By: Nor Azura Kamarudin Sohami
Institute of Education, IIUM.
The attempt of define the concept of Ulum Naqliah and Ulum 'Aqliah in the basis of Islamic worldview is not an easy task. It need a wide-ranging understanding and deep comprehension on the tasawwur of knowledge itself in terms of it's epistemology, philosophy and foundation till the level of it's methodology and practice in order to grasp the whole idea. But with little understanding of this conception in the help of Professor Sidek Baba, it is an honored for the writer to put an effort in defining both concept then to relate it to meaning of ya'qiluun, yatafakkaruun and yatadabbaruun as the sign of rising the ulul-al-bab generation. In line with this, it is gratifying to quote a line of Professor Osman Bakar's writing in Tawhid and Science: Essay on the History and Philosophy of Islamic Science:
"In Islam, religious consciousness of tawhid is the source of the scientific spirit in all domains of knowledge. Consequently, Islamic intellectual tradition does not entertain the idea of the natural sciences alone as being scientific or as being more scientific than the other sciences." (Osman Bakar, 1991)
Thus, the key to perceive the realm of knowledge is to have the religious consciousness of tawhid; the faith in the Oneness of Allah, spiritually in nature. And conjunction to that, we have to admit that there is no such way of natural science standing alone or in this context, Ulum 'Aqliah unaccompanied with Ulum Naqliah as an authentic source of reveal knowledge. May Allah give us the light and the strength in order to value and appreciate this knowledge as foundation to explore something more worthwhile in the future.
The Concept Of Ulum Naqliah
The definition of Ulum Naqliah can be express as 'Divine knowledge' or at times as perennial knowledge. This comes across to us that the characteristic of this knowledge is constant, permanent, undeviating, can be trusted in its authority, authenticity, validity and so much reliable. Therefore, when it is understood that the knowledge is divine in nature, it must be conveyed to the human being by the course of revelation from the ultimate power of the Supreme Being. This is where the Devine knowledge was revealed to human kind all the way through the Messengers of Allah during the prophethood period across all human civilizations. Sayyid Abul 'Ala al-Maududi has mentioned in one of his masterpiece work:
"These chosen men are the Messengers of God-His Prophets. God has communicated knowledge and wisdom to them by means of Wahy (revelation), and the book containing the Divine Communications is called the Book of God, or the Word of God." (Sayyid Abul 'Ala al-Maududi, 1977)
And principally the faith in the Books of God is the third article of Faith which the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. has commanded us to believe which Allah has sent down these Books to mankind through His prophets before Muhammad s.a.w in the same way as he sent down al-Quran to Muhammad s.a.w. Among the prophets that has been revealed with the 'Book of God' were the Prophet Dawud (David) with the Book of Zabur (Psalms of David), the Prophet Musa (Moses) with the Book of Taurat (Torah), Prophet Isa (Jesus) with the Book of Injeel (the Gospel of Jesus) and finally to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w with the Book of al-Quran al-Karim, the Great Word of God. This is also lead to the manifestation of believe in the forth article of Faith that is to believe in the God's Messenger that have been raised among the chosen people as Allah explain to us in the Quran in surah al-Maaidah, verse 20:
"And (remember) Musa (Moses) said to his people: "O my people! Remember the favour of Allah when He made Prophets among you, made you kings and gave you what He had not given to any other among the 'Alamiin (mankind and jiin, in the past)."
And according to Maududi, not one of the earlier Book of God (except for al-Quran) exists today is in its original text and even the followers of these books confess that they do not possess the original books. Furthermore, al-Quran informs us that people have changed and interpolated these Books and God's words have been mixed up with text of their own making. And judging to this decisive factor, we believe the Prophet Muhammad saw teachings are the alive one, still stand uncorrupted and to the extend that the biography of the Prophet Muhammad saw is so well preserved as no other human being does. Hence we strongly believe that the Prophet Muhammad saw was sent to humankind as qudwah hasanah (قدوةحثنة) or role model or in other words his own life and his teachings is true, alive and complete where in every circumstances all his words and expressions are accepted, all his instruction and deeds are followed and all his ordered and command are obeyed.
And for that reason al-Quran is the Book of God to be assign through the Prophet Muhammad saw as reference and resource; as it exists in the original text, without the slightest alteration of letter, jot or even the title. It is magnificent in its 'strength' while Quran is a Wahy/source of revelation not only textual but also contextual in nature. This appears to us the sense that although it is revealed during the Prophet's lifetime, but it relates to us directly and indirectly as the life of mankind changed through time and places. This relate to us that Al-Quran is Huda-llilmuttaqiin(هدى للمتقين) as guidance for man to achieve taqwa (تقوا) and Huda-llinnaas (هدى للنس) as guidance to all humankind. There are so many points in the Quran that Allah grants us His guidance in so many ways including through His signs and hikmah (حكمة) or wisdom. The term hikmah (حكمة) can be defined in many perspectives and the Quran itself is a Book of Hikmah as stated in Surah al-Zukhruf verse 4.
"And verily, it (this Quran) is in the Mother of the Book (i.e. al-Lauh al-Mahfuz) with Us, indeed exalted, full of wisdom."