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Paradigma Sains Islami



(An Epistemological Studies)



Ahmad Y. Samantho



( QS AN-NAHL, 16: 78 )



Multi Dimensional Crisis caused by

Modern-Western Secular Paradigm in Sciences’ Development



Paradigm is a philosophical assumptions that become basics or fundamental principles for any field of civilization such as science and technology. The dominant paradigm in the beginning of the last century is materialistic-mechanistic & positivism paradigm which known as Cartesian-Newtonian Paradigm.

The success of Newton theory of gravitation and mechanics, had strengthened by another theory such as hypothetic-deductive method which rational-speculative that develop by Rene Descartes, with ‘over emphasised’on experimental-inductive and objective-empiric method, develop by Roger Bacon and positivism of science by August Comte.

Descartes tried to found an unshakable philosophy in order to combat skepticism, he use the indubitability of doubt it self as the cornerstone of his philosophy. Furthermore, the existence of the ego of the doubter and thinker is a corollary based on that foundation. He introduced clarity and distinctness as the criterion of indubitability, which he made a standard for distinguishing correct from incorrect ideas. He also attempted to employ a mathematical approach to philosophy, and in fact sought to introduced a new logic.

Hence, to begin with doubt as a starting point for arguing with the skeptics is reasonable. However, if some one to imagine that nothing is quite so clear and certain, and that even the existence of the doubter must be inferred from the doubt, this would not be valid. Rather the existence of the aware and thinking ego is at least as clear and indubitable as the existence of the doubt it self which is one of its states.

Descartes’ thought is very proper to be appreciated in combating skepticism, but we can’t accept his principal idea about cogito ergo sum (“I thing therefore I am”), because, Descartes’ principal idea (with Newtonians’ idea on mechanical principles) were the basics that had develop and founded the materialistic and mechanistic paradigm on western philosophy and sciences. This materialistic-mechanistic paradigm and secularism are opposed with the Islamic philosophy on spiritual existence and reality.

Materialistics-mechanistics paradigm, that based on Cartersian and Newtonian method on “hipotetiko(deductive)—experimental(inductive)”, had brought reductionistic-materialistics inclination. Therefore, live, even consciousness had reduction to be just a mechanistic-material movement. This secular idea mainstream were spread and influce many fields on philosophy-ideology, cultures and sciences of modern humans’ live. For instance, Adam Smith on economics talk on “market mechanism”, Charles Darwin on biology talk on “evolution mechanism’ and Sigmund Freud psychologist, talk on “psychist defence mechanism”.

This reductionistic-mechanism ended at atomistics and mechanistics ontology (secularism), so reject and neglect divine roles on nature and even negate the existence of God. This is opposed to Islamic principal belief and reality, an may be also oppose to Christian faith of God.

This crisis are both internal and external crisis and external criticism. Internal crisis of this paradigm shown by Einstein Principles of Relativity, Heisenberg principle of Indeterminacy, and Godel Theorem of Incompleteness, and in social sciences, we can see this crisis on criticism on the lack or the incorret idea of positivism (scienticism), by Jurgen Habermas, Horkheimer, Adoro and Marcuse[1]

According to Fritjof Capra[2] external crisis of modern sciences (Cartesian-Newtonian/materialistic-mechanistic Paradigm) causing several problematic crisis such as: military mass destruction with nuclear, chemical, and biological mass destructive weapon; environmental degradation caused by depletion, pollutions, degradation, and destruction; social fragmentation caused by industrialization, urbanization & fragmentation; human psychological alienation with natural, social, and technical.

External criticism of modern science occurs in at least three critisism: (1) Theological (science is partial by rejecting the Supernatural Reality), (2) Philosophycal: a) phenomenologist philosophical critisism (science is only the thematization of human experience); b). post-structuralist philosophical critisism (science is just another story); (3) ideological critisism held by: a) Neo-Marxism (science is in the intereset of the capital), b) Neo-Feminism (science is in the intereset of male), c) Radical Ecologist (science is in the interests of human) & d) Religious Ethicist (science is in the interests of white man).

