Paper at the International Leadership Training Program held at Islamabad 22 December 96 - 6 January 97 by Prof Dr Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr.  MB ChB, MPH, DrPH (Harvard) Faculty of Medicine International Islamic University PO Box 70 Jln Sultan Petaling Jaya Selangor DE 46700 Fax (603) 757 7970


The paper presents a positive vision for the ummat in the next century. It starts by analyzing the present malaise of the ummat: its manifestations, evolution, and causes. The basic problem is that of knowledge and the revival of the ummah will have to start with educational reform. The contemporary Islamic revival will succeed and be sustained if correct knowledge and understanding are disseminated among the masses.



Crisis of Knowledge

Definition of the crisis

Problem of quantity

Problem of duality

Failures of the traditional system

Failures of the modern western system

Failure of the informal education of the masses


Malaise of the Ummah

Ummatic malaise due to knowledge and intellectual crises

Manifestations of the intellectual crisis

Deficient ibadat

Action deficiency

Political weakness

Economic dependency

Military weakness

Dependency in science and technology

Erosion of the Islamic identity in lifestyle

Institutional weakness


Origins Of The Malaise

Pre-Islamic period

Excellence of the first generation

Beginnings of the crisis

AL fitnat al kubra

Progress of the crisis

Isolation of the intellectual from the political leadership

Neglect of some disciplines of knowledge

Appearance of  sects and groups

Intellectual stagnation


knowledge , a pre requisite for tajdid

Social change and social movements

The concept and process of tajdid

Tajdid and knowledge

Reform movements

Success and failure of reform movements


Contemporary Revival Of The Ummah

Contemporary Revival

Organized Islamic effort

The potential

The draw-backs


Strategy Of Knowledge

Knowledge, social change, and the school

Educational reform: vision, mission, goals, and barriers






The educational crisis manifests in 3 ways: (a) Deficient Quantity: inadequate, impaired or distorted knowledge

(b) Duality: incoherent and contradictory sources of knowledge (c) Irrelevance: inability to resolve current problems.



There is Pervasive ignorance of uluum al diin and uluum al dunia. Religious illiteracy, ummiyyat diiniyyat, and alphabetical illiteracy are common in many countries. Illiteracy felt more acutely as a problem in the Muslim world because Islam is a religion of knowledge and Muslims should have done better. There are 2 types of illiteracy (a)  absolute illiteracy, in which persons can not read or write in their or any other language and (b) functional illiteracy, in which persons can read a little bit but not to the extent f understanding text. The category of  the ‘Ignorant educated' are those with certificates but are not fully educated; they did not internalize the knowledge and learn how to use it well. The above-mentioned problems are found both in the social and political leaders as well as the masses of the people. The resultant situation is that of ignorant leaders with ignorant followers. The ignorance of the Muslim parent especially the mother, who is the primary educator, increases the crisis because correct knowledge and attitudes can not be transmitted to the next generation.



There is a dichotomy in the education system: traditional Islamic vs. imported European, ulum al deen vs ulum al dunia. There are competing and contradictory world-views. Some Muslim students study at European or American foreign schools in Muslim lands and others are sent to Europe or America for studies. Other Muslim students study at traditional Islamic institutions in their countries or overseas. Graduates of the 2 systems speak different languages and use different terminologies. Graduates of the western system do not know Islam or its heritage and have little self-confidence in their Islamic identity. Graduates of the traditional system do not understand the contemporary world. The consequence of this duality is confusion in the minds of students and intellectual schizophrenia of the elite and society's leadership. Integration of the 2 systems has failed or has been difficult in several countries. The experience of integration of the 2 systems at university level by introduction of western disciplines at traditional universities like Azhar has been difficult. Integration of the 2 systems at university level by introduction of traditional disciplines at modern universities like the International Islamic universities in Islamabad and Kuala Lumpur is being attempted with much difficulty and the results will be evaluated in due course. Integration of the 2 systems at the school level has many obstacles in front of it. The experience of Islamic schools in US and UK is so far of limited success because basic intellectual and conceptual issues were not worked out to enable development of complete curricula and writing text books reflecting Islamic paradigms; these Islamic schools are a continuing manifestation of duality occurring in the same building.



