This question has become necessary following reported cases of attacks and killings linked to witchcraft and muti beliefs in South Africa. In pre-apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa, these superstition-based abuses have been perpetrated. A lot is missing in the way South Africans have addressed this problem. It has become necessary to explore how these dark and destructive phenomena could be eradicated going forward.
Let us take a look at some recent cases. In January, a mob locked up an 80-year-old woman and later set her ablaze after accusing her of witchcraft. This tragic incident took place in Mbuzini. Mbuzini is a village at the border of South Africa and Mozambique. According to the report, on that fateful night, some people saw the accused sprinkling something outside. They attributed that to witchcraft. They caught the woman, took her to the house, hacked her with a hoe, and then set the body ablaze.
The alleged witch was burnt to death. The police made some arrests and the case is before the Tonga magistrate’s court. Witch persecution is pervasive in Mbuzini. Villagers usually banish alleged witches. In a related incident, a 27-year-old woman accused of witchcraft was attacked and burnt with petrol in Kwa Zulu Natal. In 2018, three alleged witches were killed in the province.
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In addition to witchcraft-related attacks, South Africa is grappling with killings linked to the belief in muti. Police have described muti killings as a form of crime against humanity. Unfortunately, this designation has done very little to persuade South Africans – black South Africans – against this harmful superstitious belief and practice. Muti belief and practice remain strong in the region because there is some racial undertone. In South Africa, racism features in everyday discourses. Some identity politics underlies the debate of muti. Over the years, muti has featured prominently in the exotic representation of African culture mainly by western anthropologists and their African apologists.
This misrepresentation has made it difficult to unpack and critically examine muti beliefs. The idea of muti must be thoroughly examined to root out muti-related abuses. Muti means medicine. It is derived from the Nguni word for a tree which IsiZulu is a member of. The term is often used to designate traditional medicine, ‘African medicine’. That is where the problem lies. Muti has pejorative connotations because medicine is medicine. There is nothing like African medicine or American medicine or Indian medicine. As a form of traditional medicine, muti is often not distinguishable from magic, charms, or juju. Just like the term for God in an African language should not mean or translate to mean a different God, an African God, the term for medicine-muti (Nguni), Ogwu (Igbo) Tim (Dagomba) Ogun (Yoruba), Dawa (Swahili) should not designate other and ‘African’ medicine.
Muti is linked to African traditional belief, religion, and identity as opposed to ‘modern’ medicine that is linked to white westerners. These representations and misrepresentations of medicine are linked to ideas of modernity and tradition, science and superstition, white and black races. Incidentally, these distinctions and dichotomies persist and have made it difficult to challenge and question muti claims and ideas. Even though they find the claims mistaken and superstitious, Black South Africans who object to muti claims may not openly challenge them because muti is designated as African; as rooted in African culture. White South Africans are reluctant to question, criticize or highlight the absurdity of muti beliefs because they do not want to be accused of racism or neocolonialism. To avoid being accused of racism, they ignore or explain muti/witch beliefs away as illustrations of ‘African’ science. There is a need to discard these prejudices and misconceptions that have continued to hamper the cause of enlightenment in South Africa. Superstition is embedded in western as well as in African cultures. If superstition is not designated as science in the west, it should not be framed as science in Africa.
To end abuses linked to witch and muti beliefs, there is an urgent need for a reconceptualization of muti in South Africa and among South Africans. Otherization of ‘African’ medicine must stop. Folkinization of African medicine must end. South Africans, both black and white, must reject the narrative that designates muti and witchcraft claims as part of African science (whatever that means). To further the cause of Enlightenment, South Africans need to realize that witchcraft is a form of superstition. There is a need to acknowledge a distinction between scientific muti or evidence-based medicine and superstitious muti. Muti killings are informed by superstitions. And these superstitious and irrational beliefs need to be dispelled and abandoned. Witchcraft and muti narratives must be critically evaluated. Black South Africans need to understand that there is no link between witchcraft and misfortunes such as accidents, poverty, sickness, and death that people suffer in communities. There is no evidence that muti killings and ritual sacrifice yield business, financial and political fortunes!
