Dr Tariq Ramadan: The Importance of Critical Thinking for Muslim Societies both in the West and East



ladies and gentlemen welcome to the first international symposium on critical analytical thinking this symposium is organized by stacker University academic platform and critical analytical thinking platform during the symposium 57 papers will be presented today we have two honorable keynote speakers with us our first keynote speaker is Professor tariq ramadhan president of the think-tank institution of European Muslim network in Brussels he is also a member of Oxford and of shahi universities the our second honorable keynote speaker is Professor Mohammad mentally from International Islamic University of Malaysia now may I ask dr. Allen Allen on stage to give his opening speech on behalf of academic platform he is also an academic member of Sakai University professor muzaffer Emma's director of cicada University and the honorary chair of the symposium professor RF billion the chair of the symposium and the associate professor not each other the co-chair of the symposium Dean's of the faculties the honorable keynote speakers guests ladies and gentlemen at outset I must state that I am quite happy to be here today at this scientific organization and I'd like to extend my very warm welcome to all participants especially to our foreign delegates and speakers and thank you very much for participating in this symposium and sharing your research findings with us the essence of the symposium lies in the contribution of the understanding of critical and analytical thinking and the establishment of its systematic structure along with shading obtained scientific results with the scientific communities and all interested bodies as you may know the symposium is organized by academic platform critical and analytical thinking platform and Sakura University if you could possibly let me I would like to give you brief information about academic platform one of the partner of this symposium and that the platform has an open environment for all the academicians all over the world to discuss and share the ideas in the field of engineering and social sciences some technical reports will also be prepared and presented regarding global engineering and social issues in this was we believe that the coordination between the academicians scientists and different sections of the society will be increased in the sense that awareness working together and producing universal knowledge the platform is also involved in publishing international electronic journals one of them is in the field of engineering and called academic platform Journal of engineering and science the other one is related to social sciences and titled as business and management studies an International Journal I am quite happy to say that there are multi language services for the academicians all over the world to be familiar with the journals and their contents you may find more information about the platform in the USPS available in the symposium bags that you will have dear guests being analytical is about breaking situations practices problems statements ideas theories arguments down into their component parts and being critical is about not accepting things at the face value but evaluating them through evaluation process it is essential to make reasoned judgments about how valid have effective how important have relevant have useful and have both while they are critical analytical thinking in this sense involves being aware of personal bias and prejudice in yourself and others being open to new ideas being prepared to consider all possibilities and viewpoints being willing to reassess your own views in order to demonstrate the analytical and critical thinking at the higher levels you need to ask lots of questions some questions are fairly superficial helping to identify the component parts of the situation or theory others probe beneath the surface looking for reasons explanations and motives we need to be very cautious about handling c80 criticality in thinking it is not all about being very careful alert and open-minded about what you are in given by others it is actually about designing the things that you should offer for others in a way that even most clever and critical brains can accept the offered ideas techniques and the thoughts what I am basically trying to say is that we shouldn't possibly use CAT critical analytical thinking on the contrary we must be active when dealing with c18 it shouldn't be it should be an effective instrument to produce the results that we try to suggest to the people so that they cannot reject them even they critically evaluate the offered things I'm quite sure that this process will make those people to accept the ideas or thoughts more easily and more effectively I hope that you will enjoy your stay in sac area and get the full benefits of the symposium the symposium dinner will be on today at 7 p.m. one of the most wonderful locations of the city and restaurant has been selected for your utmost satisfaction I am sure that it will be a great experience for all of you to have the chance of testing delicious Turkish food there will be services available for those who need transportation every care has been paid to make sure that there wouldn't be an accessibility problem I must also mention the name of mr. replicators Alton so as the representative order of the organizing committee behind the scene there afford as a team for the organization of this symposium is well beyond all words thanks again for your participation it was an honor for us thank you very much thank you very much mr. dr. Aslam for your speech now I would like to invite mr. 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the West and East Gekkos this I need to put a libel smel a diminish Eitan regimes larvan rahim Salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh thank you for your invitation here rector and all the organization's of this critical analytical thinking and asking us to think about the importance of critical thinking in our societies beaten Muslim majority countries are in the West and I think it's a good question and once again I think that when we speak about critical thinking it's not only to speak about critical thinking in human sciences critical thinking means that we start with our own selves it's our own way of looking at the world there is no critical thinking in sciences if there is no critical thinking in our own perceptions understandings and and way of dealing with with issues so let me start with a short introduction about the way from within the Islamic tradition and from within our understanding of our sciences and our way of dealing