View Full Version : Promoting Study of Islam at Stanford


Talal
04-14-2010, 05:23 PM
Promoting Study of Islam


Stanford University has received $9 million to endow a program and professorship in Islamic studies -- gifts that could position the school to become a powerhouse in the study of the world's second-largest faith.
The field of Islamic studies has attracted more interest, research and students since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
In the last two years, student demand for classes on Islamic religion, culture, history and languages has soared. And many universities, including Stanford, have not been able to keep pace.
Retired Oracle executive Sohaib Abbasi and his wife, Sara, hope to change that, Sohaib Abbasi said. The Atherton residents, who were born in Pakistan, donated $2.5 million to establish the Islamic studies program, Stanford announced Friday.
In addition, Stanford alumna Lysbeth Warren gave $2 million to endow a new Islamic studies professorship. Both gifts were matched by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, bringing the total to $9 million.
Abbasi said he and his wife made the gift "to ensure this becomes the premier program of Islamic studies in North America."
The money "enables Stanford to really jump-start and develop a major program," said John Esposito, founding director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. "You don't have anything like that between the East Coast all the way over to the West Coast."
Alan Godlas, a religion professor at the University of Georgia who runs a prominent Islamic studies Web site, said there are fewer than a dozen endowed professorships in the discipline across the United States.
In part, he said, that's because Muslims have not donated to higher education to the extent that people of other faiths have.
"Now, I think, after 9/11, American Muslims realized that unless they endow Islamic studies programs, Islamic education is going to be in the hands of people abroad who have little understanding of the importance of developing a progressive Islam," Godlas said.
An estimated 7 million of the world's more than 1 billion Muslims live in the United States, according to a Georgetown survey.
Abbasi said the Bay Area is home to one of the country's largest communities of Muslims.
Robert Gregg, a Stanford religious studies professor who will direct the new program, said the gifts from Warren and the Abbasis will secure funding for graduate students; beef up offerings in Arabic and other languages widely spoken in the Muslim world; and strengthen Stanford's library.
While Stanford is noted for its archive of modern Middle Eastern writings, Godlas said, it lags behind the University of California-Berkeley when it comes to archives of classical Arabic and Persian texts.
The program endowment also will allow Stanford to sponsor visiting scholars, conferences and lectures. Courses from a range of disciplines, including history, religion, law and anthropology, will be woven into the new program, Gregg said.
Sohaib Abbasi said he and his wife began discussions with Stanford a year ago, after a friend introduced them to Sharon Long, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences.
Abbasi joined Oracle in 1982 when it was a start-up with 30 workers.
By the time he retired in March, the software giant boasted 42,000 employees and yearly revenues of $9.5 billion.
Sara Abbasi is on the executive board of Developments in Literacy, an international non-profit that has built 200 schools in Pakistan since 1997.
The couple previously endowed a computer science professorship and fellowship at the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana, Sohaib's alma mater.
The Stanford donation is the couple's largest gift to date, and both will continue to help raise money for the program.
"We both feel very privileged to be a part of this," Sohaib Abbasi said.

pir_Rokhan
04-14-2010, 05:58 PM
No offence intended,but this is just another effort to find more advocates for the domination of the Arab culture and distracting [as ultimately what we call Islam turns out to be an Arab intepretation of some cultural and aesthetic wisdom] and a lot of talented people instead of contributing to science and technology to solve the problems of humanity at large end up falling prey to the old disease of scholasticism and intellectualisation [called Ilmul kalam in arabic literature] instead of creativity and intellectualism.

Talal
04-14-2010, 07:14 PM
" No offence intended,but this is just another effort to find more advocates for the domination of the Arab culture and distracting "

Sohaib Abbasi is a Pakistani, you think he will give 2 million to run an arab cultural program ?

pir_Rokhan
04-14-2010, 07:40 PM
Credere,For a moment get out of the Pakistani compulsive obsessive mind set and read what I wrote again.My post had nothing to do with Pakistani running an Arab cultural program but an apprehension about the spreading,propagating and promulgating of a certain interpretation of what he or his team or the faculty would normally call "Islam" and hence making no contribution to the progress of humanity rather hindering it by sapping the energies of a lot of talented persons.Give it a serious heed before passing any verdict of juristic nature.

