growth and decay. First in the mother’s womb the embryo gradually assumes a human form. It is then driven towards his “ajal” in a continuous process of which childhood, youth, old age etc. are different, not very sharply divided, stages. While one human being dies humanity continues till the development of the race is completed or till “ajal” is reached. The same is true on a cultural and national plane. A nation that is seemingly dead, is given life. It rises to power. It makes its contributions in the field of science and technology, art and literature. It evolves its own customs and traditions. (And the responsibility of Khilãfah that is laid on humanity at large devolves upon it with greater concentration). But soon it reaches its end. It goes out of the picture, vacating this high position to others. This rise and fall ofdifferent cultural groups is, however, directed towards the development of humanity at large. Through it man accumulates an experience that is of great value. It opens fresh possibilities of growth and development, brings new lessons, unveils contradictions inherent in human thought and action. The Creation of Man


A New Turn in Evolution

The Qur’an has pointed out that with the creation of man the evolution of the world takes quite a new turn. In man the intellect reaches a higher level of development and with it follows more freedom of choice and less determined activity. This brings along with it the onerous responsibility of Khilãfah. Man’s actions are still governed by the Will ofGod but not through the necessary laws of nature but through his own free action. Realising his duties as an obedient servant, he may become a true Vicegerent ofGod and acquire the highest possible perfection. Thus he is created with the best form as the Qur’an puts it: “We have indeed created man in the best of moulds.”

(at-Tin 95:4) There is, however, a dark side to this picture also. If the 83


servant of God does not realise his true position, he not only falls short of this credit but is degraded to the lowest scale of being. He goes even lower than the animals. ‘Then do We abase him (to be) the lowest of the low.”

(al-T(n 95:4) The same thing is expressed in al-Asr in the following words: “By (the Token of) time (through the Ages) Verily man is in Loss, Except such as have faith and do righteous deeds, And (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy”. (at- ‘Asr 103: 1 — 3)

Thus, the creation of man involved two things: 1. Immense possibilities of progress and development for human species which had the potentiality of becoming the Vicegerent of the Master. 2. Risk that if man fails to use his freedom properly he might tend towards “Khusr” (Perdition). Every individual has taken this risk by choosing to be a man. Thus, being a man involves the responsibility of Khilãfah and the risk of being led to ‘Khusr’. The responsibility of Khildfah together with the freedom ofwill and action requires a well-developed intellect, powerto use natural forces and sense of higher values. The Qur’an has indicated this at different places in its own inimitable way. The prostration of the angels signifies that man has been given command over the natural forces. He can use them for his purposes. Higher development of intellectual power is expressed by indicating the capacity in man to name the things, to form the language out of such symbols. He evolves concepts that work as tools. Thepresence of the sense of higher values is due to “R~t”(spirit) that is infused in him by God. This is also the raison d’être of the intense desire in

man to be as good as angels and to enjoy an eternal life, a 84


desire which is so intense that Satan successfully exploits this natural tendency of the good-natured Adam. The risk that is mentioned above is apprehended by the angels who very anxiously question the need of human creation at such a heavy cost. God shows the immense possibilities of progress that this risk would pay. Adam describes the attributes of man that will do their duties as Vicegerents. The angels fully realise that their knowledge is very limited. They only knew what God has permitted them to know. The point may be further classified by the explanation of three important concepts that the Qur’an frequently uses. 1. (Al-Zulm): Zuirn is that action which falls counter to proper development. It is misplaced action. Man is capable of zuim. Intellectual development may become a source of disturbance, so that proper growth is hindered. 2. (Al-Fasãd): Fasãd is that disturbance towards which a misguided activity (zuim) tends to lead. Nature as a whole tends towards harmony and smooth development. An action of man that goes against the Will of God leads to disharmony, discord, maladjustment. On the other hand the properly guided activity of man would be directed, at every movement, towards the construction of a Heaven of Peace a world that is free ofallfasad. In this mundane world the Heaven ofPeace is only partially achieved. It is, however, perfectly achieved in the Hereafter by the Mercy and Forgiveness of the Lord who would remove all impurities from the hearts of the people, who aimed at and struggled for such a bourne. Thus, the ontoward consequences or the zulm are done away with after repentance. The same was the case with Adam and Eve. Realising that they were victims of zulrn, they requested God to forgive them and save them from khus ran (utter failure and destruction) to which their sin would otherwise lead to. —

3. Al-Khusranis destruction. The zulrn that is the cause of fasad ends in khusran khusrari of the doer of zuim. An attempt to cause disorder in the prevailing system is not nipped in the bud. It is uprooted only when the rising evil has —



reached its climax. The forces of nature that are all directed towards harmony and smooth development at the end overcome all such sources of disturbance. They turn upon each misguided activity unless it has been purified and forgiven by God. In the beginning these consequences may not be quite clear and one may have to wait till “ajal” which is prescribed. Thus, the evil goes against the evil-doer. “But the plotting of Evil, Will hem in only the authors thereof.” (Fãtir 35:43) ‘To Us they did no harm. But they harmed their own souls.” (at-Baqarah 2:57) Evolution in the Divine Guidance God who keeps humanity going along a smooth development warns man against zulm, against being a cause of fasad and being led to khus ran. God makes due provisions against this end. Among these the most important is the sending of prophets. The Qur’an says that prophets have always led man towards this proper growth. For example Surah A ‘raf opens with the statement of the mercy that God has shown to mankind by giving it a highly developed form and the power to conquer nature. Man is warned against his enemy that always leads him towards “khusran”. Then some important prophets, particularly in the context of the Middle Eastern people are systematically enumerated from Nuh to prophet Muhammad (s.a.w). In Surah An’äm after reminding the believers that The Old Testament was a book of perfect and detailed guidance, it is stated that the Qur’an is mubarak a more developed form of Divine Authority. These prophets have done a great service to Man as they have saved him from misdirected activity causingfasdd and leading to khusran; they have guided him towards perfect development, so that he may do his duty as Vicegerent in his attempt to make this world a Heaven of Peace and leading the whole universe to further progress. Just as there has been evolution in human society similarly there has been a pro-



portionate evolution in the guidance. (In these two evolutions one has more or less supported the other). As man progresses on the road of evolution so too The Divine Book2 (al-Kitãb) reveals itself more explicitly to man. Finally The Book is revealed in the Arabic Language to prophet Muhammad (s.a.w). The revelation has taken a shape in words (used by man) that embrace the full meaning of The Divine Book in so far as they may be grasped by Man and as much as these meanings should be revealed to the following generations (till the ajal of man arrived) for their proper development; so that these words are the best carriers of these meanings. Again as his field of observation widens, a greater treasure of human experience is accumulated, and as more advanced concepts and tools for the construction of thought and action are formed, man finds himself in a position to grasp the depth of meaning under these words more and more. Fresh meanings though not different meanings are unveiled. He understands better and more in relation to the present situations in life. These new meanings do not contradict the meanings understood by the companions of the prophet since they have evolved from them something more. The Prophets have thus led humanity on the road of appropriate development. In the Qur’an this development has been traced at three levels. —


In the Personality of the Individual (Muslim)


In the Islamic Society


In Mankind as a whole We shall quote one example for each. “Seest thou not how Allah sets forth a Parable? Agoodly word like a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the heavens it brings forth its fruit at all times by the Leave of its Lord.” (Ibr&him 14:24 25) —



2 Because it is the same Divine Book that takes the form ofthe Bible orof the Qur’an depending on its revelation to different prophets in different times.



The Islamic concepts in the mind of the individual are like a seed that grows into a tree; all his actions and thoughts, emotions and their expression are but sweet fruits of this tree. The Qur’an has traced the development of the personalities of Moses and Joseph (a.s) who from their very childhood were trained under the guidance of God. “Like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem (filling) the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result it fills the unbelievers with rage at them.”

(al-Fath 48:29) It is the fully grown Islamic Society, which is to the prophet (who has taken great pain to promote its healthy development) a source of satisfaction and pleasure. Nuh says to his people: “And Allah has produced you from the earth, growing (gradually), and in the end He will return you into the (earth) and raise you forth (again at the Resurrection)?”

(Nüh 71:17- 18) In the second verse the Prophet is compared to a farmer and the basic ideas with which he inspires the Individual and the Society are compared to the seeds that the farmer spreads. In the last verse the development and progress of a nation or even of mankind as a whole (if it is understood in a wider sense) is compared with the growth in plant life. Even in a nation that is intentionally going against the Will of God, all development has really been due to His Rahmah (ofwhich Prophethood is only one of the instruments). The Task Before the Prophets This proper development of human life is termed by the Qur’an as tazkiyyah. The Qur’an declares: ‘Truly he succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it.”

(al-Syam 91:9 88




Khiyab is synonymous with khusr and fflah is antonymous to it. This tazkiyyah that has been presided over by the prophets involves two necessary steps: 1.

Growth of an Islamic Society


Elimination of the forces of evils3

This elimination of the forces of evil is as necessary a step for the proper development of human society as the weeding of useless growth for the nurturing of plants. This is why after mentioning the abolition of wicked nations that were the source offathd, the Qur’an says: (Praise be to Allah, Lord (Rabb) of the Worlds) It is a very significant sentence. We offer gratitude to God who is the Rabb - the sole power behind all development — for the elimination of such nations, so that the evolution of mankind may progress smoothly. The prophets awaken in their people the consciousness of the fact that all their

progress and happiness are due to God, that all disorders are oftheir own doing, and that in order to achieve the ideal of the healthiest growth their activity should be properly guided. Syirk (which is a great zulrn) is such a misguided activity which is itself the source of so many other distortions. Thus, the real function of man is the construction, or rather the cultivation, and creation of better worlds within and without. By subduing his will to the Will of God, by moulding all his activities according to His Guidance he approaches this ideal. The realization of this aim as the only true aim is irndn or faith. Faith is thus the choosing of a proper direction for life. Initiation in practice, that is, when the individual begins to actualize imân and when he performs at least the mini3 This is the case with every prophet who takes away the small number of his followers to a more suitable environment. The society that had lost every capacity of surrendering to the Will of God is caught by Azab. It is very interesting to note that the same angels that bring the good news of the birth of Ishaaq (who was to become the father of a long chain of prophets) are deputed to the punishment and extermination of the wicked nation of Lot.



mum, is Islam. In this actualization the individual tends more and more towards ehsãn a state in which all his activities emerge from the Will of God, that is, from a will of his that has identified itself with the Will of God (what is merged is not he himself, not even his soul, it is his will that fully agrees and is fully satisfied in this agreement with the Will of God). No desire is his own desire, no wish is his own wish. So his actions are not his actions and the perfect ideal of the Caliphate is realized. —

“It is not ye who slew them; it was Allah: When thou threwest (a handful of dust), it was not thy act, but Allah’s.”

(at-Artfäl 8:17) “Verily those who plight their fealty to thee do no less than plight their fealty to Allah: the Hand ofAllah is over their hands.”

(al-Fath 48:10) This state, though unattainable in its perfection, is approximated to by performing the nawàjul more and more. The individual would tend towards it by doing not only what is compulsory but doing only that which is required, by expending all his capacities for the smooth running of the

events in their best possible form, by directing all his mental, emotional and practical faculties to this end. It is in this stage when, as the tradition goes, God becomes the hands by which the individual touches and the feet by which he walks. The individual tends more and more towards the achievement of the ideal khildfah. Thus, only by doing his full duty as a servant does he become master of the worldly apparatus of things just as only in salàh (Prayer) he obtains Mi’ràj (the highest possible position).

Islam is a Reconstruction In the light of the above Islam would appear to be a constructive undertaking. At every moment we shoulder a responsibility; we have to build our own selves, we have to build the society ofwhich we are a part, we have to build the world that



we find all around us in order to do our duty as Vicegerents the responsibility undertaken by us at our own risk. But in this task we are at every moment helped by by His Rahrnah (mercy) which is the positive prinGod4 ciple behind all properly directed growth, by His Maghfirah that neutralizes the poisonous effects of our misdirected activities, and also by His Nasr (help) in the elimination of the forces of evil.5 —

This Reconstruction is Social This task of construction is, however, not an individual attempt. It tends to become more and more socialized. It is an organized social reconstruction. As Au pointed out “Islam is only with the (Organized Islamic) Society.” But how is the passage from individuality to sociality achieved? How does an individual (the Muslim), who is a universe in his ownself, become an inseparable part of the (Islamic) Society? As might have been suggested from what has been said above tazkiyyah is not a forced action. The seed would naturally grow into a plant. The farmer (the prophet) has only to help this growth by providing the inherent need by producing more favourable conditions and removing what impedes the proper growth. Every individual is a Muslim by Nature. He aspires only for an Islamic Life. In its purest form his heart is like olive oil, so pure so fresh that it is only waiting for the life giving spark to glow and burn. In the light of revelation each individual would realize this proper direction of growth, and the sole aim of his life would become to seek the pleasure of God. The actualization of this spirit would demand a detachment and an attachment. In his detachment the love ofTruth and Justice overcomes all love-bonds, so that any operation that is an uncomfortable necessary requirement for the proper development of the whole is welcomed. He harbours no true sympathy for those who, not -



So there is no justification for the exsistentialist’s anguish. It must be clearly understood that the task of construction in the world of serial time, is a healthy growth and creative evolution when we intuit from the point of view of continuity and duration.



only, firmly stick to their misdirected activities, but are bent upon universalising the fasad that follows from them. The positive task of helping the growth, consists in cooperation and mutual inspiration. It is derived from the moral dictum “Like for your brother, what you like your ownself’. The meaning of such a principle of mutual love is, however, developed on four levels. 1. First, it means “Do not (at least) do to others, what you do not wish to be done unto you”, thus, leading to the security of health, wealth, prestige etc. It is justice (‘adl). On its positive side it gives to the oppressed the permission to take just and equal revenge from the oppressor. 2. Secondly, syukr or thankfulness. It entails an equal (or greater) return of good to the doer who might have done the good without any idea of return. Thus, the individuals would find themselves interwoven through a system of rights and duties. 3. Thirdly, it is as much emphasis in all our actions and judgements on the good of others as we give to our own. The individual cares as much for others as he does for himself. There is a society in which each cares for himself and has an equal care for every one else. Thus, so far as the worldly benediction is concerned he puts himself on equal claim with others.


On the fourth level, the individual is taken more and more towards self-denial or value äsirah(sacrifice). Here the individual gives more value to the good of his brother than he gives to his own. (He is, however, warned against being unkind to his ownself, to which he has as compulsory a duty as towards others). Again the principle of self-sacrifice taken to its extreme produces a contradiction. Ifhe neglects himself altogether he will not be able to do his duty to others. The Social Life Tending to these different levels of meaning the individuals 92


are bound together in an organic unity. The relation between them is spiritual and not mechanical. Force is used only for negative purposes mentioned above. With the elimination of evil the individuals grow into a healthy society. The principle of Rahrnah manifests itself through those instincts that connect the individual of the same group and humanity at large into a love-relationship. These are, however, revived and redirected by Revelation. As if the individuals in their mechanical combination (having failed to direct these natural tendencies properly) were a dead body expecting life from the rains of Wahy. With this Life the individuals without doing away their separate individuality, become one entity so that if one part of this body is in pain the other parts would feel its discomfort. An individual, however, would acquire this (social) life when he has the fullest intellectual sympathy with the Book, when, as we have pointed above, the revelation upon the prophet becomes a revelation upon his own self. At this point his intuition is the intuition of the society. His individual will become the will of the society. The world of his personal feelings diffuses out. He in himself becomes the Islamic Society or Millah. This is how revelation directs, moulds and corrects, and this is the way in which the conscience of the society operates upon the conscience of the individual. In such a situation the individuals would induce each other with similar activities. Their thoughts, feelings, and actions that arise from their personal readings of the Qur’an, have impact on the society. Theydirect others and are in their turn directed by them. (Thus, the understanding of the different peoples reacting against each other leads more and more towards the ideal of objectivity and universality). Here we need not emphasize that in every society Islamic life is to be reconstructed and reshaped with the help of certain concepts that possess the objectivity of scientific theories; that is, they are equally open to examination by every individual who has the will to put them to work. The Muslim who bears the duty of Khilafah and of leading the world to proper growth is not only the individual Muslim, but also the (Muslim) Society which possesses the coherence of an individual without damage to the separate individualities of its constituents. 93


Islam and Muslim Now this Muslim who has identified himself with Islamic Life is Islam himself. The Qur’an, Hadith and the Lives of the Companions are the expression and interpretation of the same Muslim. In other words, Islam actualizes itself in a Muslim, who may be The Individual, The Society, even Humanity as a whole in so far as it has achieved what it strives to achieve. More accurately, Islam is what the Muslim aspires for and tends to become, because while in practice he may be imperfect what he strives for is a perfection. This perfection is not given as a distinct ideal in Platonic fashion. It is gradually achieved or gradually lost; only when an element is achieved does the individual realize what he has striving for, and it is only when he has committed a sin (when an element of it is lost, with the consciousness of losing something) that he has a negative experience. Only then he knows what is it that he ought not to have committed. -

A Multi-Dimensional Reality This Islamic Life actualizing itself in the Muslim has the same richness of dimension as life itself. The properly directed activity which it initiates has, in spite of unity of direction, multiplicity of aspects. It is a complex reality which we may study from different angles and from different points ofview. But our study, in so far as it is a study, would only be an intellectualisation a projection on the intellectual plane of the complex Islamic Life (or the Muslim). The Islamic Life may have its projection on other planes as well moral or technical, intellectual or practical, internal or external etc. While each of these projections has equal right of representing the reality from that point of view (without having any graduation of being more or less real) yet, in so far as any of these projections claims to be the whole, it is a distortion of reality and a misrepresentation of the fact. —

Islamic Research Now it is this projection on the intellectual plane that we call Islamic Research. As Islamic life itself is not static but always 94


growing and developing, so also its abstraction in theory, the understanding ofits spirit and the construction of its system is a dynamic process. And just as the Islamic Life itself has multiplicity of aspects, its projection on the intellectual plane makes a many-sided picture. On the negative side this intellectual enterprise contains as its essential part a thorough critical examination of the achievements of the Human-Mind in the absence of Divine Guidance (in the form of the Book); thereby eliminating misguided intellectual enterprise in general by questioning the very assumption on which it is based. Thus every one sided exclusive approach and half truth is taken one by one, and exposed by pointing out the absurdity to which itwould lead if taken too seriously to its logical conclusions, and emphasizing its unworkability and, therefore, barrenness in practice. On its positive side Islamic Research comes in step with all research. As indicated above, all great discoveries are revelations. Evolution Itself is a Divine device. His Rahmah has been unfolding before man new resources, new energies, and new techniques. Newer facts are discovered and are embodied in theories and laws. Laws of force and motion were intuitions of reality which Newton could grasp and transform into words that are understandable to man in a way in which they may be verifiable by all and in a form in which they may be put to work. Einstein formulated his intuition in the form of the theory of Relativity. All the progress in the history of mankind has been made possible in this way by God. Reality in its mechanical aspect has been increasingly unfolding itself to Man.

The Problem on the Social Plane On the social plane, as well, man has been making different experiments. In the concrete situations in which he found himself, and with the accumulating knowledge of facts, he has been building up new concepts and new systems. Against monarchy man grasped the significance of democracy, against the mechanical rule of law the importance of



the free growth of personality. Then different syntheses were formed between two extremes of dictatorship (that had the ideal of a selfless and wise ruler) and democracy (that aimed at complete individual freedom, all the individuals being so educated and reared that each while struggling for his personal good should have an equal regard for the other). Different forms were developed, experienced and rejected. And the experiment still continues in Western and still more rigorously in freshly liberated Eastern countries. Likewise on the Economic plane the Utopians and the Scientific Socialists try to grope a way out of the horrible situation in which the capitalist leadership has culminated. Again, different syntheses are attempted between some extreme positions like Laissez-faire and Controlled Economy, right of individual ownership and total nationalization etc. The experiment still continues. Even more complicated have been the problems related to sociology ranging from those that are concerned with the institution of the family to international relations. There is, however, a still more important problem which has not yet been fully apprehended. It relates “what is” to “what should be”. It is the problem of morality. The present age is more and more desperately realizing the need for a formula of spiritualism that would rearrange this material world. How could religion become a force that would guide science? At times we seem to be approaching the real solution of the problem but every time it slips from our grasp. A similar failure to synthesise two seemingly unsynthesisable tendencies has manifested itself in the two antagonistic schools of Logical Empiricism and Existentialism one aiming at perfect objectivity, the other at complete subjectivity, the one understanding existence in the concrete situation, the other explaining away (at least from the point of view of the hostile camp) all such existence through concept. —


The Problem is Fundamentally One The problem is more moral, religious and philosophic in nature. It amounts to this: How can the individual become part of the society (which is an organic unity) and still retain his individuality. Seen from another angle the problem



becomes of how society born out of the free actions of the individuals would tend towards the realization of a single individual behaviour. The greatness of Marx lies in intuiting the ideal of “from every one according to his capacities to every one according to his needs” and of dreaming ofa society in which the state would wither away. He, however, failed to realize that such a situation is to be continually attempted through moral progress and that it is an ideal only to be aimed at and never to be actually achieved. It was due to his limitations, due to his failure to read The Book of Guidance that he failed to understand and actualize his own intuition (a revelation on his own self). He depended too much on habit formation, forgetting that free activity is the distinctive characteristic of man who has been raised to a level higher than the animal. The problem gravitates from its more philosophic side to the more practical. General behaviour is studied in more details along its various ramifications and the solution to the minutes problem is sought. We shall discover not only the general direction of the activity of the individual and the society, we shall also study in details the adjustment that follows the properly directed activity. We thus, come to the solution of the multitude ofproblems that modern man faces, and which constitute the central interest of the contemporary politicians, economists and other social scientists and reformers.

Some Important Features of Islamic Research For what has been said above it must be clear that Islamic Research is directed towards the solution of actual problems that arise out of real and concrete situations in life. They are not artificial problems that belong to a hypothetical state of being. They are the problems of life as projected on the intellectual plane. On this basis all those problems of philosophy that have no bearing on human life, whatsoever, are really pseudo problems. Thus, discussion on the Nature of Godhead, apart from His relation to Man, is untenable. God is to be understood through His Actions, and Attributes through which 97


Man and his destiny is related to Him. Not only that such useless discussions would take us away from the concrete realities of life, they would also involve us in such complications from which it would be very difficult to extricate ourselves. The same is true of those problems of the social sciences that we try to evolve out of a supposed situation a situation whose possibility (in the Sunnah of God, not logical possibility) is itself open to question. One such example may be the unavoidabiity of family planning in an Islamic State. The problem relates to a supposed situation when in spite of moral development and properly channelled technical progress the rapidly growing population would produce such tense economic situation that would necessitate artificial device for birth control. When, however, the possibility of the situation itself is questioned the problem melts away. There is every possibility that in an Islamic State no such situation would ever arise and that the insolubility of the present problem is wholly due to an unislamic approach to life. The problem would be actual when in an Islamic State such a situation is really arrived at in the course of an actual study of the direction of event. And then it shall be considered as a genuine problem. On the other hand, Islamic Research shall closely relate itself with the concrete situation of the world in general, and the country in particular. More importance is however, to be given to the direction of events, to what the situation is tending to become, than to what itis when viewed as static. Even this importance would come from the point of view of Khilãfah, which is the sole motive of all Islamic Research. We must keep in mind the fact that Islamic Research proceeds on with a simultaneous many-sided effort to construct an Islamic Life. Islamic Research is only one of its aspects. This intellectual enterprise should, therefore, keep pace with the general growth of the Islamic Life and with its projections on the practical and external planes. Islamic Research would otherwise lose its relation with the general Islamic activity to end fasàd and to save Humanity from khusran. Such a research would be out of place. And if it is —



at all to be called Islamic Research, it would not be Islamic Research in its natural form.

Islamic Research in a Given Situation We must give due attention to the distinctive character of Islamic Research in a particular situation. For example in India we have to construct a future, which would evolve from our past a past that we have chosen to be ours and which has been made by us in so far as it depicts our desires and aspirations. From this past and in the concrete world situation ofthe present, with all its bitter realities, we shall evolve a future India. The main guidance, however, in this task of realization and reconstruction would come from The Revelation, a light that would guide both experience and intellect, and that would give us fluid concepts as are embodied in the golden treasury of such verses: —

“Mankind was

but one nation.”

(Yünus 10:19)

‘To every people (was sent) a messenger.” (Yunus 10:47) “If the people of the towns had but believed and feared Allah, We should indeed have opened out to them (all kinds of) blessings from heavens and earth. But they rejected (the Truth) and We brought them to book for their misdeeds” (al-A ‘rãf 7:96) We shall develop their meaning in the light of the Tradition, and in the light of all previous stock of experience accumulated in the domain of physical and social sciences. We shall thus put spiritualism to work, making it a force in individual and social life so that we may acquit ourselves of the responsibility of Khilãfah and lead India and the whole world towards a smooth development. This would relate us to all the cultural, social, economic and political problems ofthe country. To these problems Islamic Research shall have to offer a more satisfactory solution. They would constitute the most natural as also the most primary problems for an Islamic researcher in India.



The Problem of Method This discussion brings us to the problem of method. How should intuition be given symbolic representation through which it shall work? Knowledge (as a process) as pointed above is transcendence from what is given to what is not given. This transcendence is, mostly, an induction, a leap from some facts to some other facts. Thus hypothesis gradually turns into a theory and then into a Law (when it has satisfied us to the extent of available facts). The discovery of each new fact may involve a marriage action. We get our theories married with the newly discovered facts; we try to understand the new fact in the light of this theory, and the theory is restated so as to explain this fact. Our operation is thus directed to both ends. In all this process of the advancement of knowledge and discovery of newer facts, we intuit, reunderstand and get our intuitions actualized in practice and theory. This research is, however, carried by the individual in a society. There is a group of such workers who through interactions, objectify their intuitions. The result is formation of better concepts and tools and development of a more scientific language. But in all this process the function of The Book is still central. The Book as understood by the Muslim People is intuition of reality as grasped by this society (leaving apart the individual differences). It is that life-force of the group that lies behind all developments in philosophy, science, art and literature. As pointed above, with development of different sciences and the accumulation of greater and greater experience, man is in a better state to understand the Divine Book. At the same time, all this advancement in human knowledge is reinterpreted (and reformed) in the light of Divine Guidance and is redirected by itin so far as the general conception of Man and Universe towards which these point out. All scientific and technical development has been motivated and controlled by the conceptions that are grasped from this Book and the responsibility of Caliphate with which it burdens the individual, and the society. From what has been said above itwould be clear that in Islamic methodology induction and deduction, intuition and revelation occupy their proper place. Deduction is sometimes



taken to be the only instrument of Islamic Research. Nothing could be more fatal to the cause of Islamic Research. Despite the importance ofdeductive logic, Islamic Methodology is not to be confined to this mode. No doubt bare deductions are as certain as the premises themselves, but how many conclusions can be derived with this certainty. The importance of experimental work for Islamic Research is to be fully realized. Not only would Islamic Guidance be understood in the light of the recorded human experience, we shall make fresh experiments to justify, strengthen and correct our own hypotheses that the Qur’an and Sunnah seem to suggest. Economic activity under Islam is to be understood in the light ofthe behaviour of Muslim Individual and Muslim People. We shall nowhere get perfect Muslims. An enquiry is, however, possible on the basis of different classifications according to differing degrees in the intensity of faith, or differing combinations of its elements or other environmental and hereditary influence.6 Likewise the solutions to our practical problems that are indicated by the Qur’an and Sunnah would find their validity confirmed in actual practice. What seems beyond doubt in the light of the Qur’an and Sunnah is to be defended up to the end and its unworkability, if any, is to be explained through other factors. Out of many possible derivations from the Qur’an and Sunnah many would fail to acquire justification from practice while some derivations would be more workable than others. Workability, however, is to be taken in a very wide sense. Anything would be said to work if it maintains the Islamic Spirit (that we find in the society of the Companions ofthe Prophet) in the individual and the society, if itgains the support of a larger number of God-fearing people, if in practice it leads to those consequences and is directed towards the realization of those norms towards which Islam, as we study it, is directed. This consistency in practice, apart from its consistency in theory (with other results derivedfrom the Qur’an and Sunnah and with Islam as a whole) increases the probability of the Islamic validity of a particular solution. 6 No doubt it is avery tedious job, but once we have started do to some field worked we shall develop a technique that would eliminate errors due to subjective factors.