As a South African advocate noted: “South Africans must educate themselves on sicknesses that affect the minds of the elderly. Too many elderly persons that are suffering from dementia have been labeled witches. They accuse them of having malevolent occult powers when found wandering in their sleepwear or even in their undies. Some elderly persons have even met their cruel deaths at the hands of local mobs. There must also be a great awakening amongst media houses. Media stations own these gossip-mongering newspapers. There is one in particular which is very popular with witchcraft stories. Those who own these media houses have some agenda to represent the African person as an essentially superstitious being while making money from the sale of these newspapers“.
Given the racially charged nature of issues and debates in South Africa, will South Africans rally against witch persecution and muti killings? Only time will tell.
Dr. Igwe directs the Advocacy for Alleged Witches
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OAU’s Honours: Falola, The Iwin Of African Scholarship
By Akin Alao
The academy is a lifestyle, and Toyin Falola lives every bit of it in most impactful ways. Among Africans, there is often a consensus that formal education is a driving force that is pivotal to development. Consequently, academic life has gradually become necessary for the procurement of the African future. What became important to this development has gradually become the lifestyle of many individuals who have dedicated their lives, even their social lives, to the expansion of African epistemology. The orientation life and activities of Falola connote and underline this fact. He has gradually become a face of African scholarship, being that his work has grown to be multidisciplinary and his lifestyle dynamic enough to fit into many niches of academic life.
Falola started as a school teacher in Pahayi, Ogun State, in 1970, and he remains a teacher even today, amounting to about 53 years of teaching experience. Gradually, he became a lecturer at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, in 1981. Later in 1991, he joined the University of Texas at Austin. He climbed up the ladder of academia to the very summit, where the world has to keep celebrating him. Being conferred with a Doctor of Letters at the Obafemi Awolowo University is an acknowledgement of the strides and victories Falola has won for the continent.
This honour is one of the about 18 Doctor of Letters that has been conferred on him across the world and one of many other honorary degrees to acknowledge his consistency in redefining the descriptions of African culture. Some of these include Doctor of Letters from the University of Ibadan in 2020, Lincoln University in 2015, Federal University, Lokoja in 2021, City University of New York, Staten Island, USA, in 2013, Monmouth University, NJ., USA, in 2007, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, in 2018, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria, in 2018, University of Jos, Nigeria in 2015, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu Ode in 2014, Adekunle Ajasin University, Nigeria, in 2013 and still counting.
While he has been recognized by many Universities and institutions across the world, the honour at the Obafemi Awolowo University serves a significant importance because of two things: it is a university Falola sees as his roots and a place of many firsts, and secondly, it is a university that portrays and celebrates the African intellectual culture and prestige, which has made the institution stand out among her peers. Not everyone gets to get the opportunity to be associated with Obafemi Awolowo University, and its position in the education history of the nation and continent is significant. Hence, a Doctor of Letters from such an institution is a lifetime achievement.
Falola deserves his flowers, days of glory and moments of recognition. The development of his career has been a reflection of his efforts and a high level of commitment. He once admitted that he had lost count of the papers, articles, and newspaper publications he had written. Today, he can boast of not less than 300 books he has written alone or with someone. Without a doubt, this achievement is no joke; it takes an extraordinary individual or academic to reach 100 book publications in Africa; then, one can imagine publishing about 300 books. The quality of thought woven in these texts’ semantic and philosophical composition has created sui generis perspectives about the continent that will always remain monumental references for those who talk about or discuss the continent. Today, there is almost no standard library in the world that has a section about Africa that would not have a piece or collection of Falola’s brilliance, as well as his opinion of certain areas of the continent.
Being one of the most referenced black scholars in the world and one of the most productive scholars in the world has taken a lot of commitment to academics, and the allusion that he represents the lifestyle of scholarship itself is not an aggravated aggrandizement of his person, but evidence of mapped out involvements, dedications and representations. It would not be wrong to call him “Iwin of African scholarship.”
Sometimes, one would wonder how he often pulls these groundbreaking achievements and also marvels at the level he has attained. On October 9, 2023, when he was conferred with the degree of Doctor of Letters at the University of Abuja, Falola “confessed” that he works for about 18 hours per day. Honestly, there is no way one would put in this much work and not come out more like what he is today; this explains the accolades that would not stop coming in for him. His workload could make one say he works with the hand of God or better be convinced that there is a force behind his diligence, but for what it is worth, the accolades are justified.
