Islamic Approach to Knowledge


Introductory Talk for 3 day Teacher Training Course on Introduction to Statistics: An Islamic Approach, held at PIDE on 15-17 Aug 2018. How the Islamic Approach to education is unique, and radically different from Western approaches. How this influences our formulation and subject matter in context of statistics. Why the Western approach is seriously deficient.


A PPT outline of the talk is available from:

This talk resembles a similar talk at IBA based on same themes, and delivered on 11th Aug 2018 at IBA, Karachi. See OneDrive\Conference\2018\IBA11Aug




IBA: Islamic Knowledge & Action

Keynote Address by Dr. Asad Zaman, VC PIDE, 11 AUG, 2018 at International Entrepreneurship Educators Symposium (IEES)  IBA Center for Entrepreneurial Development (CED), Karachi  – Central Listing on AZ Articles:

PPT Slides with embedded audio can be downloaded from this link below:!AqUg6YsQpPb1gbREA12rGqniAa7j3Q

An outline form of the slides is given below:

The Nature of Knowledge As a Guide to Action

Keynote Address by Dr. Asad Zaman, VC PIDE, 11 AUG, 2018

International Entrepreneurship Educators Symposium (IEES) 2018“

IBA Center for Entrepreneurial Development (CED), Karachi



The First Wahy – 1450 Years Ago

Knowledge is Central to Islam

The message starts with “Read, in the name of Thy Lord” and goes on to say —  “who taught man that which he did not know”

Knowledge, seekers of knowledge, highly prized.

The ink of scholars is more precious than the blood of martyrs.

Seek knowledge from cradle to grave.

Angels spread their wings for the seekers of knowledge

The merit of the ‘alim (the learned) over the ‘abid (the devout) is like the merit of the moon over the stars on a full-moon night.


Islam launched a revolution in history

Syed Abul Hassan Ali Nadwi: What the World Lost Due to the Decline of Islam   shortlink:

Paint picture of the world in Jahilliya, the age of ignorance. On the Verge of Destruction.

The Coming of Islam Enlightened the World.

European Enlightenment caused by transmission of knowledge – About 500,000 books in libraries of Andalus acquired via the re-conquest.

Copernicus was a translator, and the giants on whose shoulders Newton stood were Muslim scholars like Ibn-ul-Haytham whose Optics he translated.

Critical Question: Does Message of Islam have SAME power today?

By words and actions – Muslims say NO!

Quran claims to be COMPLETE and PERFECT guidance.

What you have been given (Quran) is better than anything anyone can get.

However, Most Muslims believe that today we must learn from MIT, Harvard and Stanford, in order to develop

Islam came as a stranger, and will become a stranger.

Personal Experiences

BS Math MIT 1974, MS Stats Stanford 1976, Ph.D. Econ Stanford 1978

Three sets of Ph.D. core courses –  Econ, Math, Stat – all were required for a really deep understanding of econometric theory – my chosen field.

My own views: Western knowledge is deep, complex, requires a lifetime to learn, and no one person can master it. Newton: I have picked up some shiny pebbles on the beach by the huge ocean.

Teaching Problems

Real understanding (ability to formulate and prove theorems) incredibly difficult to convey to students.

Cannot pack years of learning into one semester. I tried first semester at U. Penn.

2nd Econometric Theory course, was re-labelled by students as Econometrics 2001 (Space Odyssey 2001).

Dilemma: What to do in teaching? What to teach? What is the USE of knowledge which cannot be conveyed to others?

Klein group worked on the Penn-Wharton Macro Model and tried to entice me – but I was already wrapped up in the superiority of theory model. Distinction between Theory and Applied and superiority of theory to applied work.

Revolution of Tableegh & Da’wah

Spent four months in the path of Allah, from Raiwind. Carrying a backpack with two pairs of clothes, pillow and a bedroll.

Experienced Simple Lifestyle. No Deprivation. Rich in social contacts and in spirituality. Life is NOT about material comforts.

Life is about creating connection – M’aarifat – with God. This is ALL important.

Western knowledge has no inkling or clue about this.

Deep Dilemma: Head VS Heart

West gives us intellectual knowledge, While Quran gives spiritual knowledge?

