I will formally begin my research career this September as I embark on a Doctorate of Business Administration. It feels as if this will be beginning of a journey that I begun when I graduated in 1997.
Back then I intended to pursue a post grad degree in Theology but backed out at the last minute due to my reading of Karen Armstrong’s seminal A history of God. I was puzzled why Armstrong lacked any strong faith although on paper she had appeared to master many. I figured I did not want to end up confused...Little did I know that I would still end up confused! : )
The word research is composed of two syllables, re and search.
re is a prefix meaning again, anew or over again
search is a verb meaning to examine closely and carefully, to test and try, or to probe.
Together they form a noun describing a careful, systematic, patient study and investigation in some field of knowledge, undertaken to establish facts or principles. Research is a structured enquiry that utilizes acceptable scientific methodology to solve problems and creates new knowledge that is generally applicable.
It is a great pity that very few Muslims especially in the Muslim World have embarked on this noble mission to create new knowledge and push the frontiers of the mind. Some analysts blame the piestic tendencies of Sufism especially Imam Ghazali’s insistence on the inferiority of rational discourse.
Personally I believe the problem is rooted in poverty – How can someone with an empty stomach start rationally thinking let alone conduct research? It is no wonder that the promise of rivers of milk and honey coupled with wide eyed houri’s peddled by the Mullahs motivates and inspires the poor, down trodden and suicide bombers.
On the other hand it is heartening to read that several Turkish and one Egyptian have entered the top 200 global Universities. The Turkish revival is no doubt due to the vision of Kemal Ataturk the Father of modern Turkey who singlehandedly reformed the rotting Ottoman Empire.
I leave you with some food for thought:
. “...Say: ‘Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know? It is those who are endowed with understanding that receive admonition.’” (Qur’an, 39:9)
“Do they not travel through the land, so that their hearts (and minds) may thus learn wisdom and their ears may thus learn to hear? Truly it is not the eyes that are blind, but the hearts which are in their breasts.” (22:46)