THE ISLAMIC WORLDVIEW
The Meaning of Worldview
STANDARD CONTENTS © Department of General Studies, 2008
„Worldview‟ is an English translation of the A set of attitudes on a wide range of fundamental
German term “Weltanschauung”.
It is rendered in Arabic as “Ru‟yatu li al-wujud or
A comprehensive set of propositions about
Tasawur li al-wujud”, (نهىجىد
)زئيت نهىجىد ؤو حصىز
various aspects of the world.
A unified and comprehensive view of the world
around us and man‟s place within it.
Basic assumptions and images that provide a
What a worldview does
A worldview encapsulates answers regarding
more or less coherent, though not necessarily accurate, way of thinking about the world. A worldview is a profile of the way the people
within a specified culture live, act, think, work and relate. It is a “map” or culture‟s social, religious, economic and political views and relationships
broad questions of "life understanding." These questions are lifetime concerns and sources of anxiety. They involve fundamental matters, expressed in the form of queries. Here are some examples of ongoing human concerns:
Worldview influences all aspects of life Some
IMPACT OF WORLDVIEW
Helps us to know peoples and their cultures. Helps us to interact with nature, individuals, nations, cultures and civilizations.
worldviews such as Islam cover all aspects of life including the personal, social, economic, political, cultural, civilization besides dealing with spiritual, moral, and Aqidah issues. But there are other worldviews which focus only on spiritual, material, social, or economic aspects of human life. Any worldview should be able to answer the ultimate questions not necessary correct answers but at least consistent 7 8
Some of the Fundamental Questions addressed by worldview
3. Helps us to correct our own values, perspectives, attitudes and behaviours. 4. Helps us to formulate theories of politics, sociology, culture, etc. How far out does the universe go? Did it have a
beginning and will it have an end?
How did humans come about here on earth? Does life have a purpose? If it does, what is it that
gives meaning to one‟s life? Does one‟s daily conduct matter in the long run? What happens to a person at his/her death? Is there God? What are His attributes? What is good and what is bad? How can one know the good and the bad? How should one treat others? How is knowledge obtained? 10
The Definition of Islamic worldview “Ru‟yat al-Islam li al-wujud” “ A metaphysical survey of the
It is not a worldview that is formed merely by
visible as well as the invisible worlds including the perspective of life as a whole”. Al-Attas in “Islam and the Challenge of Modernity, p. 27.
Islamic worldview encompasses the issues of
amalgamation or historical concoction of various cultural values. Rather, it is a well established framework derived from the revelation and interpreted by Muslim scholars throughout Islamic history
universe, creator, prophethood, society, man, and hereafter. 11 12
This frame of reference provides us with
correct and consistent answers to the ultimate questions pertinent to the issues of God, unseen, man, universe, and life. It also guides man as a vicegerent of Allah to the correct belief system, shari„ah, and ethical values.
The worldview of Islam encompasses both al-
dunia ( ) اٌذٔ١بand al-akhirah ( ) ا٢خشةin which the dunia aspect must be inextricably linked to the akhirah aspect, and in which the akhirah aspect has ultimate and final significance.
The Main Elements of Islamic worldview
God; Revelation (i.e. the Qur‟an) and Prophethood; God‟s Creation; Man and the psychology of human soul; Knowledge; Religion Freedom; Values and virtues; Hereafter And happiness.
The Objectives of Islamic worldview
To provide the Muslims with the true knowledge and To teach people the way and method how to
explanation about the world, seen and unseen, as they are explained in the Qura'n.
achieve the main values of Islam in human life.
To establish the fundamental ethical precepts,
such as justice, freedom, trust, and dignity of human life and existence.
worldview of Islam comprises both
al-dunya and alAkhirah aspects, in which the dunya-aspect must be related profoundly to the Akhirah-aspect, and in which the Akhirah-aspect has ultimate and final significance.
nor is it one that is formed gradually through a
historical process of philosophical speculation and scientific discovery, which must of necessity be left vague and open-ended for future change and alteration in line with paradigms that change in correspondence with changing circumstances. It is not a worldview that undergoes a dialectical
Islamic worldview is not a worldview that is formed
merely by the gathering together of various cultural objects, values and phenomena into artificial coherence.
process of transformation repeated through the ages, from thesis to anti-thesis then synthesis
Western Perception of Worldview
Most of the western perceptions of worldview
Most of the western perceptions of worldview
rely more on our existing reality, experience and life. They don‟t give much consideration to the issues related to the unseen world and hereafter. Most of the western perceptions of worldview
consider it as a product of culture and experience. According to them, religion itself is produced by people and culture. In the Muslim perspective, Islamic worldview is
consider it as assumption, but this is not true from an Islamic perspective because in Islam, we consider it as a system and truth derived from revelation.
not a cultural product of Arab, Indian, or Malay. It is rather derived from the revealed word of God without corruption and change. This revelation is then understood by Muslims through their different cultural backgrounds and experiences.