with our knowledge and also the world around us we have to deal with this as I want to do this is very much to deal with our own tradition our own frame of reference as Muslims and and then also to broaden the picture to widen the perspective and to see how we do we have to deal with other Sciences and other dimension as as Muslims but also as thinkers as citizens as human beings in the world today let me start by trying to give a sense of what I mean by critical thinking or analytical thinking when it comes to us first from within the Islamic tradition there is something which it's also to be questioned are we here dealing with pure rationalism meaning that at the end everything is questionable to the point that everything becomes relative so the very essence of these D constructivists approach which is pure rationalism is presented itself as not ideological but in fact there is an ideology when there is no ideology so it starts with this to say what do you mean is this pure rationalism and at the end the only parameter for us to deal with is rationality and rational logic or is there something else that we are considering so when I am saying this for me it's very important from within the tradition to be quite clear on what we think if we are serious about Islam there is something which is essential as a starting point we are dealing with two dimensions one is faith and the other is reason and what we are saying from within our tradition nothing is in contradiction between faith and rationality but there are things that as a starting point we are saying we believe in them not because they are rationally proven even though many things could be rationally proven but because we believe in them as a starting point so when we are talking about critical thinking here it's something that we have to define are they limits or is the everything based on a rational and analytical take let me start with something which is important in the way we deal with critical thinking from within the Islamic framework to my understanding and the way I see it which once again is the relation with faith and reason once in one situation Oh bird mm under in res wait bedre came to the Prophet peace be upon him and he was quite clear in his question which has to do with war strategy he came to him and asked him the place where we are now is it coming from God or is it coming from you is this a revelation that if it's a revelation I'm not going to discuss it or is it your own understanding of the strategy by coming to the closest wills and not to the biggest one where the enemy are coming and he said this is my opinion so he told him that's wrong that's not a good strategy from the very beginning he had three things first asking from God from you is it diviner is it human if it's divine some owatta semyonova Adana so i take it as it is but if it's from you whoever you are as the messenger of god salallahu alaihi salam it means that it's questionable what is human is questionable one second he came with something which is trying to understand so first is the source second is the intellectual attitude I want to understand what you are doing is this right logic so understanding is a second condition third is questioning because there is no way to ask the people to understand if there is no space to question so he was questioning the authority of the Prophet I said to Salaam not as the messenger but as the leader of the community in times of war first the source second the understanding third questioning this is where it's important but you understand me quite clearly here from an Islamic perspective those sources are clear that if we say I believe in God there is something which is a frame to which you are looking at the world and it's not to start questioning for us our perspective even you know God and then the truth of the Quran and everything if this is the case you will end up having the constructive approach that you have to assume if you want to go as far as this this is your responsibility but I would say as a believer there is something which is coming from the divine and that something coming from human beings everything which is human in this it's has to be discussed so for us in our understanding and let me tell you something which is very clear here is that everything which is human could be questioned and this is where in our own tradition with the torah's the legacy that we had as Muslims we need to define what is coming from God and what is constructed by human beings why because we end up today idealizing sacral izing and taking for something which is undisputable things that were coming from human beings in our history the way they were dealing with the scriptural sources the way they were dealing with the context the way they were dealing with history they had an opinion they came with the vision so they were looking at the world the way we are looking at the world now so we should not idealize the past and sacralized human opinions all the great scholars in all the tradition Sunni and Shia said it quite clearly if my opinion is right regarding the scriptural sources take it if it's wrong you're rejecting meaning I'm just but a human being I am not more than a human being so we the critical thinking it's first a critical take on human history and humanity saying everything which is human is open for discussion by questioning the source understanding the meaning and setting some questions and critical question in our understanding and this has to be done also with our human Legacy and Islamic legacy taking something positive questions and debates and as it was said if you want this within academia you have to give the space for people to question and the freedom to question and the freedom to question the starting point when we are within the Muslim community is not because I'm questioning that I have less faith than you not questioning the quality of your faith does not depend on the fact that you accept without questioning in fact deep questions could help us to have deep faith there is no contradiction between questioning and believing quite the opposite and you will see this in our tradition now there is something that also it's important the first Islamic science was felt Islamic law in jurisprudence and by the way be careful with the way I'm translating the concepts because I will come to this we have to be very careful with terminology and definition because some of the definitions are coming from human beings even definitions should be questioned so what I'm saying here Islamic law in jurisprudence what was the attitude that was expected by people asking for a legal opinion for a fatwa they go to the scholar and this was