But this head/heart divide DID NOT MAKE SENSE.The Quran says that

“it explains all things”,

it provides “complete and perfect guidance” (for all times),

“What you have been given (Quran) is much better than anything that anyone might gather”

Those with faith will be guided to the Noor (of Knowledge) and those without faith will go from light to darkness”

BUT Quran does not teach calculus, physics, chemistry, biology, theorems

How did Islam create a revolution in world history?

Ignorant and Backwards Muslims became leaders of world, launched a civilization which flourished for a thousand years.

PUZZLE: 1400 years ago, early Muslims were way behind in technology. But Islam did not teach them technology or science. How did they catch up?

Islam teaches us about spirituality only – HOW did Muslims develop science, technology, philosophy, literature, sociology, economics, and a wide variety skills we have forgotten

Islam came as a stranger, and has become a stranger?

Allama Iqbal has answer to puzzle

My eyes were not dazzled by the brilliance of Western Wisdom

They were protected by the dust of Medina and Najaf.

My eyes had been dazzled, but with repeated Dua, I was led to the truth, gradually becoming dis-enchanted with what I had learned.

What is the meaning of PROGRESS?  What is the meaning of KNOWLEDGE?

What does progress/development mean?

Western Highway

Progress means accumulation of wealth

Development is increase in GNP/capita

Satisfaction/Welfare is maximization of Utility

ALL rational human beings maximize the pleasure obtained from consumption of goods and services over lifetime.


Eastern Highway

HADEETH: By Allah, it is not poverty I fear for you, but rather I fear you will be given the wealth of the world just as it was given to those before you. You will compete for it just as they competed for it and it will destroy you just as it destroyed them

QURAN: And if it were not that the people would become one community [of disbelievers], We would have made for those who disbelieve in the Most Merciful – for their houses – ceilings and stairways of silver upon which to mount



W: Useful  makes money

Stanford: Low enrolments in social sciences – respond by creating job opportunities.

Course knowledge: helps to pass exams.

Humans: resource to production of wealth.  (human capital)

DEGRADATION of Humans & Knowledge

E: Useful  enters the heart!

The Prophet made dua for useful knowledge and sought protection from useless knowledge.

You and I have acquired a HUGE amount of knowledge – math, bio, chemistry, physics – has it been of any value in our lives?

Personal: WHAT benefit is there from learning to prove theorems?

Gradual Realization – took YEARS

All I was taught was USELESS knowledge

West: Useful Knowledge is that which creates power, glory, fame, riches.

Experiential knowledge, Moral Knowledge, Character – NOT knowledge.

Julie Reuben: The Making of the Modern University: Intellectual Transformation and Marginalization of Morality.

EAST: It is narrated by Jabir R.A. that the prophet S.A.W. said: Do not seek knowledge to demonstrate your superiority over the Ulema, or to argue with the ignorant, or to entertain audiences. The Fire is for those who do this. Hadeeth 43, Muntakhib Ahadeeth, Ilm=o=Zikr

In another Hadeeth it is stated that those who acquire knowledge to attract attention of people towards themselves, none of their deeds are accepted by Allah.




Ariel Rubinstein: Articles citing game theory as a source for resolving the world’s problems are frequently published in the daily press. But after nearly forty years of engaging in this field, I have yet to find even a single application of game theory in my daily life”

Queen of England to LSE: Why did no one see it coming?

Mian & Sufi: Why bailout the fraudster bankers, not the defrauded public?

Olivier Blanchard: IMF Chief Economist  DSGE based on  assumptions profoundly at odds with what we know about consumers and firms.”

Lord Mervyn King: Gov, Bank of England:  Of all the many ways of organising banking, the worst is the one we have today

Islam transformed human beings  It has the same power today

Every human life (saving or killing) is equal to the entire planet.

Enormous potential within every human being – to change the course of history. Everyone is like a seed, which can grow into a tree.

“The Capabilities Approach” of Mahbubul Haq & Amartya Sen

Development and Progress are NOT about acquisition of wealth and power – rather, development means learning to be a better human being.

This is the ESSENCE of Islamic Knowledge, and is NOT knowledge according to West.


Developing Human Capabilities

The Bedouin were barbarians – cruel and savage, burying daughters alive, drinking wine in skull of enemies, killing for sport.

