Sunday, December 10, 2006

74)Sayings: Aga Khan 4

Excerpt of address made by Mowlana Hazar Imam to the graduating students at the Aga Khan University, December 2nd 2006:

"That quest for a better life, among Muslims and non-Muslims alike, must lead inevitably to the Knowledge Society which is developing in our time. The great and central question facing the Ummah of today is how it will relate to the Knowledge Society of tomorrow.

If we judge from Islamic history, there is much to encourage us. For century after century, the Arabs, the Persians, the Turks and many other Islamic societies achieved powerful leadership roles in the world—not only politically and economically but also intellectually. Some ill-informed historians and biased commentators have tried to argue that these successes were essentially produced by military power, but this view is profoundly incorrect. The fundamental reason for the pre-eminence of Islamic civilizations lay neither in accidents of history nor in acts of war, but rather in their ability to discover new knowledge, to make it their own, and to build constructively upon it. They became the Knowledge Societies of their time.

Those times are over now. They are long gone. But if some people have forgotten or ignored this history, much of the Ummah remembers it—and, in remembering, asks how those times might be recaptured. There may be as many answers to that question as there are Muslims—but one answer which can be shared across the whole of the Ummah is that we must become full and even leading participants in the Knowledge Society of the 21st Century."(Aga Khan 4).

Excerpt from a speech by Mowlana Hazar Imam in Lahore, Pakistan on December 5th 2006 regarding pluralism, knowledge, intellect, knowledge society:

"Stressing the need for the promotion of pluralism of Islamic civilisation, the prince said the spirit of the knowledge society was the spirit of pluralism — a readiness to accept the other, indeed to learn from him, to see difference as an opportunity rather than a threat.

He said AKDN had set up an institute in London which was teaching an MA course in Islamic civilisation. He said Ummah also needed to move into the knowledge society.

He said AKDN was planning to set up a network of schools in 14 to 16 countries of Asia and Africa, adding these educational institutions would provide world-class education. These schools would ultimately be linked to the university system, he said"(Aga Khan 4).

Regarding the above-quoted excerpts during the recent visit to Pakistan, the theme of knowledge has now become a standard theme in the Imam's speeches as well as farmans. I think back to the farman in Toronto in June 2005, the convocation address at American Cairo in June 2006, the interview to Spiegel magazine in Oct 2006, the AKU convocation speech and the speech in Lahore, Pakistan in Dec 2006. There have been many more in other speeches and farmans, of course, but the acquisition of knowledge in all its nuances, from the rational knowledge provided by a solid education to the transcendental knowledge of the divine, is now a recurrent theme in the Imam's thoughts and messages. All the Imam's educational institutions, from the schools and academies to the universities in Africa and Asia, are designed to impart a solid education in rational knowledge, which can lay the groundwork for incitement towards more esoteric and suprarational forms of knowledge.


Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation:Aga Khan 4.
The God of the Quran is the One whose Ayats(Signs) are the Universe in which we live, move and have our being:Aga Khan 3