Talal
04-14-2010, 07:54 PM
I did rokhan and believe me i have learned more about Islam here in the west than i have in Pakistan. Especially universities, the muslim student associations provide such a good atmosphere for bringing people together as a muslim nation and you really do learn a lot about each other cultures and an even greater deal about Islam. Just giving you the example of the MSA at my university, this last friday like most fridays the khutba was given by a shia guy and the audience included everyone from arabs to pakistanis, Iranis, Afghans and turks.

But you might be right, although i still fail to understand your objection to it. maybe if you elaborate a bit further as to 'how' a progressive approach to educate people about Islam will hinder people contributing to science and technology to solve the problems of humanity at large and instead they will end up falling prey to the old disease of scholasticism and intellectualisation

Laila
04-14-2010, 08:30 PM
Wow, Stanford University...nice....
Que, you should also apply to Stanford =) That way i can see you on a Saturday or something :P

Due to our state budget cuts, i hope they complete this project. Even if the money is donated, there are still other expenses.

Talal
04-14-2010, 08:34 PM
Ooo Stanford is nice is that where you go ?

Laila
04-14-2010, 09:05 PM
Ooo Stanford is nice is that where you go ?

He he he....maybe ::rolleyes::

nah i dont go to Stanford.....tuition is too high....and my parents make too much money so they would have to give a little bit over $50,000 out of pocket money for tuition.

Laila
04-15-2010, 02:48 AM
^you sound rich.

Ha ha if i was rich, then i could afford Standford tuition.

Are you the same person who said this before? :P

pir_Rokhan
04-15-2010, 10:48 AM
I did rokhan and believe me i have learned more about Islam here in the west than i have in Pakistan. Especially universities, the muslim student associations provide such a good atmosphere for bringing people together as a muslim nation and you really do learn a lot about each other cultures and an even greater deal about Islam. Just giving you the example of the MSA at my university, this last friday like most fridays the khutba was given by a shia guy and the audience included everyone from arabs to pakistanis, Iranis, Afghans and turks.

But you might be right, although I still fail to understand your objection to it. May be if you elaborate a bit further as to 'how' a progressive approach to educate people about Islam will hinder people contributing to science and technology to solve the problems of humanity at large and instead they will end up falling prey to the old disease of scholasticism and intellectualisation

While it is a fact that the religion or specifically Islam taught in Pakistan is the major reason for the retrogression of the Pakistani society [and all other societies in general] there might be a probability that it would not be the same case in the west.It is once we talk about what is being termed as progressive or or what is the concept of MSA,ISNA or other such societies that one can comment.However ,whatever I know about the very philosophy of religion or Islam is that after all the zeal , fervour and enthusiasm the new converts or the "born again" muslims turn out to be no different than those who glorify Arab culture,language and civilisation instead of having a serious ,sincere and intellectually honest approach to find out the reality ,if any ,in religion and how it can help solve the problems faced by humanity.

Talal
04-15-2010, 07:05 PM
^ to an extent you are right rokhan, but from my personal experience there is much to learn at these insititutions if one is willing to. I think you are referring to the administrative politics that goes on in these organisations, and how they influence "what" should be taught....I agree completely with that, but unfortunately there are is no way to get away from it.

pir_Rokhan
04-16-2010, 04:38 AM
Credere/Talal

No you got it wrong. I was referring to the ideological basis of religion itself.The version of religion taught at our madrassas [which I sometimes refer to as mad-rassas] is out of date and irrelevant to our contemporary problems and their solutions as the syllabus mostly was that proposed by the syllabus of Nizam.In the west,I am not sure untill I know about the syllabus being taught,however ,to the level I know it ,due to the faculty dominance or investment of the Arabs,what they teach to the common muslims is more of what is called organised religion in the academia which is aimed at the glorification of the Arab culture instead of a serious inquiry into the truth and reality of religion as a metaphysical discipline.

