Friday, November 18, 2022

Islam Requires A Renewed Scientific Rigour, Philosophical Vigour And New Hermeneutics: New Age Islam Columnist Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi On The “Ghazali Day” In Jamia Arifia— Khanqah-e-Arifia, Allahabad

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 18 November 2022 The “Ghazali Day”—an annual educational and cultural competition among the madrasa graduates and students of Alimiyat and Fazilat (courses on classical Islamic sciences)— is organized by Jamiyat-al-Talaba (students’ association) of Jamia Arifia, Saiyed Sarawan, which is running under the aegis of Shah Safi Memorial Trust of the Khanqah-e-Arifia in Allahabad (Prayagraj) in Uttar Pradesh. Students of Dars-e-Alia Nizamia and Advanced Diploma in Dawah & Islamic Studies (a specially designed two-year program at Jamia Arifia) rigorously participated in this three-day event (13-15 November) which sought to highlight the role and perspective of Abu Hamid al-Ghazālī (1056–1111) popularly known as Imam Ghazali in India who was one of the most prominent and influential philosophers, theologians, jurists, and Sufi mystics of Sunni Islam. On this occasion, Mr. Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi an Indo-Islamic scholar and regular columnist at New Age Islam was invited as the Chief Guest to address the students enrolled in various theological courses and programmes running at Jamia Arifia of Allahabad. Before proceeding ahead, an introduction to the broader vision of the Khanqah-e-Arifia and educational curriculum of Jamia Arifia along with the background of its inception is worth mentioning: Historically, the Madrasa curriculum in the Indian subcontinent was based on Ma’qulat (rationalistic discipline in Islamic studies) along with Manqulat (traditionalist sciences). Mughal Emperors took personal interest in Islamic theology so much so that they encouraged the Muslim seminaries in the then India to foster Ma’qulat (rational disciplines) in their textbooks in consonance with the medieval Muslim intellectual tradition. But later on, due to political reasons Ma’qulat was side-lined and thus it gradually gave way to Manqulat which is now accorded precedence over all rationalistic disciplines in Islamic theology and divinity (Ilahiyyat) in almost all Islamic schools of thought in Indian Madrasas. In this backdrop, the Allahabad-based Khanqah-e-Arifia which adheres to the Chishti-Nizami Sufi Order established an exemplary Sufi seminary called, Jamia Arifia in 1993 which has emerged as modern Islamic educational institution distinct from most of the traditionalist madrasas in the country. As clearly stated in its objectives, the theological curriculum of Jamia Arifia aims to fill up the gap between orthodoxy and modernity, spirituality and intellectuality, rationalistic disciplines (Ma’qulat) and traditionalist streams (Manqulat). Thus, this wonderfully unique modern Islamic educational institution on the outskirts of the Ganges in Allahabad was born out of a noble vision of a contemporary Sufi master and rector of Khanqah-e-Arifia, Sheikh Abu Saeed Shah Ehsanullah Mohammadi Safawi. Mr. Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi in his address which he delivered at Jamia Arifia, Saiyid Sarawan as the Chief Guest on the “Ghazali Day” focused on the reconciliation of traditional thought with contemporary scientific progression in Islam with a particular reference to the epistemology of Imam Al-Ghazali’s Usul al-Deen (genealogies of Islamic thought resources). At the very outset, he attempted to clarify the concept of Deen in the light of Al-Ghazali’s writings on Usul al-Fiqh (principles of jurisprudence), Kalam (Muslim philosophy), Mantiq (scholastic logic) and other “rational disciplines” or Ma’qulat in the Muslim intellectual tradition. Addressing a mixed gathering of Ulama and madrasa graduates at the Khanqah-e-Arifia’s Sema Khana, Mr. Dehlvi stated: “Muslim world was the epicentre of innovation throughout the Golden Age of Arabic sciences (800–1100), which served as the impetus for the Renaissance and Enlightenment in Europe. But deplorably, the modern Muslim world has made very little and abysmal contribution to science. More scientific literature is created in India and Spain than in all the Muslim nations combined. With the Muslim world’s role in religion once again being highlighted in the wake of the Arab Spring, the Amman Declaration, the Moroccan Charter and the most recent R-20 in Indonesia, the question of what went wrong about the Muslim intellectual tradition of science and philosophy is quite pertinent today………… “Islam needs a renewed scientific rigour, philosophical vigour and new hermeneutics in light of the 21st century requirements”, he said. For more than a century, several academics especially the Orientalists have believed that Imam Al-Ghazali has caused the scientific decline of Muslim world after writing his seminal work in Arabic "Tahafat ul Falasafa" (The Incoherence of Philosophers). They tend to believe that Al-Ghazali demolished philosophy in a way that prevented it from re-emerging in the Muslim world. Thus, many of today’s Muslim modernists, heavily influenced by the Orientalists, assert that Imam Al-Ghazali instilled hatred against science and philosophy in the Muslim minds by his own understanding of philosophy as antithetical to the Islamic tradition and religion, which ultimately contributed to the fall of the Islamic civilisation. “But I think it is an inaccurate and untenable accusation against Al-Ghazali”, said Mr. Dehlvi. In his rebuttal to such arguments, he extensively quoted from the original books of Imam Al-Ghazali on philosophy and science as well as those written by modern scholars on religion such as “Ghazali and the Poetics of Imagination” by Ebrahim Moosa in which he lays great emphasis on his poiesis—creativity, imagination, and freedom of thought—as well as “Al-Ghazali's Philosophical Theology” by Frank Griffel. In fact, Al-Ghazali’s intellectual, theological and philosophical worldview provides a sorely needed model for a cosmopolitan intellectual renewal among Muslims of today, he concluded. The Chief Guest speaker of this event was introduced by Dr. Zishan Ahmad Misbahi, himself a classical Islamic theologian, faculty member, trainer and mentor in Jamia Arifia, Khanqah-e-Arifia, Allahabad. An emerging Muslim faith leader and theologian, Dr. Misbahi has authored a dozen of seminal works on the contemporary issues in Islamic theology such as Takfeer (Dealing with Issues of Excommunicating Muslims), and epistemology of Imam al-Ghazali, etc. He is the editor of the research-based Sufi journal “Al-Ehsan” and is in the editorial board of the Khanqah organ Khizr-e-Raah (an Islamic Urdu monthly magazine). The event was attended by the highly qualified teachers and faculty members of Jamia Arifia who are educating their students both religious and social sciences, preparing them for the universal representation of Islam with spiritual training, moral values and Sufi spirit. It is not just an educational institute; but rather a voice of renaissance of the peaceful Mystical Islam in India in the modern context, said Mr. Dehlvi. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

No comments:

Post a Comment