Epistemology And Curriculum Reform Islamic History and Culture


Definition of History
History is the past event of human life. In another sense an account of what has happened, narrative, story and tale. We see in an international dictionary that history is a branch of knowledge that record and explain past events as steps in the sequence of human activities, the study of character and significance of human activities, used with qualifying object.

Meaning of Culture
Art, literature, and other intellectual of a particular society or time.

Tabari on the Companions of The Prophet: Moral and Political Contours in Islamic Historical Writing

Albrecht Noth's landmark study, recently (1994) expanded with the collaboration of Lawrence Conrad and translated from the German by Michael Bonner, identified a number of motifs in early Islamic history writing. One of these was the way in which the doctrine of the status of the Prophet's companions became a dominant theme featured in the accounts of the riddah and fitnah wars. Following this historiographical support, Sunni thought posited the companions as models of piety, steadfastness, and bravery in early Islam. I want to argue in this paper that a close reading of Tabari's presentation of the companions in the first fitnah (the Battles of the Camel and Siffin) reveals a more nuanced view of this dominant conception. I suggest that this was a reflection of Tabari's unique place in Baghdad society, and his mastery of the use of sources in presenting early Islamic history.

The Renaissance of Islam

In Western accounts of the Middle East since 1789, Islam is often treated as a primary impediment to the spread of technology, science, and modern democratic values in the region. As a review of the historical record demonstrates, nothing could be further from the truth--for Islam encourages, and even demands, that Muslims acquire knowledge and reform society.

In this respect, the modern Middle Eastern experience stands in stark contrast to that of medieval Europe, where Christianity was indeed a real obstacle to intellectual progress. In Europe, where it first arose, the ideology of 'secularism' gave direction to a lengthy effort to emancipate humans from the hold of a corrupt religious institution. When the same ideology was belatedly introduced into the Middle East late in the nineteenth century, it became a tool of domination used to weaken local religious institutions as part of an effort to consolidate the cultural and social power of despotic authorities.

Muhammad: The Universal Man of All Times

Throughout history, human beings have celebrated the qualities of men and women whose lives were believed exemplary and inspiring, giving rise to the cult of prophets, sages, military leaders, and charismatic political figures. Of all this galaxy of individuals who have dominated human thought and imagination, the Prophet Muhammad, Jesus Christ, and Gautama Buddha continue to enjoy unbelievable influence in societies around the world. The Prophet Muhammad's reputation and influence are most evident in the daily rituals of Muslims, who link his name in prayer to that of the grand patriarch Abraham. Few people are as memorable as Muhammad, Jesus, and Buddha. What is distinctive about Muhammad is that he is referenced not as a savior but as a final messenger who metaphorically brought the last divine direct connection, through which men and women could maintain direct and unmediated contact with the celestial world. Yet, this very claim of the man from Arabia has made him simultaneously the most hated and most loved human being ever to step on the surface of this earth: The venom directed at him and his movement has coagulated in the bloodstream of history. Our age is as affected by this poison as were the generations that came after him. The great irony is that his message was called Islam and the root of this word is very much related to another Arabic word, salaam (peace).

The Rise of Intellectual Property, 700 B.C.--A.D. 2000: An Idea in the Balance - part 1

The concept of intellectual property -- the idea that an idea can be owned - is a child of the European Enlightenment. It was only when people began to believe that knowledge came from the human mind working upon the senses -- rather than through divine revelation, assisted by the study of ancient texts -- that it became possible to imagine humans as creators, and hence owners, of new ideas rather than as mere transmitters of eternal verities. 

Besides being distinctively modern, intellectual property is a dense concept, woven together from at least three complex strands of jurisprudence -- copyright, patent, and trademark -- each with its own sources in premodern custom and law, and each with its own trajectory into our own era.

Still, copyright, and the complementary concepts of authors' rights and literary property in continental law - the focus of this essay -- are at the core of the modern concept of intellectual property. It was here in the eighteenth century that the language of "ideas" and "property" first came into contact with one another, and first forged a legal bond. And it was here, too, that the very idea of a property right in ideas was most sharply contested -- at the outset, and to the present day.

The Rise of Intellectual Property, 700 B.C.--A.D. 2000: An Idea in the Balance - part 2

The tension within Enlightenment epistemology left those policymakers concerned with the book trade on the horns of a philosophical dilemma. Did knowledge inhere in the world -- or in the mind? To what extent were ideas discovered -- and to what extent were they invented?

Condorcet argued that knowledge was objective and thus fundamentally social in character, belonging to all. Diderot, along with Young, Lessing, and Fichte, viewed ideas as subjective, originating in the individual mind and thus constituting the most inviolable form of private property.

The rise of the knowledge society

Since ancient times, new knowledge and new inventions have periodically remade human societies. Today, however, knowledge is assuming greater importance than ever before. Now more essential to the wealth of nations than either capital or labor, Peter Drucker argues here, it has already created a "postcapitalist" society and promises further transformations on a global scale. 

In only 150 years, between about 1750 and 1900, capitalism and technology conquered the globe and created a world civilization. Neither capitalism nor technical innovations were new; both had been common, recurrent phenomena throughout the ages in both the West and the East. What was new was the speed of their diffusion and their global reach across cultures, classes, and geography. And it was this speed and scope that converted technical advances into the Industrial Revolution and capitalism into Capitalism. Instead of being one element in society, as all earlier expressions of capitalism had been, Capitalism--with a capital C--became society. Instead of being confined, as always before, to a narrow locality, Capitalism prevailed throughout all of Western and Northern Europe by 1850. Within another 50 years it spread throughout the entire inhabited world.

Remembering Muhammad Hamidullah.

It was a damp fall morning in Paris. The year was 1983. I had wandered through the streets for almost an hour and had finally found the apartment where Professor Muhammad Hamidullah lived a solitary life. I knocked at the door but there was no answer. I waited for a while and knocked again. When no answer came, I left a note and returned to my hotel. Later that day, when I came back to my hotel after a long stroll, I found a small note on the door of my room: "I am sorry to have missed you. I was in my apartment, but my hearing is not good anymore. Please accept my apologies. Hamidullah."

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