Here we cannot trace the whole methodology of Islamic Research nor can we give more definite hints regarding it. What we wish to emphasize is that such Islamic Life would grow, both in theory and practice, out of the concrete situations in life that are studied through observation and experience by a continuous attempt to reconstruct Islamic order at every stage of human development. The Islamic Spirit to be realized and has to find its expression and actualization in the best possible form. A smooth development of humanity is required from us by God. This requirement is otherwise termed as Islam. This Islam when studied piecemeal and from the point of view of serial time gives definite suggestions in every situation in life. Or to put it in other words out of the infinite number of situations in life in which different people are placed at any moment of time, only one (or some) of the alternative open to each man in each situation is Islamic, that is, is required by God. But how is an individual, placed in a particular situation, to reach any such alternative? The reply would be: Under the guidance of Godwhich has four main phases. 1.

Induction as an instrument of knowledge.


Deduction as an instrument of knowledge.

3. Intuition (which is a general consciousness or an inner certainty born out of the multitude of known and unknown factors or a suggestion for the solution of the problem which is very dim in the beginning). 4. Revelation the Divine Book and The Tradition that gives Islamic Life in all its actualities particularly at a definite time and which may be grasped by the Muslims differently in different circumstances and situations. -




The term methodology has been a subject of “language pollution” to quote Fritz Machiup ,...“of an irreparable sort”. From the maze of writings by philosophers, scientists and social scientists, it is almost impossible to discern a unanimous or widely acceptable definition of methodology, and what it denotes. Yet the situation is not that hopeless. Underlying the seemingly impenetrable scientific jargon, there is a consensus that methodology is the way to acquire knowledge: It is an approach to reality. It is the study of principles and guidelines that regulate the acquisition of knowledge and its growth in general, and ordered knowledge in particular, that involves the acceptance or rejection of propositions as part of the body of knowledge in a particular field. The questions that relate to the “scientificity”, “verifiability”, of “methodological”, positions adopted in the modern West, belong to the second order ofthings, since each of these derive their meaning and significance within the macroparadigm of the investigator. This viewis corroborated by the fact that irreconcilable positions have been held with respect to the scientificity of a proposition by the logical positivists, operationalist, Austrians, Marxists and one of the most widely quoted writer on Methodology, Thomas Kuhn. These differences are reflected in particular scientific details as well and how they are incorporated in the main body, the choice of data, their interpretation and the relation of suitable techniques among various alternatives. It follows, therefore, that the first order question relates to the perception of real-


ity: How do we look at it? It is equally relevant to the study of natural as well as social phenomenon. During the early phase of modern scientific endeavour, the scientific community had a crudely materialistic perception of the world around, or more correctly, the universe itself. Matter was conceived as the summuh bukmwi of reality, the beginning and end of knowledge and christened as “indestructible”. Whatever the reason behind this scientific culture, it could justifiably boast of impressive probes into manifestations of reality, and successful employment of its latent forces for human use. Later advances in science, however, dislodged matter from its pedestal, as it were, and introduced finer concepts of energy, neutrons, proton, electrons and what not. As a result the purely mechanical world, changed into a wayward world, where events may emerge in shapes and forms not as exact constellations of the existing pieces of reality. Even so, the perception ofreality remained essentially mundane, in total abhorrence of any notion ofits supernatural character transcendental intervention. An incidental casualty of this culture has been the total disregard of the cosmos, the unity of Reality. In step with developments in the natural sciences, rather in copious imitation thereof, the social scientists made systematic efforts to turn social phenomenon into a true version of the outside world. Marxian dialectics presented human society as an inevitable side effect of technology, the productive processes determining not only the politicoeconomic organisation and structure of society but its values, aspirations, morals, world-view and all that. Although Marx was formally rejected by the suspicious West, he wielded considerable influence, both negatively and positively on them. Developments in the society were patterned on natural evolution, behaviours were analysed in terms of material environment, values and morals were explained as relative to physiological and social needs and the individual conduct was theorised as the pursuit of naked self-interest. Statistics came to be used as the only scientific means to validate a proposition. Social scientists, led by the economists, boasted of their disciplines as “positive sciences” and deliberately distanced themselves from traces of nominative 104


positions. However, as developments unfolded themselves the social scientists, particularly the economists were overwhelmed, to their utter dismay, by the inapplicability oftheir “theoretical generalizations” to the changed world in general, and the Third World in particular. They were forced to invent what is euphemistically called prescriptive economics. Yet they still stuck to the old and antiquated perception ofreality, a stubborn rejection of supernatural and spiritual aspects of social phenomenon. The above stated methodological position led to ever increasing dismemberment of reality. As scientists probed deeper and deeper they tended to concentrate on segments and thus lost sight ofthe whole. Analysis become the sine qua non of scientific investigations. They conceived this world as neutral, shorn of any purpose, self-moving, destroying and replenishing itself continuously through forces generated out of the very process itself. This is an inhuman world, a cruel one, where survival of the fittest rules. On account of this paradigm, the scientific world has landed itself into a blind alley, where a series of new discoveries in physics and its allied branches seem to shatter the old notions. As an extension of the natural sciences, the social sciences have tread the same path. In political science, sociology, social psychology, and more prominently economics, society has been conceived as a purposeless, amoral entity where individuals are motivated by their desire for aggrandisement. In economics, efficiency has supplanted humaneness, demand, the reflection of money power, has replaced needs. Since the unrestricted display of individual motives, results inevitably in irreparable social damage, that may be controlled by state intervention. Economic analysis offers a classic example of the dismemberment of reality, where micro-analysis of economic agents was carried to its logical absurdity. When aggregative economics was fashioned, it had the same imprint with non-economic reality treated as exogenous factors. That man does not experience only hunger, sex or otherwise, is ignored for the convenience of scientific rigour. Elegant diagrams are constructed, obtuse mathematical calculations are summoned, and rigorous statistics are tailored to the end. 105


But the western scientific community has always shield away from an explicit statement of its cultural underpinnings. Natural scientists could do away with it without inviting much immediate trouble, for dismemberment of reality or analysis helped them in discovering what Russell calls “technical truths”. The discovery of “technical truths” has benefited man in a big way. It has led to an unprecedented harness of the powers of nature to technological advancement, to the enrichment of life, to matchless expansion of life amenities. Its deficiencies impinge upon humanity as a delayed reaction and only indirectly. But the activities of the social scientists bring these harms closer. Their ideas shape society, mar or make its health. Elated by the impressive developments in natural sciences, and almost submerged by their rigour and logic, they fell in line with their methodological positions. As a consequence, they pronounced their own disciplines as “positive science” and concealed, albeit less successfully, their cultural assumptions. Two of these assumptions have played havoc with the validity and usefulness of social sciences. First, is the arrogant ethnocentricity ofWestern social scientists. Historians considered Europe as the centre of all civilizations, all history. They classified civilizations with reference to Europe, judged their rise and fall on Western standards, and tried to peg in all cultures into a Western hole. Psychologists, such as Sigmund Freud, regarded Western individual as the prototype of all human beings. He borrowed terms from Greek mythology, and generalised from selected case histories picked up from the Old Testament as representative of all human beings. Economists perfected their generalizations within Western framework: their consumers and producers were born in European culture and reacted to a set of stimuli conceived in a particular environment, but were mysteriously made universal. Some took a step further and maintained that all deviations from a Western model inhibits growth and needs correction. This ethnocentricism has distorted reality and made social science totally out of tune with other societies and cultures. It has further led to the false belief that their generalizations had a universal scientific validity. The second assumption is, that social science is “neutral” and “positive” since “man” its 106


subject matter is “amoral” or what is worse an “egoist”. Hence, the best course of action to adopt is “efficiency”. The damage done by “efficiency” criterion may be minimized only by the state as an agent of society. These underlying assumptions have influenced, largely, the choice ofdata, its order, its interpretation, the adoption of techniques, the construction of theories. All these are custom made to the general perception of reality, to the paradigm, as it were. Even at the preliminary state ofhypothesis formulation, the macroparadigm is kept in view. When despite these scientific conditions, particular discoveries conflict with the ‘general perception, nobody dares to revise the paradigm, rather the discovery is itself remade. The Islamic methodology is characterized by its explicit statement of the macroparadigm, or perception of reality. All through history, Islamic researchers, in Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Botany, Geography, Astronomy, Medicine and Law, Social Studies, Political Analysis and, etc. made explicit value assumptions and carried it through their analysis. They were never ethnocentric in science or research but stuck to a certain perception of the reality and values derived therefrom. Their perception of reality was derived from the fountain heads of Islam, the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The most important concept is the unity of this Reality. The entire universe has been created by Allah (S.W.T). His Glory and Power, Munificence and Mercy permeate all manifestations of Reality. Nothing moves and develops, of its own accord. The laws ofAllah governthis universe. It is an ordered universe, a cosmos. All its pieces are finely tuned to the ultimate Reality. And it is a purposeful universe with an underlying moral intent. Allah (S.W.T) created this universe in manifestation of His Glory, and each minute particule of it, is in constant praise ofHim, and positive sign of its Creator and Master. That iswhy He exhorts man to study, probe and investigate each segment of Reality to discern His signs. In His Mercy, He has made the vast treasure of energy and resources lying there accessible to human being and beneficial to his needs. The following verses are relevant: 107


“He created the Heaven and the earth in truth: He makes the Night overlap the day and the day overlap the Night. He has subjected the sun and the moon (To His Law). Each one follows a course for a time appointed. Is not He the Exalted in Power- He Who forgives again and again?”

(al-Zumar, 39:5) “Allah is the Creator ofall things and He is the Guardian and Disposer of all affairs.”

(al-Zumar, 39:61) “(And, that it is a purposeful universe): Our Lord not for Naught Wast Thou Created (all) this. Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the penalty of the fire.” (all -‘Imrãn, 3:1991) In a frequently cited verse of the Qur’an the purpose of the creation of mankind has been epigrammatically put thus: “I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve me”.

(al-Dhãriyãt, 51:56) This magnificent universe is the blessing ofAllah (S.W.T). it is kind and humane, its forces have been so designed as to provide irrefutable evidences of His Mercy in the service of mankind. From this paradigm follows the basic methodology adopted by the Islamic researcher, the methodology of synthesis. During the course ofinvestigation, it links parts to the whole, seeks the overall purpose in segments and fits the pieces of reality into the total design. He knows that the individual truth reflects the Cosmotic truth, subserves the intent and design ofthe Creator. Parts ofreality are meaningful only when they are perceived as parts and not the whole. An event, per Se, is meaningless unless linked to the whole and perceived as a pause in the continuum. Synthesis, therefore, restores to aspects of reality, to individual events, their legitimate position in the scheme of the universe a position lost in the pursuit of analytical rigour. The synthesising process turns the manifestation of reality into a purposeful universe, designed with a moral intent, and the interplay of forces are transformed from a —



brute and heartless Nature to an immensely munificent one. To an Islamic researcher Nature does not fight man ceaselessly but subserves him. Synthesis, however, does not mean the negation of analysis. Analysis is the need of human mind since it has

certain built-in limitations. It cannot fully grasp the reality unless it is vivisected into convenient pieces. A micro level exploration is also necessitated by frequent requirement to study the behaviour of natural forces, events and episodes. The usefulness of this approach has been demonstrated by the impressive scientific advances. However, the apparent success of this method has eventually distorted reality since it has delinked the pieces from the whole. In the area of social sciences the attempt to divide reality into economic, political, sociological & etc. overlooked the fact that all these aspects of the society are inalienably knit together. Their experience with the outside human world notwithstanding, they relished the alleged scientificity of these divisions. Experimentation, empirical investigations and microanalysis when and if, linked to total reality are raised from more acquisition of knowledge to the status of a mission. To study the small in order to seek the Wisdom and Mercy of the Great, to experiment with the elements to seek the bounties ofAllah and find His Signs have been the moving spirit of all Islamic researchers. In this endeavour he does not lose the sight ofthe whole and does not distort reality. The Qur’an has repeatedly emphasised these activities and regards them as the legitimate means of understanding the Creation and through it Allah’s Wisdom and Power. “Ifye would count up the favours ofAllah Never would ye be able to number them, for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (al-Nahl, 16:18) “Say: Travel through the earth and see how Allah did

originate creation: So will Allahproduce a later creation: For Allah has power overall things.” (al- ‘Ankabat, 29:20)

“Then contemplate (0 Man) the Signs of Allah’s Mercy: How He gives life to the earth after its death.” (~al-Rfim,30:50)



All through the history of Islamic research, experimentation and empirical investigation were pursued with vigour and fired by a mission to please Allah (S.W.T) and serve mankind. The latter purpose is the cornerstone of Islamic research structure and helps define, in conjunction with former, the scope and goal of scientific endeavour, in general, and social phenomenon in particular. The exploration of this world through experimentation to the benefit of mankind, to seek the sustenance and comforts of life has been strongly recommended by the Qur’an. “And seek of the bounty of Allah.” (al-Jumu’ah 62:10)

And since according to Islam, all mankind is the family of Allah (S.W.T), this activity has to be to the benefit of all mankind. Knowledge is and should be so sought as to prove its blessing for all. From this moral imperative it follows that the Islamic researcher in any field of research should be governed by a singularly significant rider on the validity of this activity. Scientific research in general and social research in particular should not directly, or in consequence, be harmful to the social and moral fabric of the humanity. The basic Islamic principle in Islamic jurisprudence is stated thus: “There is no inflicting on tolerating harm in Islam”. Thus, researches/experiments/discoveries or social engineering & etc. that damage the foundation of the society are automatically eliminated or minimized in this research culture and the specific paradigm. The classification of the conditions ascribed to the Divine Law by such Islamic thinkers as al-Ghazzali and alSyatibi and a host of earlier Islamic jurists-into necessities, conveniences and comforts signify the overall objective of all pursuit of knowledge and above all the acquisition of the highest form of knowledge, the Syari’ah itself. From the above discussion, it is clear that those who confuse Islamic research methodology with mere deductions from the general principles enshrined in the Qur’an and 110


Sunnah and their application to changing conditions and reinterpretation are gravely mistaken. For this scientific culture both deduction and induction are the Gifts of Allah (S.W.T): both are vital to the development of science and research, except that it takes faith and moral imperative as, a priori. as things given, and as frontiers that determine the approach to reality and define its goals. The Islamic research methodology defines the approach, the perspective of Reality: it assigns a purpose to the acquisition of knowledge to seek the Reality, recognise Allah (S.W.T) and promote the good of humanity. This view substantiated by the historical fact that experimentation, empirical investigation were refined, extended, and remoulded into relative perfection by the Muslim scientist, alchemist, astronomers, geographers, medical experts, pharmacologists and others. Europe borrowed these techniques from the Muslims but claimed these techniques and tools as its own and original gifts to mankind. But these gifts were subsequently turned into a deliberate al~temptat the distortion of total reality.




For an adequate appreciation ofthe subject under discussion two basic facts have to be clearly borne in mind. Sovereignty of Allah Firstly, Islam admits of no sovereignty except that of Allah (S.W.T) and, consequently, does not recognise any law-giver other than Him. The concept of the unity of God as advocated by the Qur’an is not limited to Him being the sole object of worship in the religious sense alone. Along with it He is invested with a complete legal sovereignty as the term is understood in law and political science. This aspect of the legal sovereignty of Allah (S.W.T) is as much and as clearly emphasised by the Qur’an as the one pertaining to Him being the only Deity to be worshipped. According to the Qur’an these twin factsof the divinity ofAllah (S.W.T) are the sine qua non of the Divine Entity so interlinked that a negation of either, ipsofacto infringes the very concept of His Divinity. And then the Qur’an leaves no room for the impression that by divine law the law of nature may have been intended. On the contrary, it bases its entire ideology on the foundation that mankind should order the affairs ofits ethical and social life in accordance with the law (Shari’ah) that Allah (S.W.T) has communicated through His Prophets (may His blessings be upon them). It is this submission to the revealed law and surrender of one’s freedom to it that has been assigned the name of Islam (Submission) by the Qur’an. It denies in the


clearest terms the right of human beings to exercise any discretion in such matters as have been decided by Allah (S.W.T) and His Prophet. Says the Qur’an: “It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah (S.W.T) and His Messenger, tohave anyoption about their decision: ifanyone disobeys Allah (S.W.T) and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong path.” (al-Ahzãb 33:36) The second point which is fundamentally as important in Islam as the Unity of God is the finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (may Allah’s blessings be upon him). It is really due to this factor that the concept of the Unity of God transforms itself from an abstract idea into a practical system and the whole edifice ofthe Islamic way of life is raised upon this foundation. According to this creed the teachings of all the earlier messengers of Allah (S.W.T) have been incorporated with numerous important additions, in the teachings of Muhammad (may Allah’s blessings be upon him). Hence these teachings constitute the only source of Divine guidance and law, as no further revealed guidance is anticipated to which it may become necessary for mankind to turn. It is this dispensation by Muhammad (may Allah’s blessings be upon Him) that constitutes the Supreme Law which represents the Will ofAllah (S.W.T), the real Sovereign. This Law has been bequeathed to us by the Holy Prophet in two forms: First, the Qur’an which embodies, word by word, the instructions and commandments of Allah (S.W.T); and Second, the ideal conduct of Muhammad (may Allah’s blessings be upon him), that is to say, Sunnah, which clarified and explains the meaning of the Qur’an. In fact, the Holy Prophet was not merely the bearer of a message, having nothing more to do than transmitting the Word of God to mankind. He was also the Divinely appointed leader, the ruler and the teacher. The duty laid on him was to explain and illustrate the law of God by his words and deeds; to make people understand its real import; to train 114


individuals into a disciplined body; with their aid to initiate a struggle for the reformation of society; and finally, to mould the society into a reformed and reforming state, and thus to demonstrate how a system of perfect civilization founded on the principles of Islam can be established. This entire work of the Holy Prophet which was completed in 23 years of his life as a Prophet, is the Sunnah which, in conjunction with the Qur’an, formulates and completes the Supreme Law of the real Sovereign, and this Law constitutes what is called “Syari’ah” in Islamic terminology.

Scope of Legislation Prima facie one is apt to think that these fundamental facts leave no room for human legislation in an Islamic state because herein all legislative functions vest in God and the only function left for Muslims lies in their observance of Godmade laws vouchsafed to them through the agency of the Prophet. The fact of the matter, however, is that Islam does not rule out human legislation; rather it only limits its scope by the supremacy of Divine law. What the scope and sphere of human legislation are, subject of course to the Supreme Law and within the limits prescribed by it, I will now proceed to mention in a few words.

Interpretation There are certain types of matters in human life about which the Qur’an and the Sunnah have laid down clear and categorical injunctions and prescribed specific rules. In such matters no jurist, judge, legislative body, not even the Ummah as a whole, can alter the Syari’ah injunctions or the rules framed by it. This does not mean, however, that there is no scope left for legislation in this sphere. The function of human legislation in this respect lies in first finding out what exactly is the injunction, then determining its meaning and purport and defining the occasion and circumstance to which it is relevant. Then, the methods of its application to the problems of life and the details and implications of the concise injunction have to be worked out. 115


And simultaneously it is necessary to determine to what extent any departure from this injunction is permissible under exception circumstances. Analogy The second category of human affairs is that about which no injunctions have been laid down in Syari’ah, but provision’ exists about analogous situations. In this sphere the legislative function would consist in a precise appreciation of the grounds underlying these injunctions, and enforcing them in respect to all those matters wherein these connections are not found from the application of these rules.

Inference There is yet another category of affairs about which the Syari’ah has prescribed no fixed orders but has laid down certain broad principles or has indicated in general terms the intention ofthe Law-givers as towhat is desirable and should be encouraged and what is undesirable and should be discouraged. In regard to such affairs, the function of legislation is to understand the broad principles laid down by the Syari’ah and the intention of the Law-giver, and evolve for particular situations such laws as are based on these principles and fulfil the intention of Law-giver.

Scope in Independent Legislation Apart from these, there is yet another vast sphere of human affairs about which the Syari’ah istotally silent. It has neither made any direct provision in respect thereof nor any guidance for identical or kindred situations, so as to enable us to draw an analogical inference therefrom. This silence is by itself indicative ofthe factthat the Supreme Law-giver has left it to human beings to decide such matters according to their own discretion and judgement. Hence independent legislation can be resorted to in such cases but it must be in consonance with the spirit of Islam and its general principles, and what is more, it should in no waybe at variance with 116


the over-all spirit of Islam and must properly fit into the general pattern. Ijtihãd The whole of this legislative process which lends dynamic force to the legal system of Islam and makes it development and growth possible in the changing circumstances of life, can be achieved only through a particular type of academic research and intellectual effort, which is called Ijtihãd in Islamic terminology. Literally, the word Ijtihad means to put in the maximum of effort in performing a job, but technically it signifies “maximum effort to ascertain the Islamic injunction or its purport with regard to a given problem or issue”. Some people seem to be labouring under the misconception that Ijtih&d signifies an independent and free use of one’s judgement. But no one conversant with the nature of the Islamic Law can imagine that there can be any place for this kind of independence in a legal system of this type. The real law of Islam is the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The legislation that human beings may undertake must essentially be derived from this fundamental law or it should be within the limits prescribed by it for the use of one’s opinion. Any Ijtihâd that purports to be independent of it can neither be an Islamic Ijtihâd nor is there any room for it in the legal system of Islam.

Essential Qualifications It is clear from what has been said above, that the purpose and object of Ijtihãd is not to replace the Divine Law with man-made law, its real object is to understand the Divine Law and in conformity with its fundamental directions, to enable the legal system of Islam to keep abreast of the times. In view of this basic fact, no healthy Ijtihàd is possible unless our law-makers are equipped with the following qualifications:1. Faith in the Syari’ah and the conviction of its truthfulness; a sincere intention to follow it; absence of any desire to 117


act independently of it; and the will to derive all principles and values from it and not from any other source. 2.

A sound knowledge and literature; for the

ofthe Arabic language, its grammar Qur’an has been revealed in this language and the means ofascertaining the Sunnah also rest upon this medium. 3. Such knowledge and insight into the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah as would enable one not only to be conversant with the details of Islamic injunctions and their application in actual practice, but to appreciate the basic principles of the Syari’ah and its objectives. He should know on the one hand, the overall reform scheme ofthe Syari’ah for human life and on the other the exact place of each department of life within the framework of this comprehensive scheme, and the lines on which the Syari’ah desires to mould it and the objectives underlying such moulding. In other words, such an insight into the Qur’an and the Sunnah is indispensable for Ijtehad which would enable one to grasp the essential core of the Syari’ah. 4. Acquaintance with the contributions of the earlier jurists and thinkers (Mujtahidin) of Islam. This is necessary not merely for training in the technique of Ijtihàd but also for the sake of ensuring continuity in the evolution of law. Of course it is not, and should not be, the purpose of Ijtihad to destroy or discard what previous generations have painstakingly built up and try to build ever a new. 5. Acquaintance with the problems and conditions of life, for to these are to be applied the injunctions, principles and the rules of the Syari’ah. 6. Commendable character and conduct according to the Islamic ethical standards. Absence of this virtue is bound to affect adversely the measure ofpublic trust in the legislators. A law made by the Ijtihãd of individuals failing to conform to the high standards is not likely to inspire respect and confidence in the Muslim public. 118


In listing these qualifications it is not our intention that any one undertaking Ijtihãd should first produce a certificate of merit with regard to them. The idea is merely to show that a sound development of Islamic law on proper lines through Ijtihad is possible only if the system of legal education and training tends to produce scholars of the above-mentioned calibre and qualifications. Any legislation undertaken without these requisites would neither fit into the legal system of Islam nor would it ever be palatable to the Muslim society.

Technique of Ijtihãcl Just as Ijtihãcl and any legislation based thereon depends for its popular acceptance on the ability of those responsible for it, similarly its success would, to a large degree, depend upon the employment of a correct method and proper technique. A Mujtahid whether he is engaged in the interpretation of injunctions or is busy in analogical reasoning or in drawing inferences, has in any event to base his reasoning, on the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Even while indulging in “independent” legislation in the sphere of permissibles (Mubah) he must clearly establish that the Qur’an and the Sunnah, have not laid down any rule or order nor even furnished a basis for any analogy so far as that particular issue is concerned. And then the methods adopted for interpreting the Qur’an and the Sunnah should be authentic and generally acceptable. While arguing from the Qur’an it is imperative to interpret the meaning of a verse in the light of the rules of the language, grammar, and established usage and with an eye on the observations made elsewhere in the Qur’an on the same topic. The interpretation must be authenticated by word or deed of the Prophet or at least the Sunnah must not be antagonistic to such meaning. While drawing upon the Sunnah in consonance with the considerations of language, its rules and the context, it is also essential that the traditions which are relied upon on a particular issue are authentic in accordance with the principles concerning this branch of knowledge. It is also necessary, that other relevant traditions should not be ignored and no single citation is allowed to hold its own against a Sunnah that has been well-established on 119


the strength of authentic sources. Any Ijtihad based on wishful interpretation and in disregard of these precautions, even if raised to the status of law by dints of political power, will neither be accepted by the social conscience of the Muslim community nor can it, truly speaking, form part of an Islamic system of law. As soon as the political power enforcing such a law is removed, the law would be thrown into the dustbin.

