A comparative study of four of the key philosophical concepts underpinning Western and Islamic education
This study attempts to analyze four of the key philosophical concepts which underlie Western and Islamic education in order to help achieve an understanding between East and West based on immutable truths, whose attainment is made possible by the spiritual experience that is accessible to qualified men, whether of East or West. With respect to the motive from which we undertook this study, six sections make up the thesis. Section one discusses logical positivism and linguistic analysis. In this section, special emphasis is put on criticisms of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations and the impact of linguistic analysis on Christian theology, and Islamic metaphysics, based on which sacred knowledge (scientia sacra) is the highest form of knowledge and the ultimate goal of Islamic education. Section two discusses Islamic philosophy and Western existentialism and alienation respectively. Special emphasis is placed on Martin Heidegger and Jean-Paul Sartre representing Western existentialism, and Sabziwari and his predecessors representing Islamic existentialism. Section three is devoted to the major theories of the Western philosophy of mind dealing with the question of whether we have minds distinct from our bodies. Thus, dualism and physicalism are critically discussed. In contrast, as regards the Islamic philosophy of mind, special emphasis is put on the autonomy of the spirit and the indivisibility of the acts of the spirit. Section three also discusses certain major eschatological issues. Special emphasis is laid on the ineluctable final moment of all things and the role of resurrection in the life of man and his philosophical insight. Section four deals with Western modernism, which has its roots in the Renaissance and 18th century European thought, and is the final product of gradually accumulated Western ontological assumptions. Its final ontological God from the ontological scene, rejection of idealistic, static or cyclic religious thought, and finally, belief in a linear time which, contrary to the religious conception of time, does not lead to a form of return to an ideal, perfect existence. Special emphasis is laid on modernity and secularization. That is, modernity came to be seen as a rupture, a break from that which preceded it (Geilner 1992,1998). The world views of religion and modernity would therefore appear to be fundamentally opposed. Section five discusses postmodernism, which has invited an obscurity and pretentiousness almost unmatched in the long, often obscure, and pretentious history of philosophy. It is a continuation of a tradition that is unmistakably Western. It brings out themes that have been active if sometimes latent throughout that tradition - skepticism; pluralism; an emphasis on style, irony, and indirect discourse; a rejection of dogmatism; a suspicion of such abstractions as 'Truth' and 'Being'; a respect for, even a fascination with, other traditions and cultures. Section six deals with Islamic education with respect to the present-day challenges. Emphasis is laid on the hierarchy and unity of knowledge as one of the salient features of Islamic education. Finally, an overall assessment will be made, highlighting the major problems facing us and making some suggestions to solve them.