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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The seminar season discusses the relationship between Islam and modernity

The Ministry of Culture continued the activities of the 2023 seminar season, in its second season, which it is holding in cooperation with Qatar University, the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies and Qatar National Library. Yesterday evening, Ibn Khaldun Hall at Qatar University witnessed the third event of this season, and it came under the title “Islam and Modernity”, in which Dr. Joseph Lombard, Associate Professor of Qur’anic Studies at the College of Islamic Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and Dr. Abdul Rahman Helli lectured. , Associate Professor of Qur’anic Studies at Qatar University, and it was presented by Iman Al-Kaabi, Director of the Qatar Media Center, and was attended by a large number of thinkers, intellectuals, media figures and students. The journalist, Iman Al-Kaabi, started the symposium by presenting its axes, foremost of which came the definition of modernity, and is there an achieved “Islamic modernity”, in addition to the cultural and civilizational nature of “Islamic modernity”, and the most important thing that distinguishes it from “Western modernity”, which was produced by Western thinkers, according to Their intellectual and cultural conditions, and has Islamic thought accomplished its critical tasks through careful epistemological digging in “Islamic modernity”, criticizing the causes of its disruption and rebuilding its intellectual foundations. The two lecturers discussed the extent of the conditions for achieving “Islamic modernity” and whether they are even possible with the problems posed by current Western thought about “post-modernity”, and the new foundations on which “Islamic modernity” must be re-established, and whether the conditions for achieving this are available in the intellectual field. Contemporary, in addition to talking about the nature of the intellectual and cognitive obstacles that thinkers within the Islamic intellectual, cultural and civilizational horizon must overcome in order to achieve “Islamic modernity”. Cultural specificity and the specificity of culture and “Islamic modernity”. Dr. Abd al-Rahman Halali said: There is not one modernity, but there are many and varied modernities, and that this matter also exists in the West to varying degrees, just as there is a problem when talking about one modernity, because in the logic of its theorists it means modernization, and this prompts us to differentiate between it between modernity. He wondered: Is there a privacy for Muslims in modernity? Emphasizing that each society has its own specificity that is rooted in this society, and that if it is viewed from an Islamic perspective, Islam is not a religion that closes in on itself. interaction. Dr. Abd al-Rahman Helli stressed the importance of distinguishing between modernity as a doctrine imported by modernists, and that existing in the West.


Problems of Modernity As for Dr. Joseph Lombard, he said: The problems of modernity have become more evident in the world, and that their solutions did not come from the West alone, and that when looking at the world, it should not be viewed as a single civilization, but as a group of civilizations. He looked at the characteristics of Islamic civilization. Emphasizing that Islam and the Messenger Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace, were sent to all people, not to Arabs alone, and that it is the responsibility of Muslims to be the ignition of civilization emanating from this religion, and to bring it to people. And in another axis, and about the problems of postmodernism. Dr. Abd al-Rahman Halali affirmed that there is no problem in talking about modernity and what comes after it, and that our movement and will for change must be at the level of thought and action, and that this is achieved on the theoretical level, unlike the practical one. He said: If we want to achieve the positive side in making our history, there must be strategic visions, and that this will only come from the base in light of the Arab peoples’ aspiration for change and achieving what is better in terms of education, rights, democracy, and so on. “Islamic Modernity” In one of the themes of the symposium, with regard to the terms of “Islamic modernity,” Dr. Joseph Lombard emphasized that there is a weakness in the production of critical thinking with regard to “Islamic modernity.” Stressing that the real development should be in human morals, and therefore Muslims are responsible for preserving their morals. He stressed the need to adhere to the way in which the Islamic self can be expressed without falling into polemics with different cultures, in addition to focusing on creating a reality that is in harmony with Islamic culture and religion, which commands us to hand over the matter to God Almighty, taking into account that modernity is different in the West from Islam, as it is associated there with science. He also stressed the importance of presenting an Islamic model to the world, and investing resources, in a way that leads to achieving renaissance, in order to play a role for the benefit of humanity. Dr. Joseph Lombard said: What Islamic thought has accomplished for humanity is a lot, but we need to reach it in a sound way. He came to terms with the concept of postmodernism. Describing it as having more than one definition in the West, however, its definition and concept in the Arab world is completely different from that known modernity in the West. He called for the importance of applying religion in accordance with contemporary issues and bringing Islamic definitions that are not only related to the past but are compatible with contemporary, so that “Islamic modernity” stems from these principles.



