The most important
manifestation of the knowledge crisis is dichotomy in the education system: traditional Islamic vs. imported European. Integration of the 2 systems has failed. Secularization of education eliminated the moral dimension and violated
the aim of Islamic education to produce an integrated and perfect individual, insan kaamil. Dichotomy in knowledge
is the main cause of the weakness and malaise of the ummah today. The ummah needs to reform its education system and adopt
a new knowledge strategy. Educational and knowledge reform are a pre requisite for tajdid because tajdiid = idea +
action. The vision of the knowledge strategy is an upright balanced person who understands the creator, knows his place, his
roles, his rights, and his responsibilities in the cosmic order. The mission of the knowledge strategy is Islamization which
is conceptual transformation of the education system from kindergarten to post graduate studies to reflect tauhid, positive moral values, objectivity, universality, and serving the larger causes of humanity.
1.0 CHARACTERIZING THE EDUCATIONAL CRISIS IN THE UMMAH
1.1 Manifestations of the crisis
There is pervasive
ignorance of uluum al diin and uluum al
dunia. There is little respect for scholarship. Wealth and power are considered more important than scholarship. There
is neglect of the empirical sciences. There is a dichotomy in the education system: traditional Islamic vs. imported European,
ulum al diin vs ulum al dunia. Integration
of the 2 systems has failed or has been difficult because it has been mechanical and not conceptual. The process of secularization in education has removed the moral dimension from the education and
violated the aim of Islamic education to produce an integrated and perfect individual, insan kaamil. The brain
drain from Muslim countries has compounded the educational crisis.
1.2 Ummatic malaise due to the knowledge crises
deficiency and intellectual weakness are the most significant manifestation of ummat’s
decadence. The intellectual crisis of the ummat is worsened by copying and using
poorly digested alien ideas and concepts. The prophet warned the ummat about the lizard-hole phenomenon in which the ummat
in later times would follow its enemies unquestionably like the lizard running into its hole. Among the manifestations of
the ummatic malaise are deficient ibadat, action deficiency, political weakness,
economic dependency, military weakness, dependence in science and technology, and erosion of the Islamic identity in life-style.
of the Prophet (pbuh) was the best generation. The best teacher met the best students and excellent results were obtained.
Companions had excellent knowledge and understanding. Seeds of the current crisis appeared towards the end of the khilafat rashidat... New social and political forces overthrew the khilafat
rashidat and the ideals it represented were distorted or abolished. Then the authentic ‘ulama and opinion leaders who remained faithful to the ideals of Islam were marginalized and persecuted.
Intellectual stagnation then ensued. The process of secularization of the Muslim state progressed. Widespread ignorance and
illiteracy became common. Many non-Islamic ideas and facts without valid proof have found their way into the intellectual
and religious heritage of the ummat making the existing intellectual crisis even
1.4 Knowledge, a pre requisite for tajdid
Reform and revival
of the ummat will occur through educational and knowledge reform. Tajdid is a recurring
phenomenon in the ummat and is a sign of its health and dynamism. It is a basic
characteristic of the ummat that periods of reform/revival alternate with periods
of decay and return to jahiliyyat. Tajdid
requires knowledge, ideas and action related by the following mathematical equation: tajdid
= idea + action. Action without knowledge and guiding ideas will not lead to true change. Ideas without action are not change
at all. Tajdid requires and is preceded by a reform in knowledge to provide ideas
and motivation on which to build. All successful societal reform starts with change in knowledge. The ideal society cannot
be created without a knowledge base. That knowledge base must be correct, relevant, and useful. Successful revival movements
throughout Muslim history have always been led by scholars.
1.5 Knowledge: strategy, obligations, and etiquette
The Muslim ummat is a potential economic and political bloc
whose potential is not yet realized. The contemporary tajdid movement has a
lot of strengths but also has basic deficiencies that must be corrected. The knowledge and intellectual crises are still a
barrier. Reform movements unguided by correct knowledge and understanding will falter and fail or will be deviated from their
paths. Social change requires change in attitudes, values, convictions and behavior of a critical mass of the population.
Attitudes, values, convictions, and behaviors are determined by the knowledge base. The vision of the knowledge strategy is
an upright balanced person who understands the creator, knows his place, his roles, his rights, and his responsibilities in
the cosmic order. The mission of the knowledge strategy is conceptual transformation of the education system from kindergarten
to post graduate studies to reflect tauhid, positive moral values, objectivity,
universality, and serving the larger causes of humanity.