How Ijtihdd Attains the Status of Law A number of methods have been recognised in the legal system of Islam whereby an Ijtehad acquires the force of law. Firstly, consensus of opinion (Ijmã’) by the learned men ofthe community. Secondly, the Ijtihãd of an individual or a group of individuals may gain wide popularity and people may, suo moto, adopt their verdict; for instance the Ijtihãd of the Hanafite, the Syafi’ite, the Malikite, and the Hambalite schools of law which is accepted by large groups of Muslim masses. Thirdly, a Muslim government may adopt a particular piece of Ijtihãd as its law, as for example the Ottoman Government had adopted the Hanafi Law as the law of the land. Fourthly, an institution may be constitutionally empowered, in a state, to legislate, and it may pass a particular piece of Ijtihãd, into law. Apart from these four methods, any piece of Ijtihàd attempted by Muslim scholars can be no more than an edict (fatwã). As regards the judicial pronouncements of the judges (Qãdi), they are enforceable as law only in respect of the particular cases in which a court may have made them and they may also serve the status of a precedent but they cannot be classified as law in the true sense of the term, so much so that even the judicial pronouncements of the Caliphs give by them in their judicial capacity as Qadhees did not acquire in Islam the force ofthe law. The concept of “judge-made law” is foreign to the legal system of Islam. —


Clarifications I will try to answer as briefly as possible the criticism that 120


has been offered about my paper on “The Role of Ijtihad and Its Scope in Islam”. The first criticism relates to the status that has been assigned to Sunnah along with the Qur’an. In dealing with this I should like to mention a fewpoints in a systematic order so as to clarify the issue. 1. It is an irrefutable historical fact that after receiving the prophetic assignment Muhammad (Peace be upon him) did not stop at the mere transmission ofthe Qur’an to the people, but led an all-comprehensive movement which resulted in the evolution of a Muslim society, a new order of civilization and culture, and the establishment of a state. The question arises in what capacity did the Prophet perform those functions which were in addition to the mere transmission ofthe Qur’an? Were these tasks performed in his capacity as a Prophet in which he represented the will of God as much as the Holy Book? Or whether his prophetic status ended with the transmission of the Qur’an and thereafter he merely acted like an ordinary Muslim individual whose words and deeds do not possess in themselves any legal authority. If the former is true then there is no alternative but to accept the Sunnah as possessing legal authority along with the Qur’an, but if the latter is the case there can be no ground for treating it as law. 2. The Qur’an gives a very clear verdict in this matter by stating that Muhammad (Peace be on him) was not merely a messenger but a divinely appointed guide and teacher also, obedience towhom was obligatory on the Muslims and whose life has been referred by God as an ideal to be followed by the faithful. Even rationally it is unacceptable that the Prophet might be treated as a Prophet only to the extent of transmitting the word of God and thereafter reduced to the level of a common man. In so far as the Muslims are concerned they have, from the advent of Islam to this day, agreed unanimously in every age and country that the Holy Prophet was an ideal to be followed, and his injunctions and prohibitions are obligatory on all. Even a non-Muslim student of Islam cannot deny the fact that the Muslims have always assigned 121


this position to the Holy Prophet and on this very basis his Sunnah has been treated as a source of law in the legal system of Islam simultaneously with the Qur’an. I cannot indeed imagine how anyone can challenge this legal aspect of the Sunnah unless he takes up the position that the Holy Prophet was a Prophet only in so far as he transmitted the Holy Book and his prophetic status ended with the performance of this duty. And if anyone puts forward such a claim he will have to state whether he is assigning this position to the Holy Prophet on his own or whether the Holy Qur’an itself has assigned it to him. In the first case his views are of no significance to Islam while in the second case he will have to endorse his claim from the Holy Book. 3.

On accepting the Sunnah as a source oflaw the question it be ascertained and verified. But this is not a problem with which we are suddenly confronted for the first time after the lapse of 1377 years. Two historical facts are incontrovertible; first, the society which was evolved on the very first day of the advent of Islam on the foundations of the teachings ofthe Qur’an and the Sunnah ofthe Prophet has been continuously alive till our own day; its continuous existence has not, been interrupted for a single day and all its institutions have been working all the time without any break. The profound similarity which exists today among the Muslims the world over in respect of their beliefs, modes of thinking, ethical standards and values, acts of worship and mundane affairs and concepts and way of life (wherein the elements of similarity are more than those of disparity and which is the largest fundamental factor instrumental in keeping them together as an Ummah despite being scattered all over the surface of the earth) is positive proof of the fact that his society was established on a Sunnah which has continued without interruption throughout these long centuries. It is not a “missing link” for which we may have to search in darkness. The second historical fact which is equally patent is that the Muslims have in every age after the death of the Holy Prophet been endeavouring consistently to ascertainwhat exactlyhis established Sunnah is, and whether any dubious factor is not being introduced into their system arises as to how can



of life through any devious means. They could not afford to be careless about investigating and ascertaining the Sunnah in as much as it had the status of law for them; it formed the basis of judicial decisions in their law-courts, and all their affairs starting from their homes right up to the governmental affairs were being managed in accordance with it. The means of this research and the results thereof have been bequeathed to us from generation to generation since the time ofthe first Islamic Caliphate right till our own times, and the labours of each generation have been preserved without any break. If one understands these two historical facts fully and properly and then makes a regular, scientific study of the means by which Sunnah is to be ascertained he will never fall a prey to the misgiving that he is faced with some insoluble puzzle. 4. There is no doubt that there have been numerous differences in the matter of ascertaining and establishing the Sunnah and such differences can arise in the future also. But then similar differences have occurred, and may indeed occur in’ future, even in the matter on interpreting a good many rules and injunctions of the Holy Qur’an. If such difference cannot form any argument of giving up the Qur’an why should they be made an excuse for giving up the Sunnah? The principle has been accepted in the past (and even now there is no alternative but to accept it) that whoever puts forward anything as the injunction of the Qur’an or the injunction of the Sunnah should produce arguments in support of his claim. If his argument is sound it will be accepted by the learned men of the Ummah or at least by a large portion of them. Anything which is devoid of such logical support will fail to gain recognition. This is the principle on the basis ofwhich millions ofMuslims in various parts of the world have agreed on a particular juristic school of thought and large blocks of their population have established their social system on the strength of a particular interpretation of the Qur’anic injunctions and a particular set of the authenticated Sunnah. A second criticism that has been offered about my paper 123


refers to some contradiction therein. A certain critic has sought to find a contradiction between my statement that no one has the authority to change the clear and positive injunctions of the Qur’an and Sunnah and my statement that in exceptional conditions and circumstances Ijtihãd can be exercised to ascertain the opportunities for deviations from these injunctions to suit the exigencies of the times. I have not been able to appreciate the nature of the alleged contradiction. Every law in the world makes provision for exceptions from the general rules in abnormal and extraordinary situations. In the Qur’an also there are numerous examples of such concessions and from these the jurists have deduced the principles which have to be borne in mind in regulating the limits and occasions for the concession e.g. the dictum “necessities make the inhibitions legal, and “difficulties attract concessions”. The third criticism has been levelled against all those who have mentioned the qualifications and conditions for Ijtihad in their discourse and as I am also one of them it is incumbent on me to answer it. I would suggest respectfully that the conditions mentioned by me may be studied once again and then the particular offending qualification may be underlined. Is itthe intention to scratch the qualification that those undertaking Ijtihàd should be sincerely desirous of following the dictates of the Syari’ah and not of overstepping its limits? Or the condition that they should be conversant with the language of the Qur’an and the Sunnah? Or that they should be aware of the contributions made by the past Mujtahidin? Or the condition that they should have an insight into the problems and affairs of the world? Or again that they should not be persons of questionable conduct and devoid of Islamic moral values? Whichever of these conditions is considered to be unnecessary by the critic should be specified precisely. To say that in the whole Islamic world not more than ten or twelve persons can be found who fulfil these conditions and come up to this standard is, in my opinion, taking avery pessimistic viewof the situation. Eventhose not favourable disposed towards us do not consider us to be so degraded as to think that we Muslims of the whole world cannot produce more than ten or twelve persons possessing 124


such qualifications. Nevertheless, if anyone wishes to open the door of Ijtihàd wide enough for every Tom, Dick and Harry to be admitted there in he is welcome to do so. But I should like to know how will he manage to make the Muslim public swallow the results of the Ijtihãd thus undertaken by men devoid of good conduct and sound learning whose motives and sincerity both are looked upon as doubtful and questionable.




Philosophy by its very nature is not amenable to the kind of exact treatment possible in the case of the sciences. Nevertheless the student has to be on his guard against abstruseness, which has become traditionally associated with a study of philosophy. The aim of knowledge is enlightenment. No study is merely an intellectual exercise for its own sake. Its importance and significance can be realised by the light that it sheds on manifesting the right path of life. This is particularly true of philosophy because it claims to deal with matters that are of pressing concern to all human beings. Each one ofus wishes to make a pattern ofhis life. His cosmic surroundings compel him to ascribe some meaning to the universe, to determine his own place in it, and to reflect upon the sense and value of life. What are the end and purpose of life? What are the goals that are worth striving for? Is life on this planet a chance product offortuitous circumstances? Or is there a design which presupposes a Designer? These are not questions that pester only the professional philosopher; nor does the ability to provide an answer to them require subtlety of intellect or ability of imagination. Though very few people take pains to formulate a philosophy, itis implicit in their behaviour and conduct, in their opinions and ideas. It is the vague product of thoughts and feelings, desires and experiences, all mixed up in a haphazard manner, common beliefs, the hoary traditions of the species and the myths and fables handed down from generations. The philosopher has to work on this material. His task


is rendered more difficult by the universality of his material. But the conventions of knowledge have laid the burden of this trade on him. He has to examine the beliefs of men, weed out the unsound from the sound, assess his own equipment, establish effective premiss and arrive at plausible conclusions. There are pitfalls and digressions that he must avoid and quite a number of snares that he must be wary of. One of the primary tasks before the student of philosophy today is to restore to his subject an independent identity. Philosophy, as indeed all branches of knowledge, has been immensely influenced by science and the scientific method of analysis and deduction. While this has to some extent been conducive to accuracy and clarity, it has detracted from philosophy the total meaning and value which it ascertains to human experience. The method of concentrating on a limited aspect of our experience has, by shutting out the broader view, robbed life of all grace and meaning. Modern philosophers subscribing to the view that the “nonsensory is nonsense” have endeavoured to build systems of thought on the fickle foundations of sense-experience, in blissful disregard of the essential truth that “the truth is the whole”. The need for a comprehensive and integrated view was never greater than the contemporary times. Today we require a philosophy that takes into account the whole of man’s moral spiritual and intellectual experience with full considerations. Islam concerns itself with philosophy in so far as it is indispensable for the system that it seeks to build and to this extent it gives it fundamental importance. There is therefore a very close concurrence between the basic philosophical postulates of Islam and the veritable requirements of life and man. This concord must be duly recognized at the very outset, only then would it be possible to apprehend the spirit of Islamic philosophy. When we undertake a review of problems of philosophy from the Islamic view point, it does not mean that we shall expound the philosophical position of the Mutazalites or the Asharites, bring out our preference for the one or the other, or attempt to vindicate the status of any later school of Muslim philosophy. This method does not commend itself to 128


the approach that we are endeavouring to develop. Our foremost concern should be to deeply study and analyse the existing Muslim thought and trace it to its historical origins. How and when the foreign influences have invaded Muslim thought? What factors were responsible for this infiltration? And what were the over-all effects of this adulterated approach upon Muslim civilization in general and Muslim thought in particular? Has there been any evidence in history of the consciousness in the Muslim intelligentsia of this external influence shaping the course of its thinking? Howhas this consciousness made itself effective and to what extent? It is generally conceded that in the 3rd century of the Hijra, when the Muslims felt the impact of the translated works of Aristotle, Plato and Neo-Platonic thinkers, their thought registered an unusual proclivity towards the methods and postulates of these philosophers. To a student now endeavouring to estimate the progress, development and the nature of the problems of Islamic philosophy, this first impact of the West on Muslim thought is very significant and calls for a deep analytical study. Some of the later Muslim thinkers, notable among them al-Ghazzali, have done much to restore the distinctive individuality of Islamic Thought. But today we have to make a fresh start. This does not involve disclaiming all the commendable and painstaking labour of thinkers and jurists during the course of centuries. But at the same time we must develop a vital consciousness of the progress of the times and the advancement of knowledge. Muslim thought has never claimed fixed and immutable principles of knowledge. No system whether ethical, economic, political or even spiritual could be impervious to the mutability ofthe conditions of life, which require a re-orientation and a re-interpretation of the fundamental principles in every age. A revival of interest in the Islamic system evident in recent times is not simply the product of intellectual curiosity. Humanity stands at the cross-roads. It desperately needs a scale of values which may determine the direction on human progress, ascribe some meaning to human endeavours and restore a sober and balanced view. The problems that it faces today are the product of a particular way of life, 129


the offspring of a civilization which took birth only in material advancement, completely cutting offthe spiritual dimension. Hence they can be properly understood only by a careful analysis of the background of that civilization. The Islamic researcher, after having undertaken a historical study of Muslim thought, would do well to acquaint himself critically with the thought and intellectual achievements of Western civilization. This study would enable him to understand the nature of contemporary problems, their historical perspective, the methods with which philosophers and thinkers in the West have attempted to seek answers to their fundamental problems regarding God, the universe and Man, and how have these methods and postulates shaped the overall approach of modern man towards life. But notwithstanding the great importance of such a study, the student has to tread his path very carefully. Despite the acumen, learning and intellectual apparatus which the Western philosophers bring to bear on their subject, their achievement is hardly commendable. Besides the fact that there is very little agreement among them each appears to be lost in a fantastic world of his own ideas and imaginations. Their vocabulary is highly technical and personal and parochial. Their view of life, to say the least, is extremely partial. Their sole achievement seems to lie in bringing down the imposing structures that their predecessors had painstakingly built. Even the basic issues are in a state of indeterminate fluidity. A student groping through the intricate world ofthe Realists and the Idealists, the Rationalist and the Intuitionists, the Evolutionists and the Pragmatists, the Logical positivists and the Naturalists, is apt to abandon his journey in despair. A philosopher must have a crystal realization of concrete connections between various arenas oflife. His concern is life, in all its aspects and ramifications, and he claims to deal with the whole of knowledge. It is possible that the equipment available to him may sometimes lack the delicacy and the keenness to grasp a particular sphere of experience, or fail to ascertain its value in relation to the whole. But this cannot be sufficient justification for cynicism or scepticism. The “actuality” of a human situation should be the starting 130


point of a real philosopher. He must guard against the danger of allowing his personality or his temperament to colour his thinking. The amplitude of his thought should be co-extensive with the actualities of his life. The comparative study ofWestern schools of philosophy is likely to give the student a clearer indication of the nature of problems in philosophy and at the same time acquaint him with the danger of wild unguided speculation in this regard. It would warn him how fatal it is to start theorising and forming assumptions regarding the fundamental problems of life without first clearly determining their nature and correctly assessing one’s own means and equipment. We have explained earlier that in the task of the reconstruction we are faced with basic problems. How to think and from where to start? Could a Muslim be a free-thinker? Could he start with doubt like Descartes? How would it be possible for him to escape the pitfalls of false assumptions and wild speculations which have been the bane of so many schools of philosophy? Modern philosophers are wary of people who consider something other than personal experience as a starting point. If we start with experience, must it be only rational experience? But rational experience is not the whole of experience. Experiences of love, desire, ambition, worship and sensations of the kind are hardly amenable to philosophical reasoning. But they are experiences nonetheless, and have their own places in life. Any philosopher who, because these experiences fall not within the range of his study, ignores them would be committing the same short sighted error as the scientists of the 18th century who denied the existence of non-physical reality. Upon the answer to the above raised question would depend the basic attitude not only of the Muslim philosopher, but also the Muslim scientist. Science considers itself to be ethically neutral; but it has certain working postulates of its own. These postulates take into account a very limited range of human experience and since the integrative process of neither religion nor philosophy is permitted to violate this sacrosanct sphere, the scientist is liable to proceed from ethical neutrality to ethical denial. How could a 131


Muslim scientist reconcile his faith with the ethical neutrality of science? The entire cultural, moral and intellectual system of Islam is based upon a cosmology derived from the Revelation. This fact introduces a unique factor in philosophical thinking and gives Islamic thought its distinctive quality. A student of Western philosophy can easily realise the crucial need of looking into the metaphysical factor, the lack of which has produced so much disagreement and variance, contradiction and vacillation in Western thought. Revelation ends the state of indeterminate fluidity by providing Islamic philosophy its basic postulates and starting points. But the task of the Islamic researcher is not too easy. He has to give the metaphysical theory of Islam a convincing philosophical exposition in terms acceptable to the philosophic understanding. Secondly, he has to determine the position of Reason in the light of Revelation. Must the Muslim Philosopher start with Revelation (i.e., Faith) and substantiate it with Reason? Or could he make Reason his guide and end in Revelation? Considering what has been mentioned above the tendency of modern schools of philosophy, if we make faith a starting point, would it be in the nature of a hypothetical starting point, something beyond the experience of man? When we say that we are conscious of God and that this consciousness is valid enough for the starting point for philosophy, does it imply that we are reversing the process of thinking, starting with the object of our experience rather than the experience itself’? Or could we argue that every experience is related to an object? The existence of a reality or an object without a corresponding experience or consciousness is beyond the scope and purview ofhuman knowledge. God as an objective reality would have no meaning for us if He were not present in the consciousness of man. This consciousness of God in man is called Faith and without violating any principle of correct thinking we could start with Faith. Since Revelation purports to deal with matters that are beyond the range of Reason, the significance and true status of this faculty ofthe human mind are better to be realised. We have to be on our guard against the danger of attributing to “Reason” the absolute and highest place. 132


According to the Qur’an the various aspects of natural phenomena are signs of God for the reason of man to ponder upon and apprehend and arrive at a cognition of reality. Again and again in the Qur’an, we come across an appeal to the Reason of man. We are told that people who deny the signs of Allah (S.W.T) are those who do not exercise the faculty ofReason and the faculties of sight and sound. Would we be right in concluding that ultimately the cognition of Revelation also depends upon the Reason? Verses like the following deserve special attention. “Can they be (like) those who accept a clear (sign) from their Lord, and whom a witness from Himselfdoth teach as did the Book ofMoses before it a guide and a mercy?” —

(Hüd 11:17)

Does Revelation only endorse and clarify what the mind has already dimly perceived and apprehended? Before passing on to the next stage of our inquiry, we must pause a while to consider another aspect of the discussion related to Reason. Does the universe has a purpose? If so what is that purpose? Is that purpose reconcilable with the concept of Mechanism? The Qur’an is of the view that if the powers of reflection are properly used they would lead not only to the cognition ofreality, but also to the comprehension of the purpose of creation. People who so reflect cry out: “Our Lord! not for naught Hart Thou created (all) this!” (àli-’Imrãn, 3:191)

What is the proper use ofthe powers of reflection? What are the methods and grounds of knowledge? What is the nature of the knowledge of seen and how is it related to the knowledge of what is unseen? Is the human mind capable of complete knowledge of what is unseen? Such questions bring out the uniqueness of Islamic research to the fore. The task of the Islamic researcher is two-folded. He has to develop an independent critical attitude towards the achievements of modern knowledge on the one hand and on the other hand seek to imbibe and understand the Islamic spirit. Any success in the first task is 133


possible onlywhen a modicum of progress has been achieved in the second. So before we start dealing with the limitations of the methods of modern schools of philosophy, or the Scientific method, whose credit is so highly acknowledged in the intellectual forums of the world, it would be far more advisable to go with an unbiased mind to the Qur’an and seek answers to the above raised questions. These answers may be corroborated by any school of philosophy or any group of scientists. But this does not necessarily mean that both are therefore identical. The Qur’an has a method of its own. It also purports to give us the way by which we could arrive at these conclusions. So before we set out to vindicate the Islamic view point, we must first understand that view point and instead of seeking to establish it by the current methods of philosophy or of science, we must gain a closer acquaintance with the method of the Qur’an itself. How does the Qur’an lead man to its metaphysical concepts? What are the limitations to which the Qur’an considers the human reason subject? Is there any difference between the significance and value of Reason guided by Revelation, and the potentialities of Reason blindly groping on its own? After this primary task has been achieved, the Islamic researcher would be equipped to undertake a critical study of the other schools of philosophy fruitfully. Then we must remember that Islam is not simply a philosophy; that is, it is not solely concerned with ideas. It is a system based upon the practical considerations ofconduct. Its primary concern is to make people lead a good life. But since a good life cannot be dissociated from the correct thought, it has vouchsafed that basis on which an expansive code of conduct could be devised. What is the ethical viewpoint of Islam? How does Islam escape the hair-splitting nuances of the problem of good and evil? How could the Islamic approach be distinguished from that of other schools of philosophy? These and many other aspects of the problem require an elaborate treatment. But due to the paucity of space at our disposal we can only suggest the outline. We would highly appreciate supplementanes and counter-suggestions. The aim of these editorial notes is not merely the discharge of a 134


formal responsibility, but a genuine desire to learn to break fresh grounds. So the need for collaboration and co-operation need not be emphasized.




There is a misconception about the nature of Islamic Research in Philosophy. Sometimes it is conceived that such an endeavour shall necessarily involve the refutation of all modern philosophies. I believe that Islamic philosophy shall change the very approach to problems, and as such it shall bring more than a copernican revolution. But Islamic philosophy is not a reactionary philosophy, it should synthesise all that is worthy in the modern thought. As a matter of fact, the main defect with human thought is that it is one sided, it is governed by the temperament of the individual and it can not free itself from the environmental effects. Thus if a philosophy takes into account one element of truth itis apt to ignore others. Only God knows the whole reality all at a time. Thus Islamic philosophy may be conceived as an attempt to combine all the elements of truth in the present philosophies and a continuous attempt to develop a more comprehensive and more accurate solution of the problems of philosophy under the guidance of the Revealed Knowledge. Through both, Revelation and Reason, it is an atempt to solve the basic problems oflife which change their garb with every change in life, but basically remain the same. By Revelation we mean the word of God (contained in the Holy Qur’an). These words though containing the same spirit and fundamentally conveying the same essence, extend their meanings for their reader with the change in the mental horizon ofman and with an advance in knowledge of scientific facts. Thus Imam Razi would understand with the scientific background of the


medieval age, the meaning of the same ãyah differently and in more improved form than an ordinary baclawi of the Prophet’s time. Reason is the intellectual enterprise of man and when it is aided by Revelation, forms the Islamic approach to the problems and results in an Islamic Philosophy. For our convenience we may take the first problem as “Is the knowledge of reality possible”? Kant’s analysis of theoretical reason led him to deny the possibility of metaphysics. In the process of knowing, our mind applies its categories of intution i.e. (perception) and understanding upon the raw material of the external world and the thing in itself always remains unknown. The Positivists following the same tradition have turned their back upon metaphysics and look upon the function ofphilosophy to generalise the results of science or to analyse the important concepts. Islam also asserts that human intellect has limitations and it cannot know the whole reality: “But of that they have no knowledge: they merely conjecture.” (al-Jãthiyah 45:24) “That they (continually) cart (slanders) on the unseen from a position for off?” (Saba’ 34:53) “They follow nothing but conjecture: they do nothing but he.” (al-An’ãm 6:116) But the Qur’an believes that Divinely guided intellect can, at least, form such an idea of reality which is necessary for a good life. Revelation pictures the reality, hidden from human vision, in a manner which can be best understood by the intellect, which cannot, as a matter of fact, understand unexperienced reality fully. This places Islam in a unique position which is to be understood and elaborated and numerous difficulties arising from it are to be solved. Is there any external reality? Another problem is that of the existence of an external world out side our experience. To many the position of Abso138


lute Idealists who assert that reality is the whole of experience, and that there is nothing outside experience, is logically unassailable and it is only from the practical point of view that the Realists’ criticism may be valid. Really speaking both Idealists and Realists have based their philosophies on unproved assumptions. When Idealists say that there is no reality outside experience they have no ground for this except that we can approach reality only through our experience. On the other hand the Realists base their view on an assumption which seems to be farther from the truth. They are not content with the view that an outside reality exists but say that it is identical with our sense datum and that this reality is not changed through our experience of it. Islam agrees that there is an external world independent of our experience. We experience only a part of it, and that part of it which remains unexperienced but which is significant to human life is revealed to the prophets and translated in terms of the ordinary experience of man, in familiar human language. The most important question, however, is that of method. How any knowledge of reality is possible? Here Islam basically differs from all modern philosophies and it has to wage a war on all sides. Intellect has to work under the basic guidance received from God. This guidance is not opposed to dictates of reason. Its necessity is inferred from reason, its contents are appealing to reason and moreover they are to be understood in the light of reason. They are more of the nature of basic principles on which Islamic philosophy is to be built and in this they have an advantage over the assumptions of other philosophies which have their source either in the temperament of the philosophers or in external influence upon them. Methodology is a practical question for Islamic researchers in all sciences which the Islamic philosopher has to elaborate. Should we start quite free minded and having formed a theory return to the Qur’an and Sunnah for justification and Fatwã? Or should we first study the Qur’an and Sunnah with empty minds and deduce theories and then come to the laboratory to test and develop our hyphotheses by observation and verification?. Both the methods have 139


obvious defects. The only true and natural method seems to combine Reason and Revelation in such a way that we may go through the scientific facts and study the developed human knowledge with the Qur’anic mind and study the Holy script in the light ofall scientific facts and human experience. Much of the thinking in the beginning of the present philosophy was devoted to method. Descartes gave philosophy a method which was largely derived from demonstrations in geometry and which was afterwards used very successfully in metaphysics and logic. Bacon’s importance, however, lies in formulating a method, which was being used in the physical sciences was later used in all the social sciences and even in philosophy. The scientific method is now conceived to be the most competent method though it is some extent differed from that of Bacon’s. It is empirical due to it’s emphasis on observation and verification. But it has also deduction as a necessary content. In the beginning of the present century Bergson compiled and elaborated intuition as intellectual sympathy with the object as an attempt to view the whole of mobile reality as different from analysing it from outside or judging it through fixed and separate concepts and symbols. The intimation thus obtained is inexpressible but is at once translated into symbols etc. through intellect. —

“Intuition, once attained, must find a mode ofexpression and of application which conforms to the habit of our thought and one which furnishes us in the shape of well defined concepts with the solid points of support which we so greatly need.” (Introduction to Metaphysics by Bergson) It is obtained after acquiring all the scientific knowledge in the topic and then placing ourselves at the heart of the subject. “So immense a mass of the facts must be accumulated and fused together, that in this fusion all the preconceived and premature ideas which observers may willingly have put in their observations will be certain to neutralise each other.” (Introduction to Metaphysics by Bergson) 140


Thus intuition of “self’ is obtained after accumulation of all numbers of psychological analyses. Now such may be the method towards which modern philosophy may tend, if it combines the merits of analysis and verification, deduction and induction. Islamic philosophy contributes it a valuable addition that of Revelation. Thus our method is all at one. —