Iman Al-Kaabi: The Ministry of Culture is an umbrella for critical thought and dialogue. The journalist, Iman Al-Kaabi, said, during her moderation of the symposium, that the burning questions of “Islamic modernity” that stimulate thinking and contemplation are more than what we have provided of sufficient satisfactory answers, and we want to draw some results that are necessary for the continuation of dialogue, controversy and exchange. Knowledge in other cultural, knowledge and academic platforms, such as Qatar University, which hosted us in a hall whose name bears a message in contemplation and diligence: the first of which is that Islamic thought is developed and open to all kinds of dialogue, acculturation and feedback between civilizations and cultures. She added: Modernity is modernity, but it is regulated by the conditions of its founding and colored by the color of the soil in which it is cultivated. Just as ijtihad is relative like the relativity of human thought itself, and that it moves according to its fixed origins, the laws of its development and its great purposes. Stressing that critical thought and cultural dialogue are what always bring us together under the tent of the Ministry of Culture.



The topics of the symposium spark discussion among the attendees. The symposium witnessed an interaction on the part of the attendees, who were crowded in Ibn Khaldun Hall at Qatar University, about the most prominent intellectual and cognitive obstacles that should be overcome for the sake of “Islamic modernity”. Dr. Abd al-Rahman Halali defined them as being numerous and diverse, calling to confront them with the necessity of possessing knowledge and caring for education at the academic levels, with the aim of criticizing and discussing modernity. He said: What may be discussed in the Arab world may be imported, while modernity in its Western context is not what Arab writers deal with and propose, so they should abandon what they export to us regarding modernity. Stressing the need to advance the institutions concerned with the study of modernity, and that the more knowledgeable and in depth a person criticizes modernity, the more modernist he is and the closer he is to the theorists of modernity itself. He also stressed the importance of overcoming the Arab debate between the theorists of Islamic thought as well as the theorists of modernity, as it is a sterile debate. Citing the late imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, when he criticized philosophy, and he is essentially a philosopher who studied it and mastered it and was able to criticize it, which means that whoever stands against modernity must study it. And about the extent of the link between religion and modernity. In this context, he stressed the need to break the link between them, pointing out that there are no modernists in the West against religion, unlike what exists in the Arab world, just as there are those in the West itself who make a systematic separation between modernity and religion, and that there are theorists of modernity from He believes in religion and reason together and looks at them together. And the difference between the modernists in the West and the Arab world. Dr. Abd al-Rahman Halali said: The problem of the Arabs is that there are many spaces outside of religion in which societies can develop and become modern. As for Western modernists, there are those among them who have a racist vision towards the Arab world, claiming through it that there is a problem between religion and modernity. And about whether modernity conflicts with religion. Dr. Heli said: Some of the outputs of modernity do not conflict with religion, but there are Arab modernists who place them in the face of religion, unlike the thinkers of modernity in the West, although this does not mean that there are products of modernity that conflict with Islam. For his part, Dr. Joseph Lombard stressed that Islam is a call and acquaintance, and we must not start from a tragic standpoint to live an endless struggle. Stressing the importance of meeting on common values, as they are human values. He said: Values ​​are pivotal and major, and when we look at them in the West, we see them as a pile of ashes. Stressing the importance of achieving knowledge and linking it with ethics in Islamic civilization. And about the relationship between the two Islamic civilizations, and the other Western. Dr. Joseph Lombard added: Western civilization rose when it separated from the Church, while Islamic civilization collapsed when it separated from Islam.

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