Talk with Hojatoleslam Dr. Reza Gholami, the chairman of policy council of second international congress of Humanities
At first, I would like you explain the purposes of this congress.
Secular humanities can’t perceive human and societies’ needs deeply and correctly; therefore, it has success neither in identifying human needs and issues, nor in responding them properly. The weakness of secular Humanities in Islamic societies, where people enjoy Islamic worldview and insist on following progressive Islamic values and laws in their personal and social life, is more obvious. In other words, secular humanities has no correct understanding of Muslim issues and, consequently of Islamic community and governance method of that community on the basis of social teaching of Islam; and it is natural that Muslims tend to create Humanities in order to effective helps to Islam, and respond to their expectations. However in reply to your question, I should say, in this congress, we are seeking to develop an appropriate scientific context for the Islamic human society’s formation; and its main customer is Islamic communities, above all Iran, where Islamic government is established 34 years ago by the will of people.
In your opinion, are secular humanities in western societies failed to success?
Yes, sure; nowadays we observe the critical conditions in western countries whether in social and cultural aspects or economical and political aspects. In my opinion, crisis’ dimensions, especially in United States, are beyond what we have perceived from the existing heavy censorship. In cultural-social arena, western communities have collapsed since long time ago and proceed unlike the human nature and inherent virtues. Secular culture and ideas has not raised human beings from bestiality rank, but has been stabilized them in the bestiality rank – a stylish bestiality. It should be asked whether human beings come to the world to stay in animality or he should stay away from animal nature and approach to the human perfection. Today, one of the obvious examples of western cultural and social collapse can be found in legalization and expansion of homosexuality, which is deplorable. In economic arena, liberal – capitalism system has established poverty and injustice in the west. Nowadays, a small proportion of western people enjoy royal life, while the rest of people live in poverty. Recently, I read news in …., and learned that some elderly people whose numbers are considerable, said that they eat animal’s food due to poverty! It is a shame for western governments that claim bringing prosperity for the majority of people. What does Wall Street say today? It says 99% of people should be saved from the economic domination of 1% of the rest; and a fair economic system should be replaced the capitalism. Capitalism should be removed from the western people economy. In the political arena, this one percent has dominated the European states because of limitless access to the wealth resources and has divided the power among themselves. It is interesting that they have preempted the public media and show an image of the country which is in their favor. You see, today, western people, especially people in United State, are the victims of bellicosity of politicians and their insistence on keeping a vampire state, called Israel, in the Middle East, but western media don’t let the people get familiar with the wide dimensions of this political disaster. In my opinion, the crisis situation that can be seen today in the west is the product of Secular Humanities. This is secular humanities that theorized corruption and injustice in an attractive coverage and is imposed on people by the name of science.
Let’s return to the first question, you said that Humanities Congress is looking for introducing the new humanities through effective help of Islamic teachings. My question is that whether Islamic Humanities have existed till now?
It is an important question. Yes, Islamic Humanities existed; but it cannot respond to the today’s needs due to some reasons. To make it explicit, I make an example. We enjoy the Islamic economic system for many years. Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir Sadr, has written the book “Eghtesadena”, which means our economy, 45 years ago. This book is one of the outstanding works in explanation of Islamic economy. The book was written when no Islamic state existed. Therefore, only a few of its issues has had practical possibility in society. When a scientific debate, at the extent of a super-theory, cannot fulfill in reality, it is natural that it stops progression. Many Islamic economic theories have not found the opportunity to fulfill in reality in the past, but after Islamic revolution in Iran 34 years ago, and establishing a complete Islamic state in this country, a vast field was provided to fulfill the Islamic economic gradually. So that Iranian banks, that all were on the basis of usury, have changed to the Islamic banks. And some of economic principles of Islam, the most important of them is “economic justice”, could not find a way to the depth of the economy of Iran. It is normal that in such circumstances, the Islamic government’s demand to the Islamic thinkers and scholars in order to answer the various and compact needs of Islamic state increases each day through the Islamic humanities.
You think what the most important factor in preventing the Islamic Humanities is?
The most important barrier is the resistance of secular Humanities and western insistence on keeping Secular Humanities at universities and research centers. Westerners know well that by dismissing Secular humanities and rising Islamic humanities, the ultramodern colonialism which is proposed under the name of “Globalization” will be dismantled from Iran and then from many other Islamic countries. So, they try with all their power to help the secular thinkers in Iran, who have been in minority after revolution of course, to prevent the arrival of Islamic Humanities at universities and research centers and more importantly, at the depth of Iranian Islamic government. To succeed in doing this, they use any method. Their most important method is to show the dysfunctionality of Islamic Humanities; however, it is clear that in Iran, whatever we have succeed in replacing the Islamic traditional views with western theories, we have been faced with a prosperity and growth. So their propaganda against Islamic Humanities will not succeed.
What is your evaluation of the speed of formation or scientific realization of Islamic Humanities?