The traditional Islamic education system suffers from several handicaps: the reasons for filure of the traditional system are: (a) taqlid: failure to realize changes in the space-time dimension (b) suppression and marginalization by the nation-state (c) lack of leadership and vision. The traditional Islamic education system has not been able to produce bette results for the following main reasons:(a) Underdeveloped methodology: the methodology used in first 3 centuries of Islam is still used, methodology not relevant to today's challenges. This methodology emphasizes literalism, legalism, and memorization without understanding. (b) The teachers are poorly trained and are not adequately motivated. They have deficiencies in both knowledge and methodology. (c) The system has poor physical facilities. Khuttab, khalwah, pondok, and madrasah are normally in the most inadequate of buildings (d) Graduates are not well utilized. They have no recognized role in state sector. They are unemployed or under employed.



The system of education imported into the Muslim world from Europe and America has not been able to produce even the positive aspects it has in its countries of origin but it has brought with it the negatives. The following are the problems associated with it: (a) lack of vision, (b) Contradiction with the religious and intellectual heritage of Muslims, (c) Introduction of alien concepts such as secularism and nationalism (d) Low motivation and little enthusiasm for scholarship. The ‘educated ignorant’ aim at a certificate in order to get a job or a position without internalizing the knowledge and without the knowledge changing / improving the individual and society. Problems in the western school/university imported into Muslim world. (e) Failure of transfer of technology, (f) Failure to transfer the spirit of inquiry, research and motivation to improve (f) Little research to extend frontiers of knowledge (g) Graduates of this system are favored in the state sector. They largely serve the interests of their teachers in the west.


The European system has made many achievements in science and technology but has failed to solve basic human problems like peace, hunger, disease, mental health, family stability in its countries of origin and in the Muslim world. The reasons for failure of the western system are: (a) Socio-cultural differences. What works in Europe does not necessarily apply in the Muslim world (b) The west is not objective and universal as claimed (c) Deliberate planning to prevent transfer of knowledge and technology that could make Muslims strong competitors (d) Conflicting epistemology between Muslims and the Europeans. European social sciences are largely descriptive of the empirical reality and have no effective solutions for societal ills. They do not accept to make value judgments, they can not fully understand the causes of social phenomena neither can they propose complete solutions to social problems because they do not know how to deal with the inner spirits and conscience of man which is the source of motivation for doing good and bad



The Mass media are controlled and are manipulated. They promote foreign and not Islamic values. No freedom of expression of exchange of ideas. Handicaps imposed by ignorant leaders posing as scholars





This is the most significant manifestation of ummah's decadence.  Intellect must be able to analyze and solve problems. Intellect must have a correct knowledge base if it is to produce useful ideas and thoughts. Intellectual failure either results into new problems in society or renders the society incapable of solving its existing problems


The knowledge and thought crises interact in a synergistic way to lead to ummatic malaise. Thought failure is a direct result of the crisis in knowledge. The starting point is knowledge. Knowledge (ilm) is basis for ijtihad, thought, and the rest of intellectual operations. Knowledge leads to thoughts. Thoughts lead to action. If the knowledge is wrong or deficient, the actions will be defective.


The crisis in thought worsens the crisis in knowledge. Clear thought of leaders leads to successful research that generates correct knowledge. Confused thought leads to wrong or misleading knowledge. Lack of clarity of ideas leads to failure in using available knowledge correctly.


The crisis in both knowledge and intellect lead to ummatic malaise. Knowledge deficiency leads to intellectual failure. Intellectual crisis leads to Ummatic failure. Human history started with knowledge when Allah taught Adam names of things. The Islamic civilization started with 'iqra' and was essentially a revolution in knowledge and ideas. Knowledge enables understanding and resolution of existing problems. Knowledge enables anticipation and solution of future problems.


The intellectual crisis of the ummat is worsened by copying and using poorly digested alien ideas and concepts. Use of analytic tools that are not relevant or suitable to the Islamic intellectual heritage or contemporary social realities. 