The contributions of Falola to African History and studies cannot be underestimated. He has been able to lead the struggle in the re-narration of African History and the resurfacing practice of its cultures. In The Power of African Cultures, he believes that African Cultures are so strong that they have been able to transcend the different cultural onslaught from slavery, western invasions, colonialism and globalisation. He was able to establish that despite the whirlpool of foreign influence and imposition of foreign cultures, especially through colonialism, African Cultures rose through the ashes of what they are currently. Rather than dying, they have been able to wear the cloaks of modernity, allowing Africans to adopt both global cultures and their cultures. Falola believes the strength and power of the African culture to have been able to survive different ideological changes and other wrong notions and perspectives that tend to put Africa and Africans in a bad light.
More importantly, Falola serves as one of the major voices against the loud and remarkable voices that have painted the African descriptions, philosophies, norms and culture to be barbaric and inferior. While efforts have been made by different scholars, even from outside Nigeria, to correct some of these notions, many did not retell the descriptions from African angles. So, while many scholars would tell African stories and scholarship through foreign methodologies and prerequisites, Falola and a few others have been unapologetic about their positions on the right approach and understanding of the continent. He has been of the opinion that understanding the African epistemology and philosophy may not be properly done with the same cultural and sociological scopes used for other cultures but must allow the overbearing of the African dynamics. Yoruba Gurus: Indigenous Production of Knowledge in Africa is one of the most important books about Africa, its culture and philosophies, as it unfolds the mysteries behind understanding Yoruba epistemology: it gives clues to why many foreign scholars have missed the right approach to understanding Africa. It shows the fact that knowledge production and transmission in Africa is seldom in formal institutions; however, it grows interestingly from organic scholars who have proven themselves worthy of being referred to as scholars in their respective fields. This and the usage of family institutions were the major sources of knowledge in African societies.
The book and many of his other publications directed scholarships through the pathways to understanding African cultures in their dynamic and raw sense. He went on to write more specifically on the root of some African knowledge and cultures, providing remarkable factual discoveries. More importantly, Falola’s achievements could also be traced to his ability to relate the African past and experience to the present with pointers to evidence of reflections and manifestations in contemporary practices. These are a few of the many wonders he has performed in academics.
Seeing this, and the realization of the ideologies behind the orientations that founded the Obafemi Awolowo University, one will realize that the honor is a confirmation of the similarity of ideologies between him and the institution. Also, drawing from his resilience and commitment to what he sets his mind on, with about 18 hours of work, he serves as an image of the dividend of hard work, as a lesson to students and those in academia. The Iwin of African scholarship has fortified himself with enough intentional attempts at personal and career development, and the honour is OAU’s announcement to the world to emulate him.
It is also not arguable that the love Falola has shown toward the university has been quite obvious in his interactions and publications. Besides the recognition of his efforts, this should surely be a homecoming, like a celebrative medal for a child who left the bosom of his mother only to return with accolades, honours, and pride.
Alao is a Professor of History, Obafemi Awolowo University.
Prof. Olu Obafemi On Nigerian University Education In Constant Transition (4)
By Tony Afejuku
This delicacy is continued from last Friday.
The Internet of Things
Talk about the Internet of Things (loT) and you would not be mistaken as well. This is for its ability to abridge things, reduce exertions and eliminate the drives of yesterday. We may argue that loT is suitable for learning, bringing about a seemly or conducive environment, solving intricate problems and for a greater experience. Outside learning, it is superb for remote working, for automation and for good time management, amongst other things.
Bruce Schneier describes it as “a web that we connect to. It is a computerized, networked, and interconnected world.” He stressed that it is the future of living, which we refer to as the Internet of Things (loT). It is truly the future where the things we could know by other means are harvested by devices and presented to us in quicker, smarter paces and places.
It is a future where humans may not be able to compete with them. Common to all is that they are still evolving. Whilst we might find them awesome, we are assured of higher surprises because the competition and innovations are continuing. Important in the matrix is the confusion of learning, or the changing narrative of pedagogy. It tends to minimize research, as we find what we research on already available in Al.
