Workshop on Research Methodology
in Islamic Studies in the Perspective of Contemporary Issues at Al-Sharia Academy Gujranwala

The Iqbal International Institute for Research and Dialogue (IRD), IIUI, and Al-Sharia Academy, Gujranwala jointly organized a 2-day workshop on “Research Methodology in Islamic Studies in the Perspective of Contemporary Issues” at Al-Sharia Academy Gujranwala. The program started with the recitation from Holy Quran and the participants of the workshop were research scholars of M. Phil and Ph.D. of Deeni Madaras.

It is important to promote culture of research both in Madarish and in academia so that young scholars can benefit from modern research methods. Theme of the conference “Research Methodology in Islamic Studies in the Perspective of Contemporary Issues

Mr. Ammar Khan Nasir, Assistant Professor, GIFT University, Gujranwala welcomed the IRD team and the participants of the workshop and asked them to learn more techniques of research and share their views and thoughts with the resource persons. He suggested that more workshops on the topic shall be organized where religious scholars, madrasa teachers, and ulama from across the country would be invited to participate and share their thoughts.

Mr. Muhammad Ismail, Assistant Director, IRD briefly explained the IRD’s programs, mission, objectives, and aims. He told that the IRD has been undertaking different kinds of activities in the capital and at the national level and through its outreach programs at the grass roots level. He highlighted the theme of the workshop and asked the mid-carrier scholars to learn techniques of research. He informed them of the multidimensional activities of IRD and its special efforts for introducing Iqbal Thoughts in Madaris. He briefed the participants about the International conferences, national conferences, panel discussions, public lectures, seminars, outreach activities. He stressed upon the participants to take the benefit of the expertise of speakers. IRD arranged a galaxy of eminent scholars to share their experiences with the participants.

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed, Assistant Professor, Islamic Research Institute talked about the different aspects of research methodology in Islamic Studies. In his preliminary discussion he said academic writing is depending upon three features; thesis, book, and research articles. He termed that articles are the best research for a researcher. He said one of the most common deficiencies found in research papers is that the proposed methodology is not applied to achieving the stated objective. It is essential to describe the specific methods of data collection such as surveys, interviews, questionnaires, observation, archival research. There are many different ways to approach the research that fulfills the requirements of a dissertation. It is important to consider the expectations and possibilities concerning research in the field.

Syed Mateen Ahmad Shah, Co-Editor of Fikro-Nazar, IRI gave talk on the research techniques. He said that the research journals occupy a pivotal position in launching new academic ideas and enhancing the research. Every international language publishes a multitude of journals regarding various fields of research. There are also a number of Arabic and Urdu research journals that portray the intellectual outcome of the Arab and Urdu world. Among these journals are those which publish articles on different sciences and their titles give no direct clue as to their contents, while others are those which are related to specific specializations like Quranic Studies, Hadith, Islamic Law, History, and so on. There is also a category of those journals which are approved by the Higher Education Commission for elevating the research activities in Pakistani universities up to international research level.  Some journals published from India and Pakistan are of historical importance like MaarifBurhan, and Fikr- o Nazar, etc. Scholars of very high caliber across the Urdu-speaking world have been contributing to these journals with their articles.  These journals have played a very genuine role in promoting research, solving problems, and generating new ideas.

Mufti Muhammad Zahid, Principal, Jamiah Imdadia, Faisalabad talked about the different dimensions of research techniques in Islamic Studies and advised the scholars to publish their research articles in those journals approved by Higher Education Commission Pakistan. He said that Abdu Bakar Jassas was an eminent scholar of Hadith and his research was based on the principles of Usul-e-Fiqh.  He told that a researcher must adopt the basic principles of research by collecting data and raw material and then compile the data and commence his research. The code of peer review and rules of research should strictly be followed.

Mr. Asif Iftikhar, Assistant Professor, Lahore University Management Sciences (LUMS) said that study of Islam in the Sub-Continent is based on research and discussion methodology. The research is based on contemporary contexts and themes. A researcher assembles intangible ideas into raw material and then brings them into book form. Western thought is not formal and there is a lot of confusion and contradictions in their society. He gave a reference to the research work in Islamic Studies of Dr. Fazal-e-Rehman and his disciples. He also talked on the system approach of Academia and interpretation reforms.  He termed ulama as custodian of change in all spheres of life and to get knowledge for empowerment. He gave examples of Hazrat Shah Wali Allah and Shah Abdul Aziz in this regard.

Maulana Hafiz Muhammad Sulaiman Assadi, Lecturer, Government Islamia College, Gujranwala delivered his lecture on rejection and acceptance of tradition according to Hanafi jurisprudence. He said that Imam Abu Hanifah accords the Sunnah its proper status. Abu Hanifah accepted Qiyas (analogy) and acted upon it like the principles relating to qiyas used by the Hanafi school. He said during the era of prophethood, people directly asked from the Prophet (SWS). He said that each school of thought has a system of interpretation and its own independent set of principles, which cannot be mixed up with the principles of other schools without causing inner contradictions and analytical inconsistency. The set of principles adopted by each school is followed by the jurists within the school.

Mr. Ammar Khan Nasir, Director, Al-Sharia Academy, Gujranwala said that a scholar may adopt the principle of research and choose the topic of contemporary issues. If we compare today’s civilization with the past two hundred years then it is very different now. . A researcher may accept a conventional system to carry on his research. The people of all faiths have to work together, to respect others’ religious beliefs and culture. We need to find ways on how the diverse religious belief systems with their potentially conflicting sociopolitical agendas can co-exist in a modem, democratic, pluralistic, and technologically oriented society.

He said a perfect researcher has spiritual insight and knowledge. He has the ability to analyze deficiencies with the help of the contents of research material. Al-Ghazali’s theory neglected the problem of customizing society. The value of learning lies in its usefulness and reality. He said it is essential for a researcher to collect information and data through the use of the proper methodology. The methodology may include publication research, interviews, surveys, and other research techniques, and could include both present and historical information.

Dr. Muhammad Abdullah Saleh, Sheikh Zaid Center, University of Punjab, Lahore thanked the host for inviting him to discuss new research trends in Islamic Studies with the mid-career scholars. He explained the research work of Dr. Abu Sufian Islahi and Maulana Mazhar Yasin Siddiqui. He asked the students to choose the topic of the work of those eminent scholars and critiques their work. He said that there is no deficiency of topics but teachers have changed their preferences. So he suggested that Interdisciplinary discourse may be linked together to avoid repetitions.

Maulana Zahidul Rashidi, Executive Director, IRD, Al-Sharia Academy, Gujranwala chaired the concluding session and thanked IRD team and participants of the workshop. He said that he is confident that our young scholars have gained a lot from this conference and it will be beneficial for their ongoing research. He distributed certificates among the participants. The IRD presented shields in honor of guest speakers. The program ended with a vote of thanks and prayer.