Islamization of knowledge

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The Islamization of Knowledge is a conceptual framework that originates from Islamic philosophy, advocating for the integration of Islamic teachings with modern academic disciplines, such as the social sciences, management sciences, humanities, sciences, engineering, and technology. This model posits that all knowledge and science should be consistent with the principles of Islam, aiming to foster a holistic understanding of the world through an Islamic worldview.[1]


This initiative traces its roots to the 1977 Makkah conference,[2] an influential event that triggered a dialogue among Islamic intellectuals regarding the role of Islam in shaping knowledge and understanding in the modern world.[3] Among these intellectuals, Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi played a pivotal role in formalizing and articulating the concept. Al-Faruqi expressed his concerns about the secularization of knowledge in Muslim societies.[4] He discussed "the malaise of the ummah" (the faithful) and argued that the reliance on Western secular tools, categories, and analytical methods led to a disconnect with the ecological and social realities of Muslim nations, and often resulted in the overlooking of breaches of Islamic ethics.[5]

Al-Faruqi advocated for the revival of methods used in early Muslim philosophy, the restoration of ijtihad (independent reasoning), and the integration of scientific methodologies within the boundaries of Islam. His theoretical framework and work plan for this concept were outlined in his 1982 book, "Islamization of Knowledge: General Principles and Work Plan," which continues to be a seminal reference for this project.[6]

Principles and Approach[edit]

The Islamization of Knowledge encourages a shift from segregated learning (where religious and secular knowledge is separated) to an integrated system interpreted through an Islamic lens. It proposes a critique and reconsideration of scientific, social, and humanistic disciplines, grounded in Islamic principles.[7]

Reception and Critiques[edit]

Supporters of this concept argue that it allows Muslims to maintain their religious identity in a secular world while simultaneously benefiting from modern scientific and technological advancements.[8][9] Critics, however, express concerns over the potential conflation of religion and science and its impact on free inquiry, as well as the risk of imposing a single interpretation of Islam on diverse Muslim societies.[10][11]

Impact and Legacy[edit]

The concept of the Islamization of Knowledge has significantly influenced the establishment of various academic institutions, leading to the establishment of institutions such as the International Institute of Islamic Thought, which focus on intellectual development and research inspired by the principles of the Islamization of Knowledge.[12][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Franz Rosenthal, Knowledge Triumphant: The Concept of Knowledge in Medieval Islam, first ed. Boston; Leiden: Brill, 2006.
  2. ^ Danjuma A. Maiwada, "Islamization of Knowledge: Background and Scope" in The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences (1997), 14:2
  3. ^ "Mohammad Kaosar Ahmed, "Perspectives on the Discourse of Islamization of Education" in American Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences (2014), Vol. 2, No. 1
  4. ^ Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi, Islam: Source and Purpose of Knowledge: Proceedings and Selected Papers of Second Conference on Islamization of Knowledge, IIIT (1982)
  5. ^ Muhammad Amimul Ahsan, et. al., "Islamization of Knowledge: An Agenda for Muslim Intellectuals" in Global Journal of Management and Business Research Administration and Management (2013), Vol. 13, Issue 10
  6. ^ Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi, Islamization of Knowledge: General Principles and Work Plan, IIIT (1982)
  7. ^ Leif Stenberg, "Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Ziauddin Sardar on Islam and Science: marginalization or modernization of a religious tradition" in Social Epistemology (1986), Vol. 10, No. 10
  8. ^ Ghulam Nabi Saqeb, "Some Reflections on Islamization of Education Since 1977 Makkan Conference: Accomplishments, Failures, and Tasks Ahead" in Intellectual Discourse (2000), Vol. 8 No. 1
  9. ^ Abdelwahab El-Affendi, Rethinking Islam and Modernity: Essays in Honour of Fathi Osman, Islamic Texts Society (2001)
  10. ^ Leif Stenberg, "Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Ziauddin Sardar on Islam and Science: marginalization or modernization of a religious tradition" in Social Epistemology (1986), Vol. 10, No. 10
  11. ^ Ziauddin Sardar and Jeremy Henzell-Thomas, Books-In-Brief: Rethinking Reform in Higher Education: From Islamization to Integration of Knowledge (International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2018).
  12. ^ International Institute of Islamic Thought. "About Us", IIIT, 2023
  13. ^ Ermin Sinanović, "International Institute of Islamic Thought and Its Role in Promoting Islamic Studies at Theological Seminaries" in Religious Studies News (published April 29, 2016)

External links[edit]