EXTRACT FROM THE TEXT OF ADDRESS DELIVERED BY Dr. IBRAHIM B. SYED, Ph.D PRESIDENT OF ISLAMIC RESEARCH FOUNDATION AND CONVENER INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ISLAMIC RENAISSANCE: ACTION PLAN FOR THE 21st CENTURY, MALCOLM X COLLEGE, CHICAGO, MAY 26, 1995 IN HIS WELCOME ADDRESS TO THE CONFERENCE DELEGATES.
One of the missions of the Islamic Research Foundation is to accelerate the momentum to achieve Islamic Renaissance. To me Islamic Renaissance means the intellectual growth of the Muslim Ummah. Intellect is the greatest gift of Allah (SubhaanaHuu Wa Ta’aalaa) to mankind. Intellect grows through thinking or Tafkir. There are several Ayath in the Qur'an which mention the word " Yatafakkaroon." We are interested to encourage young Muslims to learn and apply research methodology to interpret the Qur'an and Hadith in the light of modern knowledge. To conduct essay writing competitions to the Muslim youth to make them aware of our rich Heritage. Muslims in the western world as well as Muslims in the Muslim lands ruled by colonial powers have been deprived of the knowledge of the achievements of our ancestors. Gravitation, Evolution, spherical trigonometry, blood circulation and thousands of discoveries in the areas of science, technology and medicine were known to our ancestors at least 800 years before they were re-discovered by the Westerners. During the golden age of Islamic civilization, Europe was in the dark and undeveloped. The orientalists have acknowledges that it is the Muslims and their achievements in all the branches of knowledge that paved the way to Renaissance in Europe. Our model for Islamic Renaissance is not European Renaissance but the golden age of Islamic civilization.
sciences and technology when they rebelled against their religion. On the other hand, the Muslims fell down from their illustrious
achievements in science and technology when they moved away from the Noble Qur'an.
The first word revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaahu alayHi wa AaliHii Wasallam) was "IQRA" which means to read and not "Allah", "Rasool", "Salat","Siyam", "Zakat" or "Hajj". Both the Qur'an and the Hadith have laid great emphasis on Education. However today the Muslim Ummah is 1.2 billion, but unfortunately the literacy rate is between 25 to 35 per cent, and among rural women it is only 2 per cent. The highest literacy rate is 92 per cent among the Muslims of Kerala state in India. Ibn Khaldun said 700 years ago that a nation that does not respect Education will not make progress. Today education is a "must" for the survival of Muslims as Muslims.
Investment in education is the best investment. The hallmark of any civilization is its intellectual achievement. Without education there can be no intellectual achievement. The Islamic Research Foundation supports all educational institutions and organizations such as the Iqra International Educational Foundation. Intellectual freedom is the bedrock of intellectual growth. AlhamduLillaah, there are over 60 Muslim countries. But how many countries promote intellectual freedom? The answer is ZERO. The Islamic Research Foundation publishes a humble Newsletter called "ILM". I am proud to inform you that it is the only Muslim publication in the world with a motto which says "stimulating intellectual growth through differing viewpoints." The editor, Dr. Syed Eqbal Hasan strictly adheres to this policy.
Impoverished conditions also contributed to the deaths of 12.2 million children less than 5 years old in 1993. Of 5.6 billion people in the world, half lack access to the essential drugs, more than one fifth live in extreme poverty, and almost one third of all children are malnourished. These are shocking figures! Let us reflect-honestly and realistically. In this Conference we will be addressing to the issues of poverty alleviation, Islamic financing and nutrition.
Like Tipu Sultan of Mysore in India, Imam Shamil stood alone, Muslims never helped him. When Shamil was on his way to perform the "Hajj" in Arabia, the Ottoman Sultan offered him his right hand to shake, Imam Shamil, in turn, put out his left hand. "When I needed you in my fight against the Russians and I stretched out the right hand you offered me nothing" he said. 100,000 British controlled and ruled 300 million people in India. Through modernity, 5 million Jews effectively kept at bay 200 million Arabs.
With thanks from Mr. Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph. D. President, Islamic Research Foundation International,
God bless the entire humanity