Thursday, April 23, 2009

473)Institute of Ismaili Studies Launches Two Recent Publications In Dubai; Quotes of Aga Khan IV.

"First, the globalisation of the knowledge of the cultures of the Umma is critical. We have to make known the cultural inheritance of the Muslims to the non-Muslim as well as the Muslim parts of the world because we will never succeed in building the respect and recognition that the Umma deserves unless we present the Umma as a remarkable carrier of civilisation.The misconceptions about Islam and Muslims in the West exist because we are, even today, absent from the global civilisation. We should encourage the Western education system to bring in knowledge of the civilisation of Islam into the secondary education system.I am thrilled with the initiative that Dubai and other states in the Gulf are taking by creating museums. Retracing our historical legacies and bringing them back in the modern world is extremely important."(Aga Khan IV, Interview with Gulf News, Dubai, UAE, April 2008)

"A thousand years ago, my forefathers, the Fatimid imam-caliphs of Egypt, founded al-Azhar University and the Academy of Knowledge in Cairo. In the Islamic tradition, they viewed the discovery of knowledge as a way to understand, so as to serve better God's creation, to apply knowledge and reason to build society and shape human aspirations"(Aga Khan IV, Speech, 25th June 2004, Matola, Mozambique.)

"Quran Symposium:....a reflection of how Islam's revelation, with its challenge to man's innate gift of quest and reason, became a powerful impetus for a new flowering of human civilisation.This programme is also an opportunity for achieving insights into how the discourse of the Qur'an-e-Sharif, rich in parable and allegory, metaphor and symbol, has been an inexhaustible well-spring of inspiration, lending itself to a wide spectrum of interpretations"(Aga Khan IV,Speech, Institute of Ismaili Studies, October 2003, London, U.K.)

"What does it (the West) know about the Islamic world? Is anything taught in secondary education? Does anybody know the names of the great philosophers, the scientists, the great theologians? Do they even know the names of the great civilizations?"(Aga Khan IV, Interview, 2nd Feb. 2002)

"Above all, following the guidance of the Holy Quran, there was freedom of enquiry and research. The result was a magnificent flowering of artistic and intellectual activity throughout the ummah" (Aga Khan IV, Aga Khan University, 16 March 1983, Karachi, Pakistan)

"One of the first and greatest research centres, the Bayt al-Hikmah established in Baghdad in 830, led Islam in translating philosophical and scientific works from Greek, Roman, Persian and Indian classics. By the art of translation, learning was assimilated from other civilizations"(Aga Khan IV, Aga Khan University, 16 March 1983, Karachi, Pakistan)

"It is no exaggeration to say that the original Christian universities of Latin West, at Paris, Bologna and Oxford, indeed the whole European renaissance, received a vital influx of new knowledge from Islam -- an influx from which the later western colleges and universities, including those of North Africa, were to benefit in turn"(Aga Khan IV, 16 March 1983, Aga Khan UNiversity, Karachi, Pakistan)

The above are 7 quotes and excerpts taken from Blogpost Four Hundred, a collection of around 100 quotes on the subjects of Knowledge, Intellect, Creation, Science and Religion:

INSTITUTE OF ISMAILI STUDIES Launches Two Recent Publications in Dubai
April 2009

Two recent IIS publications were launched at the Ismaili Centre in Dubai. These included
1) The Ismailis: An Illustrated History and
2) An Anthology of Qur’anic Commentaries – Vol. 1: On the Nature of the Divine.
Held on 3 April 2009, the programme marked the Institute’s first major book launch in that region.

Mr Mohamed Keshavjee, a member of the Institute’s Board of Governors, commenced the programme with an overview of IIS’ contributions to the promotion of scholarship and learning of Muslim cultures and societies through the production of publications and other academic resources. Mr Keshavjee also shared the rationale behind each of the publications being launched.

Introducing the first of these publications, Dr Farhad Daftary, Acting Director of the IIS, discussed the Institute’s contributions to scholarship on Islam, particularly through its Department of Academic Research and Publications. He highlighted the Institute’s forthcoming series of accessible publications aimed at a wider audience, including non-specialist readers. Dr Daftary then focussed on The Ismailis: An Illustrated History, which is the first such publication produced by the IIS. Based on modern scholarship in Ismaili Studies and the broader field of Islamic Studies, the book offers a comprehensive and accessible account of the history of the Ismailis as well as their intellectual and cultural achievements, set in the wider contexts of Muslim and world history.

Dr Feras Hamza then introduced the second book launched at this programme, An Anthology of Qur’anic Commentaries – Volume 1: On the Nature of the Divine. Dr Hamza, formerly a Research Associate at the IIS and currently Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the American University in Dubai, shared his experiences during the writing and production of this publication. The anthology, part of the IIS’ Qur’anic Studies Series, brings together the works of twenty selected Sunni, Shi‘i (including Ithna‘ashari and Ismaili), Ibadi, Mu‘tazili and Sufi commentators (mufassirun) on six different Qur’anic verses. This spectrum of commentaries highlights the varied approaches to the Holy Qur’an and records the rich diversity and plurality of approaches and opinions which have appealed to it throughout Muslim history. The book also provides contextual notes and historical background to these commentaries.

Attended by over 400 participants, the event was followed by an exhibition and cultural programme organised by the Ismaili Council for the United Arab Emirates.

1)The Ismailis: An Illustrated History

2)An Anthology of Qur’anic Commentaries - Volume I: On the Nature of the Divine

Easy Nash

The Qur'an itself repeatedly recommends Muslims to become better educated in order better to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
The Quran tells us that signs of Allah's Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives: Aga Khan IV(2007)
Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2006)
The Holy Qu'ran's encouragement to study nature and the physical world around us gave the original impetus to scientific enquiry among Muslims: Aga Khan IV(1985)
The first and only thing created by God was the Intellect(Aql): Prophet Muhammad(circa 632CE)