Differences in Approaching History Between Reform Oriented and Traditionalist Muslims

Contemporary rifts between reform oriented and traditionalist Muslims might be traced back to differences in their respective philosophies on the progress of history. By first examining the three most prominent enlightenment philosophies of history, which share much in common, and then contrasting them with pre-modern philosophies of history, I will lead us to the possible formulation of an Islamic philosophy of history.  Continue reading Differences in Approaching History Between Reform Oriented and Traditionalist Muslims

Reclaiming the Question

You wake up one day to find yourself in an ornate and decorated room. You have no recollection of who you are or how you got there. From the moment you are conscious, you are beset by a relentless curiosity: Who am I? Why am I here? You are attempting to make sense of the situation that you find yourself in. The aim of this metaphor is to illustrate an elemental fact: as humans, we find ourselves in an existential situation. We find ourselves participating in a reality – the cosmos – that is not our own making. We are, as Martin Heidegger put it, thrown into the world. As such, we are essentially constituted by a dynamic consciousness that is driven towards meaning in order to obtain insight into reality and its ultimate grounds. The search for ultimate grounds emerges because as humans, although we have a number of concerns (e.g., familial, financial, political, etc.), our ultimate concern is, and ought-to be, our existential situation that is embodied in two questions: where-from? And, where-to? Continue reading Reclaiming the Question

Scriptural Reasoning: Healing the Divide Between the Self and the Other

The purpose of this piece is to bring attention to the field of scriptural reasoning which, among other approaches, proposes the use of logic of relations and a constructive-critical engagement with the Other. These approaches help curb the colonial instinct, or what has been identified as the subsuming nature of the Western philosophical thought, that stems from Enlightenment prejudices. The healing nature of these approaches can lead to possibilities of mediation and peaceful coexistence in the contemporary world order and the interaction between Islam and the West. It will help understand the needs of both the Other and the Self without delegitimizing or oppressing either one, because upon losing sight of the aim of peaceful coexistence one is bound to fall into the colonial instinct — as is the case with Enlightenment reasoning. Continue reading Scriptural Reasoning: Healing the Divide Between the Self and the Other

Urban Places Rich in Islam? – The Ethos of an Islamic City in the Modern World

Istanbul’s enigmatic name mirrors its versatile history. While today Istanbul’s name is considered etymologically related to the quotidian expression of its well-established Christian population εις την Πόλιν (is tim polis, to the city), folk-etymological accounts of Turkish people attibutes its  origin to the phrase Islam bol which means “rich in Islam” (Inalcık 2001). But how can a city be “rich in Islam?” To rephrase the question: What does an idealized vision of an Islamic city look like? Continue reading Urban Places Rich in Islam? – The Ethos of an Islamic City in the Modern World

Shaykh Amin Kholwadia on Theology and Ontology in Medical Ethics

I’m going to try and explain the terminologies so it becomes easier for us to explain what we hope to do with bioethics or Islamic bioethics. Theology as the owner: the study of God and what God wants, God’s will, and what God wants us to believe in. That is the Islamic outlook. Ontology is the study of being and existence: the different layers and levels of being, not of God but of creation. God’s existence does not flow into the existence of creation. There is a separation there according to Islamic metaphysics. We have to be clear from the outset that when we are talking ontology and the theory of being in Islam, we are about not God’s being, but about how God has created being in layers. Continue reading Shaykh Amin Kholwadia on Theology and Ontology in Medical Ethics

Daqīq Al-Kalām Revisited in the Age of Modern Science

In the past, our respected ‘ulamā’ have developed ‘ilm al-kalām to rationally explain the various arguments of ʿaqīdah (Islamic creed). This discipline was further classified into jalīl al-kalām and daqīq al-kalām. The former deals with basic questions of Islamic creed and the latter deals with natural philosophy. Daqīq al-kalām can be said to be our scholars’ best achievement in explaining the natural world under the tenets of Islamic worldview. Continue reading Daqīq Al-Kalām Revisited in the Age of Modern Science

Reflections on Dualism in Blade Runner 2049

Is it possible to know what it is like to want to be desired or loved, without a soul? This thought-provoking question is grappled with throughout the film Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017). The protagonist Officer K (Ryan Gosling) is a Nexus-9 replicant who works for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and secretly yearns for real humanity, at least within his programmed limits. His love interest (Ana de Armas as Joi) is but a hologram, yet in her final moments, she attempts to utter the words “I love you.” Before she can finish, her virtual presence is wiped from existence, her data permanently destroyed. Continue reading Reflections on Dualism in Blade Runner 2049

Science, History, and Atheism: Q&A with Asadullah Ali

…the Islamic scientific tradition began to decline once we began to borrow from the West in order to compete with the West (ironically, considering they were then rejecting their own past tradition), and it replaced our former tradition of ingenuity, forcing us into a position where now all we can do is borrow. This, combined with numerous external factors and contemporary issues, is why the Muslim world is where it is today, and it won’t see another Golden Age until it stops relying on traditions outside its own. Continue reading Science, History, and Atheism: Q&A with Asadullah Ali