Roshina
04-16-2010, 10:32 AM
Pir Rokhana, don't worry about the Islamic Studies syllabi in the west :) Consider the syllabus I had for my Quran class, for instance.
The link is https://segue.middlebury.edu/view/html/site/reli0350a-s09/node/1890811. (No, that's not the university I go to, but the syllabus belongs to my teacher.)

I'm 107.86% sure that the syllabi here are NOTHING like what you might come across in "Muslim" countries. In fact, I'd encourage more and more Muslims to go into Islamic Studies because the Qrratugai you see here now is what she is only because of the classes she's taken IN Islamic Studies! (It's almost ironic, no? :celebrate:) And that's cause our professors aren't allowed to impose ONE perspective on us, or any at all; they are *obligated* to introduce us to as many as the semester time will allow. Some of my teachers say, "It's unfortunate that we don't have as much as time as we'd like so we can thoroughly study these points, but now that you're introduce to them and know that they exist, you should study them at your own pleasure and will when you can if you're interested."

In one of the first Islamic Studies classes I took here at my uni, my professor said to us, "We don't 'teach' religion; we don't aim to make anyone a better Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jew, etc. We learn here the different ways the religion is interpreted and how/why that is possible and important, the religion's history, some prominent classical and contemporary scholars in that religion, and so on. We are NOT ALLOWED to teach you HOW to be a Muslim, Christian, etc."

And he said that because the misconception about religion is that the professors TEACH you how to become a "good Muslim/Christian/etc.," many parents are unwilling to allow their children to take classes on religion.

In all honesty, the types of classes we have here (my uni has a really, really amazing Islamic Studies program with brilliant professors that I wouldn't trade for anything else, da khwdey shukar dey) are such that one CANNOT make up one's mind. Since I'm specializing in the Middle East and South Asian studies combined with Islamic Studies, some of the classes I've taken and am taking currently are (in no particular order):

- The Quran
- Hadith: Second Scripture of Islam
- Shiite Islam
- Islam in South Asia
- Islam in Afghanistan
- Gender, Religion, and Women in South Asia
- The Arab Culture
- Modern/Contemporary Islam
- Interpreting the Middle East

And some that I don't remember at the moment. In the Hadith class that I'm taking this semester, we have/had to read an entire Hadith Book; the professor chose Muslim's Sahih because it is more voluminous than Bukhari's, has more hadiths than Bukhari's. We've also had to read books that discuss the history and science of hadiths, along with hadith scholars, so you learn how it all works and, if they're important, why they are so.

Oftentimes, students will disagree on the things discussed in class. The teacher is not allowed to tell us what ANYTHING means; he CAN say, however, that "According to So-and-So, this is what it means." One of my favorite professors loves to say at times, "I'm not convinced" (lol! :D) if you present an argument and try to defend it. He'll let you keep on talking until you can convince him ;) Of course, he won't be convinced all the time, but at least you got yourself heard by someone who knows what he teaches.

So, yeah. You get to express your opinions about any particular hadith you want and virtually express a point of view that doesn't HAVE to match that of other Muslims, as long as you can defend it well. You get to question, you know ... I love the feeling. In other words, you're not graded by how good of a practicing Muslim you are but by how well you defend or explain your view, whether it agrees with what Ibn al-Salah (author of An Introduction to the Science of Hadith)or al-Bukhari has said or not. And the professors tell us that the more creative we become in our thinking, the better for class discussion and the better our grade.

I know this is how it is in at least most other institutions that have Islamic Studies, including UCLA and UC-Berkley because I've professors who graduated from there and who taught there.

UCLA is unfortunately going to be losing its Islamic Studies department, even though one of my most favorite scholars, Khaled Abou el-Fadl, is chair of department there, :lal8: but as of now, it's still there.
I've read that in terms of ranking, Duke, Emory, Princeton, and Chapel Hill are among the best. Emory, though, ranks #1 in Islamic Studies and #3 in Religious Studies in general. But my advisers think that with the kind of mind I have, I should go either to Emory or Duke for further studies; the others will disappoint me miserably, they say, lol. (That means they're not as open and welcoming in their thinking and are not AS welcoming to Muslim women's perspectives as they are to men's.)

