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  1. Islamisation of Knowledge: Problems, Principles and Prospective click
  2. Islamic Thought in the Modern World click
  3. An Approach to Knowledge and Human Limitations click
  4. The Balance Sheet of Western Philosophy in this Century click
  5. Man between Two Laws: A Qur’anic Perspective in Understanding Self and Understanding the Other click


Book Review: Doing history: Research and writing in the digital age. PDF Print E-mail

Doing history: Research and writing in the digital age, with its extensive coverage of the fundamentals of research, is capable of transforming a budding historian and a novice reader not only to a great one but also to a great reader, as well as a critical thinker and citizen. In their systematic approach to the writing of history, James Madison University Professors of History, Galgano, Arndt, and Hyser endeavour to explain to a beginner in the field of research the process of choosing a topic, locating sources, analyzing and interpreting such sources, and “then presenting the findings in an organized and clear manner” (p.ix).

The book consists of six chapters preceded by a preface and an introduction and followed by two appendixes and an index. Chapter one begins by responding to the question: “What is history?” However, the chapter in the words of the authors “goes beyond simply describing the discipline and the tools necessary to practice it by offering an overview of the rich variety of approaches historians use to study the past” (p.ix). For example, they raise the issue of the misuse of history, a practice that takes place when history is twisted to serve certain political ulterior ends. According to the authors, the difficulty of maintaining objectivity, of looking at the past with an eye devoid of personal prejudice and points of view, is yet another problem of historical inquiry. Through the discussion of the ideas of certain figures such as the German scholar Leopold von Ranke, and Karl Marx, along with the Positivist and Progressive schools, the authors provide an overview of the history of historical writing, emphasizing the nineteenth century as the century that gave birth to the modern “way of thinking about the past and writing history.” Full text in PDF

Education and transmission of knowledge in medieval India PDF Print E-mail

Saiyid Zaheer Husain Jafri

The various regions of the Indian subcontinent came into contact with the Islamic cultural tradition in the seventh century CE. Indian scholars were able to leave a mark on the world of Islamic scholarship especially in the fields of ḥadīth and other connected disciplines, significantly underlining their recognition for contributions in the Islamic East. An attempt has been made to analyse and to understand the processes of transmission of knowledge through formal and informal means, including the transfer of accumulated experience to the next generation and even the passing of “intuitive knowledge” to the seeker of knowledge. It has been argued that the level of Indian scholarship in certain disciplines was at par with the level of scholarship in the Islamic East. It has also been examined that during the medieval period Sanskrit based studies flourished at important Hindu pilgrimage centres such as Benaras, often described by European travellers as the Athens of India. The Royal and private libraries functioned with firm footings. Finally, it is shown that education and transmission of knowledge was organized in a manner that owes much to the best of Greco-Arab tradition.
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Toward the Islamization of History: A Historical Survey PDF Print E-mail


 History, or more properly the writing of history, had been during the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans an elitist activity, meant for glorifying the class of power, position, and birth. Parts of these histories were fabulous in nature. The Muslims (Arabs) introduced the idea of history as factual record. During the Middle Ages, history writing slipped into what it was in the Greco-Roman times. In the 16th century, the middle class, those with accumulated capital, wrote histories. A colonial history, too, developed, enshrining a European view of history that still continues in school curricula. The 20th century saw changes. The writing of history became an imperialist necessity. When imperialism collapsed, the focus disappeared. History became miniaturized and atomized. The entry of television and information technology brought instant histories. Islamic history writing accepts history as an instrument of Allah's will and mode of living the good life. 

Generally, mankind is and has been concerned with history. How could it be otherwise? The desire to be remembered and to shape experience are powerful incentives. Of course, writing from an entirely neutral perspective is not possible. All observers have explicit and implicit agendas. This article's goal is to note and analyze these agendas and to show how the historical slant has grown decidedly Euro-American.

