O! Gentle reader:
In the first part of the research on Islamic ideology, we have briefly talked about the meaning of `Islamic ideology' along with its resources and characteristics. In the following discussion we are going to talk about several items of Islamic ideology to give an overview about it; as we have kept its structure within limits, before. The above mentioned items are as follows:
Islamic Thinking and Research Methods
Terminology and its Influence on Islamic Ideology
The Retardation Factors and Ideological Deviance in the Islamic World
The Problems of Contemporary Islamic Thought
The Factors of Wakefulness and Stimulation in the Islamic World
We hope that this research will take part in giving general, sound rules
for understanding Islamic ideology, as well as representing its own character and distinctive features to be a support for the cultural and ideological construction in Islamic society.
(With a success granted by Allah)
If one casts an inductive look on the history of Islamic ideology with regard to its origin, growth and development, then, one will be able; through analyzing the structure of that thought and especially when probing into the background of its main elements and principal resources that deal with all its own aspects; such as, philosophy, principles of jurisprudence science, interpretation, juristic studies and so on, to diagnose the rising, graphic line which exists between other sciences and knowledge, and those which have been discussed by Islamic thinkers, knowers and researchers since the beginning of Islam.
In the early beginning, Islamic life, which occured at the moment when Gabriel - the attendant of Allah - had been revealed to the Gracious Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.) by Allah's command, along with the commencement of Islamic vocation, cut through a sphere permeated with ignorance, illiteracy and lack of science.
At that time, Muslims had no longer obtained knowledge, sciences and thought, worth mentioning, except those found in the Holy Qur'an and the traditions (sunnah) of the Prophet (s.a.w.); which, these two, actually form the endless, ideological fountain of Islam, and the base, as well as the principle which Islamic knowledge and thought have been deduced and,
furthermore, through a movement of thinking, persistence and innovation, besides; they are the basis of the stimulating and civilized enlightenment of all Muslims and human beings. The human race still owes its scientific development to Islam and its message.
We can, also, say that the beginnings of Islamic ideology played a major role in producing the field of interpretation science. During the era of Allah's Prophet (s.a.w.), Muslims had turned to the prophet for gaining an understanding of the Holy Qur'an and acquiring a knowledge about the contents of its verses. Of course, that prophetic grant is a part of the traditions and a base for those who contemplate.
In view of the fact that the movement of ideology and society has started developing due to the inspiration of the message, itself, the beginning of that movement was within the range of the Holy Qur'an which resulted in understanding and deducing its meanings, as well as, expressing its contents. So, on these grounds, the first signs of interpretation science and discrepancy in understanding and the purpose of the Holy Qur'an, as well as its descent causes, were established. After the demise of Allah's Prophet (s.a.w.) Muslims had, mostly, consulted with his prominent companions - who possessed a great deal of scientific knowledge - to understand the Qur'an.
Imam Ali Ibn Abi-Talib (upon whom be peace) was the first among them who had completely realized its significance. In fact, he was the leader of all interpreters and a real guide to those who wished to know; for he had been described by Allah's Prophet (s.a.w.) as such when he said, "I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate; so, he who intends to enter the city should come through its gate."(1) At that time, also, were Abdullah Ibn-Abbas, Abdullah Ibn-Mas`oud, Ubay Ibn-Ka`ab, Abdullah Ibn Omar and others similar to them from the same prophet's generation of followers.
Everyone of the above mentioned individuals made every effort to take part in the interpretation of the Holy Qur'an according to his own view in understanding its contents and meanings, along with that first produce and its consequences. The life of the society had developed together with its political, economical, social and financial needs which dealt with the affairs of rule, finance, trade, judgement, inheritance, marriage, divorce and, so on. A great many cases, which had arose, dealt with the affairs of worship, such as: cleanliness, uncleanliness, residence, travel, doubts when reciting prayer, etc.
Due to the above mentioned cases, Muslims, because of being in need of verdict and legal opinions, witnessed that the expansion of jurisprudence knowledge had spread in vast dimensions. Meanwhile, the first fruits of the deducing process had started developing in the hands of some of the Prophet's companions.
At this point in time, the initial beginnings of writing down jurisprudence (fiqh) had occured; as it was narrated that Abu Rafi` - a servant of Allah's Prophet (s.a.w.) - had written a first book on inheritance. Thus, the beginnings of the great diligence and ideological yield, in both fields, (i.e., jurisprudence and interpretation) had begun soon after the demise of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.). However, the haste for understanding the Holy Qur'an and traditions of the Prophet - due to some people who had taken up such a significant task - was going to produce mistakes and lead to various imaginings about the affairs of belief and theology, as well as, those topics that might closely relate to such cases which dealt with: following the right way, going astray, compulsion and choice, fatalism, reward and punishment, etc.
The seeds of disagreement had been sown, early, in matters of belief and verdict together with the interpretation to form bases and starting points for the ideological, jurisprudential, and interpretive schools. So, the horizons of jurisprudence, interpretation and matters of belief had become broader in scope. The doctrine of Solitary People (al-Mu`tazalah) - i.e., a sect of theologians who disagree with Sunnis on some matters of belief - was coming to the forefront in the second half of the first century of the Hegira; along with the ideological line which had been undertaken by the Prophet's Household (Ahlul-Bait) and their followers.
