On 26th October 2022, the International Institute of Islamic Thought East and South East Asia (IIIT-ESEA) organised a launching ceremony for the book Emerging Epistemologies: The Changing Fabric of Knowledge in Postnormal Times. The launch was officiated by IIIT President Emeritus Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim at the Tamu Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
During his speech Dato’ Seri Anwar emphasised on the role played by the Islamisation of Knowledge movement led by the late Dr Ismail Faruqi in bringing to focus various important issues that affected the Muslim Ummah particularly in the area of education. Anwar recollected how the works of al Faruqi and other important scholars of the IOK movement encouraged him personally to further engage with Islamic literature and deepen his knowledge on issues of epistemology, Islamisation, orientalism and others.
The IIIT President Emeritus said that the IOK movement made it possible for various other Muslim scholars to begin to earnestly engage in intellectual debates that focused on issues of Westernisation, secularism and integration of knowledge. Completing the panel of discussion during the launch were Professor Dato’ Osman Bakar and Professor Dr Ziauddin Sardar.
Edited by Professor Sardar, Emerging Epistemologies presents the idea that “Epistemology does not exist in a vacuum; it is embedded in the worldview and culture of society”. The book explores the changing nature of knowledge production and how epistemologies are transforming perceptions of the present and the future. The book describes “postnormal times” as a product of digital culture and explores how such culture is “increasing uncertainties and transforming epistemes”.
However, Professor Sardar argues in the book that while artificial intelligence is highly capable of performing several important functions, “wisdom may not be an attribute that could be transferred to a machine – however intelligent it may be”. Also in the discussion panel was Professor Dato’ Osman Bakar. Professor Osman emphasised on the need for Muslim scholars to work hard to keep up with the changing trends in technologies such as AI and provide the necessary direction and response to epistemological issues that may arise with the impact of such technologies on the Muslim Ummah and society at large.