ITKI 6004 Islamic Epistemology and Critical Thinking

This course is an introduction to Islamic epistemology as well critical and innovative thinking. The course discusses the following issues: theory of knowledge from the Western secular and Islamic perspectives; science, scientific tradition and the issue of worldview in science; knowledge, thinking and types of cognitive processes in the Qur’an; critical and creative thinking, concepts and techniques; traditional and modern approaches to ijtihad; rationality and reasoning in Islamic and secular perspectives.

The course starts with the introduction to epistemology from the Western philosophical perspective, especially with regards to the definition, scope and the problem of justification. Then the issue of knowledge ('ilm) in the Qur'an is studied closely. This is followed by the discussion of science, scientific tradition and how worldview influences scientific method. The Qur'anic worldview is discussed and related to theory of knowledge, with special reference to integration of knowledge. Then we learn about the issues of thinking, contemplation and understanding in the Qur'an as well as barriers to thinking; following that we discuss the types of cognitive styles that can be identified in the Book of Allah. Thereafter, there is a general discussion of ijtihad from the traditional and modern perspectives, and how this concept can be viewed as a tool of critical and creative thinking in Islam. Before concluding the course, students discuss and apply critical and creative thinking strategies and techniques with in-class games and simulations. The last two sessions are dedicated to student-led seminars, where they present the results of their assignments. 

The course consists of synchronous discussion sessions and asynchronous pre-recorded video lectures; students have access to learning materials via the LMS and the Telegram group. Assessment consists of written assignments, presentations and participation in discussion sessions.