forum on religion & civilization
of a seminar
mona abul fadl - 1998©
An Islamic Paradigm
- What is Civilization?
- Why study civilization?
- How do we study Civilization?
- What kind of paradigm do we need to understand civilization?
- What resources are needed to construct such a paradigm?
- Where do we turn for orientation and instruction in our field task?
Religion and Civilization?
- What is Religion?
- How are Civilization and Religion connected?
- Is a civilizational perspective that ignores religion viable? ... valid?
- What can a religious perspective offer?
- What can a civilizational perspective contribute to the religious?
Weights and Measures:
- Identity and Difference: What do civilizations share in common? In what way
do they differ?
- How do we distinguish between civilizations? Are all civilizations the same?
In what respects are they similar and where do they differ?
- Where do we go for criteria to arbitrate and judge?
Agency and Responsibility
- Is there room for human agency in a civilizational / religious perspective?
- What do we mean by the ‘moral dimension’ in civilization?
- Is morality subject to the precept of the One and the Many?
[what role is there for the paradigm here?]
... A Science of Culture?
- Is the human factor limited to value-judgements?
- What influences human action?
- What role can religion play in shaping human action?
- In what way do philosophy, science, and religion overlap?
[..Again, what role for the ‘paradigm’]
- Civilization as a field of collective witness? [‘ummat al shahada’]
- madinat al Shuhud al Hadari
- Religion as a source of ultimate values?
cognitive - affective - symbolic
- al Deen al Qayyim
- Humankind as a privileged species?
- al Khilafa fi al ard ( Vicegerency)
- The Here-and-Now:
Life-world as an arena for trial and tribulation, challenge and opportunity
- Amanah - Fitna -Ibtila’ - al sabq
- The Hereafter:
the vistas of human agency and responsibility; the condition for ultimacy in
- yawm al din - al akhirah - aljaza wa’l hisab - al raj’aa
Sources of Knowledge
- Observation and Revelation
[reason and the senses]
- Mediated directly through the empirical world - History- Archaeology- Nature
- ... And indirectly in the revealed Word:
God, prophethood, scripture
Consonances & Resonances
- A field of correspondences between
.... the Seen and the Unseen
...Creation and Revelation
Codes and Keys
- the architecture of the
Book and .... the Universe
- A moral ecology is embedded in the universe and informs the culture of
- A Quantum Biology ?
- the elements for a of civilization draw on textured affinities
At the Source:
Reason and Revelation
The Phenomenon of the Qur’an
- How to navigate a Universe
- The challenge calls
‘ilm al tafsir wa’l bayan
- The New Sciencea Categorical Imperative?
Wajib al Wujub
...the imperative of al
- ... Where all human perspectives
point us to the Beyond...
points to Unity...
we need to start at the Beginning,
that we may identify the End...
- With the Qur’anic universe as key
on this journey
of discovery and construction ...
plotting a navigational chart
is the condition
for using that key
A Qur’anic Hermeneutics ?
an Islamic Perspective
for the Study of Civilizations and Culture
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