A worldview is a comprehensive view of the world we live in and interact with. The view is not physical, but philosophical. It encompasses all animate and inanimate, physical and metaphysical realities.
A worldview, furthermore, is about seeking, comprehending, embracing and living the truth. The world exists because of, and for, the truth. The truth, therefore, is embodied and manifested in the world, as much in the simplest and smallest as in the grandest and most sophisticated.
A person’s worldview represents his most fundamental beliefs and assumptions about the universe he inhabits. It reflects how he would answer all the “big questions” of human existence: fundamental questions about who and what we are, where we came from, why we’re here, where we’re headed, the meaning and purpose of life, the nature of the afterlife, and what counts as a good life here and now (James Anderson).
As the existential centre of gravity, man more than any other being personifies, demonstrates and, at the same time, hankers for the truth. Hence, a worldview - both as an intellectual inquiry and a pursuit of spiritual certitude - signifies a circumcentre of an ontological triangle, so to speak, whose intersection is formed by the perpendicular bisectors originating from three vertices that represent the world, man and the truth.
The Islamic worldview: definition and main characteristics
It follows that the Islamic worldview is a philosophical view of the world rooted in the Islamic vision of life and reality. It is a fundamental cognitive orientation that provides a comprehensive Islamic framework of concepts and outlooks as regards: the Oneness of Almighty Allah (tawhid) and His relationship with the world (Creator-creation relationship), man as the vicegerent on earth (khalifah), nature, universe, life as the most consequential form of trust (amanah), death, hereafter, prophethood, angels, faith, destiny, epistemology and aesthetics. As such, it is a template, or a mould, where thought and action are cast.
The primary source of the Islamic worldview is the revelation. Harmoniously with reason, it lays down and affects each and every one of its aspects. Man and his intellectual capabilities alone are insufficient for ascertaining and establishing the truth and its worldview, notwithstanding their remarkable capacities. At any point of the journey, man and his relative judgmental prowess and wisdom are bound to show their true colours and fall short of fulfilling the task.
Man and his innermost cerebral strengths along with psychological and emotional alcoves signify but a tiny part of the world. As a concept and physical reality, the world by far outlives, overextends, outstrips and outdistances the realm of man and everything he is able to offer.
In other words, man cannot be the sole source of the truth and its worldview because the truth and the world are larger and more consequential than him. Similarly, man is their target and raison d’etre. He stands at the receiving end of the processes of revealing the truth and instituting as well as authenticating its worldview.
Being part of the world, giving to and taking from it, and being forever trapped in the dynamics of its vicissitudes, man will never be in a position to fully “view” and comprehend the world. The integrity of his insights will always be questioned and doubted. Epistemological authority and credibility will not be his forte. Man’s shortcomings and outright flaws are positively reflected in his worldviews. They are conceived and patterned in his own image.
The only source of the true and authentic worldview is the Creator, Master and Sustainer of the world and man. He conceived and created them, and constantly supports them in accordance with His absolute Will and Plan. It is on account of this that Almighty Allah’s revelations to mankind are sometimes called huda, which means the Guidance and Direction, and furqan, which means the Criterion for distinguishing between good and bad, and between the truth and falsehood.
It is only when man is properly guided, directed, enlightened and enabled to see and comprehend, that he will be able to fully and sincerely surrender to his Creator and worship Him. To worship Almighty Allah in all his deeds, words and thoughts – that is, to live life according to the Will and Design of the Creator of life, rather than according to the wills, methods and standards of the creation -- is what man has been created for.
That connotes the pinnacle of man’s productive terrestrial existence whose commencement and foundation are an inclusive system of thought, ideas, beliefs and attitudes. Indeed, the greatest cultural and civilizational achievements of man start with appropriate ideas and “views” of the world.
Since man is an inquisitive being, and is a traveller, yet stranger, in this world, forming a worldview will always be high on his existential agenda. Such is done consciously or otherwise. Man is created to explore and know. Correspondingly, people are what they think, know and believe.
One thing is certain, every human being has and cherishes a worldview. That is so inasmuch as people act based on thinking, thus setting themselves apart from animals, which act on instinct. To have a worldview and act accordingly is to be a human. To live without a worldview, and not to care, is an anomaly and denotes the lack of one’s humanness. Hence, there are many worldviews worldwide: individual and collective, fractional and wide-ranging, muddled and systematic. They stand for the foundations of all religions, ideologies and structured life systems.
Like spectacles with coloured lenses, worldviews affect what people see and how they see it. Depending on the “colour” of the lenses, some things may be seen more easily, or conversely, they may be de-emphasized or distorted -- indeed, some things may not be seen at all (James Anderson).