with the companions and you know that the companions didn't want to give vltava they were scared of going too far with the truth but if you go to a scholar and you ask for a fatwa on a specific issue if you are not equipped you get the answer but you have a duty the duty is give me the rationale how did you come to this opinion if not you are more eyelid now I'll let you are imitating you are taking from the scholar and that's it so you have the answer but you don't have the understanding that's not the way if we don't have an authority or a clear gene Islam it means that this relies on the community and if the Prophet peace be upon him is saying this community is not going to agree on something which is wrong it means that this community its specificity is critical thinking ask for the rationale don't follow blindly what the scholar is saying it's not because you like this color that he answer is right the rationale is the parameter meaning what question the scholar try to understand the way he is thinking to get out to give you an answer even in the field of Islamic law in jurisprudence we have to be rationally committed to understand what it's coming from so we are asking to the source the scholar is giving us a fatwa this is Haram so why give me the source second the rational third eye question exactly the same rationale that we have with AB AB in the month there which is exactly what we are talking about in in this now we all refer to one Hadees coming from the Prophet peace be upon him when he was sending Mahad imageable to Yemen why didn't imageable was sent in Yemen in the lifetime of the Prophet I so to Silla and there is something which is very interesting here which is he's asking him on why are you going to rely al-quran and then if you don't find in the Quran the Sunnah of the Prophet Isis Salam and then ash they do lira a I'm going to exert myself my mind to get an answer when I do I'm not going to restrict myself meaning when the text is not clear when your tradition is not directing my mind is the reference and to use my mind I need first to understand the message second to know the context in Yemen because you are going to see things that are not in the text and third you have to make up your mind and come with a decision your mind is the only link the only way for you to be faithful to the tradition only if you understand only if you understand so critical thinking is about this in our tradition there is no way to be a good Muslim following the Islamic teachings if your mind and your critical mind based on sources questioned on understanding is not there no way so this is where we have to understand this that this is a requirement in fact an imitating Muslim is a contradiction in terms a Muslim who is imitating is a contradiction in terms if you don't understand what you doing and all the people are saying you know this is for average Muslims let the people follow I think this is very dangerous this underestimation of the people by some Muslim scholars is an intellectuals is very problematic because what is coming from Islam is not don't rely on the leaders rely on the followers they should understand what you are doing el djem AI meaning in mush Tama it's so essential so a popular education is the starting point of everything in popular education in critical thinking not in imitating not in say what I'm saying follow your Sheikh so more than that even more than that even if you come to the scriptural sources and we say everything is in the Quran is it true now all the principles are in the Quran not all the implication and implementation you don't have in the / and anything about the contemporary Medical Sciences are human sciences so the principles are there but not the answer and more importantly what is said by the Prophet Isis Salam in Allah Sackett and ashiya rahmatan become be higher in ecn that Allah kept quite silent on some issues not out of forgetfulness but out of mercy meaning what his silence is the starting point of our critical thinking and he was silent in so many things meaning what make up your mind think about it question try to find a way so this is our tradition that silence is so important for us that it's in the Quran yeah you have led in a menu lettuce I wanna share in tube delicata so comb don't ask about things that if they were revealed to you there will be negative for you so my silence is a mercy don't ask too much don't ask too much while the Quran is revealed because you will have to answer when the Quran has been revealed was revealed and then there is a silence in history so make up your mind look at this this is a powerful message from within for us to come to this critical thinking this is where within Islam and from within Islam we have to come to a kind of a framework from which we are talking about critical thinking which is a call a necessity and imperative of our way of being faithful to our religion now as I said I'm not going in the name of critical thinking to comment to question everything for the sake of questioning everything because I'm following an ideology that is not saying its name for example by saying you know I'm questioning God I'm questioning the very essence of the Quran that the Quran is not the very word of God if you push that way you have to have a clear a starting point that for me Allah is Allah there is one God and the Quran is the Quran and this is the very word of God if you go that way and you have some of our you know we have some of our intellectuals they wanted to follow in the footsteps of the Western ideology saying there is no ideology and saying the Quran is as any other book that's that's problematic for me and I would say no I'm sorry I'm starting with there is one God there is a book that was revealed and now I have to use my critical thinking even in the way I'm dealing with this so what I list I read in the whole and Salmonella Etana semyonova Etana this is in surat al-baqara semyonova Tana it means something we heard and we obey but I rationally have to try understand even where my reason stops that sometimes that the final answer is not only coming from reason that the Prophet or any singular boon lay of kahuna be had they have hearts they don't understand with the heart so for me the sources of knowledge are not only my mind it's my heart and I understand in a spiritual way what it means to say a Labadie clearly hit up my inner loop that my heart is going to be at peace when I remember him so I mean here that there is a knowledge matter if a to law which is not only rational my heart is speaking this is the starting point of my concept of human being and its fruit this that I'm operating the critical thinking not by