Islam and Secularism


Islam and Secularism

Islam and Secularism

Written twenty years ago, this is a book by one of the most creative and original Muslim thinkers in the contemporary Muslim world. The author deals with fundamental problems faced by contemporary Muslims and their real solutions, beginning with a discussion on ‘The Contemporary Western Christian Background’, followed by his analysis of the concepts (which he newly defines) of ‘secular’, `secularization’ and ‘secularism.’ Based on all the preceding explanation, he proceeds to analyze the Muslim `dilemma’ by declaring that it should be resolved primarily through what he calls the “de-westernization of knowledge” or, conversely, the “islamization of contemporary knowledge”, an original concept conceived of and argued for by the author for the past three decades. Numerous original and profound ideas are contained in this book— arrived at chiefly through critical study of Muslim tradition— such as the concepts of Din, `adl, hikmah, adab, ma`na (meaning), and ta’dib, and their significance in the development of an Islamic system of education.


Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas

Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas (b. 1931), on his return to Malaysia in 1966, being among the first few Malaysians to hold the degree of the Doctor of Philosophy and the first from the University of London, was appointed Head of the Division of Literature in the Department of Malay Studies at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. From 1968 to 1970, he was Dean of the Faculty of Arts at that University where he reformed the academic structure of the Faculty. Prof. Al-Attas was also one of the senior founders of the National University of Malaysia founded in 1970. He was also responsible for the conceptualisation of the original philosophical basis of the University as well as the establishment of the Faculties of Science and Islamic studies. He occupies a position of intellectual eminence in his country as the first holder of the Chair of Malay Language and Literature at the National University of Malaysia (1972-84), as the first holder of the Tun Abdul Razzak Chair of South Asian Studies at Ohio University (1980-82), as the Fonder-Director of the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, Malaysia (1987) and as the first holder of the Al-Gahzzālī Chair of Islamic Studies (1993).

Prof. Dr. Al-Attas has written twenty-five books and monographs in English and Malay and has delivered more than four-hundred lectures throughout Europe, the US, Japan, Far East and the Muslim world.


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