The Islamic and Strategic Studies Institute (ISSI) in partnership with Kalam Research and Media (KRM), held an inaugural workshop on Kalam Epistemology, “Reason and Revelation in the Age of Extremes” at the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) in Kuala Lumpur on January 27 2016. The workshop is the first event undertaken by the KRM network in the Southeast Asian region through its strategic partner in Kuala Lumpur, ISSI.
“We have organized this workshop to address a serious gap in understanding Kalam epistemology in the context of modern epistemology,” said conference organizer Dr. Amran Muhammad, Managing Director of ISSI and KRM Southeast Asia Director. “A renewal of Kalam epistemology in this time is essential to providing an authentic counter-narrative to extreme misinterpretations of Islam that have led to confusion among the umma and resulting aberrations.”
Eleven scholars gathered to deliberate on various aspects of Kalam epistemology, led by Dr. Amran Muhammad. During the morning session Dr. Mohd Zaidi Ismail (Deputy Director-General, Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia IKIM) discussed ‘Understanding Islam as Trans-Rational, Yet Not At All Irrational, Religion: Reviving the Ghazalian Approach to Logic, Knowledge and Certainty’. Dr. Ismail was followed by Dr. Hamid Fahmy Zarkasyi (Universitas Darussalam Gontor Indonesia) discussed his work ‘The Epistemological Implication of al-Ghazali’s Account of Causality’. Dr. Aldila Dato’ Isahak (Assistant Professor, International Islamic University Malaysia IIUM) presented her ideas on her work ‘Salient Features of al-Maturidi’s Theory of Knowledge’. Dr. Mohd Farid Mohd Shahran (Director, Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia IKIM) presented his ideas on his work ‘The Priority of Rational Proof in Islam: The View of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi’. Adnin Armas M.A. (Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought and Civilisation INSISTS Indonesia) presented his work on the ‘Necessary Knowledge in al-Razi’s Epistemology’. Dr. Kholid Muslih (Universitas Darussalam Gontor Indonesia) presented his work on ‘al-Ghazali’s and Ibn Taymiyya’s Views on Aristotle’s Logic: Their Efforts in Building an Alternative Islamic Logic as a Thinking Tool’. (The work is in Arabic):
موقف (أبو حامد الغزالي وابن تيمية) من المنطق الأرسطي وإنشاؤهما المنطق الإسلامي البديل لبناء أساس معرفي
In the afternoon Dr. Syamsuddin Arif (Director, Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought and Civilisation INSISTS Indonesia) shared ideas on his work ‘The Mutakallimun’s Rebuttal of the Sophists’. Dr. Wan Suhaimi Wan Abdullah (Associate Professor, Centre for Advanced Studies on Islam, Science, and Civilisation (CASIS) Universiti Teknologi Malaysia UTM) presented his his work on ‘Abu al-Barakat al-Baghdadi’s Concepts of Knowledge and Its Acquisition’. Dr. Megawati Moris(Assistant Professor, International Islamic University Malaysia IIUM) shared her work and ideas on her work ‘Abdus Samad al-Falimbani’s Classification of Knowledge’. Dr Abdul Hayyie al-Kattani(Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought and Civilisation INSISTS Indonesia) discussed his work on ‘Knowledge and Certainty in al-Qushayri’s Epistemology’, (the work is in Arabic):
المنهج المعرفي الكلامي عند عبد الكريم القشيري
Dr. Abas Mansur Tamam (Universitas Ibn Khaldun Bogor Indonesia) presented his work on ‘Reason and Passion in al-Mawardi’s Epistemology’. (The work is in Arabic):
مفهوم العقل والهوى: دراسة معرفية في الفكر الماوردي
Throughout the workshop, participating scholars offered their advice, insight, support and encouragement in each other’s studies. One outcome of the workshop was a consensus that each scholar would write an article on their subjects, to be presented at a second workshop. The second workshop will convene in 23-24 March 2016 in Kuala Lumpur. These articles will form the basis of an upcoming monograph on Kalam Epistemology.
The aim of Kalam Research & Media is “to revive the theological and spiritual discourse in Islam though its network of scholars, professionals and institutional partners around the world,” said KRM Executive Director Sohail Nakhooda. “The ISSI-KRM Inaugural Workshop on Kalam epistemology is an important step in advancing Islamic Analytic Theology in Southeast Asia and to revive the discourse of scholars on this key discipline. Without a sound understanding of Kalam epistemology, educators and scholars will not be able to guide Muslims with a unified understanding or made a robust contribution to critical questions shaping modern discourse.”