Science and Technology

Traditional Muslim Classifications of the Sciences: Comparative Notes on Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi and Ibn Khaldun

Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) was born two decades after the death of Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi (1236-1311). This means that we may treat them as contemporaries. Those who know the life history of these two notable and fascinating Muslim intellectuals  could find it quite interesting making comparisons and contrasts between them. Ibn Khaldun, an Arab by birth, was a philosopher-historian; Qutb al-Din, who hailed from Shiraz, a city of historic importance in the Persian-speaking world, was a philosopher-scientist. Both traveled extensively in the Muslim world, both as a scholar and as a diplomat, for the two had been patronized by the rulers of their day.

The Spiritual and Ethical Foundation of Science and Technology in Islamic Civilization

Muslim scientists and technologists have for centuries pursued their scientific and technological activities within a spiritual and ethical framework.  There was a profound reason for their insistence on such a framework. They believed in an epistemology in which unity of science and technology and spiritual knowledge is duly maintained. They defended this belief by appealing to both revelation (wahy) and reason (‘aql) or to both religious (naqliy) and intellectual (‘aqliy) arguments. By naqliy arguments we mean arguments that are drawn from the Qur’an, the Hadiths, and other transmitted sources. For ‘aqliy arguments on the other hand, we mean philosophical and scientific arguments that are assembled for the purpose at hand through the independent exercise of reason. In Islamic intellectual tradition, these two types of arguments are not considered as opposed to each other but rather complementary and corroborative.

Classification of Knowledge in Islam: An Islamic Architecture of Knowledge

Classification of Knowledge in Islam: Items to be discussed

  • Welcome to the world of Islamic architecture of knowledge 
  • Classification of knowledge as an landmark in Islamic intellectual history 
  • Historical overview of classifications of knowledge in Islam 
  • Why is classification of knowledge important to the Islamic mind? 
  • When and why did classification of knowledge stop as an intellectual activity in Islamic civilization? 
  • The relevance of the Islamic idea of classification of knowledge to the contemporary world 
  • The need to revive the Islamic tradition of classification of knowledge

Cultural Symbiosis and the Role of Religion in the Contemporary World: An Islamic Perspective

Abstract : The main aim of this paper is to provide an introductory discussion of the issue of the human need for a cultural symbiosis in the contemporary global community and of the constructive role that religion could play in delivering this global need. We will, however, be examining the issue at hand mainly from the perspective of Islam, since it happens to be the religion with which we are most familiar. But our chosen theme of discussion here with an emphasis on Islam is also influenced by other considerations. We realize that the perspective of Islam on the issue in question is little known to many non-Muslims even though it is important in its own right, thus meriting a serious study by scholars. Today, Islam is the second largest religion in the world after Christianity and also the fastest growing. Moreover, for various reasons, Islam is increasingly recognized even by its critics as having the capacity to positively influence world events and global affairs and the future direction of world history. More often than not, Islam‟s influence is perceived negatively. The association of Islam with violence, as portrayed by many circles today, is a good illustration of this widespread misperception of Islam. In these circumstances, it is therefore important to highlight Islam‟s positive teachings drawn from its rather rich treasury – spiritual, intellectual, and cultural – that could give a big helping hand to the present humanity in its task of realizing the goal of cultural symbiosis in this sharply polarized world. 

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