As the hipotetic conclusion, in the reality we can say that modern science (Scienticism) is not realy complete, not comphresenvise, not realy rational, not realy objective, and not realy neutral. Why it can occurs in modern sciences or Cartesian-Newtonian paradigm? First, it may be caused by epistemology of modern science with over emphasised rationalism, over empahsised empiricism & positivism, over emphasized reductionism. This kind of epistemology further influence ontological paradigm of: materialism-secularism, mechanism, atomism; and brought axiological paradigm on netralism, positivism, humanism and individualism.

As Dr. Armahedi Mahzar said in his Introduction for Hussain Heriyanto Book of “Paradigma Holistik” that in second medieval of the late century, there had been occur paradigm shift or inclination to changes into more new paradigm in sciences. Furthermore, as stated by Mr. Armahedi Mahzar in his lectures on Islamic Philosophy of Sciences in ICAS: Cartesian-Newtonian Paradigm domination on modern sciences had led human civilization to the multi dimensional crisis for human live. So there is a need to build new paradigm on the research and development of science for now and the future. So we must review and reconstruct our paradigm into holistics and integralistics paradigm according to Islamic direction of Tauhid on divinity, nature dan human being. The first of all, we must start from epistemological reconstruction. Hence, here in this paper we want to discuss and doing reconstruction in our mind to solve the main problems and crisis of human live and civilization.

A. Epistemological Reconstruction

The term of epistemology was used firstly in 1854 by J.F. Feriere. Epistemology is a branch of philosophy which tries to answer basic questions as Kant says: “Was kann ich wissen?” (“What can I know?”)[3] Because the answer is about the central problem of human thinking, so epistemology has a central position, as Ayn Rand mentions, epistemology is the basic of philosophical sciences. Epistemology is one of the core areas of Philosophy. It is concerned with the nature, sources and limit of knowledge.[4]

The term epistemology was derived from the Greek word: ‘Episteme’ and ‘Logos’. Episteme mean ‘knowledge’ or ‘the truth’ and ‘logos’ means ‘think’ ‘word’, or ‘theory’. Runes says that ‘epistemology is the branch of Philosophy that explains sources, structure, method and knowledge validity.[5]

Epistemology also can be defined as ‘The Theory of Knowledge’. Epistemology in it’s explanation consists of two parts: ‘a general epistemology’ and ‘a special epistemology’ or ‘theory of specific knowledge’, especially for scientific knowledge; so it can mention as “Philosophy of Science”.[6] The Philosophy of Science (Knowledge) and Epistemology cannot be separated one from another. Philosophy of Science based on epistemology, especially on problem of scientific validity.[7] Validity of Sciences (according Modern Western Philosophy of Science) is just only consists of three concepts of the truth theory: correspondence, coherence, and pragmatic. Correspondence needs harmony between idea and external fact (universe), its truth is empiric-deductive; coherence requires harmony among logical statements, this truth is formal-deductive; while Pragmatic requires instrumental criterion or necessity, this truth is functional.

Correspondence product are empirical sciences like: physics, chemistry, biology, sociology; coherence products are abstract sciences like: mathematics and logic, while pragmatic products are applied sciences like: medicine. So epistemology is the fundamental base of philosophy of sciences, especially to make identification to scientific knowledge, or daily knowledge, and how to use the right methodology and procedure to get scientific knowledge.[8]

The Importance of Holistics & Integralistics Epistemology

Why epistemology is so important for human live? According to Murthadha Muthahhari: In the recent era, many social philosophy, schools of thought (Mazhab), ism, ideology, was has been important things, because every one needs to have a certain form of thinking that his live activities would relies upon and based on it. At the contemporary there are often conflicts happened among various ideology and schools of thought[9] of many groups, communities, nations, states.

