|FROM MY DEAREST PROFESSOR |
Epistemological Reform for Educational Excellence
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Dr. Omar H. Kasule
The paper is based on the thesis that epistemological reform is necessary for educational excellence. The paper starts by summarizing basic concepts and paradigms of Islamic epistemology and methodology of research. It then discusses the current crisis of knowledge and education in the ummat manifesting as low motivation for learning and love or respect for knowledge. The solution of the education crisis will start by epistemological reform in each of the disciplines of knowledge. Epistemological reform is defined as identifying biases in basic paradigms and research methodology that reflect a non-tauhidi world-view. This is followed by reformulating basic epistemological concepts and paradigms of various disciplines from a tauhidi paradigm characterized by objectivity, istiqamat al ma’arifat, and universality, ‘aalamiyyat al ma’arifat, of knowledge. The paper briefly describes the on-going experiment of an Islamic Input in the medical curricula. The conclusion of the paper is that excellence in learning and research will be achieved after epistemological reform that will motivate students and teachers to pursue knowledge within the tauhidi framework that conforms to their inner values and world-view.
1.0 BASIC EPISTEMOLOGICAL CONCEPTS
1.1 WHAT IS ISLAMIC EPISTEMOLOGY?, nadhariyat al ma’arifat al islamiyyat
1.2 NATURE OF KNOWLEDGE, tabi’at al ma’arifat al insaniyyat
1.3 HISTORY OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE, tarikh al ma’rifat al insaniyat
1.4 SOURCES OF KNOWLEDGE, masadir al ma’arifat:
Revelation, wahy, inference, ‘aql, and empirical observation of the universe, kaun, are major sources of acquired knowledge accepted by believers. In terms of quantity, empirical knowledge, ‘ilm tajriibi, comes first. In terms of quality revealed knowledge, ‘ilm al wahy, comes first. There is close interaction and inter-dependence between revelation, inference, and empirical observation. ‘Aql is needed to understand wahy and reach conclusions from empirical observations. Wahy protects ‘aql from mistakes and provides it with information about the unseen. ‘Aql cannot, unaided, fully understand the empirical world.
There is lack of unanimity on the following as additional sources of knowledge: ‘ilm laduniy; inspiration, ilham; intuition, hadas; instinct, jabillat; geomancy, firasat; dreams, ru’uyat; and kashf. The controversy is not whether they are sources of knowledge but whether they are sources independent of the three mentioned before. Magic & sorcery, sihr; astrology, tanjiim; foretelling, kahanat & tatayur; and other forms of superstition are not sources of true knowledge. They may lead to correct and verifiable facts but only by chance and coincidence. They most often lead to wrong and misguiding facts.
1.5 CLASSIFICATION OF KNOWLEDGE, tasnif al marifat
1.6 LIMITATIONS OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE, mahdudiyat al marifat al bashariyyat
2.0 METHODOLOGY OF KNOWLEDGE, manhaj al ma’arifat
2.2 METHODOLOGY FROM THE QURAN, manhaj qur’ani
2.3 METHODOLOGY FROM THE CLASSICAL ISLAMIC SCIENCES
2.4 ISLAMIC CRITIQUE OF THE EMPIRICAL METHOD, naqd al manhaj al tajribi
3.0 CRISIS OF KNOWLEDGE and EDUCATION, azmat al ma’arifat wa al ta’aliim
3.2 UMMATIC MALAISE DUE TO THE KNOWLEDGE CRISES
3.3 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
4.0 PRELIMINARY STEPS TOWARDS REFORM OF KNOWLEDGE AND EDUCATION
4.3 TOWARDS AN ISLAMIC METHODOLOGY, nahwa manhajiyyat ‘ilmiyyat islamiyyat
5.0 DEVELOPMENT OF A SCIENTIFIC CULTURE, nahwa thaqafat ‘ilmiyyat
5.1 BASIC CONCEPTS
5.3 ANALYTIC KNOWLEDGE
5.4 ETIQUETTE OF SCIENTIFIC DISCOURSE
6.0 REFORM OF KNOWLEDGE: CONCEPT & PRACTICE
6.1 THE CONCEPT OF REFORM:
6.2 HISTORY OF KNOWLEDGE REFORM
6.3 REFORM OF DISCIPLINES:
6.4 MISUNDERSTANDING THE REFORM PROCESS
6.5 PRACTICAL STEPS / TASKS OF THE REFORM PROCESS:
The initial output of the reform process will be Islamic introductions to disciplines, muqaddimat al ‘uluum, establishing basic Islamic principles and paradigms that determine and regulate the methodology, content, and teaching of disciplines. This parallels Ibn Khaldun’s Introduction to History, muqaddimat presented generalizing and methodological concepts on historical events. Publication and testing of new text-books and other teaching materials is a necessary step towards reform by putting into the hands of teachers and students reformed material. Developing applied knowledge in science and technology from basic knowledge will be the last stage of the reform process. This is because in the end it is science and technology that actually lead to changes in society.