In simplifying processes and procedures, the technologies are fast diminishing scholarship as we know it, and challenging the sequence of imbibing or internalizing. These sequences were once owned by humanity, through a systematic process. It involves stages of listening, reading, experiencing, trying and failing, and trying again. It encompasses structures and institutions and a painstaking governance process, emplaced by the state, in agreement with the citizenry.
While these bodies remain, the intervention of technology has become disruptive; and likely forcing us to review things many times over. This is because of the merging of truth and falsehood and the linking of hate with love. It is so because of the obfuscation of the real and the fake, or what is and what is not. While humanity is at once somewhat celebratory, they are also jittery about declining values and virtues. The good and the bad are now being muddled.
Learning is dignifying, confidence building and exposing what needs to be positively exposed. It grows the individual as much as it benefits society. It is gratifying to human resource development for the enhancement of society, and the future of mankind. But this is the case when learning is original, natural and is scientifically and technologically procedural and follows a process. It is the case when learning is easily identifiable, reflected in the change it will bring to the individual.
With the new technologies, regardless, we are in the world of assisted learning, a world of machine learning, a kind of scholarship where originality is threatened, obliterated and un-definable. Learners are in a new world where the temptation to outsource to technologies is high. This temptation is innate and unconscious for its fast pace over huge spaces, and in the manner where perfection is likely.
Resulting therefrom is the reduction of dynamism that would have helped internalization, processes that would have assisted memories and institutions that would have been useful for monitoring and governance. ChatGPT is a quick case to reference. Its capacities are thrilling, for being able to process things, probably as close as the man would have done, or even better in some cases.
Upon instructions, it responds with appreciable precision, leaving the learner to do little or nothing, depending on the quality of the question. Here then lies the question of what more the learner should do. How do we then contextualize the losses in the important process of engaging texts, pictures and images, which could be didactic? Deepfake is another case for its capacity to mimic and parrot a real.
Despite the frill around it, the uninitiated could get swayed, deceived or confused. He might be carried away by a confusing reality, leading to a wrong action, or at the least, the formation of wrong notions. Don’t get us wrong. The inventions are groundbreaking, pointing at the new world of growth in thinking capacities and creations. In these learning transitions, machines and robots MUST NEVER replace human activities, reasoning, rationality, values and feelings.
After all, Mark Zuckerberg is quoted to have said “Whenever I hear people saying Al is going to hurt people in the future I think, yeah, technology can generally always be used for good and bad and you need to be careful about how you build it. If you are arguing against Al then you’re arguing against safer cars that aren’t going to have accidents, and you are arguing against being able to better diagnose people when they are sick.”
Regardless, the attendant downsides, especially for learning are an invitation to more critical evaluation. We are surely at another crossroads between a past and a present, which has hallmarked inventions. The aero-plane came and eased long-distance travel, but crashes also came with it. The motorcar similarly came with accidents. The coming of electricity came with sparks and shocks that could lead to deaths (and actually led to deaths). So does the invention of dynamite, leading to misuse, terrorism, wars and deaths. With particular reference to dynamites, Alfred Nobel, its chief inventor and commercialist, had to establish the Nobel Prizes in Literature, Peace, Economics, Medicine, and Science to rescue his name and legacy from being tagged (and being remembered) as a merchant of death.
Despite the ages and flipsides of these inventions, humanity has never ceased to ask questions about them. They are still trying, year in and year out to perfect them, or encourage appropriate use. The coming of the Internet, the rise of Artificial Intelligence, The Internet of Things (loT) and Hypertext Documents may not also be different in revealing its downsides, one of which is the redefinition of learning.
Elon Musk, one of the key actors amongst the big techs recently warned at MIT’s AeroAstro Centennial Symposium that he is “increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we do not do something very foolish. I mean with artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon.” We are in the age of technological advancement without a human face or humane attribution—an age which beckons to the end of humanity, the end of the world, at the irrational, distempered moment of pressing the lethal button of the hydrogen bomb.
It may not be demonic, but the outsourcing of reasoning (surrendering the power of reasoning to machines, and robots) is some kind of wizardry requiring our continuous examination, just so that reading or learning will not die. This is the point that Klaus Schwab made when he opined that “We must address, individually and collectively, moral and ethical issues raised by cutting-edge research in artificial intelligence and biotechnology, which will enable significant life extension, designer babies, and memory extraction.” We cannot agree more.
