As people of faith, Muslims often struggle to find balance between the intellectual and ethical principles contained within their faith and the demands of the modern world. The Deen Institute aims to contribute to “articulating faith in a contemporary world”, helping to equip students with the necessary tools to arrive at an informed perspective in their relationship with all facets of modern life. As an organisation, it seeks to articulate faith, not in spite of, but through scientific inquiry, critical thinking and logical reasoning, reviving intellectuality among modern Muslims.
Adam Deen, Co-Founder and Director of the Institute, explains: “People of faith are viewed in some quarters as uneducated, blindly and unquestioningly following outmoded ideologies, which they have not chosen, but rather inherited. The Deen Institute is about challenging that view, about emphasising that faith is the result of rigorous critical thinking and intellectual thought.”
Through dialogue and discussion, The Deen Institute aims to foster engagement with society and contribute to highlighting the fact that Islam is as relevant today as it was fourteen hundred years ago.
The institute will provide academic courses, devised and taught by qualified and experienced instructors, aimed at bridging the gap between the precepts of the faith as enshrined in their historical context and their application to the contemporary era. Courses will center on ethics, philosophy, history and science, and the Institute will also host forums, roundtables and debates aimed at challenging prevailing assumptions. The contents will be summarized in regular publications and online.
The Deen Institute considers the Qur’an and the example of the Prophet Muhammad (the Sunnah) to be the ethical benchmark in the elaboration of an enlightened philosophy and this premise will be reflected in the organisation’s work. However, the Institute is not exclusive to any particular Muslim group or perspective and features eminent scholars from all backgrounds. It also welcomes students from all faiths or none.
The Deen Institute seeks to provide a platform from which shared concerns and questions can be openly discussed and examined, in an atmosphere of respect, civility and mutual understanding.
The institute’s launch event, “Reviving the Muslim Mind”, will take place during the 49th Annual FOSIS Conference at the University of Manchester between 30th June and 1st July 2012. Here, the institute’s thought provoking lectures and fringe sessions will be aimed at students, enabling them to become effective ambassadors of their faith.
“Our Islamic heritage is rich with examples of Muslims who were way ahead of their time. Early Islamic thinkers prided themselves in being at the forefront of scientific and philosophical thought,” continues Yusuf Ahmet, Director of Operations. “So why don’t we?”
Fatima Ewas & Ramsha Jamal | The Deen Institute | 22 June 2012 |