It shall combine the merits of all the three and make up the deficiencies of each through the fourth, Revelation. To understand fully the attitude of an Islamic researcher let us say: he starts as a free thinker under the sole guidance of Reason which leads him to the conclusion that there is some basic guidance from God under which he has to work if he wishes to reach any useful conclusion. Now he has two lights instead ofone under which he has to pursue his work. They are not antagonistic to each other; on the contrary they are complementary. As we pointed out it is through Reason that we arrive at the conclusion that Revelation is a necessary basic guidance. The Qur’an points out that in the external and the internal world there are “Ayats” i.e. signs which lead man to the belief that there must be some basic guidance from Allah (S.W.T). Not only prophethood but also existence and the attributes of God, the necessity of the day of Judgement and other important basic conceptions. What is the reasoning of the Qur’an is a question important for a student of the Qur’an. The Qur’an, in its own words, has given the most powerful reasoning for its metaphysical concepts, and no more convincing argument is possible in this field by any theory whatsoever. Is this reasoning a logical demonstration or is it an indication from certain obvious points, or is it an intution of reality through intellectual sympathy with the objects, or is it something quite different from all these? It is an important 141


question, because without itwe cannot understand how the Qur’an argues its basic metaphysical ideas and why Revelation must be taken as an indispensable and important element of our method. Close to itis the problem of Revelation itself which is the most important basis of Islamic philosophy. Viewed from one angle it isthe only basis as it isthe point of difference between Islamic and non-Islamic philosophy. The Qur’an maintains that the Prophet has some direct touch with reality denied to others. Thus the fundamental difference between the position of a Prophet and others is that the Prophet has an extra ordinary experience which others cannot have He sees the reality of Heaven and Hell with his own eyes, he hears the Divine message with his own ears. The Qur’an commands us to believe in him due to his honesty, sincerity and his passionate pre-occupation with the welfare of others and the tortures and sacrifices he undergoes for larger human ends this bestows infallible authority on the Prophet. Here our point of view is diametrically opposed to all the philosophic approaches. We realise the importance of Reason, still we feel its incompetance. We add to it one more source ofknowledge, with an attitude of faith towards it. How do we arrive at this conclusion if at all it is justifiable? Revelation as an important phenomenon of nature is to be understood. What does it mean, and why is it trustworthy? Some precious work on this topic has been done by Muslim philosophers and thinkers in the past and it is of great value for those who endeavour to work on this problem. One of the important characteristics of Islamic Philosophy is that its primary concern is with life and man. The philosophy of our times is also realising its close connection with life. Absolute Idealism inspite of being a very consistent philosophy has given rise to many reactions in the opposite direction. Pragmatism, Existentialism, and Dialectical Materialism are more closely related with man and his problems, and Realism presents a view of reality which is, in a sense, nearer to common sense viewof the world. Pragmatism opens possibility of putting religious beliefs to test. If certain ultimate questions about the nature of the Universe cannot be proved or disproved, we should not necessarily make a ...



negative judgment about them. The significance of a beliefis to be realised by the effects which it leaves and belief is to be judged by its consequences. The satisfaction which the Qur’an gives to the soul ofthe individual and the happy life that itbrings to the society is an evidence for its own truth. Falsehood left to itself is apt to fail and it is only truth which ever remains. “And say: Truth has (now) arrived and falsehood Perished: for falsehood is (by to nature) bound to Perish.” (al-Isrâ 17:18)

“And if anyone believes in Allah (S.W.T), (Allah S.W.T.) guides his heart (aright): for Allah knows all things.” (al-Taghàbun 64:11)

“OfAllah (S.W.T): forwithout doubt in the remembrance of Allah (S.W.T) do hearts find satisfaction.” (al-Ra’d 13:28)

But for pragmatists truth is a property of an idea which is relative but for Islam truth is a permanant value of a belief. It is only we who may fail to discover it. Truth is always there. Whenever the usefulness of a truth is hidden from our eyes or our incomplete experience fails to apprehend its usefulness and practicality we make a wrong judgment. Islamic researchers have to find the element of truth in the pragmatist philosophy and to discover how far it agrees with the Qur’anic conception. We have to define truth in our terms, and form our own perspective. We have to define such concepts as “verification”, “workability” and “usefulness” and give therein a wider and more accurate meaning. A reference must be made to those theories of science which are offundamental importance and which have brought science close to the territory of philosophy. Islamic philosophy must today deal with Evolution. The old mechanical conception of evolution does not satisfy modern philosophy. Creative and Emergent evolution are praiseworthy attempts to meet its difficulties but the Islamic philosopher has to make a great advance upon these. Evolution must give a place to values. It must maintain the dignity of man as a moral and social being. Evolution is to be reconciled with 143


Islamic conception of creation. It is different from change or movement because it implies improvement and development. What was good in the previous state is maintained and some new addition is made for the better. This again implies some standard ofjudgement with reference to which we may say that the change is for the better or that it is evolution. Otherwise it may equally be retrogressive, and again it implies an ultimate principle which directs the universe on this evolutionally path. I think the concept of evolution necessarily implies a wisdom in the core of Nature. Thus we have on the one hand to discover a better concepion of evolution and on the other hand to work out the real postulates and implications of an evolutionary theory, etc. Other places where science has entered the territory of philosophy lies in physics and mathematics. Theory of relativity has much changed our old scientific conception of the Universe. Instead of Newtonian conception of force we find a law of universal laziness; every event seems to follow the principle of least action. Again matter is not conceived as solid and separate pieces, they are series of events. Mind and body come very closely to each other. Such and so many other advances in science are to be taken very seriously by the Islamic scholar. If we have to evolve an Islamic philosophy we shall have to take into consideration what are the philosophical implications of these researches in physical science. (In this short note I can only hint at some points, while as a matter of fact they need to be dealt with at length). The researches in physics have broadened our conception and have given us better material to work out an Islamic philosophy. While closing this discussion let me meet one objection: That a comprehensive system of philosophy may be evolved on the basis of the Qur’an and Sunnah which shall be in line with the modern philosophy seems an impossibility to many. How is it possible, on certain fixed and unchangeable principles combined with a certain attitude ofmind, is it possible to build a philosophy which has room for progress and which tackles all fresh problems with the same success? For such a question we should not expect a theoretical answer but a practical response, for which we should at least wait for a few 144


decades. A history of Russian philosophy may reveal how much advancement in thought is possilbe without basically changing the approach and the basic conceptions? But the possibility of development in Islamic philosophy is much greater than that in Dialectical Materialism. The reasons are obvious: firstly, the very idea that the Qur’an is the word of God, before whom all the possibilities of development in human knowledge are always present, opens infinite possibilities of interpretation which no human work can ever enjoy; secondly, the Qur’anic view of Man and Nature is so comprehensive and so multisided that it shall open much more fields of philosophic enquiry than Dialectical Materialism can do. Apart from such fundamental problems it should also be the concern of the Islamic philosopher to solve certain problems that disturb the modern mind. The majority of these problems arise out of the so-called conflict between religion and science, or the moral consciousness of man and the mechanical conception of Nature. Good and Evil is one such problem; Freedom and Determinism is another. Presence of Evil in the world, as conceived by many thinkers, necessitates that God is neither omnipotent nor benevolent. On the other hand, if Evil is reduced to mere appearance it does not seem to satisfy the more realistic trend of the age and in the domain of human action it does away with any standard of morality. I am of the view that a comprehensive philosophy of Islam will solve all such difficulties very successfully and these difficulties will not arise. But the significance of these problems lie in the fact that they have played a tragic role in keeping the modern minds disgusted from religion to the extent that they show no concern even to understand the distinctive attitude ofIslam to these problems. These are only some of the problems which I wanted to identify to initiate a full-fledge discussion. I propose that others should also join us with greater reflection on the problems and creative thinking.




Being a complete political and socio-economic order, Islam has important guiding principles to offer on the economic aspect of life, or the economic sub-system of society. Muslim scholars of the past have paid due attention to the elaboration, interpretations and formulation of these principles in the context of their own conditions of life particularly to the then prevailing technique of production and methods of organisation. Modem Islamic research greatly benefit from those efforts. On the other hand, the contemporary state of economics is also quite encouraging. Although the emphasis is still upon the “positive science” of economics, discussions on the normative plane, too, are much in vogue. Side by side with the efforts to reduce economics to mathematical formulae and geometrical constructions, there has emerged a vast literature for understanding the economic aspect of human behaviour from a sociological and psychological view points. Efforts at a synthetic, integrative approaches to economic problems have also been made. We believe that these recent developments in economic thought have, in a manner, pressed more than ever before the need for presenting the Islamic approach to man’s economic life. How shall a Muslim economist attempt a fresh understanding of the economic phenomena? First of all there is the individual and his wants the starting point of all economic analyses. There has been a tendency to take individual wants -


as something given, as far as economic analysis is concerned. This has been made possible by certain assumptions and outlooks on life. Otherwise human wants are the most vicissitudinous phenomena. They are always changing with the change in outlook on life, value system of the individual, his specific motives in any particular situation, and a host of other external factors, e.g., cultural traits, customs and traditions and the physical environment. For a correct and comprehensive understanding these variables must be discussed and the consequences of such variations upon individual wants be fully traced out. Special significance must be attached to the study of individual wants from an Islamic outlook on life, Islamic ethics and Islamic motives. What are the likely qualitative and quantitative impacts of the Islamic Culture upon individual wants? Islam lays down certain norms for man’s behaviour as a consumer. Assuming the individual’s loyalty to these norms, what pattern of individual demands is likely to emerge? How shall a Muslim individual behave in his productive activities? What shall be his outlook towards economic work? Shall he aim at earning the greatest amount of wealth that is physically possible for him to earn, or would he be considering the earning of wealth as a means to some other ends which do not always call for an unsatiable urge for wealth. What are the consequences of our findings in this respect upon the supply of labour and entrepreneurship? What is the place of economic activity in the general scheme of life as conceived by Islam? There is the problem of entrepreneurial behaviour and entrepreneurial motivation. What do the entrepreneurs aim at in the contemporary capitalist societies? What shall Muslim entrepreneurs aim according to the Islamic norms? Does Islam approve the profit maximization norm? What are the objectives of entrepreneurial policy from an Islamic outlook on life? And, if Islam allows the profit motives within certain limits, what are those limits? What are the higher claims ofjustice and benevolence and the considerations of social good that the entrepreneur must keep above the profit motive? What is the place of economic rationality in the Islamic attitude to life? What type of rationality is consistent with this attitude and what types are not? 148


Rigorous scientific definitions of economics regard this “science” as essentially indifferent towards the “content” of man’s behaviour. Economics is a study of “human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses.” But the study of form without content is not possible. Hence economics assumes a particular substance or content before it studies the formal aspect of human behaviour. Thereafter economics becomes “the study of the formal aspects of the relationship of ends and means on various assumptions concerning the ultimate nature of the data.”2 The assumptions of modern economics are generally drawn from the contemporary ways of life. But, for scientific and analytical purposes, any set of assumptions regarding the nature of ends would be as good as the present ones. Maximisation of satisfaction by the consumer and maximisation ofprofit by the producer, or, in short, economic rationality on part of the units in the economy are assumptions alleged to be drawn from the contemporary situation. But the Islamic way of life refers to a historical situation entirely different from the present one. The Qur’an and the Sunnah give us a detailed idea of what the Islamic way of life is, and what this historical situation would be. What are the assumptions relevant to that situation? Given these assumptions it would be possible to give an analysis of “human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses”. This would be the positive science of economics on Islamic assumptions. The functions of science lie in explanation and prediction. This science would explain the functioning of the Islamic economy and predict human behaviour as it would be, if the assumed norms are actually pursued. A social science helps man understand the working of relevant human institutions, before they have actually worked out. The science of Islamic Economics would serve this purpose and help man in making a choice between Islamic economic system or other economic system with which he is already familiar. 1 2

Lionel Robbins, Nature arid Sigrt~ficartce of Economic Science Chapter II. Ibid., emphasis our own.



Economics, as indeed all social sciences have another function to perform. It sets up an ideal pattern of behaviour with which man should strive to conform. The ideals relevant to this ideal pattern are hidden in the assumptions regarding the norms. The modern economic theory describes the ideal behaviour in conformity with the maximization principle. Those who cherish these ideals can derive from it the pattern of their behaviour. This aspect of science is emphasised by calling it a “normative science”. There is, however, only one difference between a positive and a normative social science. Positive science necessarily implies a claim that its assumptions are “realistic”, i.e., in a crude conformity with the actual ways of life; while the normative science does not. A perfect applicability of the assumed norms never obtains in reality; social sciences are, partially at least, always normative in nature. Islamic economics, seen from this angle, would be a normative science. But it would be a science all right. The basic economic value, the chief characteristic of the formal aspect of economic behaviour, irrespective ofthe end, is rationality. “Rationality in choice is nothing more and nothing less than choice with complete awareness of the alternatives rejected.”3 It is “the orientation of action toward maximal conformity with a norm.”4 The science of economics, based on the Islamic assumptions, would give a detailed picture of human action oriented toward maximal conformity with the Islamic norms. There is, however, an important difference in the nature of the norms assumed by modern economics and those recommended by Islam. The latter involve the realizations of certain moral and spiritual values. Values cannot be defined or even conceived as precisely and as exactly as for example, the profit maximization norm. In such cases correct conception and precise definition of these norms themselves become a problem for the actor and the analyst, respectively. This affects the formal aspect of human behaviour. The question arises: What is the meaning of “rational behaviour” in the process of value-realization? Obviously the possibility and 3 L. Robbins, ibid. 4 T. Parsons and N.J. Semelser, Economy and Society, p. 126.


PROBLEMS OF ISLAMIC RESEARCH IN ECONOMICS of rational behaviour in this respect depends upon precise formulation of the given values and their appreciation by the actor. To the extent it is impossible to do so, it is impossible to have a science explaining human conduct aimed at the realization of these values. Paramount importance is, therefore, attached to the definition and formulation ofthe norms and values given by Islam. It is true with respect to the practical realisation of the “Islamic Economy”, as well as with respect to the construction of the science of Islamic economics. It also follows that in so far as “rational” behaviour is not possible in the process of value realization, the formal aspect of human behaviour in this process should be considered afresh. One need not be tied to the dictum that the assumption of rationality is essential for the study of economic behaviour. Besides the motivation of the units in the economy, the Islamic researcher will have to underline the broader economic objectives ofthe Islamic society as a whole, the targets of Islam’s economic order. They are objectives that the society would strive to achieve. How would it do so? Does Islam assume that these objectives would automaticallybe achieved provided that the units in the economy, acting independently, conform to the norms laid down for their action? If there is no such assumption, what sort of social arrangements is recommended for the realization ofthese objectives? What is the role assigned to the State in this respect? What roles the other social institutions are likely to play? What are the implications of these social objectives as regards individual behaviour? This aspect of our problem raises many new questions. The first requirement is the statement of those social goals that an Islamic society must aim to achieve. Secondly, we must know whether Islam offers any particular relationship between the units in the economy with a view to achieving these social goals. Is economic competition consistent with the attainment of these goals? Can the Islamic spirit co-exist with the spirit of competition? How far do the Islamic principles oblige the units in the economy to co-operate for the attainment of the cherished goal? What is the place of co-operation in the entrepreneurial extent



relationships? And what are the likely impacts of a cooperative attitude upon entrepreneurial behaviour? How far does it affect the formal aspect of the process of decision making? Then it should be asked how far the units of the economy, actively co-operating with one another, can attain the desired goals without the participation of the state in the economic life of the community? Does the concept of active co-operation necessarily bring the state into the field? What are the primary economic functions of the state? How far and under what circumstances can the state extend its economic activities? The Islamic sources are eloquent regarding the duties of the state with respect to the economic betterment of its people. Muslim economists will have to work out the economic role of the Islamic state in contemporary times. The problem of economic planning is very important in this respect. The extent of state initiative in economic development and the powers and prerogatives which the state exercises over individual property rights and the right to economic enterprise must clearly be determined with reference to the actual circumstances of the times. It is a well-known fact that Islam has its own objectives regarding the distribution of wealth in society. What are the policies to be adopted for the realization of these objectives? Does Islam rely upon the forces of the market, and the entrepreneur’s sense of justice and benevolence regarding the rewards of the various factors of production, especially that of labour participating in the productive process? Are there any specific norms regarding the wages policy offirms? Is there any lower limit set forwages, beyond which they must not fall, and if it is so, how to qualify this lower limit? Then what are the likely consequences upon the level of prices, of these norms of distributive policy; how far do such norms hamper the free working of the market forces as far as the determination of prices are concerned? The process of price determination in an Islamic society also deserves special attention. Does Islam attach any ethical approbation to the price determined by the interplay of market forces, assuming Islamic behaviour on the part ofthe 152


actors in the market? Is there anything like the concept of “just” or “reasonable” prices, besides the market price determined by the interplay of supply and demand? Islam’s economic norms are closely related to its political and spiritual norms. The realization of all these norms implies a harmonized and integrated approach. Islam has certain norms regarding the moral conduct of its people, as well as concerning their inner life, the life of the spirit. It conceives of a particular type of “character.” The study of the harmony between these norms and the norms of economic activity would be very revealing as regards the nature of economic norms. To give an instance, man’s economic activities effect his behaviour in general his character to a very great extent. The effects of the competitive spirit concerning character formation are quite dissimilar to these of the co-operative attitude in economic life. The inner life of an individual always involved rigorous competition with his fellow beings cannot be similar to the inner life of one who looks upon life as a co-operative affair and is always helping and being helped by others. Thus a study of the economic norms with reference to the ethical and spiritual norms would throw much light upon the nature and implications of the economic norms. It would also help us predict the modifications which such economic institutions as competition and property are likely to undergo in the Islamic Society. The inter-relationship of economy and polity in Islam is also an important subject. Howdo these two sub-systems supplement each other in the Islamic Society, with reference to the attainment of the broader objectives of the society? What are the essential values of the Islamic polity, and in what ways are they consistent and co-existent with the essential values of Islamic economy? The consistency and co-existence of democracy and economic security, of freedom and order in society is the key problem in this respect. Ultimately it is the entire value system of Islam, the economic, political, spiritual and ethical values all taken together which forms the real context in which the economic values should be placed and studied. Nothing accounts for the maladies of modern civilization as well as the chaos in modern social thought as the study of the various value —



systems in isolation with the other value systems, by specialists, who know utile about the other aspects of life and exhibit hardly any regard for human well-being in those spheres of life. These were some of the fundamental problems that the Muslim researcher would have to attend to. Then there are some special problems arising from the specific laws laid down in the Qur’an and Sunnah. For instance, Islam has prohibited interest. An Islamic economy will have to function without the institution of interest. Is it possible for itto do so? How shall it do so? Interest plays an important role in the economic process. In so far as these roles are essential to a modern economy the need for an alternative mechanism inevitably arises. What is the new basis upon which the banking system is to be reorganized? It has been suggested that it should be reorganized on a profit-sharing basis. Is it a practically feasible proposition? To understand it, this hypothesis must be worked out in the fullest details. Some researchers will have to specialize in this subject. They will have to show how far is it possible to make the banking system perform its economic functions in its new form. The entire problem of industrial finance and that of economic growth has to be dealt within the new perspective. Some valuable work has already been done on the subject but it is of a very preliminary nature. In our knowledge, no writer has even touched upon the problem of growth and development without the institution of interest. The normative science of Islamic economics will not deserve the name until these important gaps are filled. Prohibition of interest and gambling and certain positive conditions imposed by Islam on all monetary transactions call for a thorough discussion of problems related to money and credit. Do the Islamic injunctions call for subjecting the creation of credit to any limits and restrictive conditions? Shall the Islamic state allow private banks, and if so, shall it allow them to create credit as well? And if it does allow, what conditions must it impose upon the exercise of this power? Then, what structural changes in money-credit mechanism are likely to follow the Islamic remoulding of this mechanism? 154


Closely associated with these, is the problem of speculative dealings in stocks and shares. Does Islam prohibit such speculative practices? What are the economic consequences of such a prohibition? Is there any likelihood of the emergence of any alternative institution, or, of an Islamic reorganisation ofthe institution of stock exchange, to perform the function of maintaining mobility in this particular market? Muslim jurists have elaborately discussed partnership, and joint enterprise in the context of the conditions prevailing in their own time. How far the modern organisation of joint stock companies and public corporations fits in with the principles underlying the Islamic Code? What modifications in the bases of modern business organization are necessary to make them consistent with the Islamic principles? Important questions also arise with respect to the agricultural sector of the economy. Private ownership of agricultural lands has become a disputed question. Ahistorical study in the evolution of the zamindaries in Muslim countries would be very helpful in resolving this controversy, as the lands of different countries have been treated differently in Islam, due to political reasons. Where private ownership is proper and the question of the principles governing the behaviour of the owner and the terms of the contract of muzãra’ah are of great importance? This does not exhaust the list of specific problems deserving our attention. There is the whole group ofproblems related to industrial relations, the problem of unemployment, of social security and the institution of insurance, etc. which deserve specialized research. Then there is a host of problems related to economic crisis and the business cycles. Seen from the perspective of an interest free economy, these problems acquire a new importance for the Islamic researcher. Besides the theoretical task of analysing human behaviour aimed at Islamic ends, these issues concerning an Islamic economy also call for immediate effort on the part of Muslim economists. The question naturally arises how to begin the task? We maintain that the highest priority attaches to a correct understanding of the Islamic norms in the light of the Qur’an 155


and the Sunnah. A search for economic norms in these sources would not, however, bear much fruit. Islam conceives oflife as a unity, and the norms recommended by Islam are the norms of human life as a whole. It is the economic aspect and economic implication of these norms that are really important for the purposes of the economist. Besides these there are specific economic norms and economic laws as well. A thorough study of these norms and guiding principles is, therefore, the first step in this direction. These principles, as we all know, were fully put into practice in the early Islamic society. A study of the early Islamic economy will therefore be very useful for a correct understanding of these principles. In spite of the world of difference in technique and other relevant conditions, a study of the working of that Islamic economy will be very illuminating in this respect. Islam’s fundamental approach to the basic economic institution of property, contract, and occupation can be better understood in the light ofthe actual functioning of these institutions in an Islamic Society. In this respect, we shall have to study the Sunnah, and the early Islamic history, as well as Islamic jurisprudence. Economic thought of the Muslim scholars and thinkers over the past thirteen centuries is also an important subject. It is our belief that much valuable material can be found in the works of these scholars. But the very first requirement of our task is a deep insight into modern economic conditions, into contemporary economic institutions and, broadly speaking, into the working of the modern economies. It requires a thorough study of modern economics. Our study of modern economics must not remain confmed to the traditional economic theory. A study of almost all the important schools of thought is unavoidable. Then, the various assumptions of modern economic theory should be scrutinized both with regard to their applicability to the actual life today, and with respect to the Islamic way of life as it would be. It is not possible to understand economic behaviour of man, or the working of the economy, with the help of “Economics” only. Studies of other social sciences, especially of sociology, psychology and politics are also necessary for 156


that purpose. A broad based study would give us a deeper and fuller understanding of the contemporary situation, and of the economic problems of the day. The study of Islamic sources should be synchronized with modern studies in a suitable manner. A problemconscious researcher derives greater guidance from the study of the Qur’an and the Sunnah than a problemunconscious researcher.




Islamic economics as a discipline has the same two distinct dimensions as the conventional economics has, i.e.: 1.



Applied or Operational

On the theoretical side, the discipline of Islamic economics is required to study economic behaviour of human beings obliged to live within the Islamic code of life a divine code of life that covers the economic aspects of human life as much as it covers other aspects, moral, spiritual, individual, social, political and the like. The economic behaviour is required to be studied at both micro level as well as macro level. In this respect it is concerned not only with the study of human behaviour, but also with the behaviour and development of the institutions to the extent that they influence economic decision making in a society. Moreover, the discipline of Islamic economics is concerned not merely with the positive aspects of economic behaviour of individuals and institutions but also with their normative aspects. As itwould be incorrect to claim that conventional discipline of economics is totally positive, so it would be wrong to suggest that the discipline of Islamic economics is totally normative. The study of the positive aspects of economic behaviour is as important in Islamic economics as the normative aspects (Zarqa, 1976). —


On the applied or operational side too, the discipline of Islamic economics has to cover the micro as well as the macro-aspects. In fact, it is concerned with developing a complete operational economic system in line with the Islamic principles of life and not merely with developing a few institutions in isolation of the entire socio-economic and moral milieu of the society. It is within this system that the micro-economic behaviour of individual economic agents will be determined. The problems of research in Islamic economics, therefore, are required to be studied in the following dimensions: 1. Microeconomic Theory, i.e. theoretical study of the economic behaviour of individuals and institutions. 2. Macroeconomic Theory, i.e. theoretical macro-economic behaviour of Islamic societies.

study of

3. Applied Microeconomics, i.e. practical issues relating to the development of behaviour of economic agents operating or extending to operate in Islamic framework (individuals as well as institutions). 4. Applied Macroeconomics, i.e. issues relating to macroeconomic problems of an Islamic economy. 5. Public Policy Issues in Economics, i.e. public policy relating to Islamization of the existing distorted economics at micro as well as macro levels and of maintaining and strengthening their Islamic character. The first part of this paper explains the state of art in these five dimensions of the discipline of Islamic economics. The second part highlights some of the major problems of research on which hinges the future development of the discipline at an accelerated rate. Finally, an effort should be made to put forward some suggestions about how to manage research required to develop the discipline. 160


PART I: STATE OF THE ART Microeconomic Theory Almost every economist having interest in Islamic economics believes that there has to be a separate theory of consumer behaviour and a separate theory of firm in the context of Islamic economics. No such theories, however, have yet been developed. There is a genuine problem in the development of positive theories relating to consumer behaviour and firm behaviour. Development of positive theories requires actual observations about the behaviour of the Islamic economic man or of institutions in an Islamic society. There is no society a society which has developed an institutional framework that can constrain economic agents to behave in line with Islamic injunctions and within the Islamic legal framework. Development of normative theories, however, seems to be a relatively easier task in the context ofIslamic economics. The task is easier because at least the normative objectives of the behaviour of the economic agents are known without any significant controversy from the Syari’ah. The normative microeconomic theories relating to behaviour of economic agents, therefore, only require a study into the institutional arrangements that would force or compliment the economic agents to achieve the desired behavioural objectives, or vice versa. It may not be too difficult a research proposition to find out what institutions in the economy would develop if the economic agents behave according to the Islamic norms. Let us illustrate this with the help of an example. The entire theory of consumer behaviour in conventional economics is based on a positive assertion about human behaviour that it seeks to maximize satisfaction of human desires. A normative behaviour in an Islamic framework, on the other hand, would require human beings to fulfil their needs needs which are based on a concept of Maslahah or human welfare rather than on personalised instinctive desires. This gives an entirely new perspective to the behaviour of an Islamic consumer (KIian and Ghifari, 1985). Yet no rigorous attempt has been made to develop a new theory of consumer —



behaviour on this basis. Similarly the entire theory of the behaviour of firm is based on a particular approach towards factors of production that require a new approach and new classification in an Islamic framework which will have substantial economic implications as far as production and cost relations are concerned (Khan, 1985, 1986). Yet, how the theory of Firm Behaviour is required to be reformulated, keeping in view the institutional framework that Islam provides for the production organization in the economy, remains an untouched field. That research in the normative aspects of institutional framework is relatively easier is also reinforced by the fact that even conventional economics is challenging the existing institutions. The ever burgeoning literature on market failures provides almost a ripe crop for the Islamic economists to harvest. Conventional economists confess that market may not always provide an efficient resource allocation and that even tax or subsidy may not solve the problem, with the result that refuge will have to be found in developing ethical practices in the society. For example, it has been recognized that the problem of blood donations is being handled much less efficiently and with a lot of undesirable social and economic consequences in the UK, where blood donations are allowed to be marketed rather than in the USA, where these donations are not marketed. It is therefore suggested that in certain cases, ethical foundations provide a better solution than the conventional market foundations. Islam provides much stronger and comprehensive ethical foundation that any other society in the contemporary world has even cared to think. It is, therefore, bound to provide better solutions to many of the problems that the market has failed to solve. In this respect what Islamic economists are required to do is the following: 1. Study the market failures being identified in current conventional economic literature and find out how far these failures can be corrected by the Islamic institutions and norms. 2.

