Al-Faruqi had a deep interest in comparative religion, Arab nationalism and Islam. He authored more than 25 books and over 100 scholarly articles on a comparative study of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, inter-faith dialogue and Islamization of knowledge. His major works are The Cultural Atlas of Islam (1986), Tawhid: Its Implications for Thought and Life (1982) and Islamization of Knowledge: General Principles and Work Plan (1982).
Al-Faruqi believed that the root cause of the intellectual decline of the Muslim ummah was the unfortunate duality and dichotomy between the traditional system of Islamic learning and modern Western education. He emphasized the need for integrating the two systems. Al-Faruqi argued that all forms of knowledge, including the humanities and the social and natural sciences, must be subjected to a process of restructuring in accordance with Islamic normative and epistemological principles. In his view, Islamic values and ideals must permeate the objectives, purpose and methodology of all disciplines.
Al-Faruqi suggested a three-fold schema for what he called the Islamization of knowledge: (i) Unity of Knowledge: integration of all forms of knowledge, including those based on observation, empirical research and experimentation and those based on divine revelation; (ii) Unity of Life: all life is permeated by purpose (teleos) and therefore the distinction between fact and value is irrelevant; (iii) Unity of History: since human actions are invariably embedded in a historical and social context, there is a unifying thread in all social and historical processes (Al-Faruqi 1982).
Al-Faruqi and some of his close associates founded the International Institute of Islamic Thought in Virginia in 1981 for the purpose of directing and steering a global movement for the intellectual, educational and cultural regeneration of the Muslim ummah. They sought to translate the vision of Islamization of knowledge into reality through a wide range of carefully thought out initiatives, including international conferences, symposiums and workshops, publication of books and journals and restructuring of curriculum at universities.
A pioneering figure in the movement for the Islamization of knowledge is AbdulHamid AbuSulayman. AbuSulayman was born in a respectable family in Makkah, Saudi Arabia in 1936. He obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Cairo and received a Ph. D. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania in 1973. After a brief administrative career, he taught political science at King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 1982 to 1084. He is one of the founding members of the International Institute of Islamic Thought and one of its former presidents. He was Rector of the International Islamic University Malaysia (1989-99) and is a founding member of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists. His major publications include The Islamic Theory of International Relations: New Directions for Islamic Methodology and Thought (1987), Crisis in the Muslim Mind (1987) and Revitalizing Higher Education in the Muslim World (2007). He has revised and expanded Islamization of Knowledge: General Principles and Work Plan, which was published in 1989.
AbuSulayman is one of the foremost Muslim thinkers in present times. He has argued that the root cause of the intellectual decline of the Muslim ummah is not so much the dichotomy and separation between the traditional system of Islamic learning and modern education, as suggested by al-Faruqi, as the stagnation and ossification in Islamic thought and methodology in the Muslim world. He emphasizes that the movement for the Islamization of knowledge should be permeated by a concern for the revitalization of Islamic thought and methodology in the context of present times. This can be brought about by a restructuring of the education system in the Muslim world. In his view, the Islamization of knowledge essentially involves the integration of Islamic revealed knowledge and empirical knowledge, a rethinking and reformulation of Islamic thought and methodology in the contemporary context and a restructuring of the education system in the Muslim world in accordance with Islamic normative and epistemological principles (AbuSulayman 1989).
Al-Faruqi, Ismail R. (1982) Islamization of Knowledge: General Principles and Work Plan. Herndon, Virginia: International Institute of Islamic Thought.
AbuSulayman, AbdulHamid, ed. (1989) Islamization of Knowledge: General Principles and Work Plan. 2nd ed. Herndon, Virginia: International Institute of Islamic Thought.
Al-Alwani, Taha Jabir (1995) The Islamization of Knowledge: Yesterday and Today. Herndon, USA: International Institute of Islamic Thought.