Even according to Samuel J. Huntington, he says there is a ‘class of civilizations’ in third millennium in the world. Nowadays, we see American and Britain Military to conquer the large natural sources like oil and gas and to protect Israel-Zionism ambitions had under attack and invasion made Iraq and Afghanistan, had lead by imperialism of materalism-kapitalism ideology.

Everything’s doing by human being was based on his thinking and his ideology. And a certain ‘ideology’ is depending on a certain ‘worldview’. While ‘world view’ was based on its epistemology in his philosophy.[10] That is why epistemology was so important to study and research.

According to Ayatullah Muhammad Taqi Misbah Yazdi in Philosophical Instruction, An Introduction to Contemporary Islamic Philosophy:[11] ‘There is a series of fundamental problems that confront man as a conscious being whose activities spring from his consciousness; and if man becomes negligent and remiss in his efforts to find correct answers to these problems, he will find instead that he has crossed the boundary between humanity and bestiality. Remaining in doubt and hesitation, in addition to the inability to satisfy his truth-seeking conscience, will not enable man to dispel anxieties about his likely responsibilities. He will be left to languish or, as occasionally happens, turn into a dangerous creature. Since mistaken and deviant solutions, such as materialism and nihilism, cannot provide psychological comfort or social well being one should look for the fundamental cause of individual and social corruption in aberrant views and thoughts. Hence there is no alternative but to seek answers to these problems with firm and unflagging resolution. We may spare no effort until we establish a basis for our own human lives and in this way assist others as well, and arrest the influence in society of incorrect thoughts and the deviant teachings, which are current.

Now that the necessity of an intellectual and philosophical endeavor has become clear and no room has been left for doubt or uncertainty or hesitancy, it remains for us to take the first step in mandatory and unavoidable journey upon which we have resolved by facing up to the following question: Is the human intellect able to solve these problems?

This query forms the nucleus about which the problems of epistemology are centered. Until we solve the problems of this branch of philosophy, we will neither be able to arrive at solutions to the problems of ontology nor to those of the other branches of philosophy. Until the value of intellectual knowledge is determined, claims presented as actual solutions to such problem will be pointless and unacceptable. There will always remain such questions concerning how to the intellect can provide a correct solution to these problems.

It is here that many of the well-known figures of western philosophy, such as Hume, Kant, August Comte, and all of the positivists have blundered. With their incorrect views they have mislaid the cultural foundations of modern western societies, and even the scholars of other sciences, they have misled especially the behaviorists among psychologists. Unfortunately, the battering and ruinous waves of such teachings also have spread to other part of the world, and apart from the lofty summits and unimpregnable cliffs that rest on the stable and firm grounds of divine philosophy, all else more or less has come under their influence.

Therefore, we must endeavor to take the firs steady step by laying the foundations of our house of philosophical ideas solidly and sturdily until, with the help of Almighty God, we are worthy to tread trough other stages and arrive at our desired goal.

B. Religion and Science

Philosophical discussion of the relation between modern science and religion has tended to focus on Christianity, because of its dominance in the West. [12]

The relations between science and Christianity have been too complex to be described by the ‘warfare’ model popularized by A.D. White (1896) and J.W. Draper (1874). An adequate account of the past two centuries requires a distinction between conservative and liberal positions. Conservative Christians tend to see theology and science as partially intersecting bodies of knowledge. God is revealed in ‘two books’: the Bible and nature. Ideally, science and theology ought to present a single, consistent account of reality; but in fact there have been instances where the results of science have apparently) contradicted Scripture, in particular with regard to the age of the universe and the origin of the human species.

