The Aga Khan University-Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations cordially invites you to the event Are We There Yet? On the Saga of Islam and Modernity on the occasion of the launch of a new book by Professor Ali Paya entitled Islam, Modernity and a New Millennium: Themes from a Critical Rationalist Reading of Islam.
Among the varieties of responses developed by Muslims in reaction to the challenges presented to them by modernity, construction of new epistemological frameworks to help Muslims to come to terms with the requirements of modern times is of particular importance. Muslim thinkers from Muhammad Iqbal Lahori, to Nasr Hamed Abu Zayd, to Muhammed Arkoun, to Abdolkarim Soroush, and many more, each in their own way, tried to create new systems of thought to interpret the Islamic teachings in thoroughly new fashions. In a real sense, the aim of all these new intellectual machineries has been to produce a fresh paradigm in which modernity and tradition could be reconciled in novel ways that prove to be compatible with the norms of the modern age. A shared feature among all these epistemological approaches is that they maintain that the most effective way for reform is to produce an entirely new way of understanding the fundamental Islamic principles and tenets.
Islam, Modernity and a New Millennium: Themes from a Critical Rationalist Reading of Islam belongs to this same intellectual tradition. Its goal is to introduce a new reading of the principal Islamic ideas and ideals in the light of Critical Rationalism. In this work, which is the first volume of a larger project, issues such as new approaches to the interpretation of the Quran, being religious in a secular age, epistemological status of fiqh, anti-rational trends in Islamic thought, harmonious coexistence of the followers of the Abrahamic faiths, the root-cause of doctrinal violence, and Islamisation of knowledge and technology, among others, are critically discussed.
In this short talk, following a brief reference to the works of some of the better-known Muslim reformers and a short account of the main tenets of Critical Rationalism (CR), Professor Ali Paya briefly discusses some of the ways in which CR can help Muslims to develop a more critical understanding of the Islamic teachings. An understanding which, he argues, is less vulnerable to the usual critiques levelled at many traditional as well as modern accounts of Islamic principles and teachings. The upshot of the arguments of the talk is that in an age characterised by scepticism, uncertainty, and relativism, adopting a critical rationalist approach towards Islamic faith and teachings greatly improves the believers’ chances of a successful reconstruction of religious thought.
Ali Paya: Educated at the Sharif University of Technology (Electronic Engineering), University of Tehran (Philosophy) and the University of London (UCL) (Philosophy of Science), he is a Professor of Philosophy at the Islamic College (London), Professor of Philosophy of Science at the Sciences and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University (Tehran), and a Visiting Professor at the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations.
Professor Paya is the author of Analytic Philosophy: Problems and Prospects which received the award for the best philosophy book of 2003 in Iran. His most recent publications include Iraq, Democracy, and the Future of the Muslim World (co-editor 2012), The Misty Land of Ideas and the Light of Dialogue: An Anthology of Comparative Philosophy: Western & Islamic (editor, 2014), A Critical Pathology of the Social Sciences and Humanities in Iran (co-author, 2015), Analytic Philosophy from a Critical Rationalist Point of View (2016), Habermas and Iranian Intellectuals (co-author 2016), Greh Goshaee Be Shiveh-ye Philosophan va Mohandesan (Problem-solving in Accordance with the Approaches of Philosophers and Engineers: Essays Concerning Science, Technology and Science Policy) (2017), Rah va Rasm-e Manzel-ha (Tools of the Trade: Essays on, and from the viewpoint of, Human Sciences) (2018), and Islam, Modernity and a New Millennium: Themes from a Critical Rationalist Reading of Islam (2018).
Time and Venue
Wednesday 25 April 2018, 18.00 - 19.30
The Aga Khan University-Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations
210 Euston Rd, London, NW1 2DA (Room 2.3, 2nd floor)
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Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (ISMC)
Aga Khan University (International) in the United Kingdom