Classification of Worldview
There is a universal spirit, god, deity or divine
This divinity has established an eternal moral
Religious Religious Non-religious
Revealed and preserved
Revealed but Interpolated
Not revealed but Based on human wisdom
order that, in part at least, can be known to human beings People have the duty to follow eternal moral dictates This human conduct has long-term (beyond individual death) significance. Scientific
Characteristics of Religious Worldview
The Religious worldview considers both the world
of seen and unseen. It is comprehensive in its perception of the world. It does not undermine any dimension of reality and existence Its basis is on the scripture or „sacred‟, revealed
is more stable than the scientific and philosophical worldview, in terms of having certain and unchangeable principles of belief system and ethical system.
The Religious worldview in general imparts to
or non-revealed text.
our life the sense of responsibility, meaning, and purpose. This means that life and the existence has a meaning and a purpose. Therefore, it makes our life as a responsibility towards God, and towards other people.
mythology (from the Greek mythología, meaning "a story-telling, a legendary lore") refers to a body of folklore/myths/legends that a particular culture believes to be true and that often use the supernatural to interpret natural events and to explain the nature of the universe and humanity.
ري ُ ِ " وَ ِبذَا ُخًَِ عَهَيِهِىِ آيَبَُُب قَبُىا قَدِ سًَِعَُِب نَىِ َشَب ُ نَ ُهَُْب يِثْمَ هَرَا بٌِْ هَرَا ب َّ َؤسَبط ِال ء ق ح ن حه )31 :األَونِنيَ" (األَفبل َّ When our Signs are rehearsed to them, they say:
we have heard this (before): if we wished, we could say (words) like these: these are nothing but tales of the ancients.
م ُ ِ "قَبُىا ؤَئِرَا يِخَُِب وَكَّب ُحسَابّب وَعِظَبيّب ؤَئَّب نًََبِ ُىُىٌَ نَقَدِ ُعِدََِب َحِ ُ وَآبَب ََُب هَرَا يٍِِ قَب ٍ ئ و ُِ ع ث ُُ ن )83-82 :ٌبٌِْ هَرَا بِال َؤسَبطِري األَونِنيَ" (املايُى َّ ُ They say: What! When we die and become dust
It derives from philosophy and it means to
and bones, could we really be raised up again? Such things have been promised to us and to our fathers before! They are nothing but tales of the ancients!
deal with fundamental questions of life here and hereafter. It uses logical reasoning, deduction, induction , mathematic and speculation. The Philosophical worldview is more wider in its scope than the scientific worldview. It deals with issues of philosophical and metaphysical world. 30
It attempts to give a meaning to creation and
It is more comprehensive than the scientific
life. It does not have the exactness of sciences but it instills in ourselves a sense and meaning. Its results and findings are not precise and measurable like scientific worldview‟s but they open new ways for human beings to think beyond their physical world.
worldview, because it deals with physical and metaphysical realties. If scientific worldview deals only with certain part
of the universe, the Philosophical worldview deals with the entire existence and the universe.
Modernity as paradigm shift from religious worldviews to secular worldviews Philosophers call the 17th century the "Age of Reason" when the likes of Sir Francis Bacon, Pascal, Hobbes, Galileo, Descartes and Spinoza injected into the thought patterns of humanity the idea that human beings were rational and lived in a rational world which had been created by a rational God. Because God, creation and people were rational, humans could figure things out - answers would come from scientific inquiry and research. The 18th century is popularly called the "Age of Enlightenment" (a somewhat loaded term). Locke, Berkeley, Voltaire, Hume and others proposed ideas which led people to believe that the rational universe could be understood without reference to a supernatural God. Soon, the authority of the Bible, especially its supernatural parts, was under attack as theologians sought to "demythologize" scripture.