Thought failure in the ummah could manifest in the following ways: Suppression of the freedom of thought. Closure of ijtihad. Taqlid and fanaticism for madh'hab. Talfiq. Lack of vision. Superficiality and concern with minor inconsequential issues. Outward manifestations with dead core. Esoteric sects. Sterile arguments (jadal).  Intellectual analysis using un-Islamic terminology and concepts.


Thought failure is responsible for the following issues that started in the past and are not yet resolved up to today r are still causes of controversy when they should not be: Free will of the human being, Taubah and Iman for person who commits a major sin, Al jabriyah, aql and naql, Qadar and Causality, Ta'wil , human intellect as an authority. And khilafat


The thought failure is also responsible for the following major contemporary intellectual issues still unresolved: Woman (nature, role, rights, responsibilities). Plurality of opinion and practice. Leadership/Imamat (selection and roles ): is Imaam selected by agreement or is it ordained by the scripture. Shura and practical application. Application of Islamic teachings to today's realities (economy - education - politics - international relations)-



Acts of ibadat are carried as outward rituals with a dead core. There is little understanding of wahy in all its comprehensive ramifications. Deviations and excesses lead to quarrels and divisions. Superstitions and  bid'a take over where there is little knowledge or understanding.



There is lack of dynamism and activity. There is lack of resolve and a sense of direction. Thinkers abandon practical work. Knowledge and intellect do not automatically lead to action . There must be an inner drive to change society in a practical way.  Many public and private institutions are weak: Ineffective and inefficient administration,  Poor planning , execution, and follow up, Leadership and managerial anarchy.



There is political disunity. The ummat is divided into more than 50 unstable and artificial nation states. Each so-called nation state is divided along ethnic, tribal and sectarian lines. Even small remote communities do not escape the malaise of disunity on basis of sects, madh’hab, ethnic or linguistic differences. Muslims lack a credible and forceful voice at international forum. Political institutions in Muslim countries are immature. Political suppression and human rights abuse are common.



There is dependency and weakness in the ummat despite immense natural resources. Muslims have relatively little control over resources in their land. They sell raw materials cheaply and buy expensive finished goods. A consumer society that does not produce its basic necessities has developed.  There is no security of basic necessities: food, water, and energy. Many Muslim countries lack a future economic vision. Many current economic policies not reflection of teachings of Islam. There is little intra-Muslim co-operation and economic exchange. Many of the national economies are weak being characterized by underemployment ,unemployment, high inflation, inefficient production and distribution.



Muslims have little control over military technology. The technology is used but is not produced. Access to the more advanced forms in hands of enemies of the Ummat. Colossal sums of money have been spent on ineffective weaponry that has not increased military effectiveness. Planning and organization are underdeveloped. There is no overall strategy and  no sense of mission. Military resources are wasted in unnecessary internal conflicts planned/abetted by enemies



There are few practical minds that work effectively and efficiently in research and development. The few who exist do not find sufficient encouragement. The situation is worsened by brain drain to Europe and America. Muslims have become users and not producers of technology. There is low understanding of technology among the masses. There is no infra-structure for future development of S&T



Many youths today are losing contact with the origins of Islamic culture and civilization. This has been achieved by changing education systems, changing alphabets or physically destroying ancient material. Some of those who claim to defend Islamic culture are promoting tribal customs not related to Islam. The Islamic identity is being threatened by western culture being imposed and maintained by force. Western culture is not a common heritage of all humanity. Media, arts, and literature in the Muslim world reflect Euro-centric values. The political and economic environment imposed on the Muslim world discourages growth of an Islamic social identity. People are left in suspension: they have lost the Islamic roots yet they did not fully pick up the western culture.





Pre-Islamic Arabia was in jahiliyyah (moral ignorance) and social disintegration. Islam was a religious, intellectual and social revolution. Positive aspects of the pre-Islamic period were recognized and were incorporated. Negative aspects of the pre-Islamic period were suppressed. This was apparently partial because they reappeared after the khilafat al rashida and contributed to the malaise of the ummah



The generation of the Prophet (pbuh) was the best generation. The best teacher met the best students. Companions had excellent knowledge and understanding. The momentum of the first generation continued in the era of the khulafah al rashidin and the next 2 centuries. Intellectual progress up to the third century was due to this early momentum. The so-called golden era of Muslim learning coexisted with the seeds of decay. Those seeds eventually became the phenomena of intellectual and knowledge failure that have been described. There is a lag time between reasons for decay and the actual collapse



Seeds of the current crisis appeared towards the end of the khilafat rashida. The rapid geographical and demographic expansion of the ummah (12-40 AH) occurred without sufficient time to teach, train and educate the leaders and the masses. As a consequence there was a decrease in the proportion of knowledgeable people. The newly Islamized groups retained many of their old ideas and concepts. New citizens with little knowledge or understanding changed the basic character of the state.