And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers

The Quran testifies that they fed others while remaining hungry.

Just like the ATOM, when set free, can destroy cities, so the HUMAN HEART is an even MORE POWERFUL instrument of social change.

The MESSAGE has the SAME POWER today as it did 1450 Years ago.

What is the PURPOSE of our lives?

There is no answer to this question in Western Education.

Without answering this question, NOTHING makes sense!

We have only a few precious moments – how should we spend them?

EVEN THOUGH Western education does not provide EXPLICIT answers, it provides IMPLICIT answers – Whatever we do, we define to be meaningful by our act of choosing to spend precious moments of life on it.

The Western Answer: Bertrand Russell

A Free Man’s Worship

[Science proves that] Man is … the outcome of an accidental collocations of atoms. that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system. Only within these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.


Life is completely meaningless – begins and ends with collisions of atoms

Nietzsche: Parable of the Madman –

Camus: The only serious question is suicide

Darwin:  constant trembling, nausea, hysterical crying, and visual hallucinations … kept him virtually bedridden from the time he turned 30

Auguste Comte: Father of positivism.

Nearly all major Enlightenment Thinkers suffered from Nervous Breakdowns

MODERN EDUCATION: Without Purpose, Soul, Morality, or Character.

Graduates of finest schools designed killing machines, have no conscience, inventor of atom bomb describes fireworks first, lethal effects next.


First Step to ALL knowledge & action

Define your PURPOSE of life!

Revolution Starts Within:

Allah T’aala does not change a nation until they change themselves

Hadeeth: Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.”]

USEFUL knowledge enters the heart: “Knowledge is a light that God casts into the heart of anyone that He wishes” – This lecture is DIFFERENT because it goes from my heart to your heart (not from head to head).


Healing the Heart

Fear Allaah, and be Truthful  9:119

But WHY?

He shaped him, and breathed His spirit in him. And He appointed for you hearing, and sight, and hearts; little thanks you show

Heart is an instrument of perception – feeling, sensing. This is polished by truth-telling and blackened by lying.

When it becomes black, person can no longer tell difference between right and wrong.

Role of International Finance

On Monday 14th May 2018, at NIM, Peshawar I talked about the role of International Finance — deviating substantially from the scope of the topic as defined below.



  • Implications of Donor Assistance and Pakistan’s Economic Development
  • Pakistan’s Internal Dynamics and International Monetary Fund
  • Balance of payments, fiscal and structural reforms and sustainable growth – its concept and implications for the economy
  • Impact of Chinese development assistance under CPEC

Instead, I talked more about financial capitalism and how it works.

The audio file for the talk can be downloaded from link below:!AqUg6YsQpPb1gbIg5sGCrbLuHP2bBg

Question and Answer session after talk was recorded, and audio file is available from:!AqUg6YsQpPb1gbIfx8M14kmyB3HOQg

The slides for the talk can be downloaded from:!AqUg6YsQpPb1gbIWwaisHOfzqBeOug

An outline, based directly on the slides, is given here.

Understanding International Finance

Dr. Asad Zaman, VC PIDE –Monday, 14th May 2018

National Institute of Management, Peshawar


Major Dilemma: Treat Cancer or Symptoms?

Dominant Approach: Accept International Financial Architecture as given – strive to fix problems it creates. Requires LESS knowledge

Required Approach: Rethink System from scratch, Create an ALTERNATIVE system – first UNDERSTAND the system is artificial. How was it created? How does it work?

Origins of Capitalism: Industrial Revolution

Possibility of MASSIVE surplus production

Created CHANGES in ALL dimensions of human existence – political, economic, social, and ways of thinking, acting, and being in the world.

What to do with Surplus???

Centuries of inter-European Warfare – almost continuous. Led to Military Revolution..

Massive Surplus led to search for Markets.

Long Nineteenth Century – inter-European peace together with global conquest – 85% of globe colonized. Functional, self-sufficient communities destroyed, All resources – human and natural – converted into INPUTS to production of European wealth

  • Traditional VS Market Societies
  • Self-Sufficiency is a Virtue
  • Simple Standard of Living is BEST. Excess Wealth, Luxury, Wasteful and Ostenatious Cons is BAD.
  • Community – all parts of body work together for common purpose, though all are NOT equal.
  • Social Responsibility.
  • Property as trust, Society over-rides individualism
  • Higher Purpose in Life than Consumption.