destroying everything but having a clear framework from which I start so I would say this because the perception that I had from people who were talking about what you are trying to do is oh these are modern is that they are questioning the Islamic references which is not exactly what you are doing but you have to be clear on the framework and and the starting point and and this is a an object of discussion when it comes to to do this so the first is the framework the condition and I was saying faith and what is divine and now in our understanding a clear commitment to say okay let me let us try to see what is divine and what is human and we start the critical thinking by try to understand getting a clearer sense of the sources and to be intellectually committed in the whole process it means that in everything which has to do with our references as Muslims but not only in human sciences in social sciences experimental sciences we need to be very clear about first when it comes to Islam the knowledge of the texts that's something which is important what do the texts say and the level because not the texts are not of the same level and even in the Hadees we have to be very cautious this aria and the dive are not at the same level and we also have to understand the priority we don't put everything at the same level we don't put everything at the same level praying is the most important thing and sometimes in the Islamic in the Islamic way of dealing with our issues today we put secondary things at the highest level it's as if now if depending the way you dress or depending if you are the headscarf this is the the first factor to define who is a Muslim that's not true an Amman first and then the way you dress not the way you dress it's not the way the people are seeing you is the way you are with God so we have to put the right principles and the right priorities to the knowledge of the text knowledge of history it's important the knowledge of the context you can't understand the quran' if you don't have a clear understanding of the context within which the quran' was revealed so we need to have a sense of history it's not a book that you read like this and there is nothing that you have to add the connection between the text and the context of revelation what we have in aluminum quran' as as babban azul why this was what were the conditions and the reasons of Revelation are very important so text history context it's important so the starting point for us from within is we are going to question everything which is human in our tradition we are not scared of that be the greatest scholar and even sometimes the understanding the Prophet Isis Salam was saying in some issues the worldly effort I'm a human being like you so he was saying this on when it came to agriculture so what it's coming from the Prophet we take it as it is because he's the messenger peace be upon him but any other opinions that are coming as human beings we are questioning this in our tradition and in our history now from where shall we start because if you only deal with social sciences and you are at the periphery of knowledge you might question social sciences and not question your own terminology when you deal with your own Islamic Sciences and I would say that this is not the right way to start we need to start with ourselves as I said so what what do we have where do we have to start come to the discussion that we have among Muslim scholars and Muslim intellectuals and in all the human sciences one of the most important problems that we have today is a question of definition and terminology ok you want me to sit with you and just we can try for a while to do something I'm not going to play that game right now but think about it you will see that a problematic in fact I'm not talking about from Arabic to Turkish or from Arabic – European language from Arabic – Arabic how do you define Sharia who is defining Sharia if you have a I mean from the legal framework defining Sharia he will have a specific understanding this is Islamic law if you go to a mutasa within this Mystics they are having another understanding and you go to a third Hindi 16 his sixteen sixteen century he was saying we have to reconcile the legal and the mystical if you go to philosopher Sharia has another meaning McCollum is Sharia are for example in Isfahan II it's something which is completely different from the narrow understanding of the legal don't we have we today as Muslims to ask ourselves how are we going to define Sharia not only because the West is not understanding you know why because we are not understanding what we are talking about Shia is not only the legal framework it's deeper than that so we have to define and ask ourselves who is defining and from where so for example this is a even I am saying Sharia now when you speak about Islam we had a discussion with professor just when we were coming about for example the meaning of Islam and some are saying Islam is the religion others saying Islamist of civilization or Islam is a concept of death and life okay in European languages Islam is submission now come to me do you think in Arabic now you try to get it in Arabic and in Turkish that the right understanding of Islam is submission in the way to perceive in other languages or what is the highest value that we have in Islam is it not Islam as a call to peace because allahu wa salam ya da la Salam o Allah Dar es Salaam it's the meaning of peace so it's something which is wider than this is how are you going to get peace with yourself peace with the creation peace with God and going to peace which is the final destination if we translate is in the way we are doing it today accepting some translations coming from Orientalist we are not doing the job we are not critical even in the way we present ourselves we understand our way of life our religion within a concept of death and life that's deep that's very deep and to say oh it's not a religion it's not enough we have to go with the definitions here which is important what is your definition for example of jihad what is the definition for of Halawa and it's not because of what is happening in Syria or in Iraq today that we have to come back Oh Khalifa doesn't mean this there is a deep meaning of vicegerency in Islam it has to do with our cosmology our understanding of life and death this is these are things that we have to be critical with if we don't come back to this we are ending up to have some adaptation in different Sciences not understanding where Sciences lie in our understanding of the world so these are definition that we don't have for example another concept that we need to be critical about this we need to win we