Muslim Intellectual Deficit The Scriptural Foundation of Islamic Cosmology By Tauseef Ahmad Parray (Jammu & Kashmir: Idara Matbu’at-e-Talaba, 2018. 109 pages.)

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Ashaq Hussain



It is no exaggeration to say that some of the greatest intellectual movements
in the annals of human civilization were launched under the aegis of Islam.
Islamic contributions to the promotion of knowledge and learning
are noteworthy. Franz Rosenthal, for one, perceptively observed that Islam’s
lasting and invaluable gift to humankind is that it made the hidden
treasures of knowledge available to all sectors of society. The intellectual
revolution ushered in under the direction of Islamic civilization blossomed
and came to fruition through the central importance attached to the arts
of language. (The earliest verses of the Qur’an revealed to the Prophet, for
example, highlighted their crucial significance.) The importance attached
to learning and the transmission and dissemination of knowledge was institutionalized
through a wide network of schools, colleges, universities,
libraries, observatories, and medical residencies in the Islamic world. The
selfless devotion of individual scholars, the munificence of private donors,
waqf endowments, and royal patronage played a central role in the inception
and maintenance of these institutions.
For Muslim intellectuals, the question of intellectual decay has long
been worrying, yielding repeated efforts to analyze and diagnose the historical
and spiritual factors responsible for the stagnation and decline of
the Muslim world. Parray’s introduction highlights Qur’anic terms key to
his effort, including furqān (distinction), dhikr (remembrance), and hudā
(guidance), which also signal how he reads the scripture. He quotes Mustansir
Mir, renowned Pakistani expert on Qur’anic studies, who says of the
various aspects under which the Qur’an presents itself, that these names
“not only represent so many facets of the Islamic scripture, but they also
make up, when seen as inter-related and inter-connected, a coherent and ...

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