Research Project: KRM announces Islamic Analytic Theology Project
by Sohail Nakhooda
Kalam Research and Media, and the John Templeton Foundation, along with implementing partners embark on a 3-year project to lay the foundations for a renewed understanding of the analytic dimensions in Islamic thought. The initiative is supported jointly by contributions to the project from the John Templeton Foundation, Kalam Research and Media, as well as partner universities and institutions of education from around the world.
Over 50 leading Muslim scholars from around the world will be embarking on a multifaceted 3-year project to foster a greater appreciation of the depth and complexity of Islamic theology in areas such as logic, ethics, philosophy, and science, and bring these into conversation with cutting-edge contemporary thought into the Big Questions.
The project—Islamic Analytic Theology: Building Foundational Resources—is the first phase of an initiative that seeks to act as a catalyst for the retrieval of analytic resources in the Islamic theological tradition, encompassing a wide range of disciplines, and which will aim to inform a deeper understanding of the Islamic intellectual corpus and also contribute to a fruitful and positive engagement with current intellectual trends—philosophical, scientific and religious—and interaction between analytic philosophy and mainstream Islamic theology. The Islamic Analytic Theology project will link the most influential centers of Islamic learning in conversation and collaboration with experts at leading academic institutions around the world in order to allow for a renewal of contemporary theological discourse.
Staff at Kalam Research and Media (KRM) will be coordinating this initiative and will aim to promote a collegial ethos through a network of leading Muslim theologians, jurists, mystics, philosophers, scientists, historians, and institutions and publishers in key academic and religious centers in Bosnia, Canada, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Libya, Malaysia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the UK, and the USA. The project will fund original research, training and courses, the commissioning of new books, articles, translations, a collaborative online portal to serve students and scholars, facsimile editions of key manuscripts, as well as bringing together a set of working groups that will engage on a variety of Big Questions over three years. The working groups will focus on issues that are central to the Big Question discussions such as the relationship between religion and science, ethics and moral reasoning, and the soul and the unseen. The project aims to develop a robust body of learning in Arabic, Bosnian, English, Malay, Turkish, Urdu, and among other languages to develop a comprehensive ground for the revival of a engaging and sophisticated Islamic theology in madrasas, mosques, universities and institutions of learning.
Dr Michael Murray, vice president for philosophy and theology at the Templeton Foundation, said: “The Foundation is very enthusiastic about the project being directed by Kalam Research and Media. Sir John Templeton was keen to support scholarly inquiry that deepens our understanding of God and spiritual reality across religious traditions. We are confident that the Islamic Analytic Theology project will provide interesting and distinctively Islamic insights on the Big Questions about God and the universe.”
Sohail Nakhooda, Research and Publications Manager at KRM, commented: “We are absolutely delighted that the John Templeton Foundation is working with us on this important initiative. The project begins at a critical time when the renewal of theological discourse is very much needed in the Muslim world and one which can be foundational for civilizational and religious understanding, co-existence and progress.” He added: “Islamic intellectual history is replete with analytical tools and philosophical insights. There is a vast tradition of thought that has been neglected, and needs to be revisited and rearticulated in the light of contemporary advances in empirical knowledge. What we are looking to do is help bring together a network of scholars who are already bringing new insights to their own communities, educational institutions and regions, and start a wider conversation that will hopefully, in the long-run, rebuild a globally-vibrant scholarly field that is rooted in the Islamic intellectual tradition and in sophisticated engagement with the various philosophical, scientific and religious contributions to the understanding of issues that shape our world.”