East-West Renewing Culture Islamic View of Man Episteme Centennial Dialog & Civilization Slide-Shows-wtp Muslim Women Studies- OnLine Review News & Views-1 Cairo_Seminar_Euro_islam


 - forum on religion & civilization

outline of a seminar

dr. mona abul fadl - 1998©


Rethinking Civilization

An Islamic Paradigm

First Questions

  • 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? (Sources)


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’]

Key Concepts

  • 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 value
  • yawm al din - al akhirah - aljaza wa’l hisab - al raj’aa (the ultimate return)


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

.... Affinities

  • A moral ecology is embedded in the universe and informs the culture of life
  • A Quantum Biology ?

  • the elements for a of civilization draw on textured affinities

At the Source:

  • The relation between

Reason and Revelation

  • The meaning of

The Phenomenon of the Qur’an

  • How to navigate a Universe
  • The challenge calls
    for renewing


‘ilm al tafsir wa’l bayan

  • The New Science

    a Categorical Imperative?

Wajib al Wujub

...the imperative of al wujub

  • ... Where all human perspectives
    point us to the Beyond...
    and Multiplicity
    points to Unity...
    we need to start at the Beginning,
    that we may identify the End...


Methodological Compatibility!

  • 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


Note: **

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