From Cairo to the Straits Settlements: Modern Salafiyyah Reformist Ideas in Malay Peninsula PDF Print E-mail

Hafiz Zakariya

Early twentieth-century Malay Peninsula witnessed the emergence of Islamic reform movements. The Malay reformists who were discontented with the socio-economic and political conditions of the Malays criticised the Malay elites and called for “reformation” of their society. The Malay reformists derived inspirations for their reformist ideology from the leading Middle Eastern reformists, Muhammad Abduh, Rashid Rida and others, known as salafiyyah. Available data suggest that the transmission of salafiyyah ideas in particular, and Middle Eastern reformism in general, to Malay Peninsula were made possible by many factors. Of these factors, the roles of the haramayn, the centres of learning in Cairo and the invention of printing machines have been least explored. This study attempts to fill in the void in the existing literature.

Muslims from the Middle East and the Malay Archipelago was due to many factors, including the rapid development in navigation technology, the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, the monetization of the colonial economy, which benefited certain classes in the colony, and the greater global mobility of populations.2 Other variables that have not received sufficient scholarly attention are the roles of the haramayn and Cairo, and the impact of printed media in the transmission of ideas. This study analyses the role of these three hitherto neglected variables in the spread of the Islamic reformist ideas in the Malay Archipelago in the light of available archival data.

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The Arabic Cultural Influence on the Balkans: An Outline PDF Print E-mail

Enes Karic

It was with great pleasure that I accepted the invitation from Dr. Yahya Mahmud bin Junayd and Dr. Awadh al-Badi to be with you today. I am very happy to be able to speak to you on this special occasion about an important and very large topic: the Arabic cultural influence on the Balkans. I am particularly glad to be speaking on this theme in the hall of this eminent institute, the King Faisal Centre for Islamic Studies and Research.


I will begin by saying that I shall not deal at length with either the history or the geography of the Balkans, for I am justified in assuming that the audience I am addressing today is familiar with these, at least in outline. I shall therefore proceed at once to the topic itself.

Worlds of Difference: European Discourses of Toleration C. 1100-C. 1550 PDF Print E-mail

Cary J. Nederman,University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000. 157 pages.

This is an appealing and clearly written account of how European thinkers from late medieval to early modern times reflected upon and explored the question of what to do about people of different religions and cultures. In other words, how should their divergent opinions be understood and, eventually, what practical dispositions should be taken toward them? Cary Nederman devotes the introduction and first chapter to an excellent, detailed explanation of the book’s focus and goals. Simply put, he is intent upon challenging two currently dominant views: that toleration emerged in Europe only at the time of the Reformation, and that it is ineluctably linked with the kind of political liberalism usually associated with John Locke. To this end, he calls the reader’s attention to expressions of religious, and even somewhat political, toleration that appear early in the twelfth century and continue well into the sixteenth century. Unfortunately, he does not succeed in this ambitious, even appealing, stratagem as fully as he would have wished, for he admits in passing that he is content to “offer illustrations,” instead of a “comprehensive account,” of this phenomenon.
Empire and Elites after the Muslim Conquest: The Transformation of Northern Mesopotamia PDF Print E-mail

Chase F. Robinson, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 221 pages.

Perhaps one would not expect a history of “Islamic rule” in the seventh and eighth centuries in what is now the Middle East to illuminate any contemporary debate on Islam, in particular about whether there is an innate civilizational clash between it and the (Christian) West. And yet this modest study manages to do that, if only tangentially and coincidentally, and if read with some reservations. Cambridge historians are renowned for their preoccupation with elites, generally of provinces far removed from the centers of power, and hence their single-minded focus on the “politics of notables” of relatively minor localities. From such provincial concerns, however, emerge more universal claims about, for instance, the nature of British colonial rule in India or of Islamic rule in the Middle Ages. Chase Robinson, following this tradition, assesses – as “critic and architect” – the changing status of Christian and Muslim elites following the Muslim conquest of northern Mesopotamia.

Mekka in the Latter Part of the 19th Century PDF Print E-mail

C. Snouck Hurgronje, Leiden: Brill, 2007. 326 pages.

The annual spectacle of millions of pilgrims flooding Makkah has captured the imagination of generations of readers. This interest in the hajj, however, has not necessarily produced quality scholarship. From crude ethnographic summaries to careful narratives of spiritual attainment, the literature has been inconsistent at best. Brill’s republishing of Dutch scholar Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje’s (1857-1936) forgotten work offers the modern reader not only an invaluable window into the hajj as practiced before the age of mass communication, but provides a hitherto neglected discussion on the social, cultural, political, and economic impact that the experience had upon Muslims.

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