Kant, John Stewart Mill, Nietzsche, Marx, Hegel and
Kierkegaard ushered in the so-called "Age of Ideology", also called "existentialism", in the 19th century. Frederick Nietzsche cynically remarked that the only reason the poor and disenfranchised want justice is so that they seize political power, and the only reason the powerful teach toleration and benevolence is to keep the disenfranchised under their control. In both cases, the motive is selfishness. To Nietzsche, it was all about power - everyone is seeking to either gain or keep power over others. Because Jesus taught love and forgiveness, Nietzsche called Him "the pale enemy". (Nietzsche died in an asylum after 10 years of syphilis-induced insanity.) 34
Sigmund Freud taught that religion was merely
20th century philosophers like Sartre, James and
the unconscious projection of a humanity trying to rid itself of guilt-induced neurosis. Karl Marx believed that religion was a tool used by the powerful to bludgeon the proletariat into continued submission. And Charles Darwin presented a seemingly reasonable alternative to special creation.
Russell, continued the path set by their predecessors, stretching existentialism into the "Age of Analysis". The belief that life is absurd and cannot be understood was gradually replaced by the desire to analyze, delve into the mystery which is man and develop individualistic philosophies which are relative to each person, rather than universally applicable. These influences combined to form the modern view that religion is an unnecessary evil. Religion has been used by the up and in to oppress the down and out, and, if our existence can be explained without it, why do we need it? 36
The English word
Components of secularization
Disenchantment of nature
freeing of nature from its religious overtones. Nature This
secular derives from the Latin word saeculum, meaning “this present age”, “this world” of change as opposed to the eternal “religious world”.
It is defined as “the liberation of man from
religious and metaphysical tutelage, the turning of his attention away from other worlds and towards this one.” 37 38
is not a divine entity. provides an absolute condition for the development of natural science. However highly developed a culture‟s powers of observation, however refined its equipment for measuring, no real scientific breakthrough is possible until man can face the natural world unafraid.
Desacralization of politics
No one rules by divine right. Significant political and social change is almost
Deconsecration (relativization) of values
The disappearance of securely grounded values There are no longer the direct expression of the
impossible in societies in which the ruling regime is directly legitimated by religious symbols.
divine will. They have ceased to be values and have become valuations
It is based on the premises and findings of
The main steps of scientific method
Identify the problem or question through
Science is the source of all explanations
Propose hypotheses and assumptions that
pertaining to the issues of creation, life, men, and other issues Based on 4 important foundations: Materialism, logical positivism, empiricism,
should explain the problem posed
Collect data and information Test the hypotheses. If any of hypotheses are
wrong reject it, or modify it, or replace it until you get the correct one.
If your hypotheses are correct. You accept and provide a full explanation of the problem. Repeat the test in similar situations and if the result is the same, then you may proceed to construct a scientific theory. The latter provides a consistent and rational explanation of the phenomenon or the problem. If this scientific theory stands and resists many tests, then it becomes scientific law. The fact usually remains intact for long period of time but they can be questioned with development of human understanding and the new data and tool of research. And once a fact is questioned the process of research takes the same course as mentioned above. 44
Positive and Negative Aspects of Scientific Method
Because it is based on experiment and
empirical research, its findings are more exact and authentic and they can be verified through using statistic, mathematics, and measurement. However, these exact results only apply to a
certain part of our existence, the physical world. The scientific worldview cannot give us exact and authentic knowledge or interpretation of the metaphysical world.
Therefore, the scientific worldview is not capable
The Scientific worldview also allows man to
of providing comprehensive and consistent explanation of the entire world. The
discover many laws and pattern of God in the universe.
However, the scientific worldview passes its
Scientific worldview is very important, because it allows human reason to exercise its ability and to produce knowledge in many fields.
limitation when it gives human senses and reason a role beyond their capacities. In scientific worldview, Aql and senses become the only source of knowledge that can be accepted; any other source including revelation cannot be accepted. 46
However, the scientific worldview failed to protect
Scientific worldview enabled the human mind to
produce industries, sciences and technologies. It opened many ways for human mind to exploit nature and discover its laws.
man and nature from destruction. One of the main reasons of this attitude of scientific worldview is because it undermines the moral, ethical, and religious factors. According to the scientific worldview, the only
sources of knowledge are reason, experiment, nature, senses, and human experience. It does not consider revealed knowledge as a source of knowledge that can provide guidance to people and answer their questions. In this sense, the scientific worldview was unable to discover the sense and role of morality in human life.
