Islamisasi Ilmu Pengetahuan Bukan Sekadar Persoalan ‘Perspektif’ Semata-mata*
Oleh: Dr Muhammad Zainiy Uthman*
The Difference between IOK of ISTAC and IIIT has been on the minds of many lately, especially those who are associated with IIIT, particularly IIITM. The reason for the interest in the difference(s), from our point of view, is simply that IOK of ISTAC originates from the source, the originator of the idea, the man who conceived the concept itself, whereas IOK of IIIT is at the downstream level (if I may put it in that term). It is because they are at the downstream level that they are saying the difference is a metter of perspective.
An idea is not a perspective. An idea on Islamization of Knowledge, which deals with the very meaning of man, of nature and other basic philosophical concepts are not subjected to perspective. They do not exist out there; in that there is no such thing as the front perspective of the rear perspective of an idea. Rather, they are conceived by minds, and thus they are subjected to either right or wrong understanding, not perspective(s). As an example we may cite the concepts of force, or inertia or momentum. These cannot be seen out there but they are very much part of motion. We can observe manifestation of force or inertia or momentum. But they in themselves do not exist outside the moving body. And if one is not able to conceptually understand these unseen aspects of a body in motion correctly one cannot proceed to do proper Physics. There is no excuse for not understanding these concepts correctly by saying incorrect conceptualization of these aspects is only a matter of perspective. You either get the concept rightly or wrongly; there is no perspective.
It is obvious therefore that the two IOK-ISTAC and IOK-IIITM are very different, and the difference is not a matter of perspective. the difference is fundamental. As we can see from the interview with Dr. Ibrahim Zein (IIITM Letter, No. 19, June-September, 1998), he is inconsistent, which betrays the fact that he has not fully grasped the concept of Islamization of Knowledge.
Islamization of Knowledge proper does not seek to criticize our tradition or to be precise, our heritage. What it seeks to criticize and re-evaluate is the present day knowledge, knowledge that has been imbued with western concepts, which are derived from its worldview. It is in the very concepts that have produced present day knowledge that Islamization seeks to address. Thus the need to understand concepts which are couched within the Islamic worldview in order to properly execute the Islamization program.
Although he is correct in pointing out that IOK should begin at the tertiary level, a point which Prof. al-Attas and IOK-ISTAC demand strongly, he betrays this ignorance of the matter at hand by stating that Prof. al-Attas’ insistence on “metaphysics, the essence of Islam and the definition of human being”, which are “the basic philosophical concepts” as he readily admits, is different from the application-oriented IOK of IIIT. These basic philosophical concepts are the very roots upon which any method to be developed must be based and those who are at the tertiary level of education must understand them well. Those who are at this level of education should have a well-grounded knowledge on these fundamental ideas because they stand at the very core of what education is all about in Islam. One cannot put a cart before the horse.
Getting the concept correct is fundamental. The goal of IOK is to produce a good man as Islam defines it. And the perfection of man is the perfection of his intellect, his soul, and his heart through education. This means the content of what is taught is more important that the method. A corollary to this is: are we better at achieving IOK if we use technology but the content of that medium is seriously missing of its Islamic content, or worse still if the wrong and erroneous content about Islam and Islamic Education are taught or made available on that technology. Clearly, the content of education is most fundamental. When Quran was revealed, its primary aim was to work at and against the wrong conception of God, of man, of life in this world, i.e. in short, the worldview. It was not concerned with how the message can be applied.
The fixation with application and method of IOK-IIIT, we regret is like getting busy in trying to create a form for a substance that they do not fully understand. IOK is a program meant to address intellectual substance. These intellectual substance are the very intellectual matter which people at tertiary level of education and training must grasp well.
*Artikel ini ditulis pada 1998 dengan nama asalnya “Short Answer to Dr. Ibrahim Zein: Islamization of knowledge (IOK) in IIT and ISTAC is not only a Question of Perspective.” Sila rujuk Majalah AL-HIKMAH Bil. 3, Tahun 4, 1998. Ketika artikel ini ditulis, Prof. Dr. Zainiy masih belum mendapat gelaran profesor lagi.