So, bottom line: Don't worry :D Islamic Studies in the West is the BEST. I've heard Oxford in the UK and University of Toronto in Canada are just as good, by the way. So if anyone living in either of these countries and interested in Islamic Studies, there ya go; consider them :D :D

pir_Rokhan
04-16-2010, 01:56 PM
I am neither impressed by the contents of the syllabi nor the fact [rather assumption] that Islamic studies in the west is the best.What has been expressed seems to be all judgmental ,opinionated,subjective and esoeteric utterence of one's understanding which infact needs to be nuetral,objective and unbiased, instead, to be accepted in the academic world.

However My point and apprehension still stands out undebated.I would like to appreciate reflection about the point which I have mentioned in my post,that is, Islam [as taught in east or west] as a tool of Arab cultural domination instead of an honest inquiry into the realm of reality.

Badlun
04-16-2010, 03:14 PM
Pir Rokhan is pointing at a very important issue ..Islam as a religion and Arab Cultural propaganda in the form of Islam.
Religion is faith+worship+morality and its all some one´s private matter nothing to do with culture, politics, society, economy , law , science , philosophy etc. Whats is going on in the name of Islam is not only religion but beyond that and instead of justice faith, worship and morality, Arab culture , social norms, etc are propagated in the name of Islam.

We Pashtuns are the worst sufferers of this Arab cultural invasion that we are losing our Pashtunwali to Arab culture and Arab social norms. And we are more than Arabs in its propagating and its implementation. What Taliban is doing in the name of Islam is all to implement Arab culture, law etc on us.
We must differentiate religion from other aspects of life. If one wants to be Muslim because he or she likes Islamic beliefs, mode of worship and moral codes then must do it but may not promulgate Arab culture on others in the name of islam.

All these expenditures on promoting Islam is just a waste of financial resources nothing else. There are many other important areas where these funds can be spent more appropriately. People are dying of hunger and having no clothes and having no primary schooling facilities and you are spending millions of dollars in universities in promoting Islamic studies!! and why you dont spend it on science and technology and other modern sciences in place of teaching people religion which is one´s private affair.

Talal
04-16-2010, 03:46 PM
Qrratugai pretty much summed it up, you have some typing stamina girl :lal:

Master Khan
04-16-2010, 03:58 PM
He he he....maybe ::rolleyes::

nah i dont go to Stanford.....tuition is too high....and my parents make too much money so they would have to give a little bit over $50,000 out of pocket money for tuition.

When you go Afghanistan don't say that down there.
just giving you a advise:ninja:

Laila
04-16-2010, 05:35 PM
^^ umm okay

@ Que, why is UCLA losing its Islamic studies? They have one of the best Islamic departments there.

Looking forward to Stanford opening this department, i just hope it really goes through.

pir_Rokhan
04-16-2010, 07:16 PM
Pir Rokhan is pointing at a very important issue ..Islam as a religion and Arab Cultural propaganda in the form of Islam.
Religion is faith+worship+morality and its all some one´s private matter nothing to do with culture, politics, society, economy , law , science , philosophy etc. Whats is going on in the name of Islam is not only religion but beyond that and instead of justice faith, worship and morality, Arab culture , social norms, etc are propagated in the name of Islam.

We Pashtuns are the worst sufferers of this Arab cultural invasion that we are losing our Pashtunwali to Arab culture and Arab social norms. And we are more than Arabs in its propagating and its implementation. What Taliban is doing in the name of Islam is all to implement Arab culture, law etc on us.
We must differentiate religion from other aspects of life. If one wants to be Muslim because he or she likes Islamic beliefs, mode of worship and moral codes then must do it but may not promulgate Arab culture on others in the name of islam.