Again, do we need an educational system patterned after foreign cultures and experiences or a system that evolved from our original needs? Do we have a true understanding of our peculiar histories and environments such that our curriculum, theories and notions are instructed by these shared values? How much effort do we invest into reviews, just so that we are not parroting models that are foreign to us and are likely to be irrelevant to our practical realities?
Are we also sure we are not carried away by fancies and fantasies that are distant from our industries and production lines, in what would have boosted our economy for the common good? Abigail Adams told us that “Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardour and attended to with diligence.” Interesting in this quotation is the element of diligence, which envisages the need to be painstaking.
Doing this will open our minds to our common desires, regarding whether or not we need more agriculturists, more technologists and technicians, and more statisticians, humanists and storytellers than space scientists, astronauts, or similar others. Being diligent will permit us to locate our needs for a system in transition, just so we would not only have to look elsewhere for the real manpower we need because we have either over-trained or under-trained ourselves.
Let us remember also that global education funds are available in billions of dollars. An estimate puts it at over $100,000 billion, accessible in grants and aids, if we get our arts and research concepts right. Corporations and philanthropists are also ever ready to support ideas that can lead to innovations, change, and new paths of profits.
We cannot overstate the fact that research is a driver of development. Development is the centerpiece of social progress. The university should be the leader in this narrative, especially in linking the peculiarities of communities with knowledge production, partnerships, and collaborations, in addition to the execution of the policy outlines of government. These are triggers of competition, necessarily leading to quality and efficiency.
“A man’s mind, stretched by new ideas, may never return to its original dimension” and state. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once told us of the alteration of the mind through education. In making alterations, however, we are asking that it should have a root, or relevance, for substance, and for the proper benefit of a society in transition.
To be terminated next Friday.
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.
Islam In The World Of Global Knowledge
By Toyin Falola
Within the intricate fabric of global historical narratives, the indelible impact of Islamic scholarship serves as a compelling testament to the formidable potency of erudition and intellectual inquisitiveness. The inception of Islam in the 7th century initiated a profound trajectory of intellectual and cultural advancement, which would subsequently imprint an enduring legacy on the global stage. This historical epoch bore witness to an unparalleled convergence of intellectual traditions emanating from Greek, Persian, Indian, and Byzantine civilizations, which were subsequently cultivated and enhanced by erudite Islamic scholars. The Islamic ethos, which finds its origins in the pursuit of knowledge, draws inspiration from the teachings of the Quran and the Hadiths of Prophet Muhammad. These teachings underscore the significance of acquiring knowledge as a sacred obligation.
Throughout the Golden Age of Islamic erudition, which endured from the 8th to the 14th century, the Islamic domain emerged as a fertile ground for the genesis of significant advancements in the realms of science, mathematics, philosophy, and medicine. Prominent figures of intellectual prowess, such as Al-Khwarizmi and Ibn Sina (Avicenna), surfaced, leaving an indelible mark on various domains, encompassing algebraic principles and advancements in the realm of medicine. Educational establishments such as the House of Wisdom in Baghdad emerged as prominent hubs of erudition and scholarly discourse, assuming a crucial function in the safeguarding and amplification of the collective wisdom of humanity. The enduring impact of Islamic scholarship transcended geographical boundaries, exerting a profound influence on the intellectual milieu of mediaeval Europe. The establishment of the Renaissance and the European Enlightenment was significantly influenced by the pivotal role played by the translation of Islamic knowledge into European languages, thereby setting the groundwork for these intellectual movements. The dissemination of knowledge, facilitated by prominent centres such as Toledo and Sicily, catalyzed the introduction of scientific and philosophical concepts hitherto unfamiliar to the European intellectual landscape.
Prof. Toyin Falola and others during the lecture.