Major problems started in era of Othman. Othman’s words were prophesy: ‘If they kill me, they will never unite and will not be able to fight an enemy together’. The jewish convert Abdullah bin Saba played a leading role. He exaggerated in Ali until he declared that Allah entered into Ali and that Ali was the rightful khalifat. He spread his fitnah in Basra, Kufa, Syria, and Egypt. For the first time Muslims fought Muslims. Texts of the Qur’an and seerah were used in disputes by T’awil to support partisan points of view. Ruling families appeared: Hashimites, Alawites, Umayyads, Abassids. Nationalities and ethnic identities appeared: Persians, Turks, Arabs. The Old Jahili asabiyyat returned. Fighting over leadership started with the fight between Ali and Muawiyah. Ali’s followers then divided into Shia and khawarij.



New social and political forces overthrew the khilafa rashida and the ideals it represented were distorted or abolished. Opposition by scholars and thinkers to the new political and social order was defeated by force of arms. Then the authentic ulama and opinion leaders who remained faithful to the ideals of Islam were marginalized and persecuted. Abu Hanifa (d. 150AH) died in prison. Shafi (d. 204 AH) was brought to Baghdad in shackles from Yaman and then fled to Cairo with his life. Malik ibn Anas (d. 175 AH) was beaten until his hand was paralyzed. Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241 AH) was beaten until his shoes were full of blood). Jadal in the basics of religion appeared. New groups were formed: Mutazilah, Shia, Khawarij, Jabriyyah, Marjiyah, Asharites, philosphers, sufis, These phenomena of confusion and weakness have continued to act until today.



Schism and isolation between the intellectual leadership on one hand and the political and social leadership on the other hand appeared. The political and social leadership could not benefit from the intellectual guidance of the scholars. The scholars had no contact with the decision-making machinery that controlled society and were thus denied the opportunity to study and analyze societal problems from that angle. The Tatar and Turkish military regimes that followed started the process of secularization of the Muslim state. These soldier-rulers held political power in the office of the sultan while the sultan as left to be a powerless figure-head and a source of religious legitimacy for the regime. Corrupt scholars, ulama al sultan, who supported the new political order appeared. A lot of intellectual corruption ensued



Ulama were isolated from centers of influence in society with no political or social roles. They worked on the fringes to preserve ulum al Qur'an, ulum al aqida, ulum al lugha and ulum al sharia. Other ulama developed natural sciences like medicine, physics, chemistry by translating Greek knowledge and adding on it. These disciplined were not seen by the new political order as a threat. They were on the other hand encouraged. Socially dynamic and politically sensitive fields like politics, sociology, and economics were neglected. This was due to ulama not being involved in the field or for fear of persecution by the political leadership




Several sects and groups appeared: Mutakalimun, Khawarij, Mutazilah, Shia, Marjiyah, Asharites, Philosophers, and Sufis.


The mutakallimuun developed ilm al kalaam in which AQL instead of NAQL was used in matters of AQIDA. The scope of ilm al kalaam covered: dhat wa sifat Allah, yawm al akhir. Ilm al Kalam Appeared in the second half of the first century as  means of defending religion. It started as scattered ideas on various issues and did not become a discipline with its methodology until the era of Mamun. The factors that led to appearance of Ilm al kalam: (a) spread of Greek philosophy and logic (b) political differences that turned into ideological disputes with each sude trying to prove its thesis by ta’wil of the scripture (c) relative material prosperity that allowed Muslims the leisure to engage in JADAL (d) enemies of Islam encouraged JADAL to confuse Muslims even further. Kalam played a leading role in the decline of Muslims. It led to differences and discouraged people from the corect path. Leading Kalam scholars denounced kalam toward the end of their lives eg Imaam al Haraman al Juwayni, Abu Ubaid Allah bin al Khateeb al Razi, Abu Hamid al Ghazzali.


