Methodological Approaches to Study Islam


Islam and its teachings were often understood differently among Muslims as well non Muslims. There were many variants of sects and schools in each Islamic teachings from theologies, mystical teachings, Islamic laws to education whereas the sources they had taken are same, namely Qur’an and hadith. It is pity that each sects and schools claimed that their teachings as the only truth and negated the truth of others. But, Muslims of different sects and schools killed each other to defend their beliefs and teachings against others whose teachings different from theirs.

Therefore, it is important for the students who take magister program to know Islam from the first hand in time when the Qur’an been revealed to Prophet Muhammad and when Muhammad preached the revelation to the ummah. It is also important that the students knows the process how Islamic knowledge to be formulated especially in time when Islamic history was noted as the golden age of Islam as there were many innovations and formulations of Islamic disciplines from Islamic legal jurisprudence (fiqh), theory of Islamic law (ushul al-fiqh), theology (ilm al-kalam), Islamic mystic (tasawwuf), exegesis (tafsīr), explanation (syarh), science of tradition (ilm al-hadith), Arabic grammar (ilm nahw), mathematics, astronomy, medicine to geography. This time spirit of texts, Qur’an and hadith became significant factors to encourage Muslim scholars to make inventions and innovations (ijtihād) towards Islamic development and the prosperity of the ummah.

The spirit of the Muslim scholars that was based on the spirit of the Qur’an and hadith to make innovations must become a basis for contemporary Muslim scholars to make inventions and innovations for the prosperity of Ummah based on the current knowledge and methodological reasoning used to acquire knowledge.

Subject Materials

To know Islam from the first hand, there are four aspects to be the focus of study, namely:

  1. Texts that consists of Qur’an and hadith text;
  2. Persons that consists of Prophet Muhammad and Muhammad’s pupils;
  3. Arabic communities that consist of the structure of community, kinship lineage, culture, custom, tradition, worldview of Arabic communities; and
  4. Geographical aspects.

The melting of the four aspects bears many innovations and inventions in Islamic knowledge and disciplines as mentioned above.

Therefore methodological approaches to the Islamic studies cannot be separated from the four aspects, namely:

Methodology for study Qur’an and hadith

  • Amina Wadud’s Hermeneutic method
  • Hasan Hanafi’s al-Turath wa al-Tajdīd Mawqifunā min al-Turāth al-Qadīm
  • Fazlur Rahman’s Double movement
  • Mahmud Mohammed Toha’s Second message of Islam
  • Abdullahi Ahmend an-Na’im’s theory of naskh
  • Muhammad Syahrur’s Theory of Limitation
  • Jasser Auda’s Theory of Maqāshid

Methodology for study Prophet Muhammad and his pupils

  • Fatima Mernissi’s psychological approach
  • Imam al-Qarafi’s the role divisions of Prophet Muhammad

Methodology for study Arabic communities and Geographical Aspects

  • Abid al-Jabiri’s Takwīn al-Aql al-Arabī
  • Robertson Smith’s Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia
  • Bassam Tibi’s Cultural Accomodation to Social Changes
  • Najm al-Dīn al-Thūfī’s Ri‘āyat al-Maslahah
  • Khaled Abou al-Fadl’s Theory of Authoritarianism
  • Nasaruddin Umar’s Theory of Gender

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