*Reviving the Islamic intellectual-spiritual-civilizational traditions in the contexts of contemporary epistemological-ethical-political crises*
Our real challenge in the 21st century is to recover the missing major components of Islam for almost 100 years of the 20th century namely the intellectual, spiritual and civilizational dimensions of Islam. Once we have recovered the colossal neglect of more than thousand years of Islamic legacy and heritage, we need to re-assert them in the contemporary parlance both for the muslims and non-muslims.
Our crises now are global and affected all humankind regardless their races and religions, nations and locations as well as languages and cultures. Our global political, economic, ecological and social crises must be analyzed from their intellectual, spiritual and civilizational roots if we are genuinely want to reduce if not totally eliminate them.
While the muslims can continue endlessly fighting each others with regards to who hold the right interpretation of Islam, the souls of humanity are infinitely being impoverished by the empirically-driven way of knowing realities, the relativistic attitude towards ethics and morality, and the materially-obsessed civilization pioneered by the post-medieval European Christianity and modern western secular Enlightenment ideology.
A reign of terror that we witness today for example, apart from a form of neo-Khawarij literalists and textualists of the past muslims can also be regarded as a manifestation of relativistic-anarchistic postmodern children employing technologies of Enlightenment instrumental rationality devoid of intellectual-spiritual-civilizational understanding and appreciation of human lives as having sacred meaning and purpose.
Thus, our present challenges are crystal clear: how to revive a time-tested intellectual-spiritual-civilizational traditions of Islam to engage with the epistemological-ethical-political crises resulting from both modern western secular Enlightenment ideology now transformed into postmodern relativism and anarchism.
At least at this juncture, we can propose three-pronged strategies to deal with the current global crises; 1) the need to re-articulate the intellectual-epistemological tradition based on our Tawhid way of knowing (Ilahiyyat); 2) the need to re-inculcate the spiritual-ethical tradition based on our Prophetic way of life (Nubuwwah) and 3) the need to re-formulate the civilizational-political tradition based on our belief in human final destination (Eschatology/Sam’iyyat) as well as in our approach to leadership (Imamah).
The way our great Mutakallimun discussed and arranged the Principles of Religion (Usul al-Din) in their Ilm al-Kalam writings just shows how brilliant they are in constructing systems of human belief and thought which are reflected afterward into human actions and institutions. Interestingly the epistemological-ethical-political crises of the contemporary humankind are well captured in our great Mutakallimun methodology and framework of Ilm al-Kalam for us to benefit from.
By Dr Amran Muhammad (ISSI).