Despite of Islamic revolution in Iran in 1978, no serious investment was done to achieve a superior version of Islamic Humanities. The reason was that the westerners had made the management system completely westernized before revolution, and it was normal that it takes a long time to change it to the Islamic management system. Moreover, imposing war imposed to Iran by dictator regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, who should be called the western element in 8-year war against Iran, and then imposing different kinds of sanctions to Iran whether in war time or after that, the Iranian government has always been in extraordinary circumstances and has no opportunity to modernize its management system. In addition there were insistences, I referred to in answering the western question, at Iranian universities; thus, 10-15 years ago nothing was done for creating and establishing Islamic Humanities adequately. Of course the spontaneous activities have been done by Iranian university professors but they were not great works. Therefore, it should be said that Islamic humanities have been proposed in Iran for 10-15 years only and the government helps its formation. However the speed of formation of Islamic Humanities in Iran, particularly its entry into the universities, is remarkable. Entering the Islamic Humanities into the universities has become a powerful discourse. It seems that if it can pass the existing barriers, it will be the common discourse in Iran’s academic environments and even in many Islamic countries up to 20 years later.
You said the Islamic Humanities will be the common discourse in many Islamic countries in the following 20 years; I would like to ask how it could be possible while except Iran, no Islamic state has been established in Islamic countries, and while westernized states are still present in these countries, how we can see the prevalence of Islamic Humanities at their universities?
The Islamic awakening found a new rebirth in Iran with the Islamic revolution victory. Today, we can see the fruit of this awakening in other revolutions, one after another, in North of Africa and elsewhere in the Middle East. Although in countries like Egypt, establishment of Islamic state has been prevented by western interference and stealing people’s revolution, it is clear that the people’s main motivation for revolution is following the Islamic rules and laws in Islamic societies. So, be sure that in the next 20 years some important Islamic countries will face with profound changes and Islamic states will appear in them. On the other hand, the nature of Islamic humanities formation and its issue from Iran to the other Islamic countries will provide more awakening context and accelerate its developments. As you know, after revolution, the most important revolutionaries’ need is new system and theory that can run the country in a new form; the emergence of Islamic Humanities can respond to this need and save revolutionaries in Islamic counties from Westernism.
Except for the Islamic World, would Islamic Humanities be useful for non-Islamic countries?
Yes, it is definitely beneficial. Of course they should change their worldview in order to take the maximum advantage of Islamic Humanities. But to enjoy the benefits of micro- Islamic Humanities, for example in banking arena, you can take the advantage of the current circumstances of the Islamic Humanities. You know that Islamic banks have been established for years in different countries, including European countries and have a successful financial balance. Now, not only Muslims, but also non-Muslims use these banks for their economic activities. However, these examples are many.
In your recent speeches and papers, you have constantly emphasized on this subject that Islamic Humanities is the fruit of “Free thinking school”. I would like you explain it a bit more.
Regarding Secular Humanities, we face with an Exclusivism and Dogmatism toward the epistemological resources. In fact, in secular humanities, all epistemological resources like argument (Borhani) reasoning, mathematics reasoning to some extent, and revelation sciences completely have been put aside and only experience resource has been recognized authentic. This is while experience resource is not merely able to recognize and respond the human problems. In contrast, the Free thinking school which was born from the heart of Islam says all epistemological resources such as experience, argument reasoning, mathematic reasoning, revelation reasoning and even intuition should be used in Humanities. Of course, all these resources are not in the same level and weight. Some of them have more power to realize man and society’s issues and some have less. In Free thinking school, a specific place in methodology of various disciplines in humanities is determined for each source on the basis of its efficiency; and in some areas, the systematic interaction and synergy among all these sources is provided to access to more accurate and stronger understanding of the issues. In this regard, I emphasize that the Islamic Humanities is the fruit of Free thinking school.
As a final question, if you want to define Islamic Humanities clearly in few sentences, what definition you will propose?
In my opinion, any science in the Humanities’ territory that is under the umbrella of Islamic worldview, whether the product of experimental science, or the product of revelation science, can involve in Islamic Humanities. In fact, the Islamic worldview leads to looking at the universe, human in associated with God and one clear and targeted destination; but, as I said in the answer of previous question, one specific place can be determined for each epistemological resource according to its efficiency, in order to use these resources properly in recognizing and responding to man’s problem. Of course, I should say here that revelation has more value than other epistemological resources and substantially it cannot be compared with other resources, but because in the absence of the Islam’s Prophet and his successors’ Imams, we take the advantage of revelation through quoting their Hadith or terms exist in Quran, we give the reasoning the same value as revelation. In other words, pure revelation is not comparable with any of other epistemic resources. But revelation science that shows us the way of reaching to the revelation by using reasoning can be described in comparison with reasoning. Of course, regardless of all this, this revelation science goes more ahead in many places or can answer questions the reasoning is unable to answer.