Nonetheless, as Almighty Allah is One, the truth, too, is only one. There can be no two or more, nor partial truths. By extension, there is only one true and authentic worldview. That is the worldview that originates from the only extant, real and authentic revelation: the Holy Qur’an, and that personifies and promotes in all of its segments the ultimate truth.
That worldview is the Islamic worldview. Suggesting the source and strength of its legitimacy and purpose, it is sometimes called the Qur’anic worldview. The Islamic worldview is so important for the Muslims that to Prof. Dr. AbdulHamid AbuSulayman, it exemplifies a springboard for a Muslim cultural reform.
The rebirth of the Islamic identity through the Qur’anic worldview is the pre-requisite for any future healthy and viable development of the Muslim world. No Muslim predicament or crisis will be adequately dealt with unless the Muslims develop a worldview that will provide a genuine sense of meaning, purpose and motivation for constructive action and reform (AbdulHamid AbuSulayman).
The goal of the Islamic worldview is to liberate man from the spiritual and psychological fetters of this fleeting world, and to elevate him to the higher planes of existence where higher orders of things, meaning, purpose and experiences reign.
The Islamic worldview and Islamic ‘Aqidah
The Islamic worldview is not to be mistaken for the Islamic ‘Aqidah (creed, articles of faith or belief system). Though they are interrelated, the distinction between them is at once significant and subtle. Both are fundamental to the Islamic message, affirming the absolute truth. They stem from the realm of the revelation, and are then received by reason for the purposes of the truth’s rationalization and internalization. The results of these synthesized processes are returned again to the purview of the revelation for validation and acceptance.
While the Islamic ‘Aqidah emphasizes more the first, or the revelation-reason, segment of the procedure, the Islamic worldview, on the other hand, stresses the second, or the reason-revelation, segment.
In addition, both of them address the totality and unity of the truth and its infinite implications for thought and life. However, whereas the Islamic ‘Aqidah accords more emphasis to the metaphysical truths and realities and the spiritual dimensions of the physical ones, the Islamic worldview, alternatively, accentuates the physical realities and truths and the worldly implications of the metaphysical ones.
The Muslims at a crossroads
The Muslims of today stand at a crossroads. Their situation seems to be more difficult and complex than ever before. They have spent the best part of the 20th century adopting and applying virtually all the existing and newly emerging models of social, political, economic and cultural development. However, nothing seemed to genuinely work, as a result of which little authentic civilizational headway was effected. Nor do the happenings of the early 21st century augur well for the future of the Muslim Ummah (community).
However one looks at the prevalent predicament and malaise, one realizes that at their core resides the crisis of the mind, thought and education. The Muslims are divested of the power and capacity to generate the vital components of civilization on their own. They are persistently kept incapacitated and denied the opportunity to actively participate in the civilization-making processes worldwide.
As a consequence, the Muslims are rendered the utter importers and consumers of civilization, instead of being its producers and exporters as expected from the custodians of the revealed supreme truth. That, however, is not the crux of the matter. Such relates to the importing and consuming of foreign ideas, values, knowledge and worldviews, especially such as are at the diametrically opposite point of what Islam as a universal code of life propagates. The problem is so severe and profound that it tears into the essence of Islam’s and Muslims’ very being and identity.
If truth be told, the available foreign civilizational alternatives can never genuinely satisfy the Muslim yen and consciousness. They are not utterly compatible even with the weakest and most wayward of the Muslims; such is the impact of the Islamic message on the human mind and soul.
Without doubt, consuming the served alternatives only renders a Muslim emptier and thirstier, due to which he incessantly wants and consumes more. He knows that something is not right, but cannot identify the root cause. The sequence resembles a vicious circle which inexorably leads to a worsening of the situation. Eventually, the whole process that revolved around an ostensible consumption “consumes” a person and gets the better of him, in the end annihilating him completely: spiritually, intellectually and morally.
To the Muslims, therefore, foreign worldviews are like sea-water. The more one drinks, the thirstier he becomes and wants more, until he is eventually killed by it.
Thus, the only way forward for the Muslims and their truly Islamic cultural and civilizational awakening is to abandon and boycott the alien, along with discordant, worldviews, which underpin most of their existential reality, and to embrace the Islamic or Qur’anic worldview instead. In other words, the Muslims are to return to their own selves and be faithful to their primordial identity, culture, traditions and history.
Sometimes it can be heard that some Muslims have decided to boycott certain products by certain countries due to some political and economic reasons. The intentions of the people involved are by all means pure and well-intended, but, ultimately, the exercise yields no, or very little, benefit for the people. That is so because the big picture is never adequately presented and seen, neither by the leaders nor the ordinary people, resulting in the wasting of valuable efforts, time, opportunities and resources.
