Concept Note

Islamic Epistemology

 

Knowledge production houses have always circumvolve around the epistemological foundations. The seeds that germinated and gave rise to the discussions of the sources of knowledge (‘Ilm) which instigated the amalgam of ‘Revelation’ (Waḥy) and ‘Reason’ subversive to the long established thought patterns, Islamic epistemological tradition unleashed great intellectual upsurge. Clearing horizons obscured by the limited lines of discussions, it bolted and continued the debates till date in the academic discourses. The design outlined and enhanced with the trajectories of “Ijtihād”, which stands undeniably striking feature of the Islamic knowledge tradition. It tackled the obstacles to extract solutions out of complex contextual necessities and posited as diplomatic immunity from momentous crises. Never leaving a fatal vacuum, the whirlwind of discussions emerged on Philosophical and Jurisprudential domains. The debates which acted as a protein for the Islamic intellectual exercise led in the emergence of the various ‘schools of Jurisprudence’ and other ‘Philosophical schools’, triggered discussions on every parts and parcels of human lives. Hermeneutics, Texts and Contexts, Interpretations, doctrines amidst modernism and post modernism are consulted under the guise of this canvas. The discourse is spearheaded with various ideologies engaged with their theological and ideological baggage. The whole process is therefoe bolstered with the developments of research methodologies and subsequent tools and are ought to be improvised for more insightful expansion and advancement.

 Identity Formation: Nation State, Civil Society and Islam

 

The current political scenario engages with diverse critical approaches over the scope and end of nationalism and nation state with the emergence of various theoretical frameworks.  The notions of citizenship and its exclusivist criteria have been challenged/ re-imagined by the conscious engagements of multiple identities and marginalized sections in and out of a nation state. While the existing demographical divisions over Majority/Minority unleashing major means of innate violent genre of nation making and sustainability, discourses over exclusion and inclusion come up to the forefront.  The emerging trends of Civil Society enrooted in various spheres of identity formulation are interrogating the narratives of mainstream polity and state apparatus. Analytical endeavors to re-structure categories of discrimination in the light of Social Justice apparently invoking critical voices against the prevailing structural deficiencies in addressing Race, Caste, Gender and Minority. Offering a glimpse at Islamic Liberation Theology as an alternate critical approach toward such onslaughts of discriminations would worthwhile to be discussed. The vital themes of various political projects that seek to position Islam in the centre of any social order can be analyzed by recapitulating proceeding debates over Ummah, Khilafah and Islamism. Redefining norms of Plurality and Nationhood give away an approach to confront hegemonic measures by necessary critical exploration of Decoloniality, Post-nationalism and Post-secularism. Academic discourses over these wider themes will be held by emphasizing newer cognizance in the contemporary global political circumstances.

Civilizational discourses in the light of Maqāsid al Shari’a

 

The domain of Maqāsid al Shari’a (The higher intents of Islamic law) spread over the whole scenarios of civilizational discourses, in which human life can be achieved diverse solutions through its contextual cognizance and pragmatic approaches. The foundation of Islamic Law can be concisely pointed out as “Bringing benefits and warding off evil” (Jalbul-Masālih wa Dar’-ul Mafāsid), which has been solely affirmed by the prophetic narration “Neither harming nor reciprocating harm”.  The appliance of these higher intends in the field of law and ethics must be thoroughly investigated through the prisms of existing debates.  Various manifestations of civilizational achievements in our times underline a severe deficiency of sustainable developmental projects with venerable visions of a better future. The knowledge explosion in the arena of Science and Technology transformed the world into a global digital village. Meanwhile these colossal developments coupled with enormous impacts on peoples’ lives. Islam provides its benevolent principles of construction (Ta’mir), nevertheless maintaining a crucial caution over multiple means of destruction (Tadmir). The widening economic gap between privileged and dispossessed in a global scale and the existing exploitive inequalities compelled us in the realization of an inevitability of Inclusive economic development. Islam promotes a holistic vision of fulfillment of basic necessities (Hadd-ul Kifayah) and security (Amn) with its encompassing implications in different social circumstances. These broad themes would be analyzed in the light of Maqāsid al Shari’a with a lenient emphasis of contemporary approaches in wider sphere of understanding.