need new answers or maybe redefining some of the concept in the light of some of the problems or issues that we are facing today for example each D had for the last 200 years we have been talking about HD had or HD had is helping us to work in Mohammad Iqbal saying this is the driving force that's fine but if you look at our HD hat today are we coming with something which our new ideas are only adapting to the world the way it is that we have Islamic economies lamech finance Islamic Islamic Islamic everything is Islamic to adapt to the world and not transforming Sciences we are adapting ourselves each D hat should be a way to change the world we are using it as the way to adapt to the world a problem what do you mean by HT hell I have been with my teachers in Egypt getting the Isha that with people who were telling me about HD ad and then I understood that we don't have the same understanding I understood Islam as a way of changing the world for the better and what I got in legal issues is just to adapt because when you are a lawyer you know that very often those are coming after the way the world is changing it's very much about jurisprudence with low so adapting in Islam it's not this we should not do that so the meaning is jihad is problematic here in an even masla ha masla ha in English you have scholars saying masla ha is unrestricted public interest or individual interest that's a problem because mostly is not about this masla ha it's not unrestricted it's an ethical interest that we are looking it's ethical we need to have something which is right it's not open and you you the silence of Allah in issues is not for us to do whatever we want we have to be guided by the vision of what is good for Humanity so there is an ethical goal that we need to achieve this is masala and masala and morsella and restricted public interest and even interest here is problematic in the way we define this but not only in the way with the fact we we translate this in the weeds understood by scholars themselves are we working on our terminology or not not enough it's as if we accept some of the definitions that are coming now there is another field where it's very important for us and I am Telling You critical thinking is not outward should start inward it's our categorization of Sciences categorization of Sciences and Haraki of Sciences if you look at the way we are dealing if you come with so there is a paren wasana and from our end we have aluminum core and the sunnah or lumison hadees and then you have a sulphur and then you have effect and then you have el Matassa whoof el milk alum el el ugh laughs I'll mail all this Illume that we have these categorizations coming from where come with it the is it in the Quran it's not in the Quran is it in the Sunnah it's not in the Sun it's coming from where it's coming as a human construction and you can understand at the beginning we are talking about Islamic Sciences why are we talking about Islamic Sciences can I ask you a question what is Islamic in Islamic Sciences good question I asked this question in in in in Pakistan in fact when I was dealing with a university and the answer that I got was not clear is it Islamic because the object is Islamic so the Quran the Sunnah and things what is Islamic in Islamic Sciences and what is not Islamic in mathematics in social sciences well why do you put do we put Islamic and then we say we need to have a comprehensive approach and that's a problem if you are categorizing the stomach sciences and then what we have now people saying oh it's not really Islamic Sciences is sacred Sciences because they did with the secretary or an Watson but this is a problem once again because when you are dealing with felt fact it's all about human production so my opinion is sacred I have a sacred opinion or where stops the divine and starts the human that's a big question here so we have this categorization of science that we are not dealing with but be careful because with categorization of Sciences there is a variety of science and a writer of Sciences today the main science that we have in Islam is phep why because we are dealing with halal and Haram if you are looking for you you will mainly have the share is the one who standing you halal and Haram but a philosophy of the legal framework the whole understanding of the system is should be the master science we don't have this it's the legal and then with this Hiroki of sons coming from our history at the beginning the scholars they started with the legal but we they were open to everything this is why we didn't have a problem with science we didn't have a problem with art we didn't have a problem with all the signs because one was helping us to get the framework but we are open to all the sciences al-hikmah $2 to Muslim wisdom is the lost property of the Muslims and we take it from wherever we find it but today because we are on the defensive halal and Haram became the main science and we are not critical it just give us a fat one on this or that that's a problem because it's turning upside down the priorities of our knowledge and our understanding so be careful as well because with categorization of science is structuring power who has the power to decide and by the way today look at the Islamic world who speaks for the Muslim who has the authority from which science do you have the authority to speak about this if you want the fatwa in Medical Sciences who is going to give you the fatwa very often a share but what does he know about science what does he know about the field how is this structure and we as Muslims we don't have a clergy but we have lots of authorities playing without naming them from within there is an informal Authority that is there that the share or the ulema but who how we don't talk about this enough it's completely scattered with not clear and we don't like to speak about power yet we have to speak about power it's critical you want critical thinking question power not only the dictators but within the religious authority the way it works within how who is the saying this how is he able to say this for example so this is also an important process and when you talk in the West when you live in the West I am a Western Muslim if you know that I was born and raised in in Europe and my world is in the West I'm dealing with something which is very important in the West today and the critical thinking has to deal with it with the sense of complex the new complexity of the world is fragmentation of knowledge in fact we have people very much specialized in different fields but there is no connection between knowledge so specialization at the highest level and scattered knowledge no final goals no