The place of man in the mechanistic-materialistic view is clearly portrayed by Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) in the 1903: The philosophy of nature is one thing, the philosophy of value is quite another….Undoubtedly we are part of nature, which has produced our desires, our hopes and fears, in accordance with laws which the physicist is beginning to discover. In this sense we are part of nature, we are subordinated to nature, the outcome of natural laws, and their victims in the long run… But in the philosophy of values the situation is reversed… We are ourselves the ultimate and irrefutable arbiters of values and in the world of value Nature is only a part…In this realm we are the kings, and we debase our kingship if we bow down to Nature. It is for us to determine the good life, not for nature – not even for Nature personified as God. 49 50
Therefore, the scientific worldview failed to give
meaning to life and existence. It only gives power of controlling nature, but it lacks the sense of meaning to our life. Therefore, the scientific worldview should adopt new approaches which involve values, moralities, and ethics in the process of scientific research.
It rejects, therefore, the existence of God or gods on
Materialism is a theory that physical matter is the
only or fundamental reality and that all beings and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter. Materialism excludes the existence of entities
whom the universe would depend for its existence or mode of operation; it denies the existence of angels or spirit; it questions the notion of a soul, if taken to be immaterial entity separable, in principle, from the human body.
that are radically different from or superior to the matter of our ordinary experience. In materialistic worldview, only matter matters. Everything that is not physical and material is not accepted. 51 52
All knowledge of the world and of society must be Its two main targets are therefore theism and
based on sense experience and ultimately on science.
Like positivism, materialism lays stress on science
dualistic views of human nature.
It negates the existence of all that doesn‟t fall
within the framework of change and transformation and is not perceivable by sense organs
as the only legitimate source of knowledge about the causalities of the world
It is a trend to shift modern paradigm to a new A view which, for example, stresses the priority of
paradigm which is called postmodernism. Belief that individuals are merely constructs of social forces, that there is no transcendent truth that can be known; a rejection of any one worldview or explanation of reality as well as a rejection of the reality of objective truth.
the social to the individual; which rejects the universalizing tendencies of philosophy; which prizes irony over knowledge; and which gives the irrational equal footing with the rational in our decision procedures all fall under the postmodern umbrella.
A cultural and intellectual trend of the twentieth
Postmodernism claims to address the sense of
and twenty-first centuries characterized by emphasis on the ideas of the decenteredness of meaning, the value and autonomy of the local and the particular, the infinite possibilities of the human existence, and the coexistence.
despair and fragmentation of modernism through its efforts at reconfiguring the broken pieces of the modern world into a multiplicity of new social, political, and cultural arrangements
Seven principles and characteristics of postmodernism truth is relative, 1. No absolute truth, contingency is everything. The ONLY
5. 6. 7.
ABSOLUTE TRUTH is that there are NO ABSOLUTE TRUTHS (Feyerabend) 2. No reality: there is no ultimate reality behind
Total Doubt Multiplicities of truth, ethnicities, cultures … Equal representation for class gender sexual orientation
things: we see largely what want to see, what our position in time and place allows us to see… 3. Only Simulacrum: Imagination and speculation 4. Meaningless and valueless.
General Overview of Islam and Its main Characteristics
The word “Islam” is derived from “salm” or “silm”, meaning
The Hadith of Jibril on Islam, Iman & Ihsan
Umar ibn al-Khattab said : One day while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah, there appeared before us a man whose clothes were all white and whose hair all black; no signs of journeying were to be seen on him and none of us knew him. He walked up and sat down by the Prophet. Resting his knees against his and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs, he said:"O Muhammed, tell me about Islam". The Messenger of Allah replied: "Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah and Muhammed is the messenger of Allah, to perform the prayers, to pay the zakat, to fast during the month of Ramadhan, and to make the pilgrimage to the House if you are able to do so.“ 62
submission, surrender, safety/protection and peace.
As a religion, Islam stands for “complete submission and obedience
to Allah”. It is the religion of Allah (S.W.T) which is revealed to mankind.
It was so named by God.
”“اٌ١ََٛ أَوٍّجُ ٌىُ دِ٠َٕىُ ٚأَحّّجُ عٍَ١ىُ ِٔعّخِٟ ٚسض١جُ ٌَىُ اإلسالَ دِ٠ًٕب ِ َ َ َُْ َْ ْ َ ْ َ ْ ِ ُُ َْ ُْْ َ َْْ َ ُْ “This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”(5: 3)
Islam is the name of religion brought by all messengers of Allah from 61
Prophet Adam to Prop...