Free Public Lecture: Universalism, Innovation and Cognisance (ma’rifa): Seeking Inspiration from Bait al-Ḥikma 

Professor Mohamad Abdalla

The Centre for Islamic Thought and Education would like to invite you to the monthly public lecture: Universalism, Innovation and Cognisance (ma’rifa): Seeking Inspiration from Bait al-Ḥikma 

As the early Islamic civilisation encountered the works of ancient civilisations such as the Greeks, they intelligently absorbed, appropriated, translated and added original contributions to it. The conflicting worldviews between the Islamic and ‘other’ civilisations were not seen as a hindrance but catalyst for creating an intellectual legacy that at once was innovative and at the same time true to the Islamic spirit. At the heart of this ‘Islamic’ spirit was an awareness that knowledge is meant to lead to cognisance of the Creator (ma’rifa), and the benefit of humankind. This attitude, coupled with significant financial support from government and philanthropists, led to the creation of a unique intellectual legacy that was characterised by universalism, innovation and an awareness of the ultimate purpose of knowledge. A universal attitude encouraged intellectuals from diverse religious and ethics backgrounds to work collaboratively, supported by an Islamic hegemony. Innovation was witnessed in their ability and willingness to challenge exiting paradigms inherited from the likes of Ptolemy, Aristotle and Galen. However, the brilliance of this intellectual tradition was its ability to create a synthesis between the so-called ‘secular’ and ‘sacred’ traditions in ways that led to the ma’rifa of the Creator. This lecture will examine this legacy giving some examples from the classical and modern periods to draw lessons for exiting educational models in the Islamic world.
Bio:Professor Mohamad Abdalla is one of Australia’s most prominent and respected Muslim leaders, combining the roles of an academic scholar, public intellectual, community leader and commentator. Over the last 15 years, Prof Abdalla played a leading role in establishing Islamic Studies (Research and Teaching) as an academic area of study in Australia. In 2005, he established the Griffith University Islamic Research Unit (GIRU), and gradually built a team of academics on modest resources. From 2006-2014, he was successful in attracting more than $1.3 million in funding, which helped build staff capacity in Islamic Studies at Griffith University. In 2008, he played a key role in securing $8 Million for the establishment of the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies (NCEIS), a dynamic collaboration between the University of Melbourne, Griffith University and the University of Western Sydney. He also played a key role in establishing Islamic Studies as a Major across three universities. Professor Abdalla’s international reputation attracted a number of prominent RHD candidates including the Former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, and Mr. Khalid Abdul who after completing his Masters with Prof Abdalla became the former Chief Minister of Selangor, Malaysia. Prof Abdalla has successfully supervised more than 20 PhD, Masters and Honours students. His first two PhD graduates achieved the Griffith Award for Academic Excellence, and one achieved the Chancellor’s Medal for exceptional performance.

Cost FREE Public Lecture
Date Wednesday 25 July 2018
Time 6.00 pm – 7.00 pm
Venue Magill Campus, C1-79