Liberals tend to see science and religion as complementary but non-interacting, as having concerns so different as to make conflict impossible. This approach can be traced to Immanuel Kant, who distinguished sharply between pure reason (science) and practical reason (morality). More recent versions contrast science, which deals with the what and how of the natural world, and religion, which deals with meaning, or contrast science and religion as employing distinct languages. However, since the 1960s a growing number of scholars with liberal theological leanings have taken an interest in science and have denied that the two disciplines can be isolated from one another.Topics within science that offer fruitful points for dialogue with theology include Big-Bang cosmology and its possible implications for the doctrine of creation, the ‘fine-tuning’ of the cosmological constants and the possible implications of this for design arguments, and evolution and genetics, with their implications for a new understanding of the human individual.

Perhaps of greater import are the indirect relations between science and theology. Newtonian physics fostered an understanding of the natural world as strictly determined by natural laws; this in turn had serious consequences for understanding divine action and human freedom. Twentieth-century developments such as quantum physics and chaos theory call for a revised view of causation. Advances in the philosophy of science in the second half of the twentieth century provide a much more sophisticated account of knowledge than was available earlier, and this has important implications for methods of argument in theology.

Religion and Western Predecessors of Science

Western interest in a systematic account of the natural world is an inheritance from the ancient Greeks rather than from the Hebrew tradition, which tended to focus on the human world. The Greek concept of nature was not set over against a concept of supernature, as it has been in more recent centuries, so it is possible to say that Greek philosophy of nature was inherently theological. Early Christian scholars were divided in their approach to Greek natural philosophy, some making great use of it for apologetic purposes (see Origen; Augustine), others rejecting it (see Tertullian).

After the fall of Rome, the centre of scholarship shifted eastward. Islamic scholars and its cilivizations in the Middle Ages were largely responsible for preserving the learning of the Greeks, as well as for significant scientific developments of their own in the fields of optics, medicine, astronomy and mathematics. It was through Muslims in Spain that important scientific works by Aristotle were introduced to western Europe in the twelfth century. The influence of these works on Christian thought culminated in Thomas Aquinas’ two Summas (Aquinas, T. ; Aristotelianism,).

Revival attempts

At the end of the twentieth century, scholars, scientists and philosophers throughout the Muslim world are trying to formulate a contemporary version of the Islamic philosophy of science. Two dominant movements have emerged. The first draws its inspiration from Sufi mysticism (see Mystical philosophy in Islam) and argues that the notions of ‘tradition’ and the ‘sacred’ should constitute the core of Islamic approach to science. The second argues that issues of science and values in Islam must be treated within a framework of concepts that shape the goals of a Muslim society. Ten fundamental Islamic concepts are identified as constituting the framework within which scientific inquiry should be carried out, four standing alone and three opposing pairs: tawhid (unity), khilafa (trusteeship), ‘ibada (worship), ‘ilm (knowledge), halal (praiseworthy) and haram (blameworthy), ‘adl (justice) and zulm (tyranny), and istisla (public interest) and dhiya (waste). It is argued that, when translated into values, this system of Islamic concepts embraces the nature of scientific inquiry in its totality; it integrates facts and values and institutionalizes a system of knowing that is based on accountability and social responsibility. It is too early to say whether either of these movements will bear any real fruit.

Holistics-Integralistics Paradigm & Methodology in Mulla Sadras’ Thought.

The very advanced attempt to searching and exploring the truth and reality was made by Mulla Sadra (1236-1311 AD ). He is the prominent Islamic scholar who sintetized and combine several approach and methodology had ever build in Islamic History and human civilizations in the harmonious & proportional way, such as peripateticism (rationalty & empiricism / masyaiyah from Palto & Aristoles from Greek era, Al Kindi [801-873 AD], Al Farabi [ 865-925 AD], Ibnu Sina [980-1037 AD], and Ibn Rusyd [1126-1198 AD] ), al-Razy [1149-1209] and iluminationism (isyraqiyah, by Sukhrawardi [1153-1191] and Theosophy and Mysticism (Gnostics / Irfan) from Ibn Arabi [1165-1240 AD], Nasirudin Al Thusi [1201-1274] and Al Qunawi [12090-1240 AD] and Trancendent Theosophy of Mulla Sadra (al Hikmah al Muta’aliyah).