Based on the Islamic approach to the economic prob162


lems (e.g., need-based rather than utility-based consumer behaviour) there are likely to be several economic problems which the conventional economic theory does not recognize at all as economic problems or does not attribute them to market failures. Fulfilment of basic needs, elimination of conspicuous consumption, inequalities ofincome and wealth are examples of such problems. Such problems are required to be identified and Islamic institutional arrangements must be looked for to suggest solutions to these problems to the extent they remain unsolved through the institution of market. 3. There are several social and non-economic problems that have presently been assigned to either market or to the government to solve them and where both these institutions have failed to rectify the situation. Ethical norms and other non-economic institutions of Islam can be looked for to provide a better solution. All these areas in the microeconomic theory remain completely untouched. They provide a vast area for researchers in Islamic economics to pursue. Some attempts havebeen made in the rather difficult area of the general equilibrium in the context ofan Islamic economic system (Khan 1985, Naqvi 1982, Iqbal 1985). All these attempts, however, are elementary and tentative. They may even be described as premature as they can be meaningful only if undertaken in the context of a complete description of the behaviour of various economic agents in Islamic framework. To assume that the behaviour of economic agents will remain the same but the introduction of a few institutions will change the entire economic system yielding a new set of results is simplistic. A more dynamic approach is needed to demonstrate the state of general equilibrium in the Islamic system. Macroeconomic Theory One of the basic changes required in the field is the reformulation of the National Accounting System, which in turn may lead us to have an alternative macro framework for economic analysis, based on our own macro-economic targets, instru163


ments and variables. This area too remains untouched by Islamic economist. Islamic economists, however, have paid a good deal of attention to various sub-sections of the macroeconomic framework, in particular consumption function (Kahf 1980), investment function (Anwar 1986), money market (Jarhi 1983) and labour market (Anwar 1986). But most of these attempts simply replace interest rate by a profit-sharing ratio and introduce Zakãh as a tax without assuming any substantial change in the behaviour of the economic agents. Since for the purpose of analytical simplification economic agents are assumed to have perfect information, the replacement of interest rate by the profit-sharing ratio makes no substantial change in the model. Hence, despite the large amount of literature in the area, we are still not fully enlightened on the macro-economic dimensions of an Islamic economy.

Applied Microeconomics Major work in this area relates to the operations of financial institutions, particularly ofIslamic banks. A huge amount of literature has now been built up in this area. This, in fact, can truly be regarded as a success area of Islamic economics. Pioneering work in this area was initiated by Siddiqi and Uzair. Research in this area has not only succeeded in demonstrating that fmancial institutions can exist without operating on the bases of interest but also that it can bring a healthy change in the economy in terms of generating a fresh supply of entrepreneurs (Khan 1981). A wide part of applied microeconomics, however, still remains unexplored from the Islamic economics point of view. In fact, no progress in applied microeconomics can be made unless a rigorous microeconomic theory is developed within an Islamic framework. Even the economies of Islamic financial institutions need further research. Islamic banking is no more an abstract concept. It is very much in practice and can provide us empirical observations to develop or test various theories. 164


Applied M~tcroeconomics This area too has received substantial attention from the Islamic economists. Monetary policy has been the main focus of attention. Literature in that area has not only rigorously demonstrated that the banking and monetary systems of an economy can work without interest but it has also been able to prove to a large extent that the interest free economy will be more efficient, more equitable and more growth oriented than the interest based system. Macro-consumption issues constitute another area attempted by researchers in Islamic economics. Interesting themes have been developed in the area. That ex-ante equality in savings and investment is less likely to be disturbed in an Islamic economy. Kahf(1980) has interesting implications about the relative stability of an Islamic economy vis-à-vis the conventional economies. Similarly the apprehension that Zakãh is being a sort of tax on savings that will reduce aggregate savings level in the economy has also been shown as an unnecessary apprehension (Khan 1981). But the list of macroeconomic issues still unexplored is very long. Again a strong macroeconomic theory is required before applied macroeconomic problems of an Islamic economy could be attended to.

Public Policy Issues Public policy issues from the Islamic point of view mainly fall into two categories: 1. Issues relating to the transformation of the existing distorted behaviour of economic agents to bring them in line with Islamic behaviour. 2. Issues relating to the transformation of macroeconomic institutions (private as well as public) at minimum transformation cost and their maintenance and growth on the new foundations. Islamization of the entire economy is in progress in at least two countries, Pakistan and Iran. Both face serious problems in both the directions mentioned above. Islamic 165


economic research has not been able to provide enough guidance to the policy makers on how to bring about the desired change. The research available does give guidance as to what is desired and how far it can be useful in the contemporary socio-economic framework but what institutional transformation is required in the society to arrive at the desired results with minimum cost to the economy, remains a question for the researchers to answer. For example, a panel of economists in Pakistan had advised the policy makers what alternatives to be used in place ofinterest to run the banking institutions in the country. The alternative of profit and loss sharing could not be implemented because of various institutional constraints. Murabahah is being used almost universally and even indiscriminately as an alternative, but in such a way that it does not make it very much different from interest, and fails to initiate those institutional and structural changes without which the very purpose of the abolition of nba’ may be defeated. Research that is required to suggest the institutional changes required to implement the alternatives is still lacking. Introduction of profit and loss sharing system to replace interest in contemporaiy economy requires changes in tax laws to reduce the tendency to understate profit (to evade tax), changes in banking laws to enable them to carry out new functions and responsibilities, changes in accounting and auditing systems to recognize profit shared with fmancial institutions as a distinct element in the financial accounts of business enterprises, and so forth. Interest based system has resulted in generating such behaviour on the part of the economic agents which is not only contrary to Islamic behaviour but also has proven to be an obstacle in the way of the Islarnization of the economy. Present consumption pattern, for example, forces a household to get support from the interest based consumption loans against their future income. Such fmancing, however, is difficult to be provided on a large scale in an Islamic financial system, which should predominantly be based on profit and loss sharing mechanism. There are several such examples. How such behaviour can be transformed so as to reinforce the development of an Islamic economic system is 166


an immediate research need; but the field has hardly been attempted by any Islamic economist. The public policy problem in the context of Islamization is something which cannot be left to the economists alone. Islamization of economy in fact requires a complete social change in a definite direction. Only an inter-disciplinary approach can help to highlight the public policy issues involved. The need of inter-disciplinary approach has been recognized in all circles of Islamic economists but little effort has been made to undertake a systematic research in this field.

PART II: PROBLEMS OF RESEARCH Problems of research in the field of Islamic economics are manifold. Only a few can be mentioned here, primarily to highlight the nature of the problem. First and foremost is the lack ofmotivation and commitment on the part of the general body of Muslim economists to develop Islamic economics as a distinct discipline. By and large during the last century it were the traditional Islamic scholars who tried to explain the economic teachings of Islam. Certain Muslim economists showed serious interest in certain aspects of the subject, but their numbers remained pathetically limited and their interest was confined to limited fields of study. The discipline as such remained underdeveloped. If any particular year can be eannarked as the turning point, it was 1976 when the First International Conference on Islamic Economics was organized in Makka al-Mukarrama under the auspices of the King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah and in which over two hundred Muslim economists from all over the world participated, heralding the birth ofthe new discipline. Simultaneous development during the same period was the establishment of a number of Islamic banks. This is the scenario in which research in Islamic economics has assumed an altogether new dimension. It has been only during the last decade that a group of Muslim economists, adequately motivated and committed to the cause of Islamic economics, has begun to undertake systematic research in different fields of Islamic economics. As already mentioned, 167


the resurgence of Islamic principles in the field of banking and finance in several Muslim countries, and efforts to Islamize the economies in certain others have generated a lot of interest in Islamic economic research. So much so that several Ph.D. theses have been written in the Western world on the topics ofIslamic economics, particularly those relating to banking and finance. A number of research institutions have emerged to devote exclusively to this field. Despite all this there is still a dearth of committed, motivated and qualified Muslim economists who could make a strong and effective team to promote the discipline of Islamic economics. Economics have become an extremely specialized subject which requires extensive as well as intensive training in the discipline. Islamic economics on the other hand requires an equally strong training in Islamic thought and methodology and access to original sources of Islamic guidance. With the exception of a few, contemporary Muslim economists generally having sound knowledge of philosophy and tools of the discipline of economics do not possess sound knowledge of Islamic sciences. Those who have sound knowledge of Islamic sciences almost invariably lack the knowledge of economics and its methodology and tools for investigation. The result is a communication gap between the two sources of Islamic economics, i.e. Islamics and economics. The growth of Islamic economics will continue to be heavily constrained unless this gap is bridged. This gap cannot be bridged unless there are Islamic educational institutions where thorough learning of Islam is an integral part of education right from the primary to the post graduate levels. Such institutions have not exist in Muslim societies for the last several centuries. It has been only in the last five years that some attempts have been made to establish Islamic universities where higher learning in contemporary disciplines is being closely integrated with the learning of Islam.’ Secondly, economics is a social science that deals with 1. International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan and International Islamic University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia are notable examples of this species.



the study of behavioural relationships. The development of this science requires observation and experiment, not merely theorization. This is how conventional economic theory has developed. Islamic economists are handicapped as these observations would become relevant only when Muslim societies start practising Islamic principles to any significant extent. Presently there is hardly any empirical data relevant to their inquiry. Hence no behavioural observations can be recorded and studied. Only in recent years attempts have been made to develop Islamic economic institutions at economy wide level in some Muslim countries (Pakistan and Iran are obvious examples at the macro-level and Islamic banks in Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai, Bahrain, Sudan, Turkey, Malaysia, Jordan, Bangladesh, etc. at micro-level). It will, however, take sometime to provide enough statistical information and the necessary degrees of freedom to develop economic theories and test them to learn lessons for further development and improvement of the institutional framework. Thirdly, lack ofresources devoted to research in Islamic economics is another fundamental problem. Muslim economies have generally failed to provide resources for economic research, both due to lack of resources as well as absence of will and tradition of research. Even those Muslim economies that are resource-rich have not been able to devote substantial resources to research and development of Islamic economics. Even during the period of economic boom in the oil rich countries, no substantial movement in the direction of institutionalization of research in Islamic economics, was recorded.

PART m: HOW TO MANAGE RESEARCH IN ISLAMIC ECONOMICS Research in Islamic economics is required to be managed both at the theoretical as well as the applied level. Theoretical research can be promoted only by establishing Islamic institutions of higher learning to provide an integrated learning of Islam and economics. This calls for the establishment of degree awarding institutions in Islamic 169


economics. International Institute of Islamic Economics of the International Islamic University, Islamabad is a good example of the desired institute. The Institute has initiated B.Sc. (Hon)., M.Sc., and Ph.D. programmes which not only provide training in the conventional economic theory and tools required for economic analysis but also in the principles offiqh and Fiqh al-Mu’&màlah and how they could be integrated into economic analysis. The graduates from such institutes can rightly be expected to provide the manpower required for the type of research that is needed in the field of Islamic economics. In fact, the Ph.D. theses produced at such institutes would be the first fruits of their research. Along with such teaching-cum-research institutes, other centres for theoretical and applied research are needed. The Centre for Research in Islamic Ecnomics, King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah and the Islamic Research and Training Institute, Islamic Development Bank, Jeddah are pioneering institutes in this field. Many similar institutes are needed to initiate the process in a meaningful manner. How to multiply the number of such institutions? The main constraints in promoting such institutions of higher learning and research (besides economic resources) are the scarcity of qualified personnel that is economists well versed in economics as well as Islamics. Initiating a graduate programme leading to M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in economics with strong Islamic orientation requires a very strong faculty and has a long gestation period. The experience of the International Institution of Islamic Economics, Islamabad suggests that this problem can hardly be overcome in any foreseeable future. Yet, concerted efforts are required in this direction, as it is only through the output ofsuch institutions that the real demands of research in Islamic economics can be met. Once the process starts functioning even the possibilities of some kind of a multiplier effect cannot be regarded as too ambitious. During the interim period, while faculties would be developed at such institutes of higher learning, it is also desirable that pure research institutes (not involved in teaching programmes) should also be established primarily to promote research in Islamic economics. As already men—



tioned the model for such institutions has been set by the Centre for Research in Islamic Economics at the King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah. Such research institutions do not require as big a faculty as is required by the teaching institutions. The main research activity of these institutions (besides carrying out their own research projects) would also be to sponsor research projects elsewhere by identifying qualified people and pursuing them morally and financially to conduct research in the desired directions. They and other organizations, like the Albait Foundation must also sponsor and manage seminars, conferences and workshops which provide a forum for dialogue that is so essential for the promotion of a new discipline. The need for professional journals to disseminate research in Islamic economics cannot be overemphasized. Professional journals have proved to be an effective instrument for promoting research and its dissemination. So far only two professional journals have been produced in the field of Islamic economics. This is the bilingual Journal ofResearch in Islamic Economics issued by the Centre for Research in Islamic Economics, and the Journal of Islamic Economics, the Kulliyyah of Economics, International Islamic University, Kuala Lumpur. One important aspect that these teaching/research institutions must not ignore (and has by and large been ignored by existing institutions) is that Islamic economics can be properly developed only through an interdisciplinary approach. A team of experts not only in economics and Islamics but also in sociology, anthropology, psychology and management sciences is required to join hands to undertake research into various dimensions of Islamic economics. Experts of economic psychology, economic sociology, political economy, economic management, etc. are required to interact to explore various contours of Islamic economics. It is therefore submitted that while planning an Islamic institution of higher learning, the focus should not be merely to develop an institute ofsocial sciences. This dimension should not be ignored in organizing conferences, seminars and working groups on different themes of Islamic economics. At the applied level, there is a lot of potential for promoting research in Islamic economics because of the current 171


efforts to establish Islamic economic institutions throughout the Muslim world in one form or the other and the efforts to Islamize the entire economy at least in a couple of countries. These institutions are not only a source of information and data for the researchers but are also bound to be the direct beneficiaries of the research. Applied research based on the data of the operating institutions will also provide useful feedback for theoretical research. Several Islamic banks have been operating for some years. How far have their experiences contributed to the cause of Islamic economics? What problems encountered by them during their experience which did not allow them to grow at the speed they envisaged or what positive factors made them grow faster than what they envisaged? Can their experience suggest that Islamic banking can be successfully operated in an economy on a wide scale? These and several other key questions require to be answered before further extending the experience. Immediate research is required to answer all such questions. Similarly there is a need to study the Islamization efforts being made at economy wide level. For example, the question of how far elimination ofinterest from the banking sector and implementation of the system of Zakah and Usyn had been successful and in what respects the experiment is lacking? What factors are obstructing the process and why necessary structural changes in the economies are not taking place? How can these bottlenecks be removed? Answers to these questions are of prime importance not only for the discipline of Islamic economics but also for the success ofthe Islamizing efforts themselves. Management of this aspect of research at applied level can be done only within the relevant institutions. All Islamic banks, whether operating at individual level or at economy level, are required to have very strong research departments. Similarly, certain institutions at state level, such as the zakah Administration in Pakistan, should have a strong research cell. It willbe easier for these institutions to conduct their research, rather than outsiders coming to them at this stage to study their problems. An outsider may not be aware of all the questions to be investigated. If strong research cells 172


can be activated in the economic institutions working on Islamic principles, they can meet the immediate challenge. Along with these research efforts, steps would have to be taken to properly disseminate the fruits of research to enable other institutions, present or prospective, to avail of these experiences. This requires the presence of journals to publish research of these institutions as well as holding of seminars and conferences to discuss the research outcomes. Besides mobilizing the existing institutions to conduct research on their own activities, Muslim states, particularly those interested in Islamizing their economies, should establish or at least help the private sector in establishing new Islamic economic institutions on an experimental basis. These institutions should serve as laboratories to test var!ous theories of Islamic economics. Research both at the theoretical as well as applied level cannot be managed without properly co-ordinating these efforts at the level of the entire Islamic Ummah. A few suggestions in this respect are submitted below: A special international body should be formed to manage and co-ordinate research in Islamic economics at the ‘Ummah level. This international body should have the following assignments: /

1. Continuous stock taking of the research being done or already completed in various areas of Islamic economics. 2. Identify immediate and long-term research needs relating to the promotion of Islamic economics. 3. Establish an international research fund to mobilize resources for research particularly for the areas requiring immediate research. 4. Appoint different task forces to conduct research on issues of immediate concern and make the same available to those who need it as early as possible. (This will include preparation of basic textbooks to support the teaching programmes in economics at Islamic educational institutions). 173


5. Identify issues for research and pass them on to individual, national or international institutions to work on them along with providing them funds and technical expertise to help them conduct the research. 6. Provide channels for disseminating the results of this research. This will require not only having widely circulated periodicals but also economic news magazines to keep the Ummah aware of various Islamic economic research activities in the world.



REFERENCES Anwar, M. 1986. “Macro Economic Planning Model for Islamic Economies”, paper submitted for the International Seminar on Fiscal Policy and Development Planning, held in Islamabad. Chapra, U. 1985. Towards aJust Monetary System. UK: The Islamic

Foundation. Iqbal, Munawar 1985. The Ethics-Economic System of Islam. Islamabad: International Institute of Islamic Economics. Jarhi, M.A. 1983. “A Monetary and Financial Structure for an Interest-Free Economy: Institutions, Mechanism and Policy” in Monetary and Banking in Islam (ed.) Ahmad, Z., et. al. Jeddah: King Abdul Aziz University. Kahf, Monzer 1980. “A Contribution to the Theory of Consumer Behaviour in an Islamic Society” in Studies inlslamicEconomics (ed.) Khurshid Ahmad, UK: Islamic Foundation. Khan, M. Al! 1980. Non-Interest Pricing of Capital and General Equilibrium in an Islamic Economy, Monograph (forthcoming). Islamabad: International Institute of Islamic Economics.

Khan, M. Fahim 1984. “Macro Consumption Function in Islamic Framework”, Journal of Research in Islamic Economics, Vol. 1, No.2. / Khan, M. Fahim and Ghifari, N.M. 1985. Objectives of Shani’ah and Their Implications for Theory of Consumer Behaviour (Mimeo). Islamabad: International Institute of Islamic Economics. Khan, M. Fahim 1986. “Development Strategy in Islamic Framework for a Labour Abundant Economy”, submitted in the International Seminar on Fiscal Policy and Development Planning, held in Islamabad. Naqvi, S.N.H. 1982. Ethics & Economics: An Islamic Synthesis. UK: Islamic Foundation. Siddiqi, M.N. Muslim Economic Thinking. UK: Islamic Foundation. Siddiqi, M.N. Interest Free Banking. UK: Islamic Foundation. Zarka, Anas 1980. “Islamic Economics: An Approach to Human Welfare”, Studies in Islamic Economics, (ed.) K. Ahmad. UK: Islamic Foundation.




To pursue the task of Islamic research seriously and systematically in Political Science we need to consider the various aspects oflife, and discover the main problems which deserve our attention at this stage. Due to certain historical reasons we shall have to make a start with the most fundamental issues in order to formulate a clear conception of Islam’s approach to the various aspects of man’s political life. It has become customary to focus attention upon the “political system of Islam” or the “economic system of Islam”, but we cannot understand these unless we first try to grasp the approach or the philosophy of Islam with respect to these aspects of human life. A thorough theoretical discussion of the fundamental approach of Islam to man’s political life, for example, is necessary before an exposition ofIslam’s political system as in the contemporary situation. As a matter of fact the fundamental tenets, have been given by Islam on the basis of which the systems are to be formulated in time and space context. This being the case, the Islamic researcher must give priority to the theoretical and philosophical issues of political or economic life. To begin with we propose to discuss the political aspects first. We shall identify the important issues pertaining to the political theory of Islam. It is said that political science begins and ends with the State. From the Islamic point of view also our first problem is a theory of State. The Islamic sources are very explicit as to the necessity ofpolitical organisation and its nature. While there is enough


room both for speculation and genuine research regarding the historical origin of political organisation in human society, it’s necessity to the modern man is hardly disputable. Rational justification of the state lies in its ends and its functions, and it is to these that our attention must be directed. The second important point is the nature of the state that Islam conceives of. As functions are nothing but a reflection of the ends of the state with reference to particular conditions oflife, we can say that it is the nature and the ends of the state which are first to be determined from the Islamic point of view. A discussion of the nature of the state brings the question of Sovereignty to the fore. From the Islamic point of view, this isthe most crucial issue ofpolitical theory. Nothing demonstrates the essential divergence between the Islamic approach and other approaches to political affairs as does the issue of Sovereignty. Islam locates absolute Sovereignty in Allah (S.W.T) Here several questions will arise which must be answered to clarify the meaning of this statement and its implications. Obviously the will of Allah (S.W.T) is supreme, final, indivisible, comprehesive and absolute. The prophethood having coming to an end, the Shari’ah as embodied in the Qur’an and Sunnah remains the only source of knowing the will of the Sovereign. Outside this there is no other source neither shall there be any in the ages to come. Obviously this fact has vital implications as regards the nature and scope of this Sovereignty. Seen from the stand point of political theory this issue is unique as well as delicate for the very conception of the sovereign requires continual accessibility, so that its will may be operative according to the exigences of the situation. If we are to speak of the Sovereignty of Allah (S.W.T), we must redefine “Sovereignty” with reference to its nature and scope. In the other words, Sovereignty ofAllah, implies means nothing more than Sovereignty of the Syari’ah The Islamic law. This, in the first instance, raises the problem of “interpretation”. To bear upon the actual affairs of the state, Syari’ah would continually call for interpretation and inference. Who shall be entitled to do so? And whose interpreta-




tion will be taken, for all practical purposes, to be synonymous with the will of the Sovereign? The answer to this question would clarify how far Islam is akin to or different from “theocracy” as we know it. From practical point of view people could be regarded as the final authority for accepting or rejecting any particular interpretation of the Syari’ah, or the men oferudition are entitled to interpret the Syari’ah. The people may. or may not have voice in the appointment of such ‘ulamà’ for the task. Obviously there is always a world of difference between two of the three alternative suggested above. The choice in this regard will have far reaching implications as to the nature of the state and the form of the government emerging there from. Whether by direct application or through interpretation and inference, the Syari’ah does not cover the entire affairs of a modern state. As we know, it was never meant to do so. The Syari’ah itself leaves enough room for human legislation in the same spirit, as of the Syari’ah. A modern Islamic State will be in need of necessary extra Syari’ah legislation for the ordering of human affairs and for securing its ends. Once again we are, therefore, faced with the question, who is the final authority with regards to this task. If it is to be the people, as it is generally held, what would be the procedure of making decisions? Shall it be a democratic method or does the Amir— the head of the Islamic State enjoy some special privilege in this respect so as to assume the role of the legislator? It is generally held that Islam believes in the democratic method, but then the extent of this democracy has to be clearly defined. As ithas significant bearing upon the form of government we shall also have to discuss which of the many forms of democratic organisation of the polity would be best suited to the Islamic idea of SyLtra. One can arque that people, who, following the democratic method, shall legislate on matters not decided upon by the Syari’ah and shall also be the final authority to accept or reject any particular interpretation ofthe Syari’ah. This point of view will take us back to the first question regarding sovereignty in Islam. Shall it not mean that, within the bounds set by the Syari’ah it is the people who are really the —



sovereign in an Islamic State? For, it may be argued, the idea of Sovereignty primarily seeks to exclude subjection to any other human will. That the people, by the exercise of their own free will, have decided to abide by the Syari’ah, and to limit themselves to the framework, henceforth, set by it, does not in any way, affect their position as the Sovereign. The task of determining the Islamic position regarding Sovereignty, therefore, becomes a very delicate and complex issue. On the one side we have to beware of any exposition of this position that undermines the true place of the Syari’ah with respect to the Islamic State. On the other hand we have to be realistic enough to understand the position as it is without being either sentimental or recondite. For a moment we can be content with these fundamental questions regarding Sovereignty in Islam. It remains to add that rational justification of this particular theory is also a task that devolves upon the Islamic researcher. For ours is a task of understanding the Islamic approach as well as giving to it a convincing exposition. There are a few more questions concerning the nature of the Islamic State. In the light of the Islamic theory of Sovereignty, one can argue that Islamic State is an institution based on the principles of the Divine Commandments and Prophetic traditions sanctioned by divine command. Can we say then that there is any element of divinity and sanctity attached to the Islamic State? Does its commands acquire any divine character due to this fact? Or shall we hold that it is only the Islamic law as embodied in the Qur’an and Sunnah that is divine, and the state itself does not bear any such attribute? In this case our findings shallhave important bearings upon the nature of government, the character of its commands, as also upon the powers of the Islamic State. With regard to the ends of the Islamic State one can again arque that it is a mean and an agency to maintain a balance in the various interests, to dispense justice in the society, and to see that the various needs of humanity are fulfilled in a balanced and harmonious manner. It is entrusted with responsibility of furthering both the material and spiritual welfare of the society. These and other specific ends of the state in Islam require elaboration and exposition 180


with reference to the contemporary context. Particular attention should be paid to the aspect ofthese ends directly related to the welfare of the community. What is the comprehensive meaning of welfare in Islam? How far economic betterment and material well-being forms part of the end of the Islamic State? These ends need analytical study leading to a realistic appraisal ofthe economic and welfare functions of an Islamic State in contemporary circumstances. We shall have to distinguish in this respect, between the functions directly flowing from the idea of these ends as stated in the Shari’ah and those functions which the state may or may not assume in accordance with the will of the people. It is generally held that Islam attached primary importance to the individual and the society and state have been made subservient. If we accept this view, and conceive of the Islamic State as a means to the security and progress of the individuals, then we shall have to trace the implications of this stand upon the rights of the individual and his status in relation to the State. In doing this we shall have to define the Islamic spirit of “individualism” and its obvious limitations. Once we have thoroughly dealt with the nature, ends, and powers of the Islamic State, on the basis of rational justification and sociological analysis of the conclusions we arrive at, we shall be well nigh approaching to an outline of the Islamic theory of State. As we have stated in the beginning, this very theory will spell out the justification and need of the Islamic State. Besides the theory of State there are a multitude of issues facing an Islamic researcher in Political Science for example the form of government, the various organs of the State and their functions. There is also the question of franchise and the nature of elections and the problem of political parties. Then the ideological nature of an Islamic State attaches a special significance to the question of minorities, their rights and their status with regard to state and government. The rights and status of women shall also call for political consideration. These and other problems of political theory give us a clear idea of the task of the Islamic researcher. But due to shortage of the space at our disposal we hace confined ourselves only to the theory of state. 181


The above survey of the various problems of the theory of Islamic State requires the attention of our colleagues interested in this subject. First of all we would appreciate if the omissions that might have occured in our treatment of the subject be pointed out. Secondly, it seems more appropriate to concentrate more into the discussion on the methodology the Islamic research on the subject under consideration. Thirdly, it would not be inappropriate if some of our learned readers could undertake the task of offering a comprehensive bibliography of the works that the Islamic researcher must consult during his study ofthe subject. This bibliography should naturally contain both modern authors and the Islamic writers of the past and the present. It is with this desire to initiate a fruitful discussion that we offer these lines to our readers.




