On Saturday afternoon, students of Islamic Political Thought of the UP Institute of Islamic Studies had an intellectual session with Professor Dr. Muqtedar Khan, a public intellectual who founded the Islamic Studies program at the University of Delaware, USA. Details about Prof. Khan’s prominent scholarship can be found in his website, Ijtihad.
Prof. Khan and the students lamented about the narrow interpretation (predominantly legalistic and jurisprudential hermeneutics mostly imported from the Middle East) of Islam that constricts Filipino Muslims in their view and beauty of the message of Allah, the Most Beneficent and the Most Merciful. “This constricted legalistic view of Islam may lead to the epistemology of indifference and possibly of violence,” they opined. In order to counter indifference, lack of sympathy and compassion, Filipino Muslims must inculcate to themselves the importance of education, i.e. learning Islam (not only to memorize but to understand and internalize Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet, may peace be upon him), including Islamic and Western philosophies, all human sciences, and all traditions of faiths, e.g. the Hindu way, the Buddha way, Judaism, Christianity, etc. In this way, the soul, mind and heart are enriched.
Prof. Khan expressed that “it is very significant that we go beyond the framing and thinking of ‘Muslims and Others’, but to think for the ‘Humanity’ as the words and message of Allah, the Most Beneficent and the Most Merciful, is not exclusively only for Muslims but for the entire humanity whether you are white, black, Asian, American, European, Chinese, Indonesian, Turk, Moro, Lesbian or Gay.” It is, indeed, for everyone and for the whole cosmos of the universe. The difference lies on how you receive and act upon the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The session ended up by bringing forth the significance of muraqaba, a Sufi tradition of self-meditation and self-criticism, that takes care of one’s spiritual heart or soul and acquire knowledge as humans worship Allah, the Most Beneficent and the Most Merciful.
In 2015 visit of Prof. Khan to the Philippines, he has written a short article entitled “Muslims of Philippines: Struggling for Dignity, Freedom and Equality” published at Huffington Post. Click here to access it.