Colonization: Conquest of Knowledge

  • Make Slaves love their chains
  • Free Trade:Weapon for De-Industrialization of India.
  • Comparative Advantage: Colonies specialize in raw materials.
  • Eurocentric History: All good things produced by Europe. Benign – Helpful Colonization
  • Stavrianos: Global Rift: Third World Comes of Age

Importance of Learning:

Joan Robinson: Learn Economics to avoid being deceived by Economists

John Perkins: Confessions of an Economic Hit-Man

East Asian Miracle and the WTO

Austerity enforced by IMF

Money Creation hidden by Economic Theories.

Pre-War Colonial Era:

  • Initial Trade mostly within colonial system – little inter-European trade.
  • Center/Periphery – Sterling + Soft Currencies.
  • Increasing Globalization. Massive by the end of the nineteenth century.
  • International Trade Creates DILEMMA for monetary policy – Stability of Exchange Rate OR domestic economic concerns. ONE of the causes of WW1

World War 1

  • Exhaustion of colonial expansion possibilities.
  • Massive militaries in all European powers.
  • Formation of two alliances – Triple Entente versus Central Powers – breaks the mechanism of balance of power.
  • World War 1 ends colonial expansion era and economics.
  • Development Economics = Colonial Economics
  • Domestic VS International Markets
  • Domestic Money – exists by Sovereign FIAT
  • International Trade – REQUIRES artificial mechanism
  • Gold is simplest mechanism.
  • Currencies can have fixed values in terms of Gold.
  • Fractional Reserve Banking allows control of domestic money supply.
  • Minor trade imbalances can be handled in gold


Truth is not difficult. UNLEARNING is.

The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.

Economists are unmoved by lack of correspondence between their ideas and reality.

Economists are like Euclidean Geometers in a non-Euclidean world. They keep rebuking the lines for not keeping straight.

John Maynard Keynes


Beginning of Macro: Understand MONEY

  • Simple Keyenesian Insight: Money is required for economy to function.
  • Consequence: Too little money leads to recession – output cannot reach full potential, unemployment of resources, including labor.
  • Too much money, beyond max possible output, leads to inflation, AND OTHER consequences.
  • Caution: Money must be in the RIGHT HANDS.

Consequence of BASIC Keynesian Insight

  • Amount of money is of CENTRAL importance. Must be maintained at EXACTLY the right level.
  • Contrast: QTM:Money is a VEIL – of no importance.
  • The First Illusion of Macroeconomics.
  • Health of Domestic Economy is crucially dependent on having the CORRECT quantity of money in circulation. ALSO, money must be in the right hands.

Consequence: GOLD Money is BAD!

  • Fix evils of financial system by going back to gold!
  • Impossible – amount of gold is fixed, cannot adjust flexibly to needs of the economy.
  • Solution: Adjust Prices to make gold enough – not practically possible.
  • Solution: Fractional Reserve Banking – works, but has many defects.
  • Fractional Reserve Banking
  • Govt and Banks can issue credit – promissory notes.
  • Only a fraction of notes need to be backed by gold.
  • WITHIN a country – NO backing is necessary.
  • Across countries, trade requires SOME SYSTEM
  • ONE such system is gold
  • Became dominant for about two decades before WW1.

Trilemma of Monetary Policy

  • Increasing globalization leads to conflicting goals for monetary policy (under free capital movements)
  • Maintaining stable exchange rates may require tight monetary policy
  • Stimulating domestic economy may require loose/expansionary policy
  • Which should you prefer??
  • Credit Creation leads to Business Cycles
  • Keynesian Policy: In boom times, restrain money to prevent inflation. In recession expand money. This is called COUNTER-CYCLICAL monetary policy
  • Credit Creation by Banks: Pro-Cyclical – massive expansion in booms (leading to bust). Massive contraction in busts, leading to deep and prolonged recessions.
  • Major problem with fractional reserve banking

Lord Mervyn King: Gov. Bank of England


“Change is, I believe, inevitable. The question is only whether we can think our way through to a better outcome before the next generation is damaged by a future and bigger crisis. This crisis has already left a legacy of debt to the next generation. We must not leave them the legacy of a fragile banking system too.”