The past decade has witnessed the resurgence of a widespread collective desire in the Muslim world to establish the supremacy of Islamic value in the conduct of public life. The process of revivalism has defied the expectation and logic of a social scientist’s notions regarding the change and development in the Third World. They have either sought to explain the resurgence of Islamic values as a manifestation of national identity crises such as the Islamization in North Africa, Turkey, Pakistan or Malaysia, or have seen it as essentially a reflection of socio-economic disequilibria merely expressed in Islamic terms. Regarding Islamic awakening in the Arab Near East, the social scientists have presented another explanation. It is argued that with the fall of Baathism and Arab Socialism which culminated in one-man rule in Iraq and Syria and promoted political instability in Libya and Egypt, an ideological vacuum was created in the Arab world that came to be filled by Islam because: 1. The regime ofAnwar al-Sadat in Egypt actively encouraged the resuscitation of Islam. 2. The Arab’s repeated defeats at the hands of Israel, a religion based state tended to refute the arguments of Arab socialists who saw scientific socialism and Arab nationalism as the progressive forces for a victorious future. 3.

The feeling of unity and universalism which was created


in the era of Pan-Arabism from 1954 to 1967, was encouraged and replaced by Islam, and 4.

Islam became increasingly a factor in Arab politics.

A number of social scientists hold the view that Islamic revivalism often has no base other than echoing a major historical event. Others have argued that the Islamic Resurgence is directly connected with the accumulation of oil in the hands of Arabs after 1973. By and large, these approaches have focused on the symptoms rather than the cause. Moreover, they have confused mechanisms which have been used by Islamic revivalism, or events which have helped a more rapid dissemination of Islamic sentiments with the cause ofresurgence of Islam. The discussions continue to identify factors that catalyse the spread of Islamic revivalism but fail to discern why Islamic sentiments came to the fore in the first place. This is a failure of the social scientists vis-à-vis Islam in the process of change and development. The social scientists are, therefore, more eager to study Muslims than Islam. For the social scientists Islam is all about the lives of Muslims, and, hence, they have a greater tendency to focus on what they believe to be something about the life of Muslims, and to view Islam as a mere factor therein. This penchant of the social sciences for side-stepping Islam has created serious distortions in their outlook and various socio-political issues and crises which they associate with Islamic revivalism were exaggerated in an effort to endorse the legitimacy of their own conceptions and keeping Islam as a subject of analysis at bay. Hence, the socioeconomic maladies leading to the revolution in Iran and cultural questions in Pakistan, Malaysia and Turkey have been accentuated with the objective of minimising the role of Islam as the independent actor, initiator and harbinger ofthe process. They have reduced Islamic revivalism to a form of atavistic retrogression, an expression of anti-modern fanaticism, which gradually encompasses all the hostilities of the West vis-à-vis Islam. In fact, the social sciences have generallyviewed religion 184


as either an impediment to its objectives or as irrelevant to the forces of change and development. This process has its roots in the historiography of Europe on the one hand and the tradition of Orientalism on the other. The modern West emerged from the Medieval Ages against a background of conflict between the Catholic Church and the proponents of enlightenment. With the successful institutionalization of the precepts of the Renaissance, modernisation of Europe occurred hand in hand with religious reform and secularism. Hence, the lessons from the development of Europe has been that religion impeded the progress of change in Europe and shackled civilization in what has come to be known as the “dark ages”. The obstructive power of religion was overcome when the rebellion of Martin Luther and his Protestant successors loosened the grip of the church over the masses in Northern Europe. Thenceforth, development in Europe occurred in tandem with reformation of religion, and eventually privatization of faith and, hence, secularization of culture and society. It needs no reiteration that Europe has viewed its own experience as the law of history, as the inevitable dialectics which every nation and country is bound to encounter. Not surprisingly, the West expects that the outcome of the process will resemble the European experience. It is for this reason that the social sciences have been caught dumbfounded in the face ofthe revival of Islam. For, they surmised that decades ofmodernizing change in the Muslim world was calculated to metamorphose Turks, Iranians, Pakistanis, Arabs and Malaysians into secular societies instead of working as a fertile ground for the regeneration oftheir traditional faith and values. Having adopted European history as the model for future developments in the Third World and as the immutable law of historical change, social scientists from Tonnies to Durkheim have sought to envisage the course in which modernization marginalized religion. The German thinker Max Weber’s sociology began with his inquiry into the roots of capitalist development and, hence, modernization of Europe. He had pinpointed religion as the harbinger of the quintessential element of development, namely, capitalist 185


economic growth. He had found religion as positively correlated with development. But, surprisingly, in the case of Islam, his attitude was totally biased. The existing literature of that age was highly hostile, biased and negative towards Islam. Moreover, he was a practising and devout Protestant and, hence, his enraged conscience forbade him from accepting the authenticity and possibility of merit in other religions, such as Islam. In this regard Weber fell victim to the prevalent bias against it. The French sociologist Emile Durkheim’s main interest lay not in charting out the socio-political change or discerning its roots and agents, but analysing the socio-existencecommunity, to be exact. His analysis brought him to the concept of collective conscience that he saw at the root of all social affinities. While he did not address the issue directly, it was clear that religion would be a primary agent in fostering the collective conscience, and that by implication, the resultant social affinity and harmony would serve as a prerequisite for development. It may be pointed out here that hardly any of these studies were based on in-depth empirical investigations. Theysprouted from the theoretical axioms and positions held on religion. Moreover, Muslim governments too were partly responsible for the social sciences apprehensions regarding Islam. The criticism of traditional Islam by Muslim modernists, being extensively propagated, became a permanent part of social sciences’ rejection of ideas on Islam. This bias was further aggravated by the onslaught of regimes such as those of Kamal AtaTurk, Reza Shah Pahlavi, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Syrian Baath Party, Sukarno and Bourgibah against Islam, as the cause of Muslim backwardness and the primary obstacle to all developments. (Reza, 1990). The main shortcoming lies in the social sciences’ assumption that human behaviour can be investigated with exactitude and the laws of physical sciences can be applied in toto. Behaviourism believes in the applicability of empirical and scientific methods to every field of knowledge, as described by Eldersveld (1961), Dahl (1961), Charlesworth (1967) and many other behaviourists. Behaviourism rejects every knowledge that is based on the supposition that there 186


is some reality beyond worldly existence. This approach becomes synonymous with the logical positivism values. By the beginning of the twentieth century, particularly under the impact of Weber’s ideas, the social scientists had, in general, accepted as axiomatic that empirical research must be free of all political values and preconceived preferences. (Easton 1979:308). Thus~behaviourism has been characterised by its attempt to liberate nature from religious outlook and to base its instruments of knowledge exclusively upon human reason and to enable man to discover laws of development inherent in non-religious world. It has made the moral and ethical questions irrelevant and attempted to make science objective and value-free stating all phenomena, as Dahl observed, in terms of the observed and observable behaviour ofmen (Dahl 1961: 766). Consequently, research methodology was borrowed from the natural sciences and hence faced with increasing incidence of authoritarian rule and violation of even the moral conscience of the world in Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and Afghanistan. Society is ina state of decay and it was realized even by those who earlier advocated behavioural persuasion in politics. (Haas 1970). This paradigm should be replaced with one that studies individual behaviour within the context of an entire social system. Islam, as a total civilization, looks upon human life as an organic whole. From the concept of the unity of Allah (S.W.T) (Tawhid) the unity of this creation follows as a logical necessity. (At-Anbiyã’ 21:23). Creation is an integral whole because it is the work of the Creator whose orders and designs have infused every part of it. Cosmic order consists of the laws of nature. These operate throughout the universe and permeate every part and aspect of it. Allah S.W.T. has designed the nature and continues to operate and control it. He is eternally alive and active. Every being in the cosmos and every event that takes place does so by His command. The Qur’an declares: “Allah! There is no god but He the Living, the Selfsubsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Himnor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permit-



teth? He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught ofHis knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory).” (at-Baqarah 2:255) Based on the Ayat al-Kursi and the like, methodology of Islamic political science can not but be theocentric which stands totally opposed to the Western concept of man and nature in all its details. The Western social science, as pointed by S.H. Nasr (1975) is reductionist, for it not only separates reason from revelation but rejects the latter as a means of knowledge. Based upon Greco-Roman cultural tradition and rational philosophy, it accepts nothing which cannot fit the scale of reason and human intellect, and abiding by the same standard, it considers nothing as moral if it fails to yield maximum returns in material terms. (Nadwi 1970, pp. 62-70). It contrast, the Islamic culture and civilization is deeply rooted in Divine revelation. Muslim scholars disentangled the various issues of revelation. They maintained the revelation’s relations to reason in all their philosophical and theological debates because the revelation was a distinguishing feature of the methodology of Islamic research rather than posing a problem in the form ofcontrast between Divine Lawand human reason as argued by Rosenthal (1962, p. 16), both have been complementary to each other in Islamic history. This is in accordance with the Quran’s repeated exhortations to reason out and weigh rationally all matters to enable one to follow the right way. (al-A ‘rãf~7:86). If reason is the toolrequired to know the world about the man, to utilize it in satisfying his needs and in shouldering his responsibilities as a Khal~fah,the revelation is meant to guide him towards the knowledge of the aims of righteous, of the definition of its responsibilities and of ascertaining its components. Thus, both are complementary and essential for righteous life on the earth. (Islamization ofKnowledge, 1989, pp. 5 1:52). There is no room for a neutral or value-free social 188


science in Islam. The value-neutral science based on research methods borrowed from mathematics, physics, biology and other similar natural sciences as advocated by behaviourists, goes against the very spirit of goal-oriented Islam. According to the Qur’an everything is created with precise measure that assigns to it’s nature, relations to other beings and the course of its relations to other beings and the course of its existence. The Qur’an says: “He created all things and ordered them in due proportions.” (‘Abasa 80:19) All things in the universe serve a purpose and all purposes are interrelated as a means and an end to one another, because Allah (S.W.T) is the ultimate end, the final purpose unto whom everything returns. The Qur’an declares: “To Him belongthe keys ofthe heavens andthe earth and those who reject the signs of Allah-it is they who will be in loss.” (al-Zumar 39:63) This aspect of Islamic faith makes the Muslim struggle continuously though his struggles may not yield fruit but this does not dishearten them nor deter them from exerting more effort. This owes to the nature of ultimate objective of human life as envisaged by the Qur’an and to the logical consequences that follow. This ultimate object is ‘Ibádah. The Qur’an says: “I have only createdjinns and men, that they may serve Me. No sustenance do I require of them, nor do I require that they should feed Me. For Allah (S.W.T) is He who gives all sustenance, Lord ofPower, Steadfast (for ever).” (at-Dhàriyãt 51:56-58) This is the end and everything else constitutes the means. Hence, it becomes imperative that all human activity be, directly or indirectly, conceived as means to this ultimate end. There would be a chain of subends, no doubt, but 189


the ultimate end must be the motivating force behind all human activity, generating and directing them. Allah (S.W.T), who is to be served, is Omniscient and Omnipresent, observing our actions, reading our thoughts and knowing our intentions. It is ever so. Nowhere, in no walk of life, is man outside his surveillance. This beliefmakes the Muslims end-conscious and spiritually motivated. It is further reinforced by the doctrine of accountability on the Day of Judgement and of the Final Reckoning. Worldly life is short and fleeting, while the Hereafter is eternal and infinite. This consideration is significant and has far reaching consequences, on the conduct of life. It heightens man’s end-consciousness and invests all his activities with a normative value content. Moreover, Islam strikes a balance between the material and spiritual aspects ofhuman life. According to the Qur’an, when the material considerations get precedence the result is chaos and degeneration. Disillusionment and frustration gradually lead to disintegration of human personality. When the balance is titled the other side, that is, when it is only the spiritual that matters, the result is a suppression of activity rarely conducive to progress and development, scientific discoveries and inventions, resulting ultimately in a loosening of the social bonds of life. The good among the men become indifferent to the temporal while the bad acquire, holding unchallenged sway over the polity and the economy. An optimum combination of the material and the spiritual could avoid these dangers. This does not imply, however, that Islam conceives of the temporal and the spiritual as two distinctive realms balanced against one another in the Islamic order of life. It is not that they are two separate departments of life in the functioning ofwhich a sort of harmony is desired. Life is one and indivisible and it is as inalienable aspect of human activity that the material and the spiritual are conceived of. This is the total rejection of Western secular overtone that is based upon the theory of logical positivism. The fact that the dichotomy between natural and social sciences necessitates the adoption of separate methodologies for each is admitted even by the staunch supporters of 190


behavioural approaches. This trend was based on the desire for increased social prestige, the achievement of scientific respectability, and the quest for social status at par with that of natural scientists. The behavioural political scientists assumed not only the stance of the physical model but also its epistemology and its assumptions about the nature and means of knowledge. They considered human behaviour in an artificial manner, stripped the variables of their meaning in order to operationalize them, and tended to bend, reshape and distort the political map to fit the model they use to investigate it. As Deutscher (1966, p. 241) puts it: “We concentrate on consistency without much concern with whatit is we are being consistent about or whether we are consistently right orwrong. As aconsequence, we may have beenlearning agreat dealabout how topursue an incorrect course with a maximum of precision.” It may be concluded from above analysis that political science must abandon claims to approximating natural science without ceasing to aspire to comprehensive knowledge. According to the Qur’an, knowledge (‘jim) is to be obtained through the absolute knowledge (Haqq al-Yaqin) (al-Wáqi’ah, 56:95), rationalism or inference based upon judgement and appraisal of evidence (‘tim al-Yaqtn) (atTakãthur, 102:5), and through empiricism and perception that is by observation, experiment, historical reports, description of life-experiences and the like (‘ayn at -Yaqfrt) (atTakãthur 102:7). Thus, the Qur’anic way of knowing accords full freedom to experience and experiment and to rational and intellectual inquiry within the circumference of revealed knowledge. It is indeed advisable to benefit from the best offered by one field for the better understanding of the other, but one must recognize the distinction between the two fields, which is in terms of research strategy and techniques. This Qur’anic scheme of knowledge (‘tim at -Yaq(n, ‘ayn al-Yaq(n and Haqq ai-Yaqfrt) has been described in other terms too. The Qur’an describes sama, basrandfii’adas the three basic sources of knowledge. Fü’ad is the most important authentic source in Islam. Due to special Divine favour 191


some very highly developed fü’ads are enabled to grasp the ultimate principles and the Divine purposes more clearly and definitely. This revelation orfü’ad or Haqq al -Yaqtn is the backbone of the Islamic methodology. The revelation must be supported by using the sama’ and basr, i.e., the empirical methods. In this empiricism the principles ofjaib ai-Manfa’ah and dafu madarrãh (the achievement of general welfare of mankind and avoidance of harm in general) or Là Dararà waiä Dtrãr (Do not harm anyone nor tolerate it) is so important that the Prophet (s.a.w.) himself suspended some of his judgements upon such a knowledge of facts about the social reality (Ahmad Irfan, 1961). Political Science, by virtue ofits orientation to the model of natural sciences, has limited its scope to observable behaviour. Politics has been defined either in terms of “the study of influence and the influential”. As Lasswell or the study of who gets, what “when and how” as Deutsch did, or “the authoritative allocation of values” as Easton described. Similarly, political association or state is conceived as an instrumental apparatus forthe pursuit ofcontingently determined ends that can be calculated according to a strategic instrumentalist conception of rationality, i.e. expediency, gross national product and utilitarian considerations. The idea of modern secular state is developed in its original cultural milieu, Europe, and its spread by force to every corner ofthe world. The central claim ofthe state today, as described by Andrew Vincent is that of its being a public power above both the ruler and the ruled that provides continuity and order to a polity. Among the other prerequisites of a modern state, is the possession of territory: a state exists primarily within a geographically definable territory over which it holds jurisdiction. Moreover, within its own territory, the state claims hegemony over all other associations, organizations and groups. However, the supremacy that the state exercises over other associations is legal in nature. And yet, the most salient formal feature of the modern state is its monopoly to use force. Consequently, the state has the maximum control of the resources of the violence. Tied to this privilege is also the claim of legitimacy: the force exercised by the state is recognized as de jure. 192


Authority, then in the ensuring sense, is the legitimate use of force. Acting as the supreme legal authority within its territory, the modern state also lays claim to being sovereign. State sovereignty, however, is a concept notoriously difficult to define and in practice often entails the recognition of a state’s territorial integrity as well as that of its status as a separate and independent political entity by other states (Vincent, 1987, p. 15). Against the backdrop of European political and intellectual history, Vincent discusses the “Absolutist”. “Ethical”, “Constitutional”, “class”, and “pluralist” theories of the state that are the legacy of the political thinkers in the West. It is indeed a most useful summary and though we may not share many of his ideas, we may, many benefit enormously from the penetrative analysis. For instance, in the concluding chapter, “Do we need theory of State?” there is the following admission: “We must bear in mind that the state is not primarily an empirical entity at all. We can not touch or see a state. It is nothing but a mental category, although it may be an extremely concrete one. We do not realise that the state is mode ofbeing and a complex ofvalues, as well as an institutional structure. The grasp of such a category is not primarily gained from history but from theory and philosophy.” (Ibid., p. 219) Obviously, the European idea of the state a continuous political entity that is above both the ruler and the ruled is mythological. It has its own metaphysics, which generates its peculiar mystique, and it relates to the world ofmorals and ethics in its own perverted way (Manzoor, 1988). Ernst Cassirer, traces the genealogy of the modern monster with great perception and poignancy and shows how “the myth of the state” evolved from pre-historic times through Plato, Dante, Machiavelli, Carlyle and Hegel to pave the way for the modern totalitarian state. At heart a passioned plea for the subjugation of “politics” to some higher, “rational” not “mythological” principle of morality Cassirer’s work is a forceful indictment of the Machiavellian nature of modern staiehood that has come to prevail since the time of renaissance. —



With the advent of the modern secular state, notes Cassirer, universal morality applicable to all human activity is excluded from the canons of statecraft. His own biting criticism of Machiavellianism, which claimed the autonomy of politics from the “shackles of religion” reads: “With Machiavelli we stand at the gateway ofthe modern world. The desired end is attained; the state has own its full autonomy. Yet this result has had to be bought dearly. The state is entirely independent; but at the same time it is completely isolated. The sharp knife of Machiavelli’sthought has cut offall the threadsbywhich in former generations the state was fastened to the organic whole of human existence. The political world has lost its connection not only with religion or metaphysics but with all other forms of man’s ethical and cultural life. It stands alone in any empty space.” It may be concluded from the above discussions that the notion of the state, which is a “fact” of modern consciousness and a “given” of the international system, is ineluctably secular. It is totally antithetical to the moral idea of the Sovereignty of Allah. It is a total rejection of Islamic concept of state which is conceived not as a means to ends that are separable from the state but as itself the locus of religiocultural purposes. That is why the Qur’an stresses the need for organization and authority for the realization of its goals. The Qur’an declares: “We sent aforetime Our apostles with clear signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance (ofRight and Wrong) that man may stand forth injustice; and we sent down iron in which is (material for) mighty war, as well as many benefits for mankind, that Allah may test who it is that will help, unseen, Him and His apostles.” (qt-Ha.clid 57:25) The Qur’an condemns disorder and anarchy and says: “When he (the non-believer) turns his back, his aim everywhere is to spread mischief through the earth and destroy crops and cattle but Allah loveth not mischief.”

(at-Baqarah 2:205). 194


“For tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter.” (al-Baqarah 2:191) Imam Ibn Hanbal held the opinion that in the absence ofan Imãm anarchy and disorder would certainly ensure (Ibn Abdul Bar). According to Mawardi (1960, p. 5), the existence of Imam is as necessary as the striving for truth and the acquisition of knowledge. Razi has explained the reason for such heavy emphasis on organized authority for he says that “without political social organization man cannot reach his destiny” (Rosenthal 1962, p. 14). To IbnTaimiyyah, “religion cannot exist without it” (Khan, 1983, p. 29). Maulana Mawdudi maintained that the ultimate goal of an Islamic state is neither to maintain peace and raise the standard of living of its inhabitants nor to defend its frontiers. Its ultimate purpose is “to enforce and implement with all the resources of its organised power that reformatory program which Islam has given for the betterment of mankind” (Mawdudi, 1967, p. 248). The Islamic state is an ideological state, its approach is universal and all embracing, and its mission is to establish virtue and justice in accordance with revealed knowledge. In short the state in Islam “is only an effort to realize the spiritual and human organization” (Iqbal, 1965, p. 155). While discussing Islamic methodology in social sciences itis essential to keep in mind the Islamic values clearly and explicitly. The Stockholm seminar of 1981 on “knowledge and values” identified ten concepts which generate the basic values of Islamic culture, tawh(d (unity), khtlafah(vicegerency), ‘tbaclãh (worship), ‘tim (knowledge), hrtiãl (permissible) and harãm(prohibited), ‘adi(justice), zuim (tyranny), istisiah (public interest) and dhtya (waste) (Sardar, 1984). These values are organically related to each other and impart a unique character to the epistemology of Islam. These values enshrined in the Qur’an impart a universal character to Islam. This universality of Islamic values grants a universal status to a discipline subservient to the Islamic framework.




Ahmad, Irfan, 1961, “The Islamic Method”, in Islamic Thought, Aligarh, Vol. VIII, No. 2, pp. 8- 13. Al-Mawardi, Abdul HasanAli, 1960, Al-Ahkamal-Sultaniyah, Isa al Babi al-Halbi, Cairo. Cassirer, Ernst, 1986, The Myth ofthe State, Yale University Press, New Haven and London. Dahl, R.A., 1961. “Behavioural Approach in Political Science”, Epitaph for a Monument to a successful Protest, The American Political Science Review, Vol. 55, Dec.

Deutscher, Irwin, 1966, “Words and Deeds: Social Science and Social Policy”, Social Problems, 13, p. 241. Easton, David, 1967. “The Current Meaning of Behaviorism”, in Charlesworth, J.C. ContemporaryPoliticalAnalysis. FreePress, New York.

Easton, David, 1979. “The Decline of Modern Political Theory”, in James A. Gould and VincentV. Thursby, Contemporary Political Thought, New York. Eldersveld, S.!., “Research in Political Behaviour”, in Ulmer, S. Sidney, 1961, Introductory Reading to Political Behaviour, Rand Me Nally & Co., Chicago. Haas, Michael and Maried, Henry, S. 1970, Approaches to Political Science, Chandler Publishing Co. California. Ibn Abdul Barr, Jame Bayan al-Rm Wa Faclhlih, Al-Maktaba al Ilmiyah, Madinah, p. 62. *

The Learned scholar has produced a very interesting case in this regard. He has quoted a hodtth as follows: FromJudama. thedaughter of Wahb that shesaidlsaw theProphet amongst a number of persons. He was saying: I had made up my mind toforbid youfrom gheelah (intercourse with wjfe during the period when child depends upon her mother’s milk) and thenIsaw that Persians and Romans observe gheelah but it does not harm their babies. This hadith, clearly shows that the permission for gheelahis due to the knowledge ofthe fact that it does not harm the children, and that if the observation had been otherwise the Prophet would have forbidden the act. He has quotedanother case in which anexperiment by the peoplemade the Prophet change his decision. The story goes that the Prophet had prohibited his peoplefromcross plantation ofdates. Most probablyitwas due to the idea that this was a type of a superstition. Later on, when actual experiment proved otherwise he changed his views and said that it was amongst those purely technical matters which do not fall under superstition, etc. Inboth the cases experience is a factor in the final decision and it is the discovery of fresh experience which changes the decision.



Iqbal, M. 1965, The Reconstruction of Religious Thoughts in Islam, Lahore. Islamization ofKnowledge: General Principles and Work Plan 1989, International Institute of Islamic Thought, U.S.A. Khan, Qamaruddin, 1983, The Political Thought of Thn Taimiyah, Lahore, Islamic Book Foundation. Manzoor. S. Pervez, 1988, “Islamic State Between the Mystique of Khilafah and the Logic of Mulk”, Muslim World Book Review, London, Vol. 9, No. 1, p. 5. Mawdudi, S.A.A. 1967, The Islamic Law and Constitution, tr. Khurshid Ahmad, Islamic Publications, Lahore. Nadwi, S.A.H.A. 1970, Religion and Civilization, Academy of

Islamic Research, Lucknow. Nasr, S.H. 1975, Islam and the Plight of Modem Man, Longman,

London. Reza, Nasr, Sayyed Va! 1990, “Islam and the Social Sciences”, Hamdard Islamicus, Karachi, Vol. XIII, No. 2, pp. 83-92. Rosenthal, E.I.J. 1962, Political Thought in Medieval Islam. An Introductory Outline, Cambridge University Press.

Sardar, Ziauddin, 1984, TheTouchofMidas, Manchester University Press, Manchester. Vincent, Andrew, 1987, Theories of the State, Blackwell, Oxford.




INTRODUCTION Since the dawn of human civilization, man has been uncoveringthe mysteries of the nature, trying to know about the unknown, broadening the horizons of his knowledge and removing the layers of his ignorance by discovering one thing after another and thus contributing to the human knowledge. Islam is a complete code of conduct, a perfect way of life and an all-embracing system “Islam” means toal submission to the will ofAllah (S.W.T), and complete obedience of alikãmIt&hL God’s will has been revealed to us in the shape of the Qur’an in its final and perfect version through the final prophet ofIslam, Muhammad (s.a.w), who lived his life under the Divine guidance and presented the ideal Islamic way of life. His teachings and sayings, thus, are the practical expressions of Islam and constitute the second source of knowledge. In its heyday the Islamic society was at the peak of sicentific and cultural development. It was aware of the value of research and inventions. With the changes in the conditions and modes of life, the practical application of the Islamic teachings to the changed situations was researched from time to time. Ijtihäcl or the applied research was part and parcel of developing Muslim society. Bait al-Hilcrnah, Nizamiyyah and the remnant of Azhar stand witness to this fact. The Muslims with their researches, innovations and inventions were the history makers of their times.