7.0 STAGES IN THE REFORM OF MEDICAL SCIENCES
7.1 HISTORY OF MEDICINE, tarikh al tibb
7.2 PROPHETIC MEDICINE, tibb nabawi
7.4 REFORM OF KNOWLEDGE IN MEDICINE
8.0 THE ISLAMIC INPUT CURRICULUM IN MEDICINE
8.1 INTRODUCTION TO THE ISLAMIC INPUT CURRICULUM (IIMC)
The teaching material of IIMC has been prepared and tested over the past 7 years. Synopses of all lectures for years 1 -5 are available at http://omarkasule.tripod.com.
Since the start of the Kulliyah in 1997, we have worked towards integrating Islamic values and concepts in the teaching and examination of basic and clinical medical sciences. The expectation is that our graduates will be able to integrate Islamic moral and legal values in their practice of medicine because they went through an integrated education system.
IIMC follows the Islamic paradigm of reading 2 books, the book of revelation, kitaab al wahy, and the book of empirical science, kitaab al kawn. Both books contain signs of Allah, ayaat al llaah, and must be read together. It is a mistake to read one of the books and neglect the other. The solution to the crisis of duality in the ummah starts from joint reading of the 2 books, al jam ‘u baina al qira atain. Thus medical scientists who are involved in IIMC read the signs in both books.
The vision of IIC has two separate but closely related components: Islamization and legal medicine. Islamisation deals with putting medicine in an Islamic context in terms of epistemology, values, and attitudes. Legal medicine deals with issues of application of the Law (fiqh) from a medical perspective.
We feel that IIC helps the future physician prepare for the heavy trust, the amanat of being professionally competent. He must be highly motivated. He must have personal, professional, intellectual, and spiritual development programs. He must know the proper etiquette of dealing with patients and colleagues. He also must know and avoid professional malpractice. He needs to be equipped with leadership and managerial skills to be able to function properly as a head of a medical team.
8.2 DERIVATION OF MEDICAL ETHICS FROM THE MAQASID AL SHARI’AT
Secularized European law denied moral considerations associated with ‘religion’ and therefore failed to solve issues in modern medicine requiring moral considerations. This led to the birth of the discipline of medical ethics that is neither law enforceable by government nor morality enforceable by conscience. On the other hand, Islamic Law is comprehensive and encompasses moral principles directly applicable to medicine.
The theory of medical ethics in Islam should be based on the 5 purposes of the Law, maqasid al shari’at, that are also considered the 5 purposes of medicine, maqasid al tibb. The 5 purposes are preservation of religion and morality, hifdh al ddiin; preservation of life and health, hifdh al nafs; preservation of progeny, hifdh al nasl; preservation of intellect, hifdh al ‘aql; and preservation of wealth, hifdh al maal. Any medical action must fulfill one of the above purposes if it is to be considered ethical. If any medical procedure violates any of the 5 purposes it is deemed unethical.
In practical detailed situations, legal axioms called Principles of the Law or qawa’id al shari’at need to be used to resolve mostly situations of apparent conflict between maqasid or to assist logical reasoning. Principles of the Law, qawa’id al shari’at, when applied to the medical area can also be referred to as Ethical Principles of Medicine, qawa’id al tibb. The basic ethical principles of Islam relevant to medical practice be derived from the 5 principles of the Law, qawa’id al shari’at, that are: intention, qasd; certainty, yaqeen; injury, dharar; hardship, mashaqqat; and custom or precedent, ‘aadat. The maqasid and qawa’id are used in a synergistic way. The basic purpose of qawa’id is to provide robust rules for resolving situations of conflict between or among different maqasid.
The challenge before Muslim physicians is to liberate themselves from confusing and inconsistent European ethical theories and principles and instead to work hard to develop specific regulations for various medical interventions, dhawaabit al tibaabat, by a renewal of ijtihad. This ijtihad will be based on primary sources of the Law (Qur’an and sunnat), secondary sources of the Law based on transmission, masaadir naqliyyat (ijma and qiyaas); secondary sources of the Law based on reason, masaadir ‘aqliyyat (istishaab, istihsaan, & istilaah); the purposes of the Law, maqasid al shari’at; principles of the Law, qawa’id al fiqh; as well as regulations of the Law, dhawaabit al fiqh.
In the early period of medical jurisprudence (0-1400 H) most issues could be resolved by direct reference to the primary sources. In the middle period (1401 – 1420 H) issues were resolved by using ijma, qiyaas, istishaab, istihsaan, & istilaah. In the modern period (1420 - ) medical technology is creating so many issues whose resolution will require a broad bird’s eye-view approach that can only be found in the theory of maqasid al shari’at.