An Ever-Changing Human Invention

  • Value of Money is created by Govt: Legal Tender.
  • Money is a way of quantifying DEBT
  • Converts Social Obligation to Financial Obligation
  • Dilemma about teaching money
  • Deeper truths are important

Bretton-Woods & Beyond

  • Post-WW1 end of colonial era created need for new system
  • Gold Standard broke down as system of trade.
  • Bretton-Woods in 1944 created a NEW system for international trade – gold exchange standard.
  • Nixon Shock in 1971: world goes to de-facto dollar standard.

Transition from Industrial to Financial Capitalism

  • Capitalism is about harnessing and exploitation of ALL resources, human or natural, for production of PRIVATE wealth.
  • Industrial capitalism: concerns with creation or control of PRODUCTS.
  • Financial capitalism: control of MONEY (Gold or Currency).
  • British Colonial Era
  • Millions of Pounds of revenue transferred from colonies to UK
  • Impoverished colonies – repeated famines, no investment, no industrialization.
  • Development directly proportional to level of sovereignty
  • Essential importance of Coconut Class

Lord Macaulay: Minute on Education

We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern,  –a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.


Macaulay’s Children are STILL ruling Pakistan.

  • Financial Capitalism
  • PRINT dollars
  • Buy Oil
  • Buy Political Leaders
  • Buy Armies
  • Buy Weapons, Soldiers.

Everything is for sale in a world where lives are measured in terms of their monetary value.

How the system works:

  • Large Foreign loans/aids by DONORS pursuing their own agendas.
  • which includes creating PLANNED social changes – maximize resources for production of wealth. MINIMIZE ideological obstacles to wealth.
  • Buy up the 9% — the intermediaries who exploit their own nation on behalf of colonizers. Loans are Salaries, Taxes are revenues to collect and pay


Cruel Choice facing the 9%

  • Feed your family, send children to Beaconhouse, O/A level schools, get good healthcare
  • Participate in GOVERNING the country.
  • Alternative – Rebel against the system – be a SERVANT of the people.
  • Shaitan scares you of poverty, But Allah T’aala offers great rewards.
  • The Eternal Choice

Yuhin hamesha ulajhati rahi hai zulm se khalq

Na unki rasm nai hai, na apni reet nai

Yuhin hamesha khilaye hain humne aag mein phool

Na unki haar nai hai na apni jeet nai


Isi sabab se falak ka gilaa nahin karate

Tere firaq mein hum dil bura nahin karate


Gar aaj tujhse juda hain to kal baham hongey

Yeh raat bhar ki judai to koi baat nahin

Gar aaj auj peh hai taal-e-raqib to kya

Yeh chaar din ki khudai to koi baat nahin


Jo tujhse ahad-o-wafa ustuvaar rakhate hain

Ilaaj-e-gardishe lailo-nihaar rakhate hain.

What is Development? III

For central listing for this talk see: Three Talks on Development at NIM, Peshawar

This is the third time I have given talk on this topic at NIM. On Monday 14th May 2018, it was in Peshawar. The first two talks were similar (see NIM 2016 and NIM 2017), but this one was very different. Writeup is now available from: Rejecting Eurocentric Conceptions of Development  (shortlink: )

Talk is now available on youtube:

The audio file can be downloaded from link below:!AqUg6YsQpPb1gbIibeByQszZdcN75Q

Question and Answer session after talk was recorded, and audio file is available from:!AqUg6YsQpPb1gbIhkyUXK73UNSgqcw

The slides for the talk can be downloaded from:!AqUg6YsQpPb1gbIUA9OIvloCFScLXg

TODO 1: Put Slides together with audio and TIMINGS, so as to create a PPTX with embedded audio. This will allow for conversion into a video, and also to make suitable updates and modifications.

TODO 2: SPLIT talk into coherent subunits, so as to create shorter videos/posts – re-record in Urdu, since above talk is in English.

An outline, based directly on the slides, is given here.

What is Development ?

