Dr Farid Panjwani, faculty member at AKU-ISMC, recently spoke at a workshop organised by the Dubai campus of the Islamic Azad University of Iran. The workshop focused on ‘Educational implications of past Islamic scholarship for the present challenges of higher education’ and was held in December 2011. Around 15 scholars attended the workshop, representing countries from all around the world.
Dr Panjwani’s paper was entitled “Potentials and limits of drawing educational implications from Islamic scholarship”. The paper had two parts. The first part offered some reflections regarding the differences between ‘medieval’ Muslim scholarship and modern higher education. In particular, Dr Panjwani focused on the question of epistemological assumptions.
The second part of the paper examined the role of doubt and scepticism in Muslim intellectual history, thereby contributing to an understanding of the nature of knowledge (ilm) in Muslim civilisations.
Just as the practice of journeying in search for knowledge (rihlat talab al-‘ilm) was indicative of the spirit of learning in early Muslim intellectual history, so Dr Panjwani called for higher education, particularly in the Muslim world, to reclaim a passion for learning, intellectual scepticism and the consequent provisionality of truth claims.
The Islamic Azad University of Iran is the world’s third largest university with 1.5 million students. It has branches in many countries, including the U.A.E. branch in Dubai.
Dr Peter O'Neill