ethical goals that we are setting fragmentation of knowledge makes you very efficient in details scattered as the overall picture we have exactly the same problem as Muslims we are talking about a comprehensive way but the way we deal with our sense sciences is completely scattered today it's as if when you speak about philosophy it's wrong when you speak about Mystics you are almost outside when you speak about the other sciences when you speak about sociology are they are lower Sciences it's not really sacred it's just something that we did was because we have to and I think this Haruki is also problematic so for us from within we need to discuss the truth we need to discuss the legacy many opinions are are we know the majority opinions but we also have to deal with some of the scholars you know we had in our history very courageous or lemma and they came with very specific questions and answers to some of the thing you know for example in hoc Merida that you have to kill somebody he was changing his religion in eighth entrie you had scholar coming and saying no it might be wrong that the Prophet peace be upon him never did it he never killed somebody because he or she changed his or her religion so he came with an opinion that was an opinion that he's maybe the only one he's against the majority but who told you that truth is with the majority it might be that somebody came with one opinion very well rooted in the tradition was the his reading of the scripture sources in might be right and the others be wrong and then we have now people coming and rediscovering him sophiana Thorian saying he might be right because what he said is right so the majority opinion over time is also an image Ora T opinion that is coming out of culture half of political circunstances out of priorities but the majority we know today is a look at what is happening in the world do you trust majorities about truth you just trust majority about choosing a leader and you know that sometimes he's not the best or she's not the best it's just a majority process so majority has nothing to do with truth even in science one could be right against all the others and he was he is going to be sine light in history we have to rediscover that this is critical thinking let me check the opinions not follow the majority this is the opposite attitude of being mortal led soma Khalid is following this so we need also to talk to this and to also put people in history one of my great scholars and my reference is abu hamid al-ghazali Muhammad Allah he was great he was the one who was trying to connect but he was a thinker of his time what he is saying about the relationship between men and women is just not acceptable he was thinking that the relationship between men and women is the relationship between a master a servant he is of his time so we have to be critical with this and say this is not the way forward with all our scholars we have to do the job we even now we have people thinking in the light of some of the answers that they are giving in their time so this is also very important now fourth fields that we have to discuss with our own tradition is what are the sources of our thinking as Muslims is it only Quran wasana don't we have to take from the creation Masada Ritesh real Islam in what are the sources of our legal framework and our understanding don't we have to take from Sciences from economy from social sciences from sociology from political sciences do we have only to rely on these signs because they are the sacred sciences and we dismissed the other sciences and everything which is coming from there that's wrong that's very much a situation where for example the only field where the scholars came together is in medicine because the scholars they understand that they don't know about the the way but the body works so they need the physicians they need the physicians to get the answer so we need also to understand that the creation they are son and Konya son not Allah it's a last tradition that we need to come back to the the creation is a book and you have to take from the book of creation to understand the world so we also have to question our sources and to bring into the discussion all the sciences and any one of you in this room students who is in political sciences human sciences sociology and all this you have knowledge that should be brought within the discussion when it comes to the orientation as Muslims to be faithful to the source all Sciences are part of this construction and everywhere once again as human beings we have to question what is human and what were the human contribution so it means here at the end is who our dilemma in the Maya Shailaja min ibadiya Hillel Emma the people who are the more God conscious are the scholar we reduced the scholar to f alpha kaha now the scholars are all the scholars and the verse is connected to nature and creation not to the book the texts the other book the book of creation so we need to understand that you for example you live in Turkey and you live in this society I'm very I used to say to the people be careful you living in Turkey you are a llama on the ground you know how Turkey and don't come with an answer coming from Saudi Arabia or other countries coming to you context but you need to understand the context you need to understand the priorities you need to understand where you are heading and this is coming from the human knowledge of the human environment within which Turkish people are living so you have a responsibility of faithfulness coming from you knowledge and no one can think on your behalf about the Turkish situation and in Medina a dramedy amore him so you know better than anyone else what is happening here but to do this you have to be involved in the discussion you have to ask about the sources you have to question you have to try to understand which are the meaning of critical thinking or the conditions of critical thinking so as I am saying we have to go as far as to question Sciences and methodologies and then the last point that I wanted to add here is that we need to question authority if you are serious about critical thinking you have to go as far as this to tackle this Muslims today are facing a very deep crisis of authority we don't know who is deciding how our references are set and we need to deal with this we have a tradition where there is an informal Authority coming from the categorization of science we have to question this and now we also have to question how come do you give us Futaba or you give us legal framework or who is deciding in Islamic terms if we are not coming to discuss power we'll end up having politicians very pragmatic so they change the opinion