The Second International Conference on Contemporary Scholarship on Islam The Legacy of Ismail Raji al-Faruqi

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Muhammad Mumtaz Ali

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Abstract

The International Islamic University, Malaysia’s (IIUM) Department of Usul
al-Din and Comparative Religion, along with the Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed
Knowledge and Human Science (IRKHS), organized an international
conference to analyze the work of Ismail Raji al-Faruqi, a leading twentiethcentury
thinker who had had a significant impact on Islamic thought and comparative
religion. Held at IIUM’s Senate Hall on October 22-23, 2013, in
collaboration with Kolej Universiti Islam Sultan Azlan Shah (KUISAS), participants
discussed the legacy of this influential scholar, who is best known for
his pioneering work in the Islamization of Knowledge movement. One of his
books, Al Tawhid: Its Implications for Thought and Life (Herndon, VA: IIIT,
1992) has attracted the attention of scholars and been introduced into various
university courses worldwide as an important resource book.
The main theme was “Infusing the Creativity and Excellence of al-Faruqi’s
Scholarship into Contemporary Islamic Thought.” The seventy-five accepted
papers were divided into five sub-themes: tawḥīd, the Islamization of Knowledge,
Islamic civilization, Islamic thought, and comparative religion. The organizers
invited scholars to (1) study and examine the relevance of al-Faruqi’s
thought, (2) examine his vision and mission in various areas of Islamic thought,
(3) regenerate the tradition of Islamic scholarship in academic disciplines, (4)
enhance the intellectual understanding of Islam’s tawhidic worldview, and (5)
develop a comparative approach to the study of Islamic thought in relation to
modernity. This unique event enabled scholars, intellectuals, and academicians
to meet and deliberate on al-Faruqi’s intellectual and scholarly output.
This event began with three inaugural speeches. Zambry Bin Abdul Kadir
(chief minister, State of Perak) pointed out that only intellectual and moral development
can cause human civilization to reach its zenith. In the case of Islamic
civilization, this development was achieved by grounding the civilization
on the core values of research, criticism, and creativity. He stated that al-Faruqi
dedicated his life to calling upon Muslims to revive that sprit. Ibrahim M. Zein
(dean, IRKHS) highlighted the conference’s importance and expressed his hope
that it would be a resounding success. Mohamed Ridza Wahiddin (deputy rector,
Research and Innovation, IIUM) called for excellence and innovation in
contemporary Muslim scholarship and emphasized that tawḥīd and the
tawhidicworldview must be the base of Islamic discourse. He further remarked ...

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