The Islamization of knowledge

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Virginia Tech

The legitimation of science is an increasingly important issue in science studies. In this thesis, I examine the legitimation issue in a non-Euroamerican setting within the context of the Islamization of knowledge debate. The Islamization of knowledge debate emerged within the context of the perceived crisis of Islamic civilizational and concomitant crisis the intellectuals. Within the Islamization of knowledge, I describe three distinct approaches which I label traditional, indigenization, and nativization approaches.

The legitimation used by the advocates of the Islamization of knowledge changed over time. The change is due to the increasing legitimacy and power the Islamization of knowledge gained in the last two decades. This increasing legitimacy has led to the exclusion the most traditional views on science and to disciplinary infighting between advocates of the different Islamization strategies.

Each approach to science uses different legitimation strategies and has different objectives. The advocates of traditional approach are trying to maintain the status quo. The advocates of the indigenization approach are trying to change power relationships in their favor by constructing themselves as the modern ulama who would make policy-decisions based on their possession of knowledge relevant to Islamic civilization. The advocates of the nativization approach are trying to change power relationships in their favor by reconstructing science from its epistemological foundations using Islamic concepts.