depending on the context scholars that are trying to adapt to the situation around and not coming with a great deep critical thinking with some purposes some goals that we need to have so not a clear discussion a critical discussion about power and Muslims don't like this and especially when it comes to religions and the Salafi literalist in Saudi Arabia they say what Amram income so the people who are in power just follow that that's enough don't ask question and they tell you don't do politics which is the the the most important political statement is to say don't do politics that's very political but we as Muslims today we have to come with this a human being should be critical with political power religious power all the powers you have to question this we have to ask yourself what is this all about and even the dominant culture you today as Turkish people winning it or not you are influenced by the West even in the way you put the questions and don't tell me no no no we are completely independent let us try to come to the serious issues here and to acknowledge this and then to be critical about this that dominant power or dominant civilization means we have the power to put the questions we want in your mind so how are you going to free yourself from that by coming back with all these questions that we have so my do I still have five minutes am I still in my time 5 10 15 bargaining time ok I will try to finish within 5 minutes so now when from this theoretical framework we come to the practical implementation or practical consequences of all this within our community because at the end let me be clear about this very often you know I'm working within academia and when you are in universities in the West you tend to and especially in the universities where we you know the so-called big universities is as if you think in an ivory tower oh this is what we think critical thinking for ourselves look let us be clear anything which has to do with academia is to have a clear understanding of what is the meaning and the roles of universities to serve the people to serve the society our thinking is to serve the people not to be seen of the thinkers far from the society so this is why I don't understand anyone who is a scholar who is not at the same time an activist scholar serving doing something out of the now you can be a public figure but you have to be on the ground you have to work for the people you have to use what you are trying to theorize in a practical way so this is what we have with Aloha – Aloha and Neffe our God we are asking you useful knowledge useful knowledge is the way I serve the people so this university has to serve the interest of Turkish people here at the local level and at the international level if it's a university thinking for the people without the people you are useless close it hmm sometimes you have to say to some people the way they think about University you might have to close it that's not the right way to think the right way to think is a university serving and being committed and what do we have to do here is once again from within the community is how do we from where we are starting our critical thinking try to implement this on the ground so I have been talking for half a quarter of a century about – deed and renewal and after 150 years we don't see things happening very clearly in in the way so we need also to have to think about what is called in this light edition dr. hellman art which is how do we translate your principles into reality so you need to know the context you need to know the environment you need to be connected to the environment if you want to translate this into what you are saying it doesn't there is no meaning to have a university where you ask questions if in our schools from the very beginning you only listen you only get it by heart No Islam is not to know things by heart is to understand what you know by heart and this is why we have also to come back to our schools give space to question in our mosques give space to question to understand to get it right so this is why we have to reform our educational process in the way we deal with Islamic science in the way we deal with Islam is you have the right and the duty to question so this is also within our schools and in the way things have to be done and then when it comes to Sciences to be able you can go to medical science you can go to sociology you can do to political science go wherever you want wherever you feel that you can bring something with one question question the goals what are the goals the ends that you are serving with these designs are you working for power are you working for and these science is for what to try to get which kind of ethical goals that you are supporting so this is where we need also to be involved and to involve the community in politics in academics in cultures and art all these are important fields where the Islamic contribution today is very very very superficial if there is a contribution look at arts today you know what is shaping the minds of the people today entertainment and arts and culture where is our take on this what are we bringing into the discussion alternative Islamic songs with some Arabic words some Islamic reference to Allah and that's it this is what we are bringing to the people this is where we are questioning imagination and arts in our society we are not going to make it this is amateurism this is not the right way of putting things we have to be very critical in that field is how do we now have professional artists professional thinkers writers that are bringing something into the field the same with economics we have Islamic economy and the only thing is we are Islam izing the means not the goals we want to make the same amount of money but with halal means that's not the way that's that's just adapting ourselves I even heard some scholars saying in fact Islam is a regulated capitalism or a smelly mo I yet is this our answer is this the way we are going to contribute to the world to come with so critical thinking for the sake of critical thinking without contribution might be a problem might be a problem because we will end up so this is why I'm saying all these fields should be coming with our own cosmology the way we look at the world the way we look at Sciences and the way we look at human beings and also bringing orlimar and gnosis the scholars of the text and ala ma l walker as i put it in the context this knowledge it's very important i would say to come to my conclusion that in fact contrary to what we are doing today we need much more philosophy in our educational process educate philosophy means questioned the why and in Islam we have a