Afterwards, the jurisprudential product, interpretation, traditions recording, the biographies, invasions, and the principles of jurisprudence were all going to be in an absolute, developed form.
It was when Muslims had been in touch with the thinking of the followers of the Book (Christians and Jews), along with the study of theological concepts, that the debate, which led to questions and answers, had stood the test. At the same time, the ideological movement started to employ a new method in confronting the suspicions and correcting wrong beliefs, as well as solidifying the stability of its roots. The debate about beliefs had appeared on the stage and developed to be crystallized into the theology state. Then, compositon and classification had begun in the fields of jurisprudence, interpretation and jurisprudence principles which were the most developed and mature with regard to the technical state; to become more of an extension of their subjects and issues.
In the second century of the Hegira, when translation and recounting of the ancient nations and non-Islamic civilizations had already begun, such as; the translation of logic and philosophy from Greece, these thoughts found their way into Islamic society where Muslim scholars dealt with them in discussions, criticisms and evaluations. In addition, they made the well-known contemporary scholars and intellectuals establish the ideological bases; and helped them to compose the books and enrich the round table discussions with both Islamic knowledge and thinking.
So, the ideological revolt had started in its effective form between the end of the first century and the beginning of the second century of the Hegira. Thus, the structure of Islamic thought had begun to form by going through the birth, growth and final stages as follows:
Learning from Allah's Prophet (s.a.w.) that which had been announced to mankind about the Holy Qur'an and his traditions.
Requesting explanation about unknown subjects that dealt with interpretation, belief and verdicts, and the like.
Sermons which had been delivered by some of the Prophet's (s.a.w.) followers soon after his death; and which reached their peak through the most famous sermons that have been made by Imam Ali (upon whom be peace) which are collected in a book entitled `Nahj-ul-Balagha' or `Peaks of Eloquence' (and is considered one of the most unique and richest sources of Islamic knowledge and thought).
Round table discussions and debates, which had been held in the mosques by the Prophet's followers and companions, in addition to the twelve Imams (Ahlul-Bait) (a.s.).
The writing and composing of books.
The committed and sensible adopting of what had come from other nations.
Construction of universities and schools.
The establishing of sciences and imparting of knowledge.
Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.) was among the first to supervise the teaching of Muslims science, reading and writing; and, therefore, he sent representatives, on his behalf, to teach people and invite them to Islam. For instance, the prophet had sent Mus`ab Ibn `Umair to Medina before the Hegira and sent `Ma`ath Ibn Jabal to Yeman to propagate Islam, as well as to impart knowledge and teach the sciences to the people.
It has been related that Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.) had commanded every learned polytheist captive, of Mecca, who had been captured during the `Great Battle of Badr' to teach ten illiterate Muslims' sons, as a ransom for setting them free from prison. Of course, the Prophet behaved thus to liberate the minds from illiteracy, as well as, to make the hands free from the chains of prison.
Afterwards, Muslim scholars sacrificed a great deal of effort to establish scientific research approaches and to adjust their principles and rules, so, they planned the dictionaries and encyclopedias, and ordered and indexed references. Moreover, the behavioral and phychological studies had also been established on the grounds of scientific and arranged principles. At the same time, they defined the research methods together with their theories and rules in the field of various subjects, as well as natural and life style studies.
That which we have in our hands of the wealth of lofty, scientific structure and strict, well-organized thought are as objective witnesses to the efforts made by the Islamic scholars and the power of Islamic thought over production, development, donation and genuineness, in addition to its being secure from any sort of sterility, deadlock or dependence.
It is correct to say that Muslims have enjoyed benefits from other nations' experiences in the fields of thought and culture, such as; philosophy, theology, and logic, as well as, sociology, psychology, ethics, history and, so on. But, they did not achieve that human quality as scientific axioms without further proof or argument. On the contrary, they had discussed and criticized it with correction and made additions, in order to expand it; to cover more distance to a point that went along with what they already possessed of thought and belief, together with Islamic understanding and genuine opinion. Thus, they held on to what existed of the original Islamic thought and strived for both developing and enriching it. Moreover, they had reproduced and discovered much within the range of this field.
Indeed, they became the leaders in paving the way of science, as well as, human knowledge, and, also, established the pillars of approaches research; in addition to scientific thought which is in accordance with believable methods and Islamic aspects. So, the said organization and regulation that occurred to the structure of the ideological research methods and the coordination of their construction are necessary to Islamic thought.
Here, we can put on record the efforts; the magnificent works that were performed by the Islamic contemplators and intellectuals. In addtion to this, the tasks that were being undertaken by them are as follows:
Deducing, reproducing and establishing knowledge and sciences.
Defending Islamic thought against any superstitions to achieve the originality, purity and uprightness of it.
Criticizing the non-Islamic thoughts and discovering them by conducting an investigation to find out their mistakes and weaknesses.
Deriving benefit from human ideas that are in line with the principles and origins of Islam; contemplating on them after sifting through and revising material so as to make it easier for the Islamic mind to become involved and absorb it, as a whole, in order to be quite sure of removing any inaccuracy that may detour either the Islamic spirit or its direction in life. This Islamic mind must be on a great level of purity from all alien elements; those elements which may be found in any character and combine in coherence with Islamic thought and within a range of a single ideological structure.