Final Statement of the First International Congress of Islamic Humanities
The Islamic Revolution is the most important historical milestone and the source of the greatest transformation in the new world. Some of the signs and implications of this transformation in Iran society, the Islamic Ummah, and the Muslim world have been evident in Lebanon and Palestine, and now in the Middle East and North Africa. The Islamic Revolution, as a strategic component, has completely affected the international environment over the last three decades, including the collapse of the communist bloc and the current crisis of the capitalist world.
Nevertheless, the greatest change that has occurred along with the Islamic Revolution of Iran, and other developments can be understood and explained based on that, is to present a new “intellectual and epistemological geometry” which has created a fundamental gap in the legitimate organization of thought and the modern world. The Islamic Revolution has turned secularism, as the basis of the legitimacy of the modern world, from a certain reality and the definite process of the future of the world, into an issue and challenge in the new world. Therefore, the greatest thinkers of the world has now focused on the fact that the secularism is getting close to the end, and the world is in the post-secularism era that can be interpreted as the era of maximal Islam.
From this point of view, Islamic Revolution is not a historical event, but a historic event which as a milestone has divided the national, regional, and global relations at the intellectual, epistemological, and political levels into two parts of before and after itself.
Over thirty years of experience, the Islamic Revolution has shown that understanding various rapid epistemological and political phenomena and events at the national and regional levels, as well as deep analysis of many of the changes and developments in the world depends on a deep understanding and analysis of the Islamic Revolution as a new source of transformation. Through clear and profound recognition and analysis of Islamic Revolution, we can reach a true understanding of the developments and events of Iran society and the world. And on the other hand, some new, effective, and … moves can be established to advance the goals, and accelerate the progress of achieving the purposes.
To sum up, all the claims and consequently all the theoretical and practical responsibilities of Islamic Revolution as a genuinely revolutionary movement can be divided into two main axes.
- Power of “making knowledge”: Islamic Revolution relies on the great and certain sources of revelation, and goes beyond the limited and materialistic reductive epistemology of the modern world in the matter of describing, explaining, and interpreting the facts, realities, and truths of the human and the universe.
- The ability of “making a new society”: it means that the Islamic Revolution can reorganize and rebuild the current human society which is full of challenges and crises through creating a fundamental transformation in “the value system” and “ideals”, as well as designing and generating “processes, institutions, and systems” which strengthen this value system and attain the ideals.
Based on this approach to the Islamic Revolution, the unique position and status of the humanities is recognized, and the philosophy as well as the necessity of the change of the existing humanities, which is alien to the truth of the Islamic Revolution, becomes deeper and more meaningful. In fact, humanities holds the main key to responding to the Islamic Revolution aspects of making knowledge and processing the society in the expected formation of the Islamic Revolution.
The first international congress of Islamic humanities was held with the participation of thirty seven scientific centers and a large number of humanities scholars of the country. This great participation and attendance of the intellectuals, on the one hand, reflects their common concern about this vital issue. On the other hand, it indicates the remarkable human resource of the country in responding to this imperative need of the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic system.
Declaring their readiness to play an active role in completing the process of transformation in the humanities and announcing their decision which is to create a permanent secretariat for the congress, the congress organizers emphasize on the following points:
- Modernity and secularism are the essence of the humanities, and Modern and secular humanities serve the development of secular modernity and guards the type of knowledge-making and society-processing which is related to it. The idea of self-fundament and self-reference human, materialist ontology and epistemology, as well as the formulation of the society based on the maximum realization of the instincts of wealth and power and pleasure is against the idea of God-based thought, non-materialistic ontology and epistemology, as well as organization of the society based on virtue, justice, and the truth of pure Islamic thought, represented by the Islamic Revolution. Therefore, the present modern humanities, at least from the perspective of the Islamic Revolution, is inefficient and incapable of meeting its knowledge-making and society-processing needs and demands; and the evolution of the current secular humanities and changing it into the Islamic humanities is inevitable.
- Subsequent epistemic, social, and political crises in the West, especially in the past decades, has also challenged and even doubted the secular humanities’ ability to respond to the problems of those societies. The emergence of social movements such as Occupy Wall Street, postmodernism and anti-modernity in the field of knowledge are some of the signs of this challenge and the crisis of the legitimacy of the modern secular humanities. In addition, the widespread developments in the heart of the Muslim world in the Middle East and North Africa, and the abandonment of corrupt governments and Western-dependent rulers, whose common feature is “being secular”, reveal the Muslim nations’ collective will to build a new system which avoids the western and secular models and refers to the Islamic models. This very issue doubles the necessity and importance of the production of Islamic humanities in light of the fundamental role that these sciences have in constructing institution and system, and extends the focus on Islamic humanities to the entire geography of the Islamic world.
- The reliance of the Islamic Revolution’s thought on the book and tradition as an indescribable, profound and inexhaustible source of knowledge on the one hand, and on the other hand having the Ijtihād method which is the basis of the continuous dynamics of the Islamic thought in the face of new issues requirements provides the Muslim scholars and researchers with a unique possibility to confront the secular humanities critically and organize the new Islamic humanities.