philosophy of law we have a philosophy of science even when we were talking also an epistemology it's very important so the the bigger picture is philosophy of law and the philosophy of life Oh lemma and scholars when they were reading in the Quran wa ala become al qaeda al hikmah allah taught you the book and hikmah sa hikmah is the sunnah now that's not true this is a legal reading hikmah is wisdom and wisdom is a concept of life and death it's the big picture within which you put Sciences within which you put all the sciences within which we word within which you put your understanding of life al khattab is for you to get wisdom wisdom is loving this selamat in Neffs where are you wise in Islam is that when you get selamat in nerves where it's salamat in nerves is this inner peace but not only you should be at peace with creation respecting the creation how are you going to deal with Sciences to get peace with the creation and with human beings because peace is not it's easy to say very difficult to achieve because there is lots of conditions one for example we say in Palestine there is there will be no peace if there is no justice one of the condition of peace is justice even with yourself why do you have a demand how on door and saying allahumma dilemna and full sana we have been unjust with ourselves meaning we are not getting peace if we in just with ourselves you will never get peace if you are in just with the poor people never get peace if you are in just with the people who are oppressed so peace is essential in our cosmology that peace requires education justice freedom all the things are essential so we need to come with this big picture and this is a philosophy of life it's a philosophy of Sciences is a philosophy of law it's this is metaphysics that is completely missing we are now reducing Islam to repeat the halal and Haram and I'm afraid sometimes the critical thinking is just coming against this not with the big picture that is needed now and we are very reactionary in the way we are dealing with this and I would say and I would argue please don't bring this whole critical thinking as if it was rational and not spiritual you know the way you deal with your own self in a spiritual way is very much about critical thinking very much about this in the Sufi tradition elmora abba the fact that you have self controlling yourself has to do with critical thinking assess yourself and the first that you have to assess is yourself your intention the way you are dealing with yourself are you respecting yourself are you respecting your mind are you respecting your heart are you respecting your body self-critical approach no spirituality without self-critical approach so please bring it into the world not as rational thinking again spirituality but spirituality as the light of this critical thinking meaning we are critical because we are questioning the meanings the goals the way and at the end for us is critical thinking to know if we are serving God for the better or serving our interest for the worst that's essential in our understanding because this is the whole understanding of the spiritual way and I would say that critical thinking should be based on this very deep understanding of what spirituality means with our self the critical thinking start with our self and for us at the end as much as I have to change myself I have to change the world and to change the world that should be an added value a contribution one of the main crisis of Islam and Muslims today of Muslims not of Islam but Muslims today it's very much that we are not adding a contribution we are trying to catch up with a dominant culture dominant civilization we are very often is demising the means and not questioning the goals and we have to do the opposite this critical thinking ears start with what are the sources how do I question what I understand and what do I want to achieve as a human being as a Muslims knowing that at the end all what we are doing with critical thinking in our tradition with the scholars within our tradition with the world and sciences should be something which is serving humanity remember something when you start with being critical with your own self this is the way you can give to people and the messed the most beloved the most loved by God is the one who is most useful for Humanity Naha become illa llah min communal ba and Farrakhan Linda's jamia a happiness illallah and Falcom Lena's that's also something which is important but once again don't be obsessed with the other start with yourself there is also already enough to do with our own selves verse Allah Moloch thank you very much professor Amazon for your presentation may ask professor vice rector Attila Archon to present his gift to Professor Amazon professor Amazon I'm quite happy to let you know that there are now 40 step links planted in Istanbul on behalf of yourself 40 and I just would like to remind you that the second honourable keynote speaker professor Muhammad Mumtaz Ali will have his speech at half-past three at this hall I

16 thoughts on “Dr Tariq Ramadan: The Importance of Critical Thinking for Muslim Societies both in the West and East”

  1. I do not know how to explain " Our Father in heaven hollow be Thy Name " of Islam
    I do not think Sharia is a Law , but I am sure in "Blessed are the peacemakers."
    ijtihad and ISIS are defyned since Genesis as the scepter shall not depart from Judah nor a lawgiver from between his feet..
    I still don't understand the framework ? Most definitely is Me.

  2. ACTUALLY WHAT DR. TARIQ ABOUT TO DEFINED TERM MUST BE CORRECT IT TRUTH CAUSE IN WHAT HAPPEN NOW IS OUR COMMON MUSLIM CAN'T GET CLEAR UNDERSTAND OF IMAN (SYARIAT), ISLAM (TARIKAT) , IHSAN (HAKIKAT) AND SIGN (AHLAK)

  3. the truth is way you thinking, you now that we have only one allah in this world and his messenger Muhammed that is last messenger from allah given us but many of us are still deny.

  4. what is truth , tell me alright ..what the truth , a lot of philosophers have thought about this for centuries ….

  5. don't question too much , that's better for adepts and believers why , obey why , question yourself why too many religions why why , let's start thinking not always believing ….

  6. Tariq speaks better French than English, faith and reason have been already treated by Greek philosophers and christian theologians …what novelty does he bring to us ?

  7. I would have appreciated it, if there had been fewer and shorter speeches of greeting in favour of a longer speech of lecture. Nevertheless, I'm very happy to see that Tariq Ramadan is a welcome guest at a Turkish university.

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