Policy Recommendations

IAIS works to provide pragmatic advice based on sound knowledge regarding issues facing Islamic societies and governments. Here are excerpts of policy recommendations from research articles in our Journal Islam and Civilisational Renewal.

Vol. 4 No. 4 October 2013

Policy Recommendations from the ICR 4.4 (October 2013)

Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Tajdīd, Islah and Civilisational Renewal in Islam

  • Tajdīd and Islah complement one another in the sense that renewal and regeneration is attempted when there is neglect, or indeed misunderstanding and distortion of the principles of Islam.
  • Tajdīd and Islah need not to be confined to legalities but look at the broader picture of Islamic civilisational objectives, the neglected aspects of accountability and good governance, poverty eradication and Islam’s relations with other civilisations.
  • Genuine tajdīd benefits from a conducive environment of normality and peace, which should be the common objective and responsibility of both Islamic and western thought leaders and governments.

Osman Bakar, Islamic Civilisation as a Global Presence with Special Reference to Its Knowledge Culture

  • Since knowledge of the global presence of Islamic civilisation is important to the promotion of mutual understanding among Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide but is still little known to the general public there is a need to disseminate the available knowledge on the subject as widely as possible. Muslim organisations and institutions have a role to play in this task of dissemination.
  • Studies in Islamic civilisation are becoming popular in many Muslim countries where several of their universities have established centres and faculties to teach and research on the subject. Since much is still to be studied and investigated about the subject, Muslim academics and scholars have a duty to undertake research not only on the subject of Islamic civilisation itself but also its interface with other civilisations.
  • They are also called upon to produce a new generation of Muslim academics and scholars who are not only knowledgeable in this field but also creative enough to draw the important consequences of their research findings for the rest of the world.

Syed Farid Alatas, Ibn Khaldun and the Good Madīna

  • Ibn Khaldun’s discussions on the features and characteristics of sedentary society give us some clues as to what he considered to be the desirable traits of the political, economic and social aspects of society. Ibn Khaldun’s characterisations of sedentary society are founded on universal values of justice, equity and fairness. These remain relevant to modern societies. His thought and work should therefore be presented to students as an exploration of the nature of a good polity or civilised society, in which the focus is on contemporary challenges in governance.
  • Ibn Khaldun’s description of injustice highlights vulnerability to arbitrary confiscation of money and property, and the imposition of forced labour and unfair taxes. These are all exacerbated by unbridled kingship and the “unpredictability and inconsistency on the part of court and local officials”. As such Ibn Khaldun offers contemporary societies a basis for understanding and addressing inequities in contemporary systems of governance, be they local, national, or global. We consider, therefore, that the study of Ibn Khaldun should be made compulsory for any student of Islamic banking and finance.

Ali Paya, Muslims and Modernity: After Two and a Half Centuries What Have We Learnt? A Meta-Study of the Main Lessons of an Eventful Encounter

  • For Muslims to overcome their present disadvantageous status, extensive programmes which aim at promoting a critical and rational understanding of modern ways as well as traditional thinking need to be promoted and pursued by Muslim elites and intellectuals.
  • From an epistemological point of view, Muslims have not been particularly successful in developing second order disciplines that is, disciplines which critically and rationally look at the outcome of first-order disciplines. In an intellectual environment in which second-order knowledge is underdeveloped, the growth of first-order knowledge will also be adversely affected.
  • From an epistemological point of view, a way forward for Muslims to be able to get engaged with modernity in a constructive and effective manner is to promote critical and rational understanding among not only the elites but also the grass roots in Muslims societies.
  • For these programmes to be successful, novel, and ‘user-friendly’ approaches need to be devised. This task, first and foremost, is the responsibility of the Muslim intellectuals who represent a new social force in Muslim communities; a new breed of experts who are well-versed in both modern and traditional ideas and capable of developing and managing institutions which are fit for the above-stated purpose.

Abdul Rashid Moten, Islam and Civilisational Renewal: The Case for “Sacred Science”

  • Muslims must steep themselves more deeply in the Islamic intellectual tradition and the lives and works of Muslim thinkers and numerous schools of jurisprudence, philosophy and science, as well as the epistemology rooted in the Qur’an, and the concept of nature described in the Qur’an.
  • Because of the large amount of materials produced by Muslim scholars that has been written in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Urdu and other languages Muslims must address themselves to mastering these languages as well as to “Islamising” the content of sciences conveyed in them. It is essential for Muslims to learn and benefit from works produced in various Islamic languages.
  • “If the Islamic world is to survive while guarding its authenticity, it must master modern science, criticise it in the light of Islamic teachings, create a paradigm drawn from Islamic sources, and develop a new chapter in the history of Islamic science based upon the earlier Islamic scientific tradition whose history and philosophy must be fully resuscitated” (Nasr, 2010: 67).

Abdullahil Ahsan, Civilisational Conflict, Renewal, or Transformation: Potential Role of the OIC

  • The OIC should establish an independent think-tank to address the question of civilisational crisis and its transformation in the world today.
  • The confusion within Western “scientific” methodology in understanding history and civilisation should be addressed academically and Qur’anic values which might provide useful guidance in achieving this goal should be elaborated, studied and put into practice.
  • Institutional good governance certification can only be accorded to institutions when they evidence clearly that they subscribe to universal human values such as individual dignity and justice.

Tengku Ahmad Hazri, Constitutional Governance and the Future of Islamic Civilisation

  • A common constitutional theory for all Muslim societies should be formulated building upon religious and moral foundation of Islam
  • To prevent a constitution from degenerating into a fiat constitution, and especially to stop any attempt at designing fiat constitution, the six core constitutional fault lines should be addressed by resting on the rule of law established by the Islamic Legal Tradition.

Elmira Akhmetova, The Impact of Nationalism on Civilisational Development and Human Security: Works of Said Nursi and Musa Jārullāh

  • Ultra-nationalistic tendencies considering a particular race to be superior or giving priority to race over religion should be prevented by the authorities as being an artificial conception extremely harmful to civilisational development, the well-being and security of society, global peace, and reconciliation.
  • In order to achieve regional and global peace, and human security, Muslim states should consider JÉrullÉh’s and Nursi’s concepts of Islamic nationhood, which embrace all schools of thoughts in Islam as equal peers, to be its guiding principle for relations with the followers of other religions based on sympathy and fairness, as a sustainable bond to reconcile all strata of a multicultural society.
  • Muslim religious leaders, Ulama, judges, Muftis and associations should concentrate on achieving a better understanding of the universal Islamic values of peace and amity, and they should publically condemn all types of aggression, antagonism and rivalry among different madhāhib, religions, tribes and nations.
  • Peace, fairness and security, as the normative principles of Islam, should be the key target of Muslim politicians, policy makers, scholars, social activists as well as ordinary Muslims. Their approach in dealing with ‘Others’ should be based on compassion and fairness. All types of sectarian and ideological conflicts should be resolved as being foreign to Islamic teachings, and destructive to the well-being of society.
  • The media and educational system should be utilised actively for raising public awareness. The Islamic concept of diplomacy and peace-building could be included in school curricula, and textbooks should be prepared to train the Muslim masses to adopt more peaceful and harmonious ways of life.
  • The Eurocentric approach in social sciences should be amended, and all ways leading to nepotism and academic arrogance should be sealed shut. Instead of superiority and domination, truth and honesty must be the main components of scholarship. The acceptance of ‘Others‘ as equal peers, and respect for their way of thinking and values, may alone bring harmony and peace to our contemporary multicultural global society.

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