Diagnosis and Solutions for Problems Facing the Ummah

I gave a one hour talk in Urdu to Ulema at Jamia Masjid al-Muzammil in G11/3 Islamabad on the topic of the title on Tuesday evening 1/21/20. This is linked below:

Detailed explanations in English of most of the topics covered are listed in the outline given below:

  1. Islamic Knowledge: Still Revolutionary after 1440 Years — This question frames all of the work that I do. Is the message of the Quran capable of launching the same revolution today as it did 1440 years ago? If so, HOW? If not, why not?
  2. If we decide, as I claim, that Islamic Knowledge is indeed just as powerful today, then we face several puzzles that must be resolved to support this claim. The most fundamental is: If Muslims are in possessions of this knowledge, why do they NOT launch the revolution created by this knowledge 1440 years ago?  How I struggled with these puzzles for more than 25 years is described in my “Journey of a Thousand Miles”“Journey of a Thousand Miles”.
  3. Muslims agree that the Quran contains complete and perfect guidance for all times to come, but we are also agreed that currently the Ummah is covered in darkness, ignorant, and backwards, almost like that of the pre-Islamic times. What is the disease with ails the Ummah? Without a correct diagnosis, we cannot prescribe a cure. So it is essential to diagnose the problems correctly. My paper on “Rebuilding An Islamic Society” discusses a variety of diagnoses which have been made of our current sickness.
  4. The conclusion that I arrived it is that at the heart of the our sickness is a lack of confidence created by losses (see “A Deep Seated Inferiority Complex”“A Deep Seated Inferiority Complex”). Because we have lost our confidence, we have become extremely impressed by the West, and by Western knowledge. As a result, we suffer the problem of the “Modern Mu’tazila” – Muslims have come to believe that knowledge produced by the West over the past three centuries is more relevant and important for our progress and development than the ancient message of the Quran.
  5. The original problems of the Mu’tazila was solved in three steps by Imam Ghazali.  These three steps are described in detail in: The Ghazali Project: Revival of Deen
  6. The project of burning importance for us Muslims today is to SHOW the relevance and importance of complete and perfect final message of God. In this, we are failing miserably. By acting as beggars ourselves, in terms of seeking knowledge about the SOCIAL SCIENCES (not the Physical Sciences) we tell the world that we have nothing to offer in terms of knowledge about human beings. In fact, while the accomplishments of the West in the natural sciences are amazing, their failures in the Social Sciences are equally amazing — see Origins of Western Social Science. This paper explains how deeply flawed the Western social sciences are.
  7. Because our eyes are dazzled by the glamour of Western knowledge, Muslims have accepted it at face value. Muslim intellectuals have not had the confidence to reject it even when their knowledge conflicts directly with the Quran. It is only after we confidently reject Western Social Sciences (Tahafat al-Falasafa) that we will be able to understand and offer the revolutionary Islamic alternative, which deep understanding of the human psyche available in Islamic teachings offers. For a sketch of how this would work in economics, see: Launching An Islamic Revolution in Economics

The next talk in this sequence was Origins of Banking which dealt with the real nature and purpose the Western Central Banking system, in historical contexts of their origins in England. This was not directly connected with talk above. Continuing from the discussion above, the next talk is: The Greatest Challenge Facing the Ummah


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About Asad Zaman

BS Math MIT (1974), Ph.D. Econ Stanford (1978)] has taught at leading universities like Columbia, U. Penn., Johns Hopkins and Cal. Tech. Currently he is Vice Chancellor of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics. His textbook Statistical Foundations of Econometric Techniques (Academic Press, NY, 1996) is widely used in advanced graduate courses. His research on Islamic economics is widely cited, and has been highly influential in shaping the field. His publications in top ranked journals like Annals of Statistics, Journal of Econometrics, Econometric Theory, Journal of Labor Economics, etc. have more than a thousand citations as per Google Scholar.

4 thoughts on “Diagnosis and Solutions for Problems Facing the Ummah

  1. Pingback: Origins of Banking (urdu) | An Islamic WorldView

  2. Pingback: The Greatest Challenge Facing the Ummah | An Islamic WorldView

  3. Pingback: Building Islamic Foundations for Social Sciences | An Islamic WorldView

  4. Pingback: The Ghazali Project: Revival of Deen | An Islamic WorldView

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