Mulla Sadras principle theory and ontological paradigm are: The Four Jouorney (al asfar al Arba’ah), Transubtantial Movement (al Harakat al Jauhariyah), as-Shalat al-Wujud , Tasykik al-Wujud. In Epistemolgy, Mulla Sadra, and of course another several Islamic Scholars, had been following the Islamic Epistemology on Philosophy and ‘Islamicate‘ Science (vis a vis modern western-secular science) as we mention before.

D. Conclusion

To summarize this epistemological discussion, let us quote the comparation schema from Dr. Haidar Bagir lectures & his paper: Contemporary Critisism of Methodology in Epistemology in Islamic Philosophy, as follow:




1. Sources of Knowledge :

1. Empirical-observable

2. Rational

1. Empirical-observable world

2. Rational (Analitical; Reason)

3. Imaginal Realm (khayal/barzakh)

4. Intuition (hight Intelect, Qald, Fuad)

5. Historical fact

6. Sacred Text (revelation/wahyu)

2. Limit of Knowledge

Rational science (ratiocination)

No limit expect to know Dzat al Wujud (God)

3..Structure of Knowledge

In the modern era there is separable view between Subject & Object (Objectivity)

1. Ilm al Husuli (Aquired Knowledge)

2. ilm al Hudhuri ( Presential knowledge) & Ilmu Laduni

3. Subject & Object are unity

4. Validity of Knowledge

1. Logical Coherence

2. Correspondence

3. Pragmatic Funtion

1. Logical Coherence (Rational-Bayani)

2. Correspondence with Fact & History (Demonstartive/Burhani)

3. Pragmatic Function

4. Harmoni with Divine Guidelines

5. Irfani (iluminationist)

6. ect.

5. Main Division & Relation

1. Theoritical Philosophy

2. Practical Philosophy

1. Theoritical Philosophy (al Hikmah Nazhariyah)

2. Practical Philosophy (al hikmah Amaliyah)


Practical Phylosophy (Science-technology) must relies on, or based on Theoritical Phylosophy.

Hence, Islamic Holistic and Integralistic Paradigm on epistemology, on ontology and on axiology are the prime principles that we are need to reviewing and reconstructing our philosophy, our sciences, our ideology and our civilization.

According to Mr. Armahedi Mahzar in Integralist Reflection there are Evolutionary Cycle of existential stages and Dynamic Integrality between Ultimate Reality (God, Allah SWT) and Human Actuality with evolution and devolution. This is the principle of : Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rojiun. Wallahu ‘alam. ***

[1] F. Budi Hardiman, Melampaui Positivisme dan Moderenitas, Penerbit Kanisius, Jakarta, 2003, p.24.

[2] Fritjoh Capra, The Turning Point, Scinece, Society and The Rising Culture, A Bantam Books, United States of America, 1982,

[3] Koento Wibisono, Dasar-Dasar Filsafat, (Jakarta: Penerbit Karunika Universitas T erbuka, 1989), p. 517.

[4] Peter D. Klein, Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, (Routledge: London and New York, 1998), version 1.0.

[5] Dagobert D. Runes, Dictionary of Philosophy, (Totowa New Jersey: Adams & Co., 1971), p. 94.

6 Doni Gahral Adian, Menyoal Objektifisme Ilmu Pengetahuan, (Jakarta: Teraju, 2002), p. 17.

7 Ibid., p. 19.

8 Murthadha Muthahhari, Mengenal Epistemology, translated from Iranian book: Mas’ale Syenokh, (Teheran: Intisyaarate Shadra, 1989), p. 180.

9 Ibid.

10 Ayatullah Muhammad Taqi Misbah Yazdi, Philosophical Instruction, An Introduction to Contemporary Islamic Philosophy, (New York: Binghamton, University Global Publications, 1999), p. 85-6.

[12] Nancey Murphy, Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Version 1, London.

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