The core of the Muslim problem is not in consuming and utilizing foreign products, such as cars, phones, planes, air-conditioners, computers, clothing, watches, weaponries, foodstuffs, etc., but in importing and consuming bad (irreconcilable) foreign ideas and values. The problem, rather, lies in importing and consuming foreign epistemology and educational systems which are aimed to perpetuate the latter. It is the latter that should be constantly shunned, rather than seasonally and anarchically boycotting the former, which sometimes yet backfires.
Promoting and teaching the Islamic worldview from a young age
The issue of embracing and living the Islamic worldview that deifies Almighty Allah alone, and forsaking the faulty ones that deify either man, nature or science, should be promoted to the Muslims and facilitated from a young age. They should be taught that everything they do, experience and come into contact with is based on a worldview and philosophy of life. As Muslims, all their physical, moral, spiritual and intellectual activities and processes ought to be simultaneously consistent, interwoven and permeated with the soul of the Islamic monotheistic (tawhid or Allah’s Oneness) message and worldview. The external environments which man creates for himself are no more than reflections of his inner spiritual and intellectual states. As the saying goes: “As within, so without”.
This verity should meticulously translate itself into a number of aspects of the primary, secondary and university curricula. The subject matter should be dealt with either independently or together with other topics and themes in an integrated manner. It should also be done gradually, so as to continuously suit the capacities of the students and the levels of their readiness.
The objective of education in the Muslim world should not be about producing excellent professionals only, but also good, enlightened and responsible men and women. They are not to be one-dimensional, selfish and greedy specialists and experts, but visionary, holistic, rightly-guided and accountable servants of a higher spiritual and moral order, using their professional lives as a means for achieving such noble purpose.
Once the students are equipped with the Islamic worldview, it will be easy to talk to them and ask them to commit themselves to the Islamic causes and the causes of the Ummah (community), for they will recognise consistency and correlation between the two poles. They will also be on guard when dealing with the foreign traditions and civilizational outputs that contain incompatible-with-Islam substances. They will need no, or very little, persuasion that for the Muslim milieus, such traditions and outputs will need to be aptly purified and Islamized.
Without the knowledge of the Islamic worldview, the Muslim individuals will still be Muslims and will certainly try to excel. However, little will they know that involuntarily and unconsciously, to varying degrees, they may work against the interests of Islam and Muslims. They can do so, for example, by engaging themselves in the fields of science, technology, art, epistemology, education, entertainment, etc., either as students, scholars, professionals, or ordinary citizens, and at the same time by encouraging and promoting the worldviews that inspire and shore up the mentioned fields, but which are partly or completely unacceptable to Islam.
Some of the problematic worldviews that the Muslims, due to their ignorance of the Islamic worldview, may unconsciously subscribe to and promote in a myriad of cultural and civilizational fields are: humanism (emphasizing the value and agency of human beings, affirming that without religion people are capable of leading ethical lives of personal fulfilment, and preferring rationalism and empiricism over the revelation); naturalism (believing that only natural or physical, rather than spiritual or metaphysical, laws and forces operate in the world); rationalism (upholding that reason is the main source and test of all knowledge, not the revelation); secularism (believing that religion should be separated from the affairs of the state and public education); modernism (conflict with tradition and the traditional forms of art, architecture, literature, social organization, daily life, and religious beliefs, values and practices); post-modernism (rejecting objective truths and moral standards, and believing that “reality” is ultimately a human social construction); pluralism (believing that the different world religions represent equally legitimate perspectives on the ultimate reality; they signify different, yet valid, paths to the same goal); materialism (advocating that everything in the universe is matter, without any true spiritual or intellectual existence, and that material success and progress are the highest values in life); liberalism (advocating within the framework of secularism the concepts of freedom - including freedom of, and from, religion - and equality).
Most of those worldviews evolved into intricate ideologies and systems of thought and life, often “upgrading” themselves and borrowing from each other in order to keep pace with the rapid progress and fluctuations of human societies. Modern civilization, which is dominated by Western ideologies and value systems, is firmly anchored in those worldviews. It derives its orientation and identity from some more than others.
There is certainly nothing wrong that the Muslims learn about other worldviews, especially for the sake of exposure, comparative studies, Islamization, diagnosis of the Muslim woes and their potential fixing. That, too, should be integrated into the Muslim curricula. The weaknesses of those worldviews should be scientifically exposed and analysed, in which case the position of the Islamic worldview could inexorably be enhanced and rendered more appealing. Indeed, the truth is ever more perceptible and appreciated when juxtaposed with its antitheses.
For more check Source: Islamicity