With passage of time the importance of research was underestimated. Less and less attention was paid to the research work. The originality was lost gradually, and we find only the editing, re-editing, abridging and elaborating of the old texts. The absence of research naturally led to the blind imitation (jumãd and taql{cl). This taqlid (not in any good sense but static and blind imitation) caused the downfall of the Muslim society and finally most ofthe Muslim lands were open to onslaught by imperialist powers. The political domination led to the cultural penetration and conversion. With the advent of intellectual awakening in the eighteenth century, Shah Wali Allah, the towering genius of the century worked to break the jumüd and taql(d of the centuries. The intellectual elite realised that the research is the need of the hour. The research should add to the “life” culture, civilization and development of humanity. In the 19th century, scholars of Islam led researches in the various directions. Afghani and Abduh conducted critical and creative research. An Islamic response to the western imperialism was expressed. The adoption oftechnology, scientific and modern means of development and communications were hailed and the blind imitation of western culture was denounced. A demarcating line was clearly drawn between the bright promising and the dark degenerating sides of the modern western civilization. The most creative and throught provoking research carried by Rashid Rida, Sir Iqbal, Ikhwan and Jamaat-eIslamiwriters cannot be underestimated. They not only challenged the superiority ofthe western thought but also offered new dimensions and avenues to the Islamic thought. ‘Allamah Shibli and Amir Ali conducted descriptive and informative research.. The living thought in the old books still gives a new life and a new presentation. With all the goods that Sir Sayyid did, we cannot forget his apologetic “research”. The very names of his book, “Loyal Mohammadans”, “The Causes of the Indian Revolt” are significant. In his Tahclhthul Akhläq (Vol.11, p.1) Sir Sayyid states: “Muslims in India must be persuaded to adopt Western civilization fully so that the civilized nations may stop looking down upon them with scorn and they may also 200


be recognised as respectable and civilised in the world”. However Sir Sayyid laid the foundations of a new type of research by establishing M.A.O. College, with one of its aims to research and reconcile West and “Indian Islam”. Approaches


The Orientalists’ Approach

The Orientalists mostly start with the assumption that the Qur’an is the work of a human mind or it is the editing of various works of religious and historical studies. But they fail to realise that the alleged and assumed sources of the Qur’an mentioned by them have no evidence inArabia during the period of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w). The second assumption that the Prophet gained this knowledge from some priests in Syria, is too illogical. Just in a couple ofvisits before the revelation, how could he be supposed to have memorized or gathered material for such a great work? This is note-worthy that there are ample proofs that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) did not show any sign of this knowledge even a single day before his declaration of prophethood. The West in its scheme of colonising the Muslim lands found it necessary to distort the picture of Islam. A young priest class and a band ofjews undertook to write on Islam. It had both the religious and political motives. They exploited the Eastern intellect for the Western political ends. However, there are some exceptional scholars who studied Islam solely for their scholarly traditions.


The Islamists’ Approach

As already pointed above Islam is a complete code ofconduct, Islamists find it necessary to carry on the research to provide the practical solutions to present day problems and the proper application of the Islamic values. There is also a need to study the non-Islamic systems and institutions to provide the Islamic alternatives. The Muslims are required to come out from the depression and inferiority complex. The nature of the society to 201


blindly follow the taqlid and jumüd is to be changed with an all-embracing and dynamic conceptions of ~Jtihãdand jihãd. In this direction many scholars have worked and are still working seriously. Afghani, Abduh, Sayyid Qutb, Dr. Iqbal, Mawdudi, Dr. Shariati etc., are the milestones in the past. Professor Khurshid Ahmed, Sayyid Naquib al-Attas, Professor Nejatullah Siddiqi, Abdul Hamid Abu Sulayman, to name but few, are important researchers and scholars of the present day Muslim world. Sources The basic and fundamental requirement in research work is to know the method of source finding and to fmd the sources. Then the next step is to evaluate the sources. We cannot create something out of nothing. We cannot get butter out ofwater. Therefore, we have to consult various sources for our research work, evaluate them and use them to the full extent. If we write our own views on a particular topic without using any sources without referring to any other work or earlier researchers on the concerned topic, our written work can only be a “book” and not a research thesis. The research sources can be compared to the brick and stone used in the construction of a house. Classification of Sources There are several types of sources that are employed in a research work. The sources used in a research work can be classified in two ways: 1.

The manner or style-classification


The matter or theme-classification.


The Style-classification

The sources used in a research work can be in several styles, manners or forms. Some of the main forms are the following: 202



The Written Sources

The majority of the scholars have to pay attention to the written sources even if they are mainly the field researches. The researches carried on earlier by different scholars take the shape of books and manuscripts. These are the basic sources for a researcher. To consult these written sources a researcher must browse on the shelves, through the catalogues and bibliographies. These written sources may further be sub-divided in the following categories: (i)

Published sources: (a) Books (b) Periodicals

(ii) (iii) (iv) (b)

Manuscripts Films and microfilms Photostats and photographs


In addition to the written sources a researcher may require to carry out some field work. It may not be possible for him to survey each and every related source. In such a case he should depend on genuine representative sample. He must begin a “sampling frame” i.e., defining the total number of objects under investigation. If the objects are mostly un-cooperative it is easier to consult available directories and indexes. Some organisations and institutions can also be consulted for help. The sampling can be of three main types: (i)

Random Sampling is easier and every object gets a chance to be studied. However it may be improportional representation.


Stratification can be a better means. The objects available may be divided into categories and then sampling be made proportionately. 203



Quota Sampling is more representative than the other two samplings. The subjects are stratified according to the sex, age etc., and then a random sampling in each case is followed.



The field work requires observation of the incidents and accidents, situation and actions. This “action-research” is a vital part in some field researches. Tape-recorders and keen eyes and ever-conscious and ever-present mind are necessary tools for observation. (d)


Interviewing the source-subjects with or without a questionnaire can be of much help in some cases of the field research. Even in theoretical, historical and Islamic studies research, interviewing some well known and famous authorities for their views and impressions about a problem can be helpful. —


Postal Questionnaires

The reluctance in interviews can be avoided by using postal questionnaires. It can save much time and effort. A stampedaddressed envelope and a covering letter can be ofmuch help in this case. The Theme Classification Keeping in view the theme, matter and the value of the sources they may be classified into two main categories:


The Primary or Original Sources

The sources directly related to the problem are the main and primary sources. Their originality may differ in degree. For instance, studying the Qur’an while working on “theQur’anic view of state” is of primary importance than consulting books on the problem. 204


The primary sources in Islamic Studies are the Qur’an, Hadith and Sunnah, Qiyôs and Ijmã’. A research work done on the views of a school or person relates the writings of that particular school or person as its main primary source. 2.

Secondary Sources

The researches carried on previously and the interpretations put forth and the views expressed previously form the secondary sources. In Islamic Studies interpretations, translations, personal opinions and even the Ijtihàd can be classified as the secondary sources.


Special Sources


The Qur’an

For conduct of research on any problem related to Islamic Studies, the Qur’an is the first and the fundamental reference book. It is the first and the foremost accepted and established source of Islamic Studies. The authority the Qur’an is unconditionally binding and irrevocable for a Muslim. However, according to the methodology for apprehending the Qur’an and the nature of its subject matter which deals with value judgements and broad principles, its commands are applicable to innumerable human and social conditions with both precision and flexibility. Besides, God has provided scope for fallibility and relativity of human understanding; for whatever He commands us to do is obligatory only to the extent of our ability, “God imposes not on any soul a duty beyond its scope” (alBaqarah 2:286). “The subject matter of the Qur’an includes broad and fundamental principles, and legally cognizable value judgements. These are pertinent to environmental engineering as basic maxims of the Shan ah encompassing legal, political, economic, educational, sociological, philosophical, and other issues. The Qur’an also provides the basii~principles of the over all methodology for social change.”




What is contained in the Qur’an may in a general sense be classified under four heads: (1) Metaphysical and abstract; (2) Theological; (3) Ethical and Mystical; and (4) Ritual and legal. The first was taken up by the philosophers; the second by the scholastics; the third was specialized by the süfis; and the fourth by theologians and jurists. Keeping this in view every research scholar of Islamic Studies has to refer to the Qur’an. (b)


The word and deed of the Holy Prophet who brought the Qur’an to humanity and acted upon it formed the second basic and primary source of Islamic Studies. The generalizations ofthe Qur’an are elaborated, explained, interpreted and practised by Sunnah. A research scholar of Islamic Studies has to depend on the written word (hadith) and the practised deed (Sunnah) of the Holy Prophet. (c)

Qiyãs and Ijmä’

The analogical reasoning (qiyãs) and the consensus (~mà~) are part and parcel of Islamic research. In the light of the Qur’an and Sunnah, the qiyàs is practised and the ~mã’ is taken into consideration. The qiyàs of the great authorities and the consensus arrived at by them in the form of ~jmà’ is the bedrock of any new research in Islamic studies. We cannot sever our connections with these sources and still consider our research as a research in Islamic Studies. (d)

Other Sources

In Islamic Studies researches, the prolific literature produced by the ‘Ulamã’, the Orientalists, academies, and other institutions cannot be ignored. Whatever the view-points presented in these sources, they are still the precedences. The encyclopedia, compendium, historical collections, travel accounts, archeological surveys etc., are also of special importance for Islamic researches.





and Scope of Islamic Research

Islam, as brought to us by the Last of the Prophets, Muhammad (s.a.w) consists of the sacred teachings embodied in the Qur’an and the Hadith. Islamic research will, therefore, have to be defined as research that is centred around the contents of these sacred books and is carried out with the object of making these contents more easily intelligible to others. This definition will enable us to know precisely what Islamic research includes and what it excludes. It includes all that the Muslim scholars have written in the past or may write in future (a) on the sacred books and (b) on books written about the sacred books. It excludes (c) all that Muslim scholars have written in the past or may write in future on a subject other than Islam, for example on Medicine, Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Lexicography, History, Art or Literature. It excludes also (d) all research work that we may undertake on books written under (c) above. Moreover, since the contents of the sacred books are not intelligible to the non-Muslims as such, and nonMuslims cannot be expected to make them intelligible to others in their capacity as sacred contents of the sacred books or even to have the intention to do so, Islamic research will also exclude (e) all research work done by nonMuslim scholars on the sacred books or on books written about the sacred books.


Mechanical and Original Islamic Research Islamic research is of two kinds. It is either (1) Mechanical or (2) Original. For example, preparing an index or a dictionary of one of the sacred books or of a book written about one of the sacred books, translating, rearranging or summarizing its contents, collecting or making available for convenient reference historical or other material relating to its subject matter is mechanical. Research giving an intellectual explanation, interpretation or elaboration of the subjectmatter of the sacred books is original Islamic research. Original Islamic research is more important than mechanical since it relates to the essence or the meaning of Islam. Indeed it is Islamic research proper. It calls for a deep insight into the teachings of Islam, an insight which can result only from a sincere faith in Islam amounting to a passionate love for it and continued and willing submission to its religious and moral discipline. It is not possible unless a man enters into the spirit of the sacred books, and develops by his constant obedience to the Prophet a view of the Universe akin to his view. Since this kind of Islamic research is the result of faith or love, it engenders faith or love in others who avail of it. The works of Syah Wali Allah, Ghazali, Rumi, Mohyuddin Ibn-Arabi, Ibn Taimiyyah, HafIz Ibn Qayyim and MaulanaAsyrafAliThanawi are examples ofIslamic research of this kind.

The Function of Original Islamic Research Since original Islamic research is always the response of Islam to the intellectual challenge of the age to its rational foundations, it performs a double function. 1. It refutes directly or indirectly the wrong philosophical ideas that have become prevalent at the time and have begun to have an adverse effect on the faith of the Muslims. 2. It affirms the truth of Islam and defends Islamic beliefs and ideas by making use of all the right philosophical ideas that are available at the time. 208


This double function becomes possible because the research scholar develops, on account of his love for Islam and his desire to reinterpret it correctly, an intuition or a perspective ofthings which enables him to sift the right ideas from the wrong ideas.

Functions of Mechanical Islamic Research Mechanical Islamic research does not need any insight of Islam and since it is not necessarily the product of love or faith it can inspire neither love nor faith in others. The only importance of mechanical Islamic research is that it facilitates the study of the sacred books for the ordinary reader and subserves the needs of the original research scholar by making the subject-matter of the sacred book more accessible to him. The original research scholar is like an engineer who designs and constructs a beautiful building while the mechanical research scholar is like a labourer who brings the bricks required for the construction a little nearer to him. The latter is helpful but not indispensable to the former.

Oriental Research Pure mechanical research on the sacred books of Islam may sometimes be actuated by a faith in Islam but its efficient pursuit does not need, as a prerequisite, the existence of any faith in Islam at all. That is why it is carried out most efficienfly evenbyJews and Christians. As a matter offactthe Jews and Christians of the West are its real pioneers in modern times. But in such a case it is not at all correct to designate it as Islamic research. It is a part of a larger research known as Oriental research that was initiated and developed in the West by a class of scholars who called themselves Orientalists because they were interested in and sought to know the languages and literature of the East. Oriental research is entirely mechanical and concerns itself with translating, editing, annotating, summarising, remodelling or indexing ancient work of History, Philosophy, Religion, Lexicography, Science and Literature, written in the Oriental languages like Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese, Indonesian and Turkish, etc. 209


The motives of this research were in the beginning entirely missionary. Later on when European powers began to colonize the East, their motives were administrative and political. One of the objects of the Westerners’ interest in Oriental studies is no doubt to satisfy their curiosity and to provide themselves with amusement by uncovering the hidden relics of an ancient civilization, which according to them exists no longer and which has been superseded by a far superior civilization of which they themselves are the torch bearers. Their attitude is similar to ours in carrying out excavations at Taxila by means of which we lay bare to the world for their amusement or for the satisfaction of their curiosity the buried signs of an ancient civilization which has ceased to exist for ever. Now Orientalism is being patronized by the universities ofthe West, most ofwhich maintain chairs of Oriental studies. It has also become a lucrative and dignified intellectual profession in the West as well as in the East. In the course of time the Orientalists have developed a technique which our scholars of Oriental languages learn from them at the universities of the West. Now, most of the universities of the East also maintain chairs of Oriental studies, which are generally occupied by scholars who are trained by the Western Orientalists in the technique of Oriental research. So far as Islamic research is concerned this technique can be of use only to the mechanical part of it and no more.

Prejudice Against Islam and Muslims The research of the Orientalists on books of Arabic and Persian written mostly by Muslims is not actuated by any regard for Islam or for the Muslim scholars. The case is rather the reverse of it. They have generally a definite prejudice against Islam and Muslims. It is, therefore, futile to expect them to take a favourable view of Islam whenever they happen to digress from their mechanical work in order to interpret any ofthe doctrines or beliefs of the Muslims. That is why a portion of their work is full of reflections against Islam and Muslims. We, therefore, need to revise this portion of their work in order to purge it of their unfair remarks. But 210


to the extent to which such a revision of the work of the Orientalists will pertain to books written by ancient Muslim scholars on subjects other than Islam, it will not be counted as Islamic research even of a mechanical nature. It will be only Oriental research done by Muslims. In fact all research work done by Muslims on books written by Muslim scholars of the past on secular subjects, mentioned under (d) above has to be classified as “Oriental research”.

A Wrong Name Unfortunately this latter kind of research is often erroneously described as Islamic research on the ground that it is research on books written by Muslims. As a matter of fact books written by ancient Muslim scholars on secular subjects are no more Islamic books than a table made by a Muslim carpenter is an Islamic table. If these books are Islamic books and research on them is Islamic research, then, books written on secular subjects by Muslim scholars of the present times too must be called Islamic books and research on them must be designated as Islamic research. But we do not call these latter books Islamic books nor research on them is known as Islamic research. Why, then we use the adjective “Islamic” wrongly, when we happen to be talking about such books written by Muslim scholars of the past? A mass of intellectual knowledge, as distinguished from revealed knowledge, can be accurate or inaccurate, vague or clear, systematic or unsystematic but it cannot be Muslim, Jewish or Christian. Knowledge is one and indivisible, a single light emanating from a single source which may shine over one individual or another and over one community or another at its pleasure. It is above creeds and nationalities. That is why those who undertake its search benefit from each other irrespective of their creeds and nationalities.

A Characteristic of Oriental Research Since Oriental research is a mechanical process and has 211


nothing original to give, itis characterized by its emphasis on petty things. A whole life, for example, may be wasted on showing that the correct spelling of the name of a book or a scholar is not this but that or on proving that an individual was born a few miles towards the north and not the south of a particular place or a few hours after and not before a particular point of time, although the individual himself may not matter very much as a scholar and may well deserve to be forgotten. He is considered to be extremely important simply because he is mentioned somewhere in the ancient literature.

The Real Task of the Muslim Orientalist If the objects of Oriental research were to bring to light the intellectual achievements of the ancient scholars of the East, which was the most cultured and civilized part of the globe till recently and show their relation to the intellectual achievements of the present age, it will still not be Islamic research but it will be, no doubt, a real service to the cause of knowledge in general since it will help to restore the continuity of the intellectual endeavour of the human race as a whole by bringing its present into line with its past. But this is not the manner in which Oriental research is being carried out either in the East or in the West at present. The task is difficult since it requires a familiarity with the intellectual world of the past as well as of the present but itis the real task before the Orientalist, particularly the Muslim Orientalist. With us the object of Oriental research should be after all the search for knowledge and not the search for Oriental knowledge. Knowledge cannot be Oriental or Occidental. Our ancestors at least never made any such distinction and that is the cause of all those intellectual achievements of man for which they have the credit today. Should the vast galaxy of Muslim scholars, whose books are the Orientalists’ sphere of study, come to life today, they will hasten to make all the knowledge of the West their own. If the object of Oriental research is really the search for knowledge it will be more consistent with its object to discard entirely the use of the word Orientalists for Muslim scholars a use which we —



started in imitation of the Westerners who live permanently in the West and have a permanent East. We live both in the East and the West. All languages are ours and all real knowledge that has been developed so far whether in the East or West is ours. It will be more reasonable to change the name “Oriental Research” to “Research in the Ancient and Mediaeval Studies” and to extend its scope to include research on books written in the past not only in the languages we call “Oriental” like Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Turkish but also in ancient European languages like Latin and Greek.

Oriental Research is not Islamic Research In any case, Oriental research has nothing in common with Islamic research and must be kept strictly apart. It should be centred in special departments of our universities as in the West. An institute ofIslamic research have nothing to do with its name or purpose.

Mechanical and Original Islamic Research Sometimes Overlap Sometimes original and mechanical Islamic research overlap so that a product of original research contains some element of mechanical research in the shape of a re-grouping and rearranging of the contents of the sacred books, and a product of mechanical research is tinged with the effort to interpret and explain the product of Islamic research, which depends upon the element of original research that it contains. It will be more valuable if it contains a greater quantity of original Islamic research of a high intellectual merit and degree of accuracy. The research of Iqbal, Ibn Taimiyyah, Syah WaliAllah, Ghazzali, Rumi and Mohyuddin IbnArabi is considered to be more valuable than that of hundreds of other ancient and modern scholars of Islam for the same reason. Each ofthese scholars has given the original intellectual interpretation of Islam that was needed by the world at the time. 213


Revelation and Reason The question arises: What has been the need to interpret Islam from the intellectual point of view again and again. Is it not true that the Qur’an and the Hadith are enough by themselves to guide human beings in their beliefs and actions? Have they not explained themselves to the extent to which it was necessary? Do we need to add anything of our own, some product of our own human reason and understanding, to the revelations of the Creator and the sayings of the Prophet to make them intelligible and useful, knowing that human reason is far inferior to Divine revelation as a guide to man. It is true that human intellect has no place compared to Divine revelation as a guide to the ultimate nature of things and to the shape that the practical life of the individual and the society must take as a consequence of that nature. But human intellect and Divine revelation have got a natural relationship in view of which we have to take the following facts as true and beyond all controversy: 1. That Divine revelation cannot be accepted unless our reason guides us to an intuition or a conviction that it is really Divine and true. That is why the Qur’an appeals to human reason and intellect so frequently. Do we not make a distinction between a prophet and a pseudo-prophet? 2. That Divine revelation consists of external spoken or written words which are invariably converted into a meaning or an import in the mind of the listener or the reader before they can be believed or obeyed. So long as they do not undergo this process of conversion (a process which is entirely intellectual and human) from an external entity to an internal realization, in other words, so long as they do not cover themselves up in the garb of some intellectual interpretation, they can create neither beliefnor action. That is why the beliefs and actions ofpeople following the same revelation differ and there is such a variety of sects and religious movements in Islam, which is only one. 3.

Revelation gives a correct view of the nature of man and 214


universe, and the human intellect in the form of Philosophy attempts to do the same. This self imposed function of the human intellect coincides with that of revelation. Hence it has a tendency to examine the assertions of revelation even after they have been accepted as true. It endeavours to find an answer satisfactory to itself to questions that have been answered by revelation. For example, there is the question, “Does God really exist?” A person may believe in the answer of revelation to this question totally. Yet as a human being, i.e., as an intellectual being he is bound to have by his side an answer to it given by the intellectual as well.

The Need to Re-Interpret Islam in Every Age Intellectual knowledge is always advancing and in the new intellectual ideas that arise in every age truth isalways found mixed up with untruth. Original Islamic research has, therefore, to be renewed in every age in order to sift the truth from untruth, to refute the wrong philosophical ideas that happen to be challenging Islam and to affirm and defend Islam with the right philosophical ideas of the time that go in its favour. The research scholars of every age have to separate the chaff from the grain in the mass of the new intellectual knowledge of that age, and make use of the grain and throw the chaff to the winds.

The Intellectual Challenge of This Age Never was the intellectual challenge of an age to Islam so serious as it is now. The philosopher, the historian, the economist, the sociologist and .the psychologist have all begun to strike at the very roots of Islam. The theories of Mechanical Evolution, Psycho-Analysis, Scientific Socialism and Historical Materialism which are becoming more and more popular in modern times, challenge the very foundations of our religion. We cannot hope to live as Muslims unless we produce an answer to these theories, remembering all the time that in case our answer does not conform to the intellectual standards of the age and does not satisfy, by the technique and method of its reasoning, the top intellectuals 215


of the world, it will be no answer at all. We have not produced this answer yet. Unfortunately the ‘ulamã’ who fought many a battle of Islam on the intellectual front in the past take no notice of this new danger to our religion, to say nothing of their making an effort to prepare the new generation against it. Even the non-Muslims are taunting us for our unjustified complacency in this matter. The socialist writer Prof. W.C. Smith says in his book Modem Islam in India “Whereas there used to be zealous religious debates on tbe street corners, hardlymore than adecade ortwo ago, and the educated used to pore over and to puzzle over book after book on modernism, today the youth is unacquainted and unconcerned with any ofthe intellectual problems which religion, as a valid way of life, is facing We have seen how the liberals finally answered more or less the criticisms of Islam which the Christians advanced. Today the modernized Muslim is satisfied with those answers; and no one arises to answer; and hardly even to notice, the criticisms of Islam and of all religion, advanced in modern times by the rationalist, the historian, the psychologist and the sociologist. Just as the nineteenth century orthodox Islam that refused to meet the charges of the Christians and the Western liberals, and attacked Sir Sayyid Ahmed and Amir All when they did so, was a bulwark of social conservatism; so today that Islam which refuses to meet these modern charges can serve only socially reactionary groups.” ...

What the Modern Man Demands from the Followers of

Islam Islam has raised a number of questions in the mind of the modern man and he demands a convincing, scientific answer to them from the followers of Islam. Some of these questions are: Is it not true that matter is the Ultimate Reality of the universe and that spirit is but an emanation from matter at a particular stage of its development and complication? Is not religion a creation of economic circumstances and hence devoid of all worth or value of its own? Is not the economic factor of human life the determining force of history and religion one of the transitory phases or incidental by-products of the historical process? Is not religion an abnormal 216


outlet of a thwarted sex instinct or an obstructed impulse for power? Is it not an artificial imposition of a cruel society that expects the individual to conform to certain unnatural restrictions, known as moral principles, for its own safety? Is it not true that morality is a relative term and has a different import for different people and under different circumstances? Is prophetic experience or Divine revelation possible? Is not prophethood, if at all it is possible, a transitory phenomenon with no importance for the future of humanity? Is not the reason of man enough to guide him? Why should prophethood be necessary when man is already endowed with reason? If it is necessary why should it not continue till the end of the world?, etc. We have to discover an answer to these questions which is not only favourable to the fundamentals of Islam but also perfectly scientific, at least more scientific and more convincing than any answer which the followers of any of the other ideologies may have to give to them. The conscience of our community has vaguely realized that if we do not immediately produce such an answer, which will of course amount to a complete scientific interpretation of Islam, we cannot continue our existence as an ideological community. It is this fact that is at the bottom of their demand for Islamic research which we now find embodied in our Constitution.

A Characteristic of the Present Age The present age is the age of intellectual ideologies. In this age of the followers of all ideologies except those of Islam are busy defending themselves intellectually because they realize that to do so is essential for their political existence, in fact for their existence of any kind. Ideology which is in essence a vision, an intuition or a faith about the nature of man and universe is the one power that rules the life of the individual, the community and the state. Ifthe Ideology on which a state is based can be shown to be intellectually sound and rationally consistent, it is bound to have two results. Firstly, it must increase the attachment of the individual to the state and thereby the solidarity and efficiency of the state to the highest possible extent. Secondly, it must create an increa217


singnumber ofsupporters and helpers of the state outside its boundaries and thus extend continuously the sphere of its political influence. The greater the rational justification of an ideology, the greater its chance to spread over the earth and stay there. That is why the followers of every ideology feel the necessity to explain and interpret it rationally and scientifically. Communism, already claims to be scientific ideology. National socialism of Hitler was put forward as a philosophy in Mein Kampf It was a new application of the Hegelian idea of the state as a mystical being deserving unqualified allegiance and possessing absolute rights and powers. Fascism too derived a rational support from the philosophical system ofthe Italian philosopher Croce. Americans no longer believe that democracy is merely a form of government. They believe and they have attempted to show in some of their latest publications, that it is a philosophy of life. The Indians claim that their state is based on the Gandhian ideology.

The Ultimate Philosophy of Man and Universe An ideology maybe wrong or right but to its lovers itis the sole truth in the world, and the only view of man and universe which can be rationally established. When they try to interpret or defend it intellectually, their aim is really to bring to light the only rational system in the universe which they believe to be latent in the nature of their ideology and cannot be found anywhere else. But it is evident that, since Truth is one, we can have only one philosophical system that is really correct and scientific and not two or more. This means that in the race of ideologies for their own scientific interpretation only one ideology will succeed and that ideology will survive and dominate the world while all other ideologies will disappear. The surviving ideology will prove to be the ultimate philosophy of man and universe which has been the dream and search of all philosophers and scientists ever since the dawn of reason. There is every reason to believe that Islam is the only ideology that can lend itself to a really scientific interpretation as a view of the universe. But what have we done so far to show to the world that our conviction is well founded? Our remissness in this matter has been made more 218


serious by the fact that the followers of other ideologies have already done a lot to show to the world that their ideologies alone are scientific and the intelligentsia of the world including that of the Muslim World, the section of humanity and of the Muslim population that really matters, is rallying more and more to their side every day. Islamic Research a Matter of Vital Importance At this critical stage of our life, when we are facing a serious challenge to our existence from other ideologies, we can save ourselves as an ideological community only by producing a scientific interpretation of Islam. It is to this end that all organizations of Islamic research, if they are worth their name, should converge their energies. There is no time to be lost. Procrastination has been the ruin ofmany a community in the past. Islamic research is not a luxury for us which we may indulge in at our convenience or leisure. It is a matter of life and death for us. If we fail to take it seriously at once we shall be courting certain extinction.