2.0 ISLAMIZATION AS THE SOLUTION
TO THE EDUCATIONAL CRISIS
2.1 The concept of Islamization:
a process of recasting the corpus of human knowledge to conform with the basic tenets of aqidat
al tauhid. The process of Islamization does not call for re-invention of the wheel of knowledge but calls for reform,
correction, and re-orientation. It is evolutionary and not revolutionary. It is corrective and reformative. It is the first
step in the islamization and reform of the education system as a prelude to islamization and reform of society.
History of Islamization
centuries H witnessed a failed effort at Islamization of knowledge. Greek scientific knowledge was transferred to Muslims
together with Greek philosophy and ideas that caused confusions in aqiidat. Greek science depended more on philosophical deduction
than experimentally-based induction. It discouraged the scientific tarbiyat of the Qur’an which emphasized observation
of nature as a basis for conclusions. The recent Islamisation movement towards the close of the 14th century H
aimed at de-europeanizing education systems and building an education system based on tauhid.
2.3 Reform of disciplines:
to start with reforming the epistemology, methodology, and corpus of knowledge of each discipline. It must be pro-active,
academic, methodological, objective, and practical. Its vision is objective, universal, and beneficial knowledge in the context
of a harmonious interaction of humans with their physical, social, and spiritual environment. Its practical mission is transformation
of the paradigms, methodologies, and uses of disciplines of knowledge to conform to tauhid.
Its immediate goals are: (a) de-Europeanizing paradigms of existing disciplines to change them from parochiality to universal
objectivity, (b) reconstruction of the paradigms using Islamic universal guidelines, (c) re-classifying disciplines to reflect
universal tauhidi values, (d) reforming research methodology to become objective, purposeful, and comprehensive (e) growth
of knowledge by research, and (f) inculcating morally correct application of knowledge. The Qur’an gives general principles
that establish objectivity and protect against biased research methodology. It creates a world-view that encourages research
to extend the frontiers of knowledge and its use for the benefit of the whole universe. Scientists are encouraged to work
within these Qur’anic parameters to expand the frontiers of knowledge through research, basic and applied.
Misunderstanding the reform process
been misunderstood as rejection of the corpus of existing human knowledge and disciplines. It has been misunderstood as creation
of knowledge exclusive to Muslims. It has been misconstrued as rewriting existing text-books to reflect Islamic themes without
deep thought about the paradigms and methodology. It has also been confined to spiritual reform of the student, scholar, or
researcher. The following superficial approaches to civilization have been tried and failed: ‘Insertion’ of Qur’anic
verses and hadiths in an otherwise European piece of writing, searching for scientific facts in the Qur’an, searching
for Qur’anic proof of scientific facts, establishing Qur’anic scientific miracles, searching for parallels between
Islamic and European concepts, using Islamic in place of European terminologies, and adding supplementary ideas to the European
corpus of knowledge.
2.5 Practical steps / tasks of the reform process:
The first step
is a good grounding in Islamic methodological sciences of of usul al fiqh, ulum al Qur’an, ulum al hadith, and 'uluum al llughat. This is followed by reading the Qur’an and sunnat
with understanding of the changing time-space dimensions. This is followed by clarification of basic epistemological issues
and relations: wahy and aql, ghaib and shahada, ‘ilm
and iman. This is followed by an Islamic critique of basic paradigms, basic assumptions,
and basic concepts of various disciplines using criteria of Islamic methodology and Islamic epistemology. Islamic reviews
of existing text-books and teaching materials are then undertaken to identify deviations from the tauhidi episteme and the Islamic methodology. The initial output of the islamization process will be Islamic introductions
to disciplines, muqaddimat al ‘uluum, establishing basic Islamic principles and paradigms that determine and
regulate the methodology, content, and teaching of disciplines. This parallels Ibn Khaldun’s Introduction to History,
muqaddimat presented generalizing and methodological concepts on historical events. Publication and testing of new
text-books and other teaching materials is a necessary step towards reform by putting into the hands of teachers and students
refomed material. Developing applied knowledge in science and technology from basic knowledge will be the last stage of the
reform process. This is because in the end it is science and technology that actually lead to changes in society.