All these expenditures on promoting Islam is just a waste of financial resources nothing else. There are many other important areas where these funds can be spent more appropriately. People are dying of hunger and having no clothes and having no primary schooling facilities and you are spending millions of dollars in universities in promoting Islamic studies!! and why you dont spend it on science and technology and other modern sciences in place of teaching people religion which is one´s private affair.

Osho ,you are such a blessed soul.

pir_Rokhan
04-16-2010, 07:33 PM
Qrratugai pretty much summed it up, you have some typing stamina girl :lal:

Talal

What she summarised was the contents and methodology of the curriculum taught /offered in a westren varsity ,in her well elaborated post,which I am sure is just episode 1 of her reflections.

The contents of the curriculum ,for example, which have been mentioned, in no way prove that they are not used as a means to indoctrinate the Arab language and culture.

Just for reference,here is a glimpse of Darse Nizami syllabus as taught in Pakistan.One can see how far do they get from reality after studying for so many years.No wonder after getting "garduated" from Dars - Nizami , they start considering the masses around them as some lunatic aliens who need to be shown the right path.

1st year
nahav meer
ahkam us salat
insha ul arabia
tarqatul jadeda
ilm ut tajweed
muhadsa
sarf bihai
asas e arabi
..............
2nd year
tasheel un nahav
tasheel us sarf
noor ul ezah
tasheel ul mantiq & taleem ul mantiq
mutala arabia
hidayat un nahav
...............
3rd year
qudoori
osool e shashi
kafia
sabae mualliqat
mirqat
duroos ul balagat
al itqan
ilm ulm quran
...........
4th Year
sharah mulla jami
hidaya
noor ul anwar
sharah tahzeeb
talkhees ul miftah
jalalain
musnad imam e azam
risyaz ul salihen
...........
5th Year
jalalain akhri
hidaya
hussami
mukhtasar ul muaini
mishkat shareef
............
6th Year
tuzeeh wa talweeh
hidaya
tafseer e bedawi
zubdatul fikr
siraji
sharah aqauid
....
final Year
sahih bukhari
sahih muslim
jami timrizi
sharah muaini ul asar
sunan nisai
sunan abu dawood
asar e sunan
sunan ibne maja

pir_Rokhan
04-16-2010, 08:21 PM
On what basis are you arguing that we are losing our culture to Arab culture.

I think we still follow Pashtunwali.
Peshawar and Kandahar being the cultural capitals of Pashtuns both have a strong sense of Pashtunwali.


I understand how Arabs have intertwined their culture with Islam, but Pashtuns rarely accept foreginers imposing sactions.

The basis of my point is the fact that religion is misinterpreted to be taken equivalent to Arab culture of those times.The practices at those times which are known to the world through Traditions,are considered equivalent to standard practices of the religion and any critcism of those Arab traditions are considered as the critique of the prophtic methodology and an innovation into religion called " bidaa".

Islam, as preached by the prophet of Islam, was a set of reformative principles and practices for the Arabs to transform their society into a progressive one opposed to their earlier anti human cultural practices and retrogressive norms which were against the principles of evolution ,progress and prosperity.However it was used an an imperialist ideology to conquoer other lands and cultures.

Roshina
04-16-2010, 08:42 PM
@ Que, why is UCLA losing its Islamic studies? They have one of the best Islamic departments there.

Looking forward to Stanford opening this department, i just hope it really goes through.
I'm looking forward to Stanford's as well!

UCLA is losing it because of the complaints it has received from the students in the Islamic Studies department. But it's got really good faculty, so I'm upset!

Roshina
04-16-2010, 08:47 PM
^What did you learn about in Islam in Afghanistan.

We discuss the different ways Islam is practiced throughout the Muslim world, and it includes Afghanistan. I'm currently writing on what all I've learned on these classes, so once I'm done with them fully, ka khairee, I'll share it here on PF. Give me some time, though. :) It's part of a project I've currently got going on.