The Way to Save Ourselves from being Converted to Wrong Ideas Ideas are a far greater force of conquest and subjugation in modern times than all the armaments combined. Since they can travel on the wireless they move faster than armaments. They can transcend geographical barriers and cross political boundaries without encountering any hindrance. Every state is an organized ideological community. An ideological community that does not endeavour to conquer other ideological communIties with its ideas runs the risk of being conquered by them itself and being wiped out of existence. In fact we are already on the way to our complete obliteration as Muslims, simply because we have abandoned the effort to win other people to our ideology. Outwardly we are still Muslims but inwardly most ofus have lost our faith in Islam and have begun to like and love other ideologies at the expense of Islam. To the extent to which our love for other ideologies is 219


increasing, our faith in Islam is declining. Immorality, nepotism, corruption, self-seeking, favouritism, racialism, provincialism and all the evil practices that are spreading among us and of which some good people among us are always complaining, are but the symptoms of our declining faith. Another symptom of our dwindling faith is that we have lost the correct understanding of Islam and some of us who are as much the victims of the propaganda of other ideologies as any among us, have come forward to interpret Islam in their own way as if to help it out of its present difficulties. This has given rise to a number of conflicting interpretations of Islam and led to a further confusion and a further deterioration of our faith in Islam as it is known. On historical evidence, to have been understood and practised by the Prophet (s.a.w) and his immediate followers. This state of things has made some sincere Muslims very anxious and they are making strenuous efforts to win the Muslims back to Islam by appealing to their faith in the Qur’an and the Prophet (s.a.w). But in spite of these efforts the average Muslim is receding ever farther and farther away from Islam every day. Such efforts, based as they are on our ignorance of the difficulties of the Muslim disbeliever, indeed, can never be successful. For the Muslim who loses his faith in Islam borrows his ideas from other ideologies in the name of rationalism, knowledge, learning science or philosophy. In order to win him back to Islam we must produce a suitable literature calculated to influence his tutor, the non-Muslim ideologist, in favour of Islam.

The Method of the Philosopher The philosopher has first of all an intuition, a vision or a faith about the nature of Reality (which may be inspired rightly or wrongly by the facts known to him) and then goes on to show its relation to facts, that is to rationalize his basic concept of the nature of Reality. When his intuition of Reality is wrong his rationalization is wrong and the rational arrangement or the intellectual system of his ideas is full of loopholes and discrepancies which he overlooks or attempts to conceal in his arguments. Such loopholes and discrepancies manifest 220


themselves more prominently in the human and social sciences, i.e., Individual Psychology, Social Psychology, and the Philosophies of Politics, Ethics, Education, Art, Law and History, which are directly based on the philosopher’s view of the nature of man and universe. That is why, as the scholars of the West themselves admit, there is a chaos in the social sciences as they are developed at present in the West, where a mechanical or materialistic outlook on life generally prevails among the philosophers of human activity. On the othef hand, if the philosopher’s intuition of Reality is correct, the result of his attempt to rationalize his intuition is that the whole body of scientific facts fall into a beautiful order and assume a perfectly logical arrangement in a perfectly rational system, free from all loopholes and discrepancies.

The Task before our Organizations of Islamic Research The correct vision of Reality is that of the perfect Prophet or that of his sincere and devoted follower who takes it from the prophet by virtue of his devotion to him. The task before our organizations of Islamic research is to show to the world that all scientific facts at the physical, biological and psychological levels of existence are relevant only to the intuition of reality which the Qur’an creates. In this way the philosophical systems that bar the non-Muslim from coming over to Islam and steal quietly the faith of the Muslim believer will be shattered. The support of scientific facts will be taken away from them and made available to Islam. Hence these systems will become unconvincing, ineffective, and convincing philosophical system totally favourable to Islam will emerge to take their place. That is how we can purge the existing mass of knowledge of its errors in the light of the Qur’an. That is how we can prove that the correct vision of Reality is that which is created by the Holy Qur’an. That is how we can start from the known of the non-Muslim scientific facts and bring him to his unknown a faith in Islam, and that is how we can save the Muslim sceptic from going astray. That is how we can produce a scientific interpretation of Islam that we need for our very existence in this age. —




When a scientific interpretation of Islam, which will be at the same time a scientific interpretation of man and universe, has actually emerged, it will provide us with a correct foundation for the reorganization of social sciences. It will enable us to give a lead to the social philosophers of the West in their efforts which has hitherto failed of turning social sciences into real sciences. Indeed the work of our institutes of Islamic research will not be taken to have gone beyond its preliminary stages so long as they have not reconstructed Individual Psychology and Social Psychology and the Philosophies of Politics, Ethics, Education, Art, Economics, Law and History as parts of a single philosophical system of Islam. This is evidently a task that can engage a dozen scholars for a considerable number of years. This shows the extent and scope of the work that our institutes of Islamic research have before them. —

A Biological Necessity A scientific interpretation of Islam, I repeat, is a biological necessity for the Muslim community today and we can ignore itat our peril. It is said that offence is the best kind ofdefence. This is true in as much as the battle a state has to fight on the ideological front is similar to the battle on the military front. Ifwe do not open an ideological offensive soon enough we may have no ideology to defend, or to defend now is not the same as we had to defend some years ago. But we cannot open an ideological offensive unless we produce a scientific interpretation of Islam in the manner outlined above. In view of the urgency ofthe taskwe need to employ the services ofour most powerful intellects for its speedy and successful accomplishment. All the funds that we can spare must be utilized for this task and it should be the exclusive concern of those of our research scholars who can participate in it, for a considerable time to come. I do not mean that in the meantime we should stop Oriental research and mechanical Islamic research, but we should certainly confme Oriental research, whatever the title under which we may like to retain it in future, to the universities, as it can have nothing to do with our institutes of Islamic research. 222


The Place of Mechanical Islamic Research As regards mechanical Islamic research it should be subordinated entirely to the needs of the original Islamic research and should be undertaken at the request of the Islamic research scholar engaged in original research in order to meet his requirements as they arise in the course of his work. We shall have to resort to mechanical Islamic research also when we proceed to translate the sacred books and books that embody their new scientific interpretation into other languages of the world, for the propagation of Islam. But it willindicate a serious lack ofa sense ofproportion on our part to concentrate on mechanical research on the sacred books, for its own sake, at a time when our faith in the sacred books itself is being shattered. It will be like taking pains to count accurately the number of persons in a sinking boat or to describe the colours of their clothes during critical moments when everything could be done to save the boat itself till the boat has actually sunk. An excellent index ofthe Holy Qur’an or a similar product of mechanical Islamic research, even if it is the precious result of years of hard labour on the part of a Muslim Orientalist, will be of no use to a Muslim who has lost his faith in Islam. —


The Immediate Need of the Muslim Community It is sometimes said that the crying need of the Muslim community at present is the formulation of a new legal system of Islam. But how can we have a new legal system of Islam unless we have first of all a correct understanding of Islam. We should first know the Islam from which we have to derive a new legal system. We Muslims are at present divided among us as regard the true interpretation of Islam and are giving a number of conflicting interpretations to it. When a scientific interpretation of Islam which can be only one and not many, becomes available, it will be not only a complete refutation of all wrong ideologies and philosophies of the non-Muslim but also a complete refutation of the wrong interpretations of Islam given by those Muslims who have come forward to re-interpret Islam in order to give it a new appearance more acceptable to its modernized Muslim 223


critics. A scientific interpretation of Islam is, therefore, the only basis on which we can build our legal system. In fact when a scientific interpretation of Islam has actually emerged we shall find that many of the problems of evolving a legal system of Islam are already solved and that the whole task has become very easy.

An Inopportune Attempt At this stage of our life when our faith in Islam is again at the lowest ebb, any attempt to revise the legal system ofIslam will be most inopportune. It will have the effect of spoiling rather than improving the existing laws of Islam. It is the light of faith and love alone that can guide the Mujtahkl correctly on the path of Ijtih&d. Where is that light to be found today? Not only a deep and prolonged study of the sacred books but also a complete submission to the moral and religious discipline of Islam is essential for the emergence of that light in its full brilliance. It is said that there is just now the need to change the social laws of Islam. But so long as we ignore and violate the strictly moral and religious laws of Islam, we cannot be expected to have much respect for its social laws too. Therefore, we cannot be in a position tojudge accurately how the social laws of Islam ought to be changed or whether they ought to be changed at all.

The Real Ijtihãd A genuine Ijtihad is always the outcome of an intense love of Islam. In such a case it is a natural and spontaneous growth out of the Shari’ah as it was left to us by the Prophet and his companions. Our present desire for Ijtihàdis not the outcome of a love for Islam; it is the outcome of a concealed hatred for it and a covert admiration for other ideologies. It is a desire to change the tenets of Islam to suit the ideas that we have borrowed from these ideologies and which we inwardly love and admire. It is an effort to equip Islam with the “wisdom” we have learnt from the lovers of other ideologies and to impart to it a new “grandeur” we have conceived under their ideological leadership. It is not a genuine ~Jtihàd, not a 224


natural and spontaneous growth out of the Shari’ah according to our whims, a replacement of Islam by other ideologies ofour liking as much as possible. Genuine Ijtihãdwill become possible only when our love for Islam has risen again to its original heights and we have begun to understand the Shari’ah, as it was practised by the Prophet and his companions, in the light of that love once more. So long as that stage of our love has not been attained again, we cannot have the insight to see whether there is really any change in the conditions of our society which makes the change of some of the laws of the Shari’ah necessary under the laws of the Shari’ah itself. If Hazrat-i-Umar had that insight it does not follow that we too have got it today in this age of general disbelief.

What the Existing Conditions of our Society Really Demand What appears to us to be a change in the conditions of the society calling for ijtihàd and change of laws, is really our moral deterioration, our love of alien ideologies and our hatred of the moral and religious discipline of Islam acting and reacting on each other. All these conditions are no more than symptoms of the loss of our faith in Islam. Our Ijtihàd will not improve the situation but will make it worse. For it will lower still more the prestige of the Shari’ah and along with it that of Islam as a whole and thus leads to a further deterioration of our faith. That is why Iqbal expressed the view that in a period of decline it is far safer to follow in the footsteps of the bygones than to have resort to the Ijtihàd of those who are devoid of the light of faith. The proper corrective for the conditions mentioned above is not to have new Islamic laws which can at the most determine our Islamic actions outwardly and artificially but rather a new Educational System of Islam which alone can be relied upon to alter the individual completely from within. It is hardly correct thinking to educate and train the individual to think and act in a manner that is un-Islamic and then to complain that he is not acting in the Islamic way and to enforce laws to impose an artificial check on his un-Islamic actions. Laws are meant to become active only where education has failed. 225


It is strange that we desire to alter the existing Islamic laws to improve the society superficially and artificially without first making an effort to improve it really and basically by evolving and enforcing an Islamic System of Education. But the creation of an Islamic System of Education, which should not only be Islamic but also perfectly scientific, depends upon our producing a scientific interpretation of Islam, which, as we have seen above, is also the only possible basis for our legal system of the future. From every point of view, therefore, our immediate need is not altering the existing Islamic laws but regenerating our faith and regaining a correct understanding of our religion by creating a scientific interpretation of Islam.

A New Kind of Mechanical Research The desire to change Islamic laws on the part of those who have lost their admiration for Islam to the advantage of other ideologies has resulted in a new kind of research which is wrongly imagined to be Islamic Research by many. To desire Islamic laws to change in the direction of alien ideologies and then to produce journalistic books by giving a new arrangement and a new language calculated to impart a new meaning favourable to this desire and at the end to give a new title to the research work of our ancient and modern scholars and even to the contents of our sacred books, is a mechanical book-making activity, undertaken with a special purpose, but not Islamic research at all. Its object is not to discover and explain the scientific foundations of Islam as it is, but to change it and bring it as close as possible to other ideologies for the satisfaction of their admirers, ignoring the fact that these ideologies are themselves transitory. It does not, therefore, need a high standard modern academic equipment for its performance. Since the whole process of being converted to the view point of other ideologies, of serving them and getting others to serve them at the expense of Islam, is unconscious, those who are in it, imagine that they have acquired a unique understanding of Islam and are rendering an unprecedented service to its cause. 226


The Research of Ancient Muslim Scholars cannot Serve our Purpose Some of us seem to think that the philosophy of Islam required in this age is already available to us in the writings of our great religious scholars of the past like Syah Wall Allah, Imam al-Gazzali and others. It is a great mistake. The research work of these great scholars, however valuable it may have been at its own time, cannot as it exists at present, avail us in the least in our effort to answer the intellectual challenge of this age which we alone can meet. The wrong philosophical ideas that we have to refute (e.g., Dialectical Materialism, Psycho-Analysis and Mechanical Evolution) are entirely new, being a product of the peculiar intellectual climate ofthis age. They were unknown to our great religious scholars and teachers of the past. It is, therefore, futile to expect to find their reply in the writings ofthese scholars. The challenge of each age is different and has to be met only by men who live in that age. Moreover, as already stated, the task of the Islamic research scholar is not only to refute the incorrect philosophical ideas but also to make Islam intellectually stronger and more convincing and more attractive to others by explaining it in the light ofthe correct philosophical ideas of the age, which, by reason of their correctness, cannot but go in its favour. As the incorrect ideas of this age are peculiar to it so the correct ideas that have emerged in it are its special feature. The latter are embedded in the former as gems in a heap of rubbish. The new gems cannot be had unless the new rubbish is destroyed. We have to undertake Islamic research again in this age not only to destroy the new rubbish but also to take possession of the new gems that it contains.

Drawbacks of the Refutations of Wrong Ideas already Attempted in this Age It may be said that the refutation of the philosophical ideas and systems of today has been already attempted by several scholars. But a common drawback of these refutations is that they do not answer all the questions that they raise and leave innumerable facts of existence unexplained and un227


related to the Qur’anic view of man and universe. They are not even based on a correct and sympathetic understanding of the view-point of our opponents. They, moreover, do not conform to the recognized intellectual standards of modern times and do not follow the accepted modern technique of philosophical reasoning and scientific exposition. The result is that they are unconvincing to the non-Muslim and hence utterly ineffective and useless. They are meant to please a section of the Muslims who are satisfied with the existing interpretation of Islam and consider it to be superior to all philosophies of the present or future whether or not it can be proved to the full satisfaction of others. Nothing short of complete philosophical system of Islam which fully recognizes and explains all the known facts of the existence can be a complete and convincing refutation of the philosophical ideas that challenge the foundations of our religion today.

Educating for Islamic Research Essential It may be argued that scholars like Syah Wali Allah, alGazzali and others mentioned above, who have produced an original and creative research work on Islam were special personalities who possessed extraordinary creative abilities for this kind ofresearch and that it will not be possible for us to get high standard original research work, such as we need at present, artificially by engaging persons who lack naturally endowed creative abilities even if they happen to be our best intellects. I submit in reply to this objection that in every society there is always a sufficient number of persons endowed with all sorts of capacities by nature, but generally their capacities remain dormant. They become manifest, even when they are badly needed by the society, only if their owner has the chance to live under a set of conditions which are particularly favourable for their full growth and expression. If we create such conditions for a number of our most powerful intellects we shall soonfind that many ofthem are able to produce most easily and efficiently the sort oforiginal and creative research work that we need. 228


Iqbal’s Philosophy of the Self the only Basis of Islamic Research in this Age -

Secondly, we have already had among us a specially gifted person who has given us all the salient points of that scientific interpretation of Islam which we require at present. That person is Iqbal and that interpretation of Islam is the Philosophy ofSelf. All that we need to do now is to develop and elaborate these points and, to carry them to the end of their logical conclusions. Ifwe do so we shall not only actualize the Philosophy of Self as a complete and coherent philosophical system recognizing and explaining all facts of existence, which potentially it is, but also provide a final refutation ofall philosophical ideas inimical to Islam which are in existence today or may exist in future. The real task before us is not, therefore, to create a scientific interpretation of Islam from the beginning but to develop and elaborate to the fullest extent a scientific interpretation of Islam which is already in existence. This task is relatively easy and does not require rare personalities for its accomplishment. It can be done by our best available intellects who have the necessary religious, moral and academic equipment.

Only One Philosophy of Islam is Possible There can be only one modern philosophy that is based on the intuition or vision of Reality which the Holy Qur’an creates, and not two or more. In case we grant that Iqbal’s Philosophy of the Self is that philosophy, as we in fact already do, it follows that no Islamic research proper (i.e., a research which aims at the creation of a complete scientific interpretation of (Islam) not a single page of it, is now possible outside the Philosophy of Self. This extremely important point is being sadly overlooked by our scholars of Islamic research at present. I said above that the misfortune of the non-Muslim is that while a valuable mass of facts about nature is now available to him in the form of Science, he does not understand the relation in which they stand to the nature of Ultimate Reality. That relation can be only one and not two or more. To discover~thatone relation in its full details is to 229


evolve a complete scientific interpretation of Islam. Hence the sort of Islamic research we need in this age can proceed only along a single straight line. That straight line was started by Iqbal and those who come after him have to draw it in the direction in which it is pointing. Indeed all knowledge develops along a single straight line. Discoveries or conclusions that deviate from that straight line are sooner or later discarded as baseless and wrong. Only that man can make a contribution to scientific knowledge who cares to know the point it has already reached, refutes successfully the portions of it that he believes to be wrong and substitutes those portions by new portions which are shown by him to consist of “real” facts. This is, for example, how our knowledge of the atom has advanced. Supposing a scientist were to arise and write a book on the constitution of the atom today ignoring completely the important contributions of the last scientist to this branch of knowledge, his book will not be worth much. Hewill appear to be a great atomic scholar to the ignorant but he will make himself ridiculous to those who happen to know the heights our knowledge of the atom has already achieved. Similarly the man who does not care to study and understand Iqbal’s Philosophy of the Self or who, having understood it, ignores it without affirming or refuting portions of it with which he agrees or disagrees respectively, cannot contribute anything valuable to the development of a scientific interpretation of Islam. The product of his research will remain backward and hence worthless.

The Essential Qualifications of the Islamic Research Scholar Since the object of Islamic research is to meet the challenge of wrong philosophical ideas to Islam, a knowledge of Philosophy and of the technique of philosophical reasoning will have to be taken as an essential part of the qualifications of an Islamic research scholar. In addition he must be conversant with the scientific method and has a general acquaintance with the recent advancements in the domains of Physics, Biology and Psychology along with their philosophical implications. This means that he must have some training in 230


Science. He must also possess a first-rate knowledge of the Arabic language to enable him to have a direct access to the subject matter of the sacred books. Another necessary qualification ofthe Islamic research worker will be a religious trend of mind showing itself in a deep love for Islam and a willing submission to its moral and religious discipline. A person who lacks the training and the acumen of the philosopher and a thorough knowledge of the philosophical and scientific ideas that have emerged up to date, will not be able to handle the work of Islamic research proper at all, although he may have a very good knowledge of the texts of the Holy Qur’an, Hadith and Fiqh and of all the books of our ancient scholars. Ofcourse, it will be difficult to find persons who possess all these qualifications up to the required extent from very beginning. But we can expect that even if a person has each of these qualifications somewhat below the required level he will go on adding to them as he will proceed with his work till they reach the required standard in every respect. An exceptionally brilliant student of Philosophy and Arabic who is not less than thirty years of age, who has a taste for the sciences, who has a deep love for Islam and is interested in Islamic research of the original and creative sort, will be ordinarily found to be a suitable person to take up the work of Islamic research, under the supervision of a competent guide. The quality of his work will depend very much on the quality of the guidance and training that he gets in the institute where he works.

The Points which must be Impressed on the Mind of the Islamic Research Scholar The institute of Islamic research where a research scholar is working will be expected to make him realize that for an efficient performance ofhis duties itwill be necessary for him. 1. To get himself fully acquainted with the spirit ofthe Holy Qur’an. In the absence of his acquaintance with the spirit of the Book it will not be possible for him to distinguish the wrong philosophical ideas from the right ones. The whole 231


worth or value of his work will depend on his ability to make this distinction. Hence he will have to spend a good deal of his time in the study ofthe Holy Qur’an, and Hadith and the lives of the Prophet and his companions and of the scholars and saints of Islam. 2. To develop a full acquaintance with the philosophical ideas at variance with the teachings of Islam which he has to refute. For this purpose he will have to study the original sources of these ideas with a sympathetic attitude of mind to begin with. We can not understand the thoughts of a great philosopher if we study him with a prejudiced mind and if we can not refute him. 3. To develop a complete acquaintance with the scientific and philosophical ideas that have emerged so far. 4. To address his writings mentally to the top-most nonMuslim intellectuals of the world so that he is able to make a strictly scientific and unbiased approach to the problems he is handling. 5. To endeavour to put a correct idea in place ofthe wrong idea that he is refuting and to answer in detail all questions raised by the new correct idea he is offering. A negative approach to philosophical problems can never create a conviction. This means that he will not be able to refute a wrong philosophical idea without creating a complete philosophy of the universe especially when that wrong idea already belongs to another philosophy ofthe universe. For example, itwill not be possible for him to refute the Marxian philosophy of History, till he has produced another more scientific philosophy of History which is consistent with the teachings of Islam. His Islamic philosophy of History will then raise a number of questions which will take him into other departments of Philosophy, and if he answers them too, as he must, his philosophy of History will develop into (P) a complete Philosophy ofthe Universe. Similarly itwill not be possible for 232


him to refute the theory of mechanical evolution without giving an alternative theory of evaluation which is consistent with the Qur’anic theory of the universe. The Qur’anic theory of evolution too will raise a number of questions whose answer will also constitute (Q) a complete Philosophy of the Universe. 6. Not to declare as wrong while refuting a particular wrong idea those philosophical ideas that he had put forward as correct ideas while refuting other wrong ideas previously. Similarly he should not put forward as true, while refuting a particular wrong idea, those philosophical ideas which he had declared as wrong while refuting another wrong idea in the past. On the other hand he should stick to his original position in each case. This means that he should take a position with respect to the correctness and incorrectness of an idea to which he can adhere all the time. This implies again that his refutation of different philosophical theories or ideas will be correct and successful only if he employs a single comprehensive philosophical system for the refutation of all of them. Thus, philosophical systems mentioned under (P) and (Q) in Paragraph (5) above must be identical. That comprehensive philosophical system which may be the final refutation of all wrong ideas can be built only out of Iqbal’s Philosophy of the Self, the modern philosophy of the Holy Qur’an in which all previous philosophies ofthe Holy Qur’an, in fact all philosophies of the universe advanced so far, have potentially achieved their culmination and perfection.



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Abd al-Wahhab, 2 Abdul Hamid Abu Sulayman, 36 Al-Adala, 6, 55 Al-fasad, 85 Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun, 4 Al-’tlm. 31 Al-Islam, 6 Al-Khilafah, 12, 49 Al-nafs, 31 Al-qalb, 31 Al-nih. 31 Aligarh, 16, 21 - 22, 38, 54-55 Anis Ahmed, 36, 37 Aristotle, 129 Asharites, 81 Aslama, 31, 32 Association of Muslim Social Scientist (AMSS), 36, 41, 4P Az-zulm, 85 BicVah, 2 Cairo, 41, 55 Canada, 36, 37 Civilization, 106, 115, 121, 129 — 30, 153, 185, 187—88,197,210 Cosmotic truth, 108 Deccan, 17 Delhi, 22, 41 Dhaka, 41 Divine, 79, 86-87, 95, 100, 102 Economic norms, 153, 156 Economic phenomena, 147

Emile Durkheim, 186 Evolution, 81-83, 86-87, 89,95 Fatwa, 120, 139 Fiqh, 14, 19, 45 Fttrah, 31, 32 Free-thinker, 131 Fu’ad, 80 Hasan al-Banna, 2, 4, 6-7, 13,46 Heraclitus, 81 Hyderabad, 17 Ijma’, 120 Ijtihad,2, 11, 13, 19—21, 51, 117 —21,124-25,224-25 Imam Ghazzali, 1 ImamRazi, 137 India,2, 12, 16-17, 22, 36, 46, 54 — 55 International Institute of Islamic Thought (lIlT), 25,36,40-42, 44, 46, 49, 54-55 International Islamic University, 44 Irfan Ahmed Khan, 22, 54 Islamic Culture, 148 Islamic Economics, 149—51, 154, 159-61, 163—65, 167—73, 175 Islamic Philosophy, 137 - 39, 141 -45 Islamic Research, 79, 80, 94 95, 97-99, 101-102, 137, 139, 143, 147, 151, 155, 170, 188, 197, 207 - 209, 210 - 13, 215, 217, 219, 221 — 23, 226, 228 — 231,


Profit-sharing, 154 Quantum Theory, 81

Ja’afar Syeikh Idris, 39 Jakarta, 41 Jamaat, 12, 21, 26, 46 Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, 2 Jihad, 2-4, 7, 12

Rabat, 41 Rabb, 81, 89 Rabitah al-Alam al-Islami, 21 Rahmat, 82, 88, 91, 93, 95 Rashid Rida, 2 Reason, 132-34, 137-39, 140— 42, 145 RevealedKnowledge, 137, 191, 195, 211 Revelation, 79, 87, 91, 93, 95, 97, 99 - 100, 102, 214 - 15, 217 Risala, 6 Russian philosophy, 145

Kant, 138 Khartoum, 41 Kun, 82 Lagos, 41 Lingua franca, 65 Ma’rffah, 31 -32 Madinah, 30, 36 Mahmood Rashdan, 36 Max Weber, 185 Metaphysical, 141, 142 Methodology, 100 - 103, 139, 187 -88, 192, 195 Mithaq, 31 Mudhakirah al-Da’wah wa alDi’ayah of Hassan al-Banna, 6 Muhammad Akram Khan, 26 Muhammad Iqbal, 2, 3 Mujahid, 13 Muqacldimah, 2 Muslim Brotherhood, 4, 5, 7 Muslim Economist, 147, 152, 155 Muslim philosophy, 128 Nejatullah Siddiqi, 24, 26, 45, 55 Neo-Platonic, 129


S. Farid, 38-39 SayyidAbulAlaMawdudi, 3, 12, 46 Sayyid Ahmed Khan, 16 Sayyid Qutb, 3 - 4, 6 7, 9, 13, 47, 55 Sayyid Zainul Abedin, 22, 24 Syah Wali Allah, 2 Syaikh Ahmed Sirhindi, 2 Syari’ah, 2, 11, 23, 32 Syirk, 2, 9, 59, 89 Sovereignty, 193-94 Tafhim. 19 Tahajiit al-Falas~fah.1 Taqlid, 2 Tarjuman al-Qur’an, 17,21 Tawhid, 59 Tazkiyyah. 88-89, 91


‘Ummah, 1 - 3, 5, 12 - 13, 17, 21, 37, 43, 46, 47,49, 51, 54 - 55 ‘Ulema’, 5, 13

Orientalism, 185 Pakistan, 26, 35, 42, 44, 46, 55 Plato, 129

Zakah, 164-65, 172


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