Dr. Asad Zaman, VC PIDE

NIM, Peshawar

Friday, 14th May 2018

Defeat Shapes Minds

Ibn-e-Khaldun: Defeated nations imitate victors in all their ways.

Islamic Civilization dominated the world for a thousand years.

Past three hundred years have been a series of defeats on a large number of fields.

These defeats have shaped our thinking about EVERYTHING

Victory Shapes Minds

Edward Said: Orientalism – all European knowledge about East has as its bedrock global conquest – 85% in early 20th C

Incredibly savage & brutal – Unthinkable acts of cruelty, inflicted on vast scale.

Millions of Africans degraded to animals.

Genocide of Incas & Red Indians.

Destruction of Societies across globe.

Real Knowledge must be suppressed: too traumatic

Indians: Bury my heart at Wounded Knee

Congo: King Leopold’s Ghost

African: Inhuman Bondage

Vietnam/Phillipines: Kill anything that moves

Gina Haspel & Torture: Abu Ghraib, black detention centers, Aafia Siddiqi

White Man’s Burden

Niall Ferguson: Apologist – Myth of Benevolent Colonialism

Divide-and-Rule: Shashi Tharoor An Era of Darkness

Iraq: Claimed Reasons: WMD, Dictator, Democracy – Real Reasons: Oil Control

The NECESSITY to justify global conquest drives ALL European Knowleddge of East

Orientalism by Edward Said.

Hegemony: Coconut Complex

Their knowledge is our knowledge

What is Development?

Acquisition of WEALTH by any means whatsover !! Might makes right !!

More GNP per capita – regardless of what it takes to get it

Legacy of Colonialism and Imperialism.

Binary Opposition: Clarity

Islam Created A Revolution

14 Centuries ago; teachings of Islam catapulted ignorant and backwards Arabs to world leadership.

Created a unique civilization which dominated the world for a thousand years.

Are these teachings relevant/valuable today?

“Islam came as stranger, and will become a stranger”

Forgotten Ideas

Islam created a revolution in ways of thinking about the world, society, and human beings.

Excellence in Conduct, Mercy to the Nations

Strong should protect the weak.

Rich should give excess to the poor.

Social Responsibility: As a society, we are collectively responsible for all members.

Myths & Truths:
The European Enlightenment

Unequalled culture of peace, harmony, tolerance – Rosa Menocal: Ornament of the World – Al-Andalus, Islamic Spain

Seven Hundred years of Advanced Civilization.

The Re-Conquest in 1492 ended the dark ages of Europe

Two Centuries of Battle between Science & Religion in Europe.

Suppression of Islamic Origins



Isaac Newton

Science and Scientific Method

What does it matter?

On MANY issues, original Islamic teachings are clearer. MANY issues were NEVER understood.

Syed Abul Hassan Ali Nadwi
Decline of Islam & Consequences


Materialistic Determinism

As human beings, we are weak, powerless, enchained in material circumstances out of our control.


Every human life is worth BILLIONS of lives potentially.

All of us have the potential to change the destiny of the planet.

Like seeds have potential to become trees.

Nature of the World

Mountains, Rivers, Oceans

Shaped by unchangeable realities, outside our control

Success lies in acquiring materials

Social Construct

Shaped by our agreement

Colonization is, in the first instance, the conquest of knowledge

Physical Liberation achieved, but mental slavery continues.

Success comes from re-shaping our VISIONs.

Importance of History

Objective History is possible

History is a collection of facts.

Cannot be changed.

Memorize thousands of facts to learn history

We are free to choose history

Today’s history is story fo 7 billion lives – totally out of scope of human comprehension.

We choose 7 facts out of 7 billion, and call it OBJECTIVE history.

We are FREE to choose the facts we call our history.

Eurocentric Myths

European Enlightenment

Brutal Conquest solely for purpose of acquisition of wealth and power

(White Man’s Burden)

Why rich countries are rich and poor countries are poor?

World History

All civilizations participate in creating the modern world.

Inca’s were master botanists, created tomatoes, maize, and many other plants which feed the world today.

Countless scientific discoveries originate outside Europe

Secrets of European Conquest




Racial Superiority

Strong, Courageous, Inventive, Creative


Rejection of Christianity

Adoption of Worship of Gold

All is fair in love and war



Comparative Advantage in Violence.

