New Delhi: CERT in collaboration with SIO of India is organised a national-level workshop at Afzal Hussain Auditorium, IIIS, New Delhi on 2-3 November, 2019. This workshop is part of a series to orient those of the cadre who are engaged (currently and prospectively) in academics and held with the tagline of Episteme. The aim of Episteme project is to orient the SIO cadre for academic activism and equip them to undertake the task of knowledge production and academic transformation of the Islamic principles into working models in all streams of academia.

Knowledge production is one of those vital factors that are inevitable in the rise of any civilisation. The basis for knowledge production is posited on the worldview that such civilisation collectively holds. This worldview informs the approach towards epistemology and provides the philosophical underpinnings for the cognitive and schematic frameworks that would enable distinct knowledge production of these civilisations.

Islam as a worldview does have its own distinct approach towards epistemology and not only that, but it also has a very clearly outlined framework as to the objectives of the Islamic civilisations. This necessitates that those of us who are engaged in the revivalist efforts, dedicate some focus and efforts in this arena as well so that the work of epistemological transformation and knowledge production concurrently takes place in the larger movement of Islamic revivalism.

Towards this, the Centre for Educational Research and Training (CERT) in collaboration with SIO of India is organising a national-level workshop at New Delhi on 2-3 November, 2019. This workshop is part of a series to orient those of the cadre who are engaged (currently and prospectively) in academics and will be held with the tagline of Episteme. The aim of Episteme project is to orient the SIO cadre for academic activism and equip them to undertake the task of knowledge production and academic transformation of the Islamic principles into working models in all streams of academia.

Dealing with such a colossal arena is rather ambitious. However envisioning it as a long-term, gradual but incessant process will hopefully build up the momentum. In this first workshop of a series, it has been decided to deal with the following:

  • Defining the Islamic approach towards epistemology
  • Elaborating on the objectives of the Islamic worldview,
  • Identifying the key flashpoints in the dominant discourses of the current epistemology
  • Equipping the cadre with the Islamic orientation so that whichever field of study they choose to engage in, they can shape their efforts as per the Islamic framework.

Given below are the topics and their brief synopses:

  1. ISLAM & KNOWLEDGE
  2. Quran and Epistemology

The basis of Islamic worldview is rooted in Quran. This topic explores the basis of Islamic worldview and its approach to knowledge and epistemology using the Quran as locus. It will also utilise the Sunnah as an extension and supplement to the Quran in exploring the above.

  1. The Objectives of Islamic Order: Maqasid al-Shariah                                                      

The Maqasid al-Shariah has been revived recently as a framework for reconstructing the religious thought of Muslims, how they perceive Islam and provides a cogent framework for its universal application. This topic would be delving into the history, concept and application of the Maqasid, which would help in the formulation of an Islamic epistemic framework.

  • Critical Look at Islamisation Attempts

Islamisation of Knowledge has been an integral part of the Islamic Revivalism movement. In the past half a century, there have been two major trends of Islamisation. This topic would be critically analysing these efforts, their trajectory, and outcome and the lessons it offers for any future efforts regarding Islamic epistemics.

 EPISTEMIC FLASHPOINTS: KEY ISSUES IN APPROACHING KNOWLEDGE

This would be dealing with some of the important areas that are flashpoints in epistemological critique of the current dominant discourses. However based as they are on the same framework, there is much to be discussed in this regard, but drawing on from them, any potential Islamic framework will also have to deal with them as a matter of relevance to the existing issues. Some of the important ones selected for discussion are mentioned below.

1. The Physics & The Metaphysics: Approaching Science & Technology from Islamic Perspective

This topic would be a dealing with how Islam perceives knowledge, specifically in the context of science and the development of technology, the different approaches that have adopted for this and the also imagine the trajectory of science and technology would be in an Islamic framework. It would as deal with the salient features of difference with the current dominant epistemology.

2. Decolonial & Subaltern Studies: Power, Hegemony & Discourse

Colonisation of knowledge is one of the issues plaguing epistemology since the colonial era. The trajectory that knowledge production has taken place since the Industrial Revolution and continued through the post-colonial era is marked by Eurocentrism, wherein the whole world is viewed through the specific lens of colonial hegemony, backed by the power accrued through colonisation. And how it continues even after almost a century since the physical colonisation ended. The institutions and knowledge traditions instituted by the colonial powers have ensured the continuation of epistemic hegemonisation in the favour of Eurocentric views. Further, this has resulted in creating an elite, who’s vested interest dominates, exploits and suppresses the aspirations of the rest. This topic explores this in details and outlines the discussions and efforts of Decolonial and Subaltern Studies in dealing with power, hegemony and discourse, and how they are relevant to, and their experiences be utilised in, the genesis of contemporary Islamic epistemological framework.

iii. Introduction to Critical Muslim Studies and Islamic Liberation Theology

One of the contemporary efforts in the Decolonial studies has been usage of the Islamic teachings as a reference for decolonial epistemics. This has also been extended to study Muslims from sociological/ethnographic perspective, apart from Islamic textual perspective. This topic will explore efforts undertaken in this regard so far and different trends that have emerged in it, such as Liberation Theology, and how can they be utilised in framing contemporary Islamic epistemics.

  1. Islam and Gender: Towards an Intersectional Reading

A characteristic of contemporary epistemia is the systemic marginalisation of vulnerable sections of society, such as women, and other minorities, and how it compounds with other forms of discriminations and marginalisations. This topic will be dealing with Intersectional Studies and how it could offer insight into such potential pitfalls and help avoid them in framing contemporary Islamic epistemics.

  1. Epistemic Violence & Islamophobia

One endemic form of epistemic violence specifically targeted at Muslims is Islamophobia. This topic would be exploring the genesis, history and nuances of Islamophobia in epistemia, and discuss on framing potential epistemic and academic responses to it.

The following Resource Persons conducted workshop

               Dr Muhuddin Ghazi | Secretary, Tasneefi Academy, JIH

Br Abdullah Azzam | DPhil Candidate, Law, University of Oxford

Jb Syed Sadatullah Husaini | Chief Patron, SIO of India

Sr Ummul Fayiza | PhD candidate, Centre for Political Studies, JNU

Dr Abdul Vasih Lakkal | Dean, Faculty of Sharia Studies, Al Jamia Al Islamiya Santapuram

Dr Mohammad Rafat | Professor, Department of Applied Sciences & Humanities, JMI

Dr Munawwar Khan | India Design Head, OPPO Mobiles

Dr Syed Raghib Hassan | Faculty, Dept of Theoretical Physics, The Institute of Mathematical

Studies

Dr Ashraf Kunnummal | Department of Religion Studies, University of Johannesburg