In the contemporary milieu, the Islamic scholarly tradition persists in its dynamic evolution, actively grappling with present-day challenges and making valuable contributions to the worldwide repository of knowledge. The symbiotic relationship between conventional Islamic pedagogy and contemporary scientific inquiry is readily apparent within Islamic educational establishments, serving as a pivotal conduit for reconciling historical and contemporary knowledge paradigms. The bedrock of knowledge within the Islamic tradition, intricately interwoven with its theological and philosophical underpinnings, highlights the paramount importance of intellectual endeavours. The Quran and the Hadiths espouse the imperative pursuit of knowledge, encouraging adherents to partake in introspection and apprehend the complexities inherent in the world. The prioritisation of education in early Islamic societies engendered a milieu characterised by a profound thirst for knowledge, thereby catalysing the inception of madrasas and other educational establishments.
Islamic scholars played a pivotal role in not only safeguarding existing knowledge but also actively participating in critical analysis, extensive expansion, and groundbreaking innovation, thereby making substantial contributions to a wide range of academic disciplines. They engaged in the scholarly examination of the literary and philosophical compositions of antiquated societies, undertaking the tasks of translation, conservation, and expansion, thereby engendering novel perspectives that exerted a profound influence on various geographical areas worldwide.
Upon embarking upon an exploration of the historical discourse, it becomes evident that Islamic erudition was not merely an insular occurrence but rather a pivotal participant in the worldwide dissemination of knowledge. The profound impact exerted by this phenomenon on the trajectory of European intellectual progress throughout the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and subsequent eras serves as a compelling testament to its fundamental significance in shaping the broader narrative of global intellectual history. In the present epoch, Islamic scholarship encounters the formidable task of effectively navigating the intricate nuances of modernity, all the while remaining steadfast to its profound intellectual legacy. The delicate equilibrium at play necessitates a sophisticated comprehension of established Islamic doctrines coupled with a flexible disposition towards the swiftly progressing realm of worldwide scholarship. Islamic educational institutions globally are actively engaged in the pursuit of integrating traditional Islamic knowledge with contemporary scientific and technological progress.
An essential facet of contemporary Islamic scholarship lies in its active involvement with the realms of science and technology. Islamic scholars have been actively engaged in the intellectual exchange of scientific knowledge, making significant contributions to various disciplines, including medicine, engineering, and environmental studies. The amalgamation of contemporary scientific advancements with Islamic ethical and philosophical paradigms has engendered novel opportunities for comprehensive and enduring resolutions to present-day predicaments. One illustrative example pertains to the notion of ‘Islamic Environmentalism,’ which finds its foundations in the principles of stewardship and equilibrium within the natural world, as expounded upon in Islamic doctrines. This particular viewpoint presents a distinctive lens through which ecological challenges can be approached and resolved.
Contemporary Islamic scholarship has made notable advancements in the realm of adapting Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) to contemporary contexts. Emerging concerns encompassing bioethics, financial systems, and digital technology have engendered a pressing need for a comprehensive reassessment of conventional Islamic jurisprudence. Contemporary Islamic scholars actively employ the practice of Ijtihad, which entails the exercise of independent reasoning, in order to interpret Islamic jurisprudence in a manner that is both pertinent and applicable to the contemporary era. This approach ensures the preservation of the fundamental principles inherent in Islamic teachings while simultaneously accommodating the exigencies of the present circumstances.
Within the domain of education, Islamic institutions have adeptly integrated contemporary pedagogical approaches in conjunction with age-old teachings. This pedagogical approach guarantees that students acquire comprehensive knowledge of classical Islamic texts as well as contemporary subjects, thereby equipping them with the necessary skills to make meaningful contributions across diverse disciplines. The prioritization of critical thinking and analytical aptitude within these establishments is indicative of the Islamic scholarly tradition’s unwavering dedication to intellectual rigour and the pursuit of knowledge.
Islamic scholarship plays a pivotal and indispensable role in cultivating and nurturing interfaith and intercultural dialogue. In an era frequently characterized by misinterpretations and hostilities, Islamic scholars and intellectuals have played a pivotal role in fostering inter-communal comprehension and collaboration. By means of scholarly exchanges, symposiums, and scholarly articles, scholars have underscored the shared principles inherent in Islamic teachings and various other religious and philosophical doctrines, thereby fostering a climate of reciprocal regard and compassion.
