Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Worldview @ Weltanschauung

In the name of Allah The Beneficent The Merciful

Worldview is a system of answers or “structure of meanings” (term used by Yedullah Kazmi, 2000) that exists in the mind that one refers, to make sense of the world which influences one’s perception, thinking, and behavior.  It is a set of beliefs that one considers as true knowledge about the essential aspects of Reality that becomes the foundation of one’s action.  The sets of beliefs that form one’s worldview comprise one’s beliefs or knowledge about the ultimate Reality; nature and sources of knowledge; the origin and nature of the universe, life and man; the purpose all existence and life; nature and existence of God; and nature of good and bad, right and wrong.  These fundamental beliefs and knowledge are the foundation of one’s thinking and doing.  Precisely, “a worldview is an environment within which the mind operates” (Açikgenç, 1996a: 10) thus shapes one’s perspective on everything. 

Therefore, the constituents of worldview are epistemology, metaphysics, and axiology.  The word epistemology is originated from the Greek word episteme which is ‘knowledge’ and logos which is ‘science’.  Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that deals with questions concerning the nature, scope, sources, and limit of knowledge.  It inquires into what knowledge is, what can be known, what is beyond our understanding and how to obtain knowledge.  Epistemologist attempts to find out what account as knowledge by clarifying the differences between opinion, belief, and knowledge or by distinguishing good reasoning from bad reasoning.  Epistemology not only seeks to enlighten people by describing what it is to really know and reasonably believe but also to propose what people ought to believe.

Some people believe that things that can be known through 5 senses and scientific experimentations as the only true knowledge.  This means that only material things can be known and can be considered as knowledge.  The unseen things are just opinions or conjectures or beliefs without strong foundation from scientific investigation.  Some other people only believe that knowledge is depended on the mind.  If things are logical and consistent with other knowledge, then the things are considered true knowledge.  For example, our mind told us that a person cannot be in two places at the same time, the rationalist considers this knowledge as true knowledge because it is logical.  Therefore, for these people, knowledge can be verified through correct reasoning and logic.  In contrast, some yet other people believe that things are considered as knowledge if they are functional, that is, they can serve some purpose or can facilitate the achievement of some stated goals.  For example, if the art of lying can sell our merchandise, then the art of lying is considered as knowledge because it serves a purpose of selling.

However, Islam recognizes that truth can be determined through a combination of methods including the empirical and the rational methods.  In addition to these, Islam considers true reports by authentic authorities as truth as well.  True reports include The Revelation which is the Qur’an, the authentic Hadith, and scientific reports of the authentic authorities.  Reports by authentic authorities have to be subjected to internal and external criticism and have to meet with the criteria of true report.  Hence, Islam establishes that knowledge of the nature of realities, the physical and the metaphysical, is possible and can be known with certainty.  The source of all knowledge is God and it is the obligation of man to discover knowledge so that he can fulfill his purpose as servant and vicegerent of God on earth. 

Our belief about what can be known and the method to verify validity of knowledge has consequences on our  actions.  If we considered true knowledge is only knowledge about things that can be known through our 5 senses and can be verified through scientific investigation, then we do not believe in the existence of supernatural beings which cannot be seen and cannot give effect to our senses.  Thus we believe in only material things, which means we also do not believe man has a soul (spiritual things) because we cannot verify knowledge about soul through our senses or scientific experimentations.  This gives effect to our, say for example, education system that we plan and implemented...our education system would not, of course, aim for the development of the soul (spirituality) because we think that there is no soul.  

to be continued .... :)


  1. Your points are very very impressive and remarkable Ummi. JazakAllahu khairun for sharing your knowledge with all humanity. Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu(as you taught me)
    May Allah grant you peace and bless you with son in law :)

  2. I like your Blog and admire your interest in philosophy.
    In my opinion to use the phrase ' Islamic Worldview' is not appropriate.
    Anything that occupies space, solid, liquid or gas is defined as Matter.
    Islam is the construct of the mind. It is in the mind of Man especially Muslim. Muslim is Matter but Islam is not. So it is more correct to say Muslim Worldview.
    More incorrect if we are to say 'In Allah Views' because Allah created the universes and anything it it, and He tells us all what they are all about and not what He 'thinks' they are about. Thinking is opened to mistakes.