An alternate approach towards advancement

Rizal Faisal

The Sixth Islamic Governance Symposium, themed ‘Innovation and Technology in an Islamic System of Governance’, was held at the Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Advancement (ILIA) Room 1, ILIA Building, Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) on November 8.

It was organised by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) in collaboration with the Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies (SOASCIS).

IPS specialises in public policy and management with reference to Islamic Governance. The ILIA focusses on advancing Brunei Darussalam emphasing leadership and innovation.

SOASCIS produces graduates and scholars equipped with knowledge to lead the Muslim community in facing challenges and conducting research into the sociology of religion covering history and civilisation, theology, law and philosophy and epistemology.

The symposium focussed on the development of innovation and technology in an Islamic System of Governance and discussed – Islam’s historical innovation and technology, Al-Quran as the source of innovative thinking and applied innovation and technology.

Attendees at the symposium. PHOTO: RIZAL FAISAL

During the golden age of Islamic civilisation, technological progresses ranged from architectural designs of minarets, astrolabes and surgical tools, along with mathematical concepts like algebra.

Such advancements are still utilised today.

However, according to the IPS, the Muslim world currently delivers less significant scientific and artistic progress, coupled with receding technological innovations, exacerbated by globalisation rapidly gaining prominence and the increasing capitalistic prioritisation of economic profit over societal benefit.

Such socio-economic evolutions are partnered with consequences from environmental degradation to societal deprivation.

The IPS said these repercussions, combined with moral poverty and spiritual starvation pushed civilisation to the brink of collapsing under its own weight. Alternative approaches are needed for Muslims and the rest of the world.

The IPS believes an alternative is the Maqasid, or Syariah objectives.

Founded upon the internal structure of Al-Quran, it fosters innovations beyond the economically oriented invention, or betterment of commercial goods and services.

Within an Islamic System of Governance, social innovations underpinned by the Maqasid integrate revolutionary solutions via several societal levels to address challenges.

The necessity of continuous innovation and technological advancement to achieve the Maqasid is undeniable, yet many questions remain unanswered such as the long-existing concern and trend of human technological overreliance and unemployment, and the emergence of ethical issues. Despite the potential fears, innovation and technology undoubtedly improve productivity and efficiency towards fulfilling the Maqasid.

The IPS questioned how to operationalise Islamic Governance to meet contemporary necessities. The IPS suggested that innovative thinking is congruent with technological advancement to adapt to current inclinations and anticipate future probabilities.

In dire times, an innovative spirit and technological consideration drives Islamic civilisation towards being conducive for the worship of Allah the Almighty.

The IPS advised in view of technological developments’ benefits and downsides, several considerations must be discussed.