Professor Dr. Aref Ali Nayed
THE SECOND WORKSHOP ON KALAM EPISTEMOLOGY IN CONJUCTION WITH KLIKS 2016
The 2nd Workshop on Kalam Epistemology was held at the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) on March 23 to 24, 2016 in conjunction with the Inaugural Kuala Lumpur Symposium on Kalam (KLIKS 2016). In his welcoming speech, Dr Amran Muhammad (Managing Director of ISSI and South-East Asian Director of Kalam Research Media (KRM)) stressed on the importance of epistemology as the key factor in reviving kalam. He reminded the audience of the disarray affecting the development of kalam today, whereby it is occilating between rationalism and post-positivist philosophy of science yet remaining oblivious to the contribution of metaphysics for a meaningful existence. Dr. Amran thanked the co-organizers including IKIM and several Indonesian institutions for their support in making this workshop possible.
During the opening session, Dr. Hamid Fahmi Zarkasyi, the Deputy Rector of Universitas Darussalam of Gonton, Indonesia spoke about the importance of specialized scholars convening to discuss their very specialized subject area. He proposed that this gathering might be the beginning of a specialized community of scholars who develops kalam as a manifestation of Islamic philosophy. His lecture was followed by that of the host, which is the Director-General of the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM), YBhg. Professor Datin Dr. Azizan Baharuddin, who quoted from a book that was recently published by IKIM called “Islamic Scientific Tradition in History”, in which the author, Prof. Alparslan Aćikgenć regards kalam as a “system peculiar to the Islamic tradition” essentially equating it with Islamic philosophy. She expressed her hope that more scholars from the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) would be involved in this kalam revival project.
The program for Day 1 continued with two Keynote Speeches by Prof. Dr. Aref Ali Nayed, who is the founder-director of Kalam Research Media (KRM), as well as the Ambassador of Libya to the UAE, followed by Shaykh Dr. Saeed Foudah, a leading Jordanian scholar of kalam. Prof. Aref called upon the new generations of scholars to look for “gold” or rather the “nodes” of knowledge that are kept by our great mutakallimūn of the past. Among the methods of inquiry mentioned by Prof. Aref Nayed was the reliance on semantic keys employed by our scholars. A simplistic understanding of words and their meaning would restrict our minds from unlocking the vastness of our scholars’ interpretations, as evidenced from the possibility of using the word “aql” as a verb instead of the what we normally do, which is to conceive its meaning only as a noun. Shaykh Dr. Saeed Foudah ended the opening day of the workshop through his convincing reiteration of the direct connection between kalam epistemology to our receptivity of knowledge (‘ilm) from Allah and the Prophet through His Book and Sunnah of the Prophet.
The workshop resumed on Day 2, with penetrative discussions by several regional kalam scholars from Malaysia and Indonesia. Their presented papers can be accessed here.