The mutazilat was the first group to employ AQL in religious matters. They made tawil in the scriptures to

agree with their AQLI views. They were supported by the Abassids. They argued that al hakimiyyah li Allah. Used takfiir. They argued that the Qur’an was created. They refused some of Allah’s attributes


The asharites started by Sheikh Abu al Hasan Ali bin Ismail al Ash’ari born in Basra 324 AH. They were a  continuation of the mutazilite aqli methodology. Asharites also borrowed from the Greeks.


The philosophers were inspired by and borrowed from Greek philosophy. Philosophy deals with WUJUD, material and non-material. Its branches are: mathematics, logic, physic, ilahiyat, politics, and morals. The method of philosophy is purely AQLI. The main Muslim philosophers were: Ibn Sina, al Farabi and Al Kindi. Muslim philosophers depended on Greek philosophy. They tried to find agreement between Ilam and philosophy. They made ta’wil of Qur’an according to philosophy. Khalid bin Yazid bin Muawiyah (d. 85AH) was the first to bring Greek philosophers to his court and also to translate Greek books in  a systematic way. Al Mamun was a great encourager of translation. By the 4th century Greek philosophy had been mastered well. The impact of philosophy on Muslim thought: (a) preference of AQLI knowledge over NAQLI knowledge (b) doubt in WAHY (c) replacement of WAHY by AQL in matters of the unseen (GHAIB)


Sufism started innocently as personal spiritual devotion, zuhd and ibadat. It became a philosophy and an organized movement in the 2-3rd centuries. It developed ideas, methods and published books. It is thought that sufism was imported from Christianity and India. Among the main tenets of sufism are: (a) obedience to the Sheikh (b) rejection of AQL as a source of knowledge (c) belief in knowledge by kashf (c) line of sucession of imaams and sheikhs (d) belief in extra-ordinary occurrences (karamat) (e) ruh Muhamadiyyah has been transmitted through all prophets and eventually the awuliya (e) unity of wujud (f) Shafa by awuliya (g) holy places for the awliyah. Philosophical sufism is not Islamic. Practical sufism involving zuhd, work and ibadat is accepted


INTELLECTUAL STAGNATION (starting 3rd century AH) :

The period of intellectual confusion was characterised by jadal. The companions and tabi’in had hated jadal in religion. With the opening of the door to jadal, several groups emerged: mutakalimun, philosophers, sufis and others. Closure of the door of ijtihad became necessary to preserve the basics of religion from onslaught of hellenic and other philosophies. Intellectual failure and stagnation started. Widespread ignorance and illiteracy became common.





The process of change involves discovery, invention, and diffussion. The rate of change is affected by: the physical environment, population changes, isolation and contact, structure of society, culture, attitudes, values, and perceived needs. Resistance to change is affected by: specific attitudes and values, compatibility of change with existing culture, cost of change, and existence of a change agent


A social movement is a collectivity acting with some continuity to promote or resist a change in society. Social movement are temporary and are not associations or institutions. The following conditions favor social movements: cultural drift, social disorganization, and social discomfort eg injustice. Pre-conditions for social movements: social discontent, structural blockage that prevents solution of problems, contact among the discontented, and a unifying ideology. Reasons for individuals joining social movements are: mobility, marginality, social isolation, lack of family ties, and personal maladjustment. Types of social movements: migratory eg zionism, utopian eg communes, reform eg women lib, and revolutionary (sudden usually violent and relatively complete change in the social system). The life cycle of social movements includes: unrest, excitement, formalization, institutionalization, and dissolution.



