Islamization of Knowledge Methodology
The Concept of Islamization of Knowledge
The classical definition and the elucidation of the concept of Islamization of
Knowledge introduced by the late Ismael Al-Faruki in his seminal paper in 1982
still captures the essence of that process, especially from the standpoint of those
currently involved in the Islamization of the social sciences . To Islamize, to him,
is to "recast knowledge as Islam relates to it.. i.e. to redefine and reorder the
data, to rethink the reasoning and relating of the data, to reevaluate the
conclusions, to reproject the goals - and to do so in such a way as to make the
disciplines enrich the vision and serve the cause of Islam" (: 15). As he
elaborates on the process through which these objectives could be attained, he
describes the "necessary steps [which] must be taken, their logical order defines
the order of priority belonging to each..". The three main components of the
Islamization of Knowledge process could be simply paraphrased as follows:
1- Mastery of modern disciplines, and the critical assessment of their
methodologies, research findings, and theories within the Islamic perspective.
2 - Mastery of the Islamic legacy, and the critical assessment of Islamic
scholarship against :
a) a pristine Revelational perspective
b) current needs of the Ummah, and
c) modern advances in human knowledge.
3- Creative synthesis of the Islamic legacy and modern knowledge; a creative
leap "to bridge over the gap of centuries of non-development".
A Methodology For Islamization Of Knowledge
[ The infrastructure underlying all serious Islamization of Knowledge efforts is a
well-researched, clear, understanding of the Islamic perspective on human
nature. This in turn, should be embedded in a more comprehensive account of
how Islam views God, man, society, and the universe]
Phase I : Integral Theorizing:
(1) Survey, and rigorous assessment, of relevant social science contributions
dealing with the subject under study. This would be carried out as follows:
1. Identification of all conceptual frameworks and research findings that pertain
to the subject studied, both within the generally accepted "normal" science
sources and the marginal, dissenting views in the concerned discipline.
2. Rigorous critique of both types of contributions (normal and critical) from the
vantage point of the Islamic perspective ( that is, the distinctive Islamic
epistemology and ontology especially as it relates to God, man , and society).
3. Sifting out concepts, empirical generalizations, and observations which
stood the test of that rigorous critique, from those which failed the test
(normally this will be found in the form of theoretical frameworks steeped in a
warped, incomplete, limited and/or limiting philosophy of science).
(2) Survey, and rigorous assessment, of relevant Islamic revealed knowledge
material which deal with the subject under study. This would be carried out as
1. Identification of all verses of the Noble Quran and the Sayings of the
Prophet (PBUH) which pertain to the subject. Search of standard exegeses for
acceptable interpretations of these verses and of the selected hadiths.
2. Searching the works of prominent Muslim scholars past and present which
dealt directly or indirectly with the subject. Such contributions should also be
assessed to determine whether they indeed have any intrinsic value of their
own, which transcends their specific time and space configuration.
3. The combination of insights gained from the Quran and Sunnah and
appropriate Islamic scholarship into one theoretical framework, which may be
worthy of being seen to represent the Islamic perspective on the subject.
(3) Development of the unified "integral" theoretical framework which combines
insights from both Islamic revealed knowledge sources and valid human
experience as follows:
1. Rearrangement of all valid research findings and social science concepts
which withstood the verification and assessment process; and the
reinterpretation of these findings, utilizing the theoretical insights gained
through steps (1) and (2) above.
2. Statement of the results of such a synthesis in the form of clear, formal
propositions, which would constitute the building blocks of a coherent
deductive system, which lends itself to the process of deriving hypotheses for
testing in research and practice in Phase II.
Phase II : Validation of the integral theoretical framework through rigorous
research and practice:
(1) Hypotheses generated from the integral theoretical framework should be
tested in "total reality" which includes both the empirical and the nonempirical
aspects of the world. Testing and validation could take place
a) in well-designed pieces of research , and
b) in controlled practice episodes within the helping professions (such as social
work and counseling).
(2) If hypotheses derived from the integral theoretical framework are confirmed,
our confidence in that framework increases. This would lead to further
development and internal differentiation of our integral theory…as is the case with
normal science activities.
(3) If the hypotheses were rejected, that means either a) that our research
methods and our practice procedures are wanting; or b) that our understanding
or interpretation of revelation included in Phase I is incorrect and needs
reformulation. Corrective action should be taken either way.