Roshina
04-16-2010, 09:15 PM
Talal

What she summarised was the contents and methodology of the curriculum taught /offered in a westren varsity ,in her well elaborated post,which I am sure is just episode 1 of her reflections.
It would be - if I weren't familiar with the graduate department of Islamic Studies in the same uni. I've friends in it who tell me about their experience as well (some are Muslims, some non-Muslims). And the same professors who teach us at the undergrad level teach at the graduate level as well. One class that's on graduate level is called Modernism & Islam, and I get to sit in on it when I have time; the teacher doesn't mind. So I assure you that it's not just an "episode" or the first episode :D I can't imagine why they'd be this progressive with the classes I'm taking with them and any less progressive with their graduate students. Yeah?

Rest assured, then, wrora ;) Islamic Studies in the west is out to transform us into active thinkers, not passive submitters (right word?) :D


The contents of the curriculum ,for example, which have been mentioned, in no way prove that they are not used as a means to indoctrinate the Arab language and culture.

Oh, I completely agree that it's a perfect way to indoctrinate our minds with the Arab culture. The kind of stuff they familiarize us with in Arabic courses is one of the best means of doing that! But because of the importance of Arabic (both language and culture, in a way) in understanding Islam, we have no choice BUT to learn it. I mean, you can't really go into Islamic Studies without knowing Arabic. If you don't know Arabic, you can't talk about translations and interpretations of the Quran, and since that's what I'm planning to pursue, I HAVE to fully learn Arabic.

I don't have a problem with learning other languages or accepting (what I consider) the good aspects of other cultures; it's when I have to abandon my OW language and culture to accept and appreciate others that I don't support.


Just for reference,here is a glimpse of Darse Nizami syllabus as taught in Pakistan.One can see how far do they get from reality after studying for so many years.No wonder after getting "garduated" from Dars - Nizami , they start considering the masses around them as some lunatic aliens who need to be shown the right path.

LOL! Yes, that's Pakistan and other Muslim countries for ya. That's why I couldn't handle Islamic Studies in Muslim countries. I'd study Arabic in a country like Egypt, Morocco, or Yemen, but take courses IN Islamic Studies in a "Muslim" country like Pakistan? Never.

Speaking of curricula, take a look at this description of Islamic Studies from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. (http://www1.georgetown.edu/departments/arabic/academics/graduateislamic/)

The Islamic Studies Ph.D. program at Georgetown seeks to advance knowledge and understanding of classical and modern Islamic religious thought and Islamic textual traditions, and to provide understanding of Islamic culture and intellectual history in the pre-modern and modern periods. The program offers undergraduate and graduate training in the study of the history, religion, culture, society, languages, literatures, and thought of the Islamic world, and introduces students to the traditional and modern scholarly approaches to the study of Islam.
Entering students must have at least three years of Arabic and are expected to enroll in advanced Arabic seminars. To upgrade their proficiency, students may be required to enroll in language classes concurrent with their graduate program. However, Arabic language courses taken to enable students to reach the seminar level do not count towards the degree credits. Students already enrolled in the terminal Master’s program at Georgetown must apply again if they are interested in joining the Ph.D. program; these students are not guaranteed admission, and will be considered by the admissions committee along with other applicants from outside the department.

Note their emphasis on intellectual understanding of Islam from both the classical and modern perspectives.

The courses offered (http://www1.georgetown.edu/departments/arabic/academics/courses/) in the same institution include:

- Several years of Arabic (reading, writing, formal Arabic, colloquial Arabic (Egyptian dialect), Morphology and Syntax, etc.)
- The Quran in History: A historical study of the Qur'an and other allied disciplines. Themes include the Islamic concept of the Qur'an; thematic and formal aspects of the Qur'an; modes of interpretation and principles of exegesis; and medieval and modern controversies regarding its history, formal structure, authorship and authority.

