Use rationality to better explain Islam
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
USING reason and logic to further understand Islam aside from referencing the Quran and As-Sunnah may allow Muslims to better explain religious teachings to others.
Professor Dato Dr Sayyid Muhammad Aqiel Ali Al-Mahdaly Al-Husainy from Insaniah University College in Malaysia stressed the need to formulate new methods in learning and understanding Islam taking examples from major scholars of the past.
This also includes scholars such as Abu Al-Hassan Al-Asha’ri and Abu Mansur Al-Maturidi who founded their schools of thoughts as well as Al-Imam Al-Ghazali, who had presented their ideas in a way that it was suitable and rational to how the people of the time think.
Such presentation, he said, may be difficult to be understood by people of these current times to comprehend, after much intellectual works, especially from the Greeks have been translated and disseminated.
“Islamic scholars in the past such as Al-Asha’ri, Al-Maturidi and Al-Ghazali at the time presented their arguments based on rational evidence widely understood by people from their time,” he said.
However for today’s context, he said, Muslims also need to gauge the extent of relevance for use of examples derived from the past what extend that it is relevant to use examples and situations used in the to outline arguments on Islam.
Professor Dato Dr Sayyid Muhammad Aqiel said that some people today, when presented with the points taken within the context of the past, may not be able to understand the knowledge or the message that is being delivered to them.
With the wide dissemination of knowledge, which varies today, he said, some people may also have strong opinions and beliefs which makes it hard for them to understand Islam if the arguments do not appeal to their rationality.
“For instance, it may be difficult to convince a person to accept Islam if the points and arguments are based solely on the Quran alone,” he said.
“Some opponents of Islam today will also use rationality to argue against Islam, so we must also take note of how scholars of the past did it and we should also answer their points with rational ones, following examples and contexts that are relevant to our time,” he added. Exploring the religion through rationality is also made convenient today as Islamic manuscripts, especially on the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad SAW has been systematically arranged according to its relevant sections, and it is widely available to the people.
From what he had learnt, Prophet Muhammad SAW and his companions in the past used to teach Islam and strengthen people’s faith towards the religion based on the rationality that was also being taught through the Quran and Al-Hadith.
“Thus, having these verses compiled, it will be much easier for us to return back to how Prophet Muhammad SAW and his companions did it, but of course we need strong cooperation in doing this,” he said. While having everything in place today and having only the need to provide rational arguments, he reminded that Muslims should also take note of the level of understanding of the people being taught or those to whom the message is relayed to.
He suggested that the arguments, points or lessons should first be presented moderately to the people, so they may be able to catch up and understand; and further exposure on certain topic related to Islamic faith may be addressed on a higher level of education.
“There has been a lot of research on using rationality to understand Islam, but most of the scriptures and studies are in Arabic,” he said.
“And we also need to do more research on this and examine possible new methods of teaching and learning while taking example from the methods used by scholars of the past, and also from Prophet Muhammad SAW and his companions. “So in this sense, I would also like to suggest and encourage a wider learning of Arabic language in institutions such as the UNISSA; so we may be able to produce scholars who can be quite proficient and are able to translate Arabic written works in a way that the meaning is not lost in translation,” he added.
The Brunei Times