Scientific knowledge is generally considered objective, real, and value-free. The very concept of “Islamization of knowledge” or “Islamic science” raises a basic question: Are the realms of physics and chemistry, or sociology and political science, for instance, and “religion” exclusive and independent of each other, or is a marriage between “religion” and empirical knowledge possible? In the context of the twenty-first century, it becomes more important to understand why, when the postmodernist scholars were questioning even so-called modernity, some Muslim social scientists try to go back to a “tradition” that is perceived as the opposite of modernity. Any call to return to the norms of the Qurān and the sunnah, supposed to be seventh-century texts, creates questions about its relevance to the modern world.
Islam and Modernity.
A new concept of reform was introduced in the early 1970s when a group of Muslim social scientists, mostly trained and educated in American, Canadian, and British universities, founded the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS) at the Illinois Institute of Technology in
in 1971. Its founding Executive Board included Professor Ismāīl al- Fārūqī ( Chicago United States), Professor Anis Ahmad ( Pakistan), Dr. Abdul Ḥamid Abū Sulaymān ( Saudi Arabia), Dr. Al-Tijani Abugidiere ( Sudan), and Dr. Abdul Haq Ansari ( ). The purpose was not merely to add a few references from the Qurān or ḥadīth as a prefix to the existing knowledge of social sciences. They called for basic research, for critical review of the presuppositions of western social science theory and research, and for taking stock of the Islamic intellectual tradition. One of their major objectives was to reconstruct the social sciences on Islamic epistemic foundations. India
The founders of this movement, under the leadership of Professor Ismāīl al-Fārūqī (d. 1986), organized seminars, workshops, and working groups on the methodological and applied dimensions of Islamization of the social and human sciences. In due course there evolved a community of Muslim social scientists with a common vision. The First International Conference on the Islamization of Knowledge was held in
Europe in 1977. The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) was established in in 1981. A work plan and a theoretical framework on Islamization of knowledge was presented at the Second International Conference on Islamization of Knowledge, held in Washington in 1982. The proceedings of this conference provided both theoretical and applied models of Islamization of disciplines such as history, sociology, the physical sciences, and technology. Islamabad
The genesis of this enormous task, taken up by the AMSS and the IIIT, of Islamization of knowledge, can be traced back to 1962, when Sayyid Abū al-Alā Mawdūdī, while launching the Islamic Research Academy at
, focused on conducting basic research and reorientation in social sciences. In his inaugural address he called for an epistemic paradigm shift in the disciplines of the social sciences. He also called for a three-pronged strategy for social change. First and foremost, a critical appraisal of western thought in social sciences was needed in order to liberate the Muslim mind from the intellectual and cultural colonialism of the west. Second, classification and reorganization of the social sciences on the basis of Islamic value systems would lead to value-based psychology, sociology, economics, and political thought. Third, a curriculum reflective of this approach should be developed, and new textbooks produced for the various social sciences (2000, pp. 13–15). Karachi