While the intellectual and political dogmas of the time imposed the choice of one of the existing models which were the reactionary dictatorship of the family in the name of Islam, the communist party minority, and the capitalist minority, the formation of the political system of the “Islamic Republic” based on Imam Khomeini’s Islamic Ijtihādi view whose framework has accordingly been modified and structured in its constitution indicates the capacity and ability of the Islamic sources and Ijtihādi method in shaping the Islamic humanities which, of course, will not happen by itself.
Consequently, in order to utilize and get the most benefit from this capacity, we should meet some requirements including the Islamic scholars’ having high self-confidence, coming out of the passive mode or staying away from the fanatic opposition to the secular humanities, academic tireless efforts, having patience and avoiding creating high expectations in the academic society and other kinds of audience, prioritizing group work on individual activities, doing scientific work in the specialized way, strengthening the interdisciplinary space in the humanities and the interaction of various majors from philosophy to sociology and political science and economics, and doing systematic work.
- In our opinion, the path of transformation in the humanities is “complex”, “time consuming” and relies on a “spontaneous and real will” of each Muslim scholar. It is a process, and it is harmful to look at it as a project and follow it through some circulars and regulations and orders. Therefore, the official institutions should not deal with this matter from the position of power and view it as a formal work requiring some orders. Instead, they should provide the general conditions for improving incentives, stimulating creativity, strengthening will, and investing on purposeful scientific activities.
- Since before the Islamic revolution, facing the Western and modern secular humanities critically and transforming it has had the full attention of a limited number of the scholars such as Shahid Sadr, the late Allame Tabatabaee, Shahid Motahhary, …. Today, it is the concern and the determination of a large number of Muslim scholars in the Seminary School and university who have the experience of the past, especially the thirty-year experience of the Islamic Revolution. They have shown this concern very well at the first international congress of Islamic Humanities. This human resource and the coherent atmosphere resulting from it are the greatest proponents of the transformation in the humanities, which is a sign of the realization of the transformation in the humanities and the appropriateness of the present time for the fulfillment of this purpose. So the issue of training and education a human resource that is talented, motivated, and hardworking is one of the prime necessities and requirements in order to achieve the transformation in the secular humanities and establish the Islamic humanities.
- Discussing the issue of the necessity and possibility of the transformation in the existing humanities should be avoided, and the focus should be on the matter of how it can be transformed and its key components. In order to transform the present humanities, which is quite different from Islamicizing or localizing the humanities (if these phrases are used in the literal meaning of the word), one should consider several factors among which the important ones are as follows:
- Compiling, justification, and reasoning of the philosophical foundations (meta-theoretical and paradigmatic) especially the ontological, anthropological, epistemological and methodological foundations of the Islamic Humanities along with the critique of the philosophical foundations of other existing paradigms (positivist, interpretive, critical, postmodern, and etc.) in the humanities.
- Producing and compiling the philosophical and paradigmatic foundations of each of the specialized fields in the humanities
- Reflecting on the great intellectual and epistemic legacy of Muslim scholars in Iran as well as the Islamic world, and their reconstruction in today’s understandable theoretical organizations.
- Structural and fundamental critique of the original texts and works of the leading thinkers of the Western humanities.
- Marking theorizing as the first and most important problem in humanities especially with focus on the country’s intellectual and practical needs, and organizing the teaching of humanities accordingly at the general level, higher education and the level of graduate studies.
- Preferring problem-centered study and research to the educational and text-centered study in the humanities.
- Paying attention to and focusing on the MA and doctoral dissertations in terms of form and content in humanities fields, and considering them as one of the main and most important sources of production of Islamic humanities.
- New classification and redefinition of current disciplines and sub-disciplines of humanities.
- “Philosophical and functional” redefinition and reconstruction of the present institutions of the humanities field, and the establishment of new specialized institution with the philosophy and special function of presenting new ideas, theorizing, and the interaction of scientific synergies between different majors in the humanities.
- Preparing the conditions in the scientific environments for the presentation of Muslim scholars and experts’ views, works, and products in the academic majors such as Islamic economics and political thought of religious democracy in Islamic humanities.
- Focusing the process of theorizing on institutionalization and systematization for a new sociology.
- Negatively interacting and cooperating with global critics and opponents of secular thought, and positively cooperating with the experts and scholars believing in Islamic humanities all around the world especially Islamic world.
- We all know that we are just at the beginning of a very difficult and challenging way. However, trusting God’s true promise, the real triumphant experience of the Islamic Republic during the last thirty three years in building a strong theoretical and practical system of religious democracy as a model of inspiration and dominant thinking in confronting the secular world’s thinking and practice, the determination of a large group of Muslim scholars in the Seminary School and university for the transformation in the existing humanities, and the complete and wholehearted support of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of the process of transformation in the humanities are our powerful sources which have filled us with hope and motivation in order to achieve this holy purpose.
May 20, 2012