By Talha Ghannam, CEO of CIM
My greatest worry is Islam will be seen as irrelevant. As the world changes rapidly, new questions emerge in all walks of life which have never arisen before. These are varied and complex, such as:
- Finance: What does a viable and ethical lending system look like?
- Economics: How do we achieve unemployment and manage fiscal policies in an Islamic, ethical model?
- Politics: How do Muslims engage in a political system where certain components differ from our own ideals?
- Social care: How do we develop an Islamically ethical method to search for spouses in the face of an increasingly globalised world & a breakdown of traditional communities
- … etc
Our scholarship has never been shy in dealing with the most difficult of questions. From the earliest days of Islam, our scholars developed mechanisms to guide to the general public through the turbulent seas of life.
But as the world moves into post modernity and the Muslim world stagnates, our support for scholarship dwindles. Muslim institutions are no longer the leading centres of education in the world, and little support is given to our scholars struggling in these fields. As we neglect our scholarship, it begins to stagnate and collectively we struggle to understand the contemporary problems we face today. Subsequently, the lay folk no longer see religion as the vehicle to answer their ethical dilemmas. Faith becomes confined to the four walls of a mosque, left behind by the people as they encounter questions in medicine, banking, parenting and all other walks of life. Islam is no longer relevant to people as it is no longer adequate for their needs…
The Centre for Islam and Medicine (CIM) is a new initiative set up to tackle this very problem. We are beginning by focusing on medicine, establishing the first UK institution to focus specifically on ethical issues within medicine. We want to develop a framework to answer the new and challenging questions, and empower our scholars to work in addressing these issues. It is the first step towards the intellectual revival of our faith, and will serve doctors, patients, scholars and all those who ever have any interaction with medicine. Examples of such commons scenarios include:
- How do we know when a person is really dead? How do we know when the soul leaves the body?
- How do we view IVF in Islam?
- What is the moral status of Organ donation in Islam?
- Is depression a mental or spiritual problem?
To find out more about our work and to support us financially, visit www.thecim.org.uk. Help us write the next chapter in the Muslim narrative this Ramadan and revive the rich intellectual tradition of our faith.