Tajdid is  a recurring phenomenon in the ummah and is a sign of its health and dynamism. It is a basic characteristic of the Ummah that periods of reform/revival alternate with periods of decay and return to jahiliyyah. At least one mujaddid appears every 100 years. Tajdid requires knowledge, ideas and action related by the following mathematical equation: tajdid = idea + action. without knowledge and guiding ideas will not lead to true change. Ideas without action are not change at all



Tajdid requires a reform in knowledge to provide ideas and motivation on which to build. Islam ushered in a new revolution in the world that started with a change in both the methodology and content of knowledge. It came as a  as a change in overall view/context (tasawwur). It re-established the principles of causality in both the physical and social arenas; these principles and laws had been forgotten during the times of superstition and worship of idols. It reiterated that causality was based on immutable laws of Allah in creation (sunan Allah fi al kawn). It called upon human to derive some of their knowledge from empirical observation of both their contemporary universe and the historical experience of communities that cam before and were destroyed because of unbelief. Islam emphasized objectivity and not subjective observation and judgemnet (hiwa al nafs). It also changed the way knowledge was acquired and was used.


All successful societal reform starts with change in knowledge. Human history started with teaching names of things to Adam. The mission of all prophets started as a change in knowledge and understanding; a revolution in knowledge. Successful Islamic reform/tajdid movements in the past 14 centuries started by scholars and involved educating then mobilizing the masses.


Correct knowledge leads to the ideal society. The ideal society can not be created without a knowledge base. That knowledge base must be correct, relevant, and useful. The social reformers must have an intellectual vision of reformed society. The physical picture of the new reformed society must be constructed intellectually before it physically exists.  If the vision is not clear, the reform will fail. It is very difficult to construct the vision as you go along.



The following is a partial listing of reform movements in Islamic history. One distinguishing characteristic of the successful ones is that they were led by scholars and involved change and promotion of knowledge and understanding.


Revival movements in early period (until 10th century) were led by Omar ibn Abdul Aziz (d.  AH), Hujjat al Islam Abdul Hamid al Ghazzali (d. 505 Ah), Sheikh al Islam Taqiyu al Din Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah (d. 661 Ah), and Sheikh Abdul Qadir al Jilani (d. 605 Ah).


Revival movements- recent period (11th and 13th centuries) were led by: Imaam Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab (d. 1206 AH) in Arabian peninsula, Imaam Muhammad al Sanussi (d.  AH) in  Libya, Amir Abdulqadir (d.  AH) in Algeria, Sheikh Othman dan Fodio (d.  AH) in Northern Nigeria, Shah Waliullah al Dahlawi (d. 1175 AH) in India, and Imaam Ahmad Muhammad al Mahdi (d.  AH) in Sudan.


Revival movements in modern period (14th and 15th centuries) were led by: Jamaluddin al Afghani (d. 1314AH) in Egypt and Turkey, Sheikh Muhammad Abdo (d. 1323 AH) in Egypt, Rashid Ridha (d. 1353 AH) in Egypt,  Imaam Hasan al Banna (d....AH) in Egypt, Shibli Numani (d. 1333 AH) in India, Maulana Abu A'la al Maududi (d. 1399 AH) in the Indo-Pakistani peninsula, Shaikh Abdul Hamid ibn Badees (d... AH) in Algeria, Badee Zaman Nursi (d..... AH) in Turkey, Muhammad Iqbal (d. 1938 AD) in India, Dr Hasan al Turabi (b.  AH) in Sudan,  Taqiu al din al Nabhani (d.  AH), and Nasr al din al Albani (d...AH)



Movements that succeeded in creating a permanent impact had the following characteristics: Scholarly leadership, Revival of knowledge and its spread of knowledge to the masses, Getting the masses to gain a new understanding of their social reality which leads to changes in attitudes and behaviors of the masses, Mobilization/organization of the masses, Overthrow/change of a corrupt social system, and establishing new political/social institutions (g) Continuity.


The following leaders organized military movements with little knowledge or intellectual revival failed early and had no lasting impact: Urabi Pasha (d. 1329 AH  ) in Egypt, Abdul Karim al Khattabi (d     ), Omar Mukhtar (d.   ) in Libya , Indian Muslim mutiny in 1857 against the British, the Muslim revolution in Uganda 1888 CE, Samory Toure in present day Guinea, al Hajj Umar in present day Senegambia, and the mourides guerriers against the French in Senegal


Reasons for failures of the reform movements include: Personalizing movement which leads to personality cult,  Dealing with symptoms and not the root problems, Reactive and not pro-active strategies, Tarbiyyah and mobilization with no strategy, Tribal/ethnic/nationalistic basis, Loss of vision and sense of direction and becoming a sect, or order dedicated to founder.