Wisdom of the West

Progress of Knowledge

Knowledge of External World – Science

Igorance of the Internal World

Breakup of families

Sharp rise in loneliness, and stress, suicide,

Decline of Morality

Julie Reuben: Making of the Modern University: Intellectual Transformation and Marginalization of Morality

Top Graduates inflicted and enjoyed mass killing and torture.

Greatest Puzzle

WHAT in the teachings of Islam led ignorant and backwards Arabs to World Leadership?

DOES this message have the same power today?

MAYBE it, instead of chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics is the secret to success

What is purpose of life?

To earn money, enjoyment, eat, drink and be merry, wealth career power.

Laqad Khalaqnal Insan fi Ahsane Taqweem

All have potential to rise above angels, and also to be the worst of the creations.

HOW to realize the potential for excellence which is buried within EACH human soul?


That which helps us earn money

Value of human life = lifetime earnings.

Half a Million Iraqi children WORTH it

KNOWLEDGE is what teaches us how to be better human beings. How to soften our hearts, how to create compassion. How to advance in our spiritual journey towards God.

First Step: Emulating the Prophet
Mercy to All Nations

Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you [i.e. your guidance] and to the believers is kind and merciful.” [Quran: 9:128]

Then perhaps you would kill yourself through grief over them, [O Muhammad], if they do not believe in this message, [and] out of sorrow.

Do Good in return for Evil – Badr, Fath-e-Makka – to change enemies into friends

Join Ties with those who break them

Deen IS good conduct.

Second: Building Love

“And He has united their (i.e. believers) hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their  hearts, but Allah has united them. Al-Anfal : 63).

The Ummah is like one body

Remain United, do not break up into sects.

Communities are based on strong families, clan, neighborhood, work-relationships.


How can we fulfill basic needs of all people living within our society?

If one person is hungry, uneducated, sick, has  problems, we are all collectively responsible to help him/her.

The Ummah is like one body; if one part hurts, then all parts feel pain.

Removing Inequality

it is We who distribute their means of livelihood among them in the life of this world, and raise some of them by degrees above others, to the end that they might avail themselves of one another’s help

The rich have responsibility for the poor. The poor have right upon their wealth, which is a trial.

Strength has been given to the strong to protect the weak from oppression.

All children of Pakistan are OUR children. Provide them with as much love as we as a nation can give – Equal educational opportunities for all children

He who gives is blessed
He who withholds is cursed

Harvard: Bottomline is Profits. Service meant to earn profits. Humans are input to production of wealth.

Islam: Bottomline is SERVICE. Profits used to pay factors comfortably, to ENABLE and SUSTAIN provision of service.

Therefore, pollution, externalities, taken into account by Islamic Firms. HISBAH for violators.

Re-Conceptualize Firms

Labor as worship.

Farz, and Ibadah for me to feed myself and all my dependents.

All creation is family of Allah, providing service to them makes Allah T’aala happy.

Islamic businessmen will be with Shuhada’ and Sadeqeen – why?

Islamic Guilds

Associations of skilled traders.

Made JUST profits – 10%. Took care of needs of the population.

The Great Transformation in Europe created a shift in mentality.

Earning and Accumulating Money became GOALS, instead of means.

Monopolies are BAD under profit maximization goals. But not in Islamic frame


Central Institution is WAQF

Spend excess wealth on others.

Do not hoard, accumulate.

Cooperative society can be happy with FAR LESS than competitive society.

Example of over-production and insurance.

Does Money Buy Happiness

Maximize consumption to create happiness

Happiness studies show 30 fold increase in consumption levels without any increase.

WHY? Consumption brings short term pleasure. Coca Cola

Long Term happiness depends on character developments.

The Human Development Paradigm

Mahbubul Haq – strongly contested

Amartya Sen: Capabilities Approach.

ISLAM: Prophet SAW developed human beings along spiritual, emotional, character dimensions.

THIS is the meaning of development

KNOWLEDGE: to earn money

KNOWLEDGE: to realize hidden human potential.

Escaping Colonial Chains

Biggest chains are on our thoughts.

