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The Concept Of Knowledge In Islam

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One of the subject in RASOK, IIUM/UIAM

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The Concept Of Knowledge In Islam

  1. 1. DEFINITION OF ‘ILM AND MAKRIFAH • ‘Ilm : According to al-Raghib al- Asfahani, understanding over something in corresponding with its true nature (Idrak al-Shay’i bi- Haqiqatihi). • Muslim scholars: Ulum al-Quran
  2. 2. ‘Ilm consist of two categories of meaning: 1. Cognitive understanding and discernment of the true nature(Idrak Dhat al-Shay’i). 2. Affirmation or judgment that one has on something as a clear evidence to demonstrate and verify the existence of something else (al-Hukm ‘ala al-Shay’i bi-Wujud Shay’i), whether it is in affirmative (true) or negative (false).
  3. 3. • Makrifah: understanding of something with forethought through it signs (Idrak as-Syai bitafkir wa Tadabbur bi Atharihi). • Muslim scholars: General knowledge
  4. 4. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN TERMS ‘ILM AND MAKRIFAH • Example: •‫كذا‬‫يعلم‬ ‫هللا‬(Allah knows this) •‫كذا‬‫يعرف‬ ‫فالن‬(One knows this)
  5. 5. al-Qadi ‘Abd al-Jabbar • Knowledge is the meaning (al-ma’na) that makes the soul of the learned feeling contented after having acquired it Knowledge According to Muslim Scholars
  6. 6. al-Jubba’i Abu ‘Ali and al-Jubba’i Abu Hashim • knowledge as a conviction (I’tiqad) of something that the learned believed to be real, and corresponds with reality. • To them, knowledge is “a conviction (I’tiqad) of something that corresponds to what it is”
  7. 7. Definition of Knowledge among Mu’tazili Scholars • first, knowledge in reference to the meaning of something by which the learned is satisfactory and contented in the soul, and • second, knowledge in reference to one’s conviction or belief of something in correspondent to what it is.
  8. 8. Reasons for the Sunni scholars Disagreement • The former is reductionist because it has confined knowledge to “something” that possesses real existence (wujud) only, whereas knowledge about non-existent (al-ma’dum) cannot be called knowledge for reason being that the “thing” that has been the subject of knowledge does not possess real existence. • The second definition is false because of its assumption to equate knowledge with conviction or belief (I’tiqad). If knowledge is conviction, certainly everyone who has attained knowledge of something (‘alim) must
  9. 9. Al-Jurjani • Al-Jurjani defined knowledge as “attaining the description of something in the mind” (husul surah al-shay’ fi al-‘aql). • This meaning of knowledge is furthermore supported by Ibn Sina
  10. 10. Ibn Sina • Ibn Sina who speaks of knowledge as “the understanding or discernment of something (idrak al-shay’), which is actually the reality reflecting or representing itself in the intelligent (al-mudrik) which has been constantly observing what it is. In principle, the reality itself is actually external from the intelligent”
  11. 11. Imam al-Haramayn al-Juwaini • The way to comprehend the meaning of knowledge and its distinction from non- knowledge according to our view is as follows; by necessity (bi al-ḍarurah), we should have two prepositions pertaining to our certainty of something. • Therefore, we can say that our conviction of something is either absolutely certain or definitive (jaziman), or quite the opposite. • Absolute certainty does not necessarily correspond with the true nature of reality; it could be on the contrary remote from reality.
  12. 12. Imam al-Ghazali • knowledge is “husul al-mithal fī al-qalb”, that is, the attainment of actual description or representation in the heart • defined knowledge in relation to three interrelated concepts; the innate faculty of understanding (al-basirah al-batinah), the true nature of reality (haqa’iq al-ashya’), and the attainment of the true image or description of that reality (nafs al-haqa’iq) in the heart.
  13. 13. Al-Attas • Al-Attas divided knowledge into two based on the manner of its attainment: • Husul – The arrival of the right meaning and descriptions of a thing into the soul. • Wusul – The arrival of the soul at the right meaning and descriptions of a thing that is in fact the subject of knowledge.
  14. 14. CLASSIFICATION OF KNOWLEDGE • 2 categories of knowledge & sciences; i. al-’Ulum al-Naqliyyah aw al-Shar’iyyah: • “Transmitted knowledge” • Fardh ‘Ain • Vertical or personal relationship with al- Khaliq • Sciences inculded under this category mainly related to the study of Islam as a religion and a complete way of life, 1. ‘Aqidah 2. Shari’ah 3. Akhlaq
  15. 15. ii. al-’Ulum al-’Aqliyyah: • Rational or Intellectual Sciences, 1. Sciences of Nature 2. Applied sciences 3. Philosophy • Fardh Kifayah • Horizontal or cosmic roles and responsibility as His vicegerents • 2 reasons named as rational or intellectual sciences, 1. The knowledge under this discipline could arrive human reasons and intelligence 2. Not transmitted as the same as religious, historical and linguistic sciences
  16. 16. • The Qur’an has laid greater emphasis to enhance Muslims scientific knowledge of nature by conducting experiments or empirical researches and by making constant observation upon its phenomena • The study of both sciences or knowledge shouldn’t be detached or separated • The importance to study both sciences: 1. To enhance man’s mastery of nature by unveiling the laws governing its existence 2. To comprehend the embedded meaning of Divine creativity, power, knowledge and wisdom of Allah that are inherent in nature (Ayatullah) 3. The study of rational knowledge is strongly encouraged by the Qur’an and learn it as indispensable component of Muslims scientific tradition
  17. 17. • Evidences that Islam and al-Qur’an are not anti-science, but in fact are supporting science and scientific exploration; 1. The origin of life forms and their evolution 2. Destruction of human civilization and the environment 3. Natural phenomena and its evolution and reproduction • Knowledgeable believer is better than those who have no knowledge in sight of Allah
  18. 18. 2 Distinctive Categories: • Shari’ah Sciences • Rational Sciences Salient Features of Islamic Concept of Knowledge
  19. 19. Integration of the Sources of Knowledge • Knowledge originally comes from God • Creation of nature as the signs of God (Ayatullah) • The Divine Revelation – consisting of the Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah. • The natural world of creation – described in the Qur’an as Ayatullah indicating to the existence of God; His creative power, sovereignty, knowledge and wisdom.
  20. 20. Integration of the Revealed and the Rational Knowledge • Dichotomy between The Rational and Revealed knowledge was never accepted by the Muslim intellectual tradition • The Revealed knowledge must serve as guidance and foundation
  21. 21. Integration of Revelation and Reason • Islamic concept of knowledge stress commitment to seek the integration of revelation and reason as infused by the Tawhidic worldview of truth and reality • Muslim philosophers looked at man’s rational faculty as the king, thus occupies a position of authority within one’s self.

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