The experiences of the past can not be transplanted to today without modification. We can learn the following from them: (a) Reasons for success (b) Reasons for failure (c) Methodology and not tactics





Today is watershed in history of ummah. The ummah is witnessing the dawn of a new era, an era of change from weakness to strength. Muslims have recognized, identified, described, and analyzed the weaknesses of the past. There is a determination to correct past deficiencies. Resources are being mobilized to achieve fixed goals. Aspiration and planning for a better future vision are n high gear.


Muslims realize that nothing can be achieved without strength and power. Strength is both spiritual and material. Meterial strength consists of: knowledge, science, technology, organization, and management. Spiritual strength lies in the return to the eternal guidance of the Qur’an. The contemporary spiritual revival not unique to Islam; other faiths are also experiencing a revival. The secular alternative is losing credibility in many parts of the world. Only the Muslim world has a credible ideological and practical alternative



The ummah is experiencing an all-out effort of total Islamization of society. There is an unstoppable momentum towards Islamization of all aspects of society: thought and knowledge, Political systems, Legal systems, Economic systems, Education systems, and Social systems.


The Islamic movement is an organized Islamic revival effort. The movement is universal and not ethnic, class, tribal, or geographical. It presents an alternative human experience. The 15th century will be a period of actualization and not preaching about revival. Technics and methods will be different from the past because of the technological revolution that has created access to information and instant communication. Tajdid is manifesting as: Islamic mass movements, Islamic political parties, Islamic liberation/jihad movements, Islamic financial and cultural institutions, and Islamic governments.


The objective of the contemporary revival movement is to acquire enough power in society to rebuild the Ummah according to the Qur’an and Sunnah.



The Muslim ummat is a potential economic and political bloc.


The Rabat-Jakarta geo-political axis comprises of more than 60 states. The political potential of the ummah is not yet realized because existing governments are weak. They dependent on and are obedient to outside powers. Current political systems are unstable and are not able to take decisive steps.


Rabat-Jakarta demographic and economic axis has a big population. Muslims are 25% of humanity and increasing. Allah blessed Muslims with rich natural resources in their lands. There is generally unity of ideology and culture in the Muslim world. This unity is more real among the peoples than governments. Muslims are now experiencing growing self-confidence, and self-assertion. All these augur well for the future.



The contemporary tajdid movement has a lot of strengths but also has basic deficiency that must be corrected if t is to succeed. Attempts to reform have so far not benefitted from deep enough intellectual analysis. The movements are more reactive than they are pro-active; pro-activity requires more intellectual preparation. Planning is poor and is not strategic.


There is an internal crisis within the ummah that is a remaining obstacle: the educational and knowledge crisis. Real and permanent change must be from the bottom. The bottom is weak. A weak bottom leads to weak top. A weak top has no inner ability to lead a revival. The bottom can only be mobilized and strengthened through knowledge. The top requires knowledge to create a vision and plan for its realization. Reform movements unguided by correct knowledge and understanding will falter and fail or will be deviated from their paths





Social change requires change in attitudes, values, convictions and behaviors of a critical mass of the population. Attitudes, values, convictions, and behaviors are determined by the knowledge base. Good knowledge will lead to positive changes. Bad or inadequate knowledge will lead to negative changes. Societal changes without underlying change in knowledge and thought will be temporary and will soon lose sense of direction.


In the past knowledge change and transmission could occur in the informal sector. Today knowledge is transmitted by the formal school system. Efforts to change or reform knowledge must translate into efforts at reforming the school system


Knowledge alone is not enough.  Action is needed put knowledge to good use. Action without knowledge leads to disaster. Those in dynamic action acquire even more knowledge from field experience and are better placed to spear-head intellectual growth.



The vision of the knowledge strategy is an upright balanced person who Understands Creator, Knows his place, his roles, his rights, and his responsibilities in the cosmic order. He participates actively and positively in building society (socially, culturally, technologically). He understands that development activities that find a just equilibrium between material and spiritual, control of nature and preservation of the environment, technology and humanity.