In light of these notable progressions, Islamic scholarship encounters a multitude of obstacles within the contemporary global milieu. A paramount concern lies in the imperative for enhanced representation and active engagement within the global academic sphere. Despite the notable intellectual contributions made by Muslim scholars, it is imperative to acknowledge the necessity for heightened visibility and active participation within international academic forums. Furthermore, the intricate endeavour of upholding the genuineness of Islamic doctrines while simultaneously accommodating contemporary circumstances remains a formidable undertaking.
As the field of Islamic scholarship traverses the complexities of the contemporary era, it remains an indispensable agent in the cultivation of the worldwide knowledge economy. The intricate and dynamic relationship between tradition and modernity within the realm of Islamic thought presents a plethora of invaluable insights and perspectives that extend beyond the confines of Muslim communities, resonating with the broader global society. As we direct our gaze towards the forthcoming era, the vast capacity and promising prospects of Islamic scholarship in moulding worldwide intellectual and cultural terrains are of considerable magnitude. The juxtaposition of tradition and modernity, intertwined with a profound legacy of knowledge and ethical principles, establishes Islamic scholarship as a noteworthy agent in tackling the complexities and dilemmas of the contemporary era.
The domain of global peace and understanding stands as a significant sphere wherein Islamic scholarship possesses the potential to exert a profound influence. In an era characterized by frequent cultural and religious misinterpretations leading to societal divisions, the fundamental tenets of tolerance, dialogue, and empathy that are deeply embedded within Islamic teachings possess the potential to serve as a pivotal force in fostering unity and reconciliation. The writings and interactions of Islamic scholars have the potential to engender a climate of mutual respect and harmonious coexistence within diverse communities. The incorporation of universal principles such as compassion, justice, and human dignity within the realm of Islamic scholarship holds the potential to foster the development of societies that are more inclusive and harmonious.
The convergence of Islamic ethical frameworks with contemporary global issues offers a promising avenue for making meaningful contributions. The Islamic viewpoint on matters of social justice, economic equity, and environmental stewardship presents viable alternatives to address contemporary challenges such as poverty, inequality, and climate change. The Islamic philosophical notion of Tawhid, denoting the indivisible unity of the divine, assumes a paramount position within Islamic intellectual discourse. This concept, with its profound emphasis on the interrelatedness of all facets of existence, possesses the potential to engender comprehensive and enduring methodologies in the realms of development and environmental preservation.
Within the realm of education, the forthcoming trajectory of Islamic scholarship is contingent upon the profound amalgamation of conventional wisdom with state-of-the-art investigation and inventive advancements. There is a growing acknowledgement of the inherent worth of multidisciplinary methodologies that amalgamate the discernments derived from Islamic studies with the realms of science, technology, arts, and humanities. The integration of diverse perspectives has the potential to enhance the academic milieu, offering novel insights and resolutions that are firmly rooted in ethical deliberations and fundamental human principles.
Furthermore, the advent of the digital revolution presents unparalleled prospects for the dissemination of Islamic scholarship to a broader spectrum of individuals. The utilization of online platforms and digital media has the potential to democratize the accessibility of Islamic knowledge, thereby facilitating enhanced engagement and the exchange of ideas on a global scale. The advent of digital expansion has the potential to enhance collaborative research and foster dialogue among scholars with diverse backgrounds, thereby cultivating a more inclusive and dynamic intellectual community.
As the trajectory of Islamic scholarship persists in its evolutionary course, it becomes imperative to foster and bolster the forthcoming cohort of erudite scholars and intellectuals. In order to ensure the continued vitality and pertinence of Islamic scholarship in the future, it is imperative to allocate resources towards the advancement of education and research, establish avenues for the expression of youthful perspectives, and foster an environment that promotes critical and inventive cognition. When considering the future, it is evident that Islamic scholarship possesses the capacity to not solely augment the diverse fabric of worldwide knowledge, but also to assume a crucial position in moulding a world that is characterized by justice, peace, and sustainability. By leveraging its rich historical heritage and actively grappling with the complexities and possibilities of the contemporary epoch, Islamic scholarship possesses the capacity to provide invaluable perspectives and guidance in effectively navigating the intricate dynamics of our globally interconnected society.
Excerpt of Convocation Lecture, Summit University, Offa, December 7, 2023.
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