Economists are HIGH PRIESTS of the religion of capitalism. Everything they teach is false doctrines, designed to keep poor countries poor.

The Coconut Class derives great benefits from collaborating with the Capitalists to exploit the public.

2nd Crisis of Knowledge

Islam offers a radically different framework to think about human beings and society.

Mutual cooperation, responsibility, generosity, instead of competition and greed.

European global conquest led to spread of European ideas. Shock-and-Awe, Inferiority Complex generated by defeat, led to Muslim’s acceptance of ideas contrary to Islam

Change from Outcomes (on Earth) to process

An Islamic Approach to Knowledge

An Islamic WorldView

Talk by Dr Asad Zaman at IBA on 26th Jan 2018 – shortlink:

My paper on “Origins of Western Social Sciences” explains that the amazing technological progress of the West has dazzled the eyes of the Muslims. Physical Sciences are based on knowledge of the external world, while social sciences are based on knowledge of the internal world of the human beings. Knowing Chemistry, Biology and Physics does not lead to insights into the human heart. Economics is based on a hopelessly bad theory that human beings act like homo economicus. Nonetheless, the prestige of the West has led Muslims into accepting completely absurd theories about human behavior and welfare. Economics teaches us that all of us have maximization of the pleasure obtained from consumption as the sole purpose of life  Furthermore, it teaches us that this is “rational”; that is our happiness and welfare…

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The Search for Knowledge

An 85m  video of my talk: Research Methodology Training Lecture at PPMI — followed by a detailed 2200w summary. Very briefly, some of the main points of the lecture are as follows. Due to our Western education, we have all absorbed Western ideas about what knowledge is, how to acquire it, and how to use it. These ideas are based on deep misconceptions about the nature of knowledge and its function, and are very harmful to us. Before we can begin our search for knowledge, which is extremely valuable, we must UNLEARN a lot of wrong ideas, and cleanse our hearts. In particular, we must unlearn the idea that we are human resources, only of value as producers of wealth. We must unlearn the idea that the most valuable knowledge is that which will enable us to earn the most money. Only then can we begin our search for knowledge, the most precious treasure in the universe. [Central Entry in Video/Talks]

As Muslims, we are asked to “seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave”. As a first step, it is essential to have clarity about our goals: “what is the knowledge we seek?”. Surprisingly, the definition of knowledge is a matter of ongoing debate and controversy.  To understand one of the sources of confusion, consider two categories – knowledge of the external world around us, and knowledge of our internal world. The two categories complement each other, and both are necessary for our personal and collective affairs. It should be obvious that the methods required to pursue these two types of knowledge would be substantially different from each other.

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Quest for Prosperity: Culture & Economy

Central Listing:  AZ Video/TalksQuest for Prosperity. 2500 Words Draft of Quest for Prosperity based on slides/outline on SlideShare;

Intro on Islamic WorldView Blog Post: Re-Defining Prosperity
Central to the message of Islam is the need to focus on goals of Akhira, instead of goals of Dunya. Economic theory is directly opposed to this message, since it teaches us that the purpose of life is to maximize consumption in this world, and furthermore, all human beings actually act in this way. My lecture below discusses the problems created by this assumption, which does not hold for actual human behavior, and is extremely noxious as a normative principle.[Shortlink:]

Continue reading “Quest for Prosperity: Culture & Economy”

Economics for the 21st Century

Re-blogged from Islamic WorldView, which also has link to the 35m Video-Lecture; central news/post listing

An Islamic WorldView

Published on 22 Jan 2018 in Newsline Magazine as “Cradle of A New Economics

A 1600 word summary of The Presidential Address at the 33rd Annual Conf of PSDE, 12-14 Dec 2017 in Islamabad. Also, link to complete 35m Video-Lecture.


Failure of Economics: After the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2007, the failure of economic theory to provide a warning, explanation, or solution, was noted far and wide. Prominent economists – heads of institutions responsible for policy, such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Federal Reserve Bank, Bank of England and others – said that theories currently forming the basis for policy had failed completely. The Queen of England went to the London School of Economics to ask “Why did no one see it coming?

Resistance to Change: Despite a widespread realisation of this failure, the mainstream response within the economics…

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