- Quranic Exegeses: This interactive graduate seminar presents an introduction to the corpus of Sunni Islamic Tafsir from the ninth to the 20th century. 1.) After a brief survey of the theoretical literature on the topic, 2.) the main authors of the Sunni Qur'anic Tafsir literature are identified; in this segment, each student (or a study group of several students) chooses a specific mufassir for in-depth analysis of this exegete's socio-political setting and intellectual/theological background and methodology. Thereafter, 3.) the seminar focuses on several Qur'anic sociopolitical concepts (such as qiwama and shura) where the students are called upon to identify patterns of continuity and change in Qur'anic hermeneutics over time. The seminar is conducted in English, but most of the readings are from the original (largely medieval) Arabic sources.

- The Quran: A linguistic, literary, and cultural analysis of the Qur'an, with special attention to its central position in these areas of Arab civilization. Fall: Suras of the Meccan period. Spring: Suras of the Medinese period.

- Islamic Law Concepts and Controversies (No description available on the website)

- Women in the Quran: The first part of this course introduces the women figures in the Qur'an and explores their role in the Qur'anic and later Islamic religious paradigms. In the second part, this course focuses on the Qur'an's gender-specific laws and regulations and their later interpretations.

- Islamic Legal Theory and Legal Change

The rest can be viewed at the link (http://www1.georgetown.edu/departments/arabic/academics/courses/) provided. I pasted only the ones that are of personal interest to me.

It's the same in all other major universities in the U.S., which include Duke, Emory, Yale, UCLA, Harvard, and University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. I emphasize these ones 'cause I know some of the faculty there.

Roshina
04-16-2010, 09:38 PM
I am excited now.

LOL! Don't be ... then you might be disappointed.

But please remind me in, say, 2-3 months about sharing those here in case I forget.

pir_Rokhan
04-17-2010, 06:28 AM
Oh, I completely agree that it's a perfect way to indoctrinate our minds with the Arab culture. The kind of stuff they familiarize us with in Arabic courses is one of the best means of doing that! But because of the importance of Arabic (both language and culture, in a way) in understanding Islam, we have no choice BUT to learn it.


This is my basic point.I condem this approach.It is a cheating which the presenters and the propagators of the Islamic studies do.The serious students of Islamic studies should raise a voice against it.How is it a cheating? Here is the answer.

In 99.99% of cases Islam is projected as the way of life,the salavation for humanity,the only true philosoophy of life,the perfect system of life,correct code of life,the universl teachings of the prophets etc etc.

All these definitions if analysed by any student of epistemology are purely academic ones.If you say that it is an explanation of life and existence ,you need to refute the contemporary and/ or ancient ideas about life and existence. It encompasses ,the theory of origin of universe,the nature of life,the compostion and nature of human beings,all these are the topics of physics,biology and philosophy.

If you assert the existence of God and consider it a source for all Islamic teachings you need to discuss the scholarly arguments for the existence of God or the refutation of non existence of God.This includes among other things the basic conceptions about logic,ontology and physics.You cannot neglect creationist vs evolutionary approaches,the scholastic intepretations of for example, Shahwaliullah ,Jamaluddin Afghani,Syed Qutub,Mohmmad Qutub,Iqbal,Harun Yahya etc from the modern age and Ibne Rushd,Al Ghazali,Almawardi,Ibne Arabi etc from the medieval age and a lot more.

Similarly you need to question the modern sociological theories and concepts about society, its growth, institutions,civil rights etc in case of social and family related injunctions of the Quran etc.You need to be aware of the the role of various revolutions and their contribution to the make up of various defintions related to family,social group,community,soceity etc.

The same is true about a lot of other aspects of life which need to be considered.Without these considerations ,as I claimed earlier ,defining Islam ,is just an effort to arabise people in the name of Islam.Asking them to learn the science of religion [islam] while practically teaching them just about the language,culture and history of the nation who claimed to offer a solution to the problems of humanity and not critically evaluating te solution itself.This is same as asking people to learn science and technology and practically teaching them about British,European and American cultures instead of teaching them about Pure and Applied Sciences like Physics,Maths,Biology,Chemistry ,Engineering ,etc

I hope this necessarily explains ,thoug not sufficiently,what I wanted to commnunicate.

khyaal
04-17-2010, 04:02 PM
Interesting!