The mission of the knowledge strategy is conceptual transformation of the school system from kindergarten to post graduate studies to reflect tauhid, positive moral values, objectivity, universality, and serving the larger causes of humanity.


The goals of conceptual transformation of knowledge are to Identify and eliminate parochial aspects of the basic paradigms of the disciplines of knowledge and reconstruct paradigms on basis of objectivity and universality. Define objective research methodology for development of new knowledge. Guide use of knowledge for the good of humanity and the environment


The goals of practical reform of the education system are: Abolish duality of education systems in Muslim world. Develop school curricula. Develop, test and publish teaching material. Expand access of masses to knowledge through formal and informal school institutions


The desired system of knowledge will have the following characteristics: Everybody must have access to knowledge without discrimination based on gender or social class. Learning must be free/affordable and continuous. Personal relation must exist between teacher and student so that morals are transmitted at the same time as knowledge. Privately or community-owned schools are the ideal. Government should play only a facilitatory and/or regulatory role. Quality will come from quantity . Mass education in the start . Improve as you go along.


The following are possible barriers to proposed education system: Western secular system is well entrenched and has vested economic, political, and military interests. Stakeholders who will lose privileges when society is reformed. Misunderstanding of the process.



It is a mistake to start building institutions before minimum theoretical guidelines are in place. It is also a mistake to wait until all the theory is worked out before action starts. Theory development and practical application must go hand in hand.


The school (kindergarten to 12th year of education) is passing through a moral as well as an academic crisis both locally and internationally. The behavior of children is worsening. Academic achievement is falling. What is needed is to redefine an Islamic school that should set itself the objective of imparting Islamic education. Islamic education sets itself the goal of guiding a child to an Islamic personality, character, and behavior. The ultimate objective is taqwa. Children are born pure in fitra. The way they are educated and brought up determines whether they will be good or bad. The scope of an islamic school is wide and includes Faith, Intellectual, Moral, social, and Practical skills. Learning in such a school should be Qur’an-based learning. This means not only teaching the Qur’an but teaching everything else from a Qur’anic perspective including inculacting Iman, Understanding, and Practice. The teaching of the Qur’an should emphasize Tadabbur, Reasoning, substantiation, Observation of the world and critical analysis. The school is a socializing agent. It is a laboratory for islamization of the total society. It should exemplify the adab of the teacher: Kindness, Sincere advice to the student, Humility, being a good example and role model, Knowing the characteristics of each student and dealing with him or her as an individual. It should also inculcate the adab of the student: Ikhlas. Respect for teacher. Applying what he learns.


The school curriculum` must be designed with care. It should emphasize the following: Relation betweeb the pupil and the creator, other people and the environment. Iman. Complementality (body-soul, individual-society. Practical and applied. Based on knowledge. Continuous throughout life and not only in the school. Growth and development. Tawazun, wastiyyah, and i’itidaal. It should aim at Preparing the student for ibadat and amal salih. Besides human exerience, the sources of Islamic education should be: Qur’an. Sunnah. Opinions of sahaba. Ijma. qiyas, istihsan, istislah, istisbab, and urf. The methodology of instruction must have the following characteristics: Tadarruj. Reality/realism. Positive attitude to human nature (fitra). Tawazun. All subjects must drive home the basic thrust of Islam. Curricular subjects: (1) Qur'an (2) Qur'anic language (3) other languages (4) Islamic studies (Tauhid/Aqida, Fiqh, Tahadhib and Tarbiyyah , moral and social etiquette, Seerah )  (5) science (6) mathematics (7) history (8) geography (9) arts and crafts: Liberal arts (music, drama, painting) should be islamized. Islamic art forms should also considered as alternatives: calligraphy, non-representative painting, tajwiid) (10)


EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES: Essay competitions, Art competitions, Drama, Trips, excursions, camps, Songs, Sports)


The objectives of the university: Leaders of Islamization. Extend frontiers of knowledge by research. Active partners in societal development by researching and involvement in science and technology. The university should undertake research:  Basic. Applied. Product. Technology transfer.

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule December 1996