- イスラーム世界研究 : Kyoto Bulletin of Islamic Area Studies (ISSN:18818323)
- vol.5, no.1-2, pp.175-191, 2012-02
The Study of Islam, or what is often called Islamic Studies, is a research field where the value system of Islam as well as its ideals and ideas throughout history are studied. While Islamic history and studies of contemporary Muslim societies are more concerned with the realities of societies within the Islamic world, either historical or modern and contemporary, the Study of Islam is centered on the religion of Islam as such and its ideas in religious, ethical, theological, philosophical, mystical and legalistic writings of authors of notable, and lesser, calibers. It has been, however, mostly concerned with the pre-modern eras, because Islam had been long considered as a glorious religion before the advent of modernity, and therefore, as a closed system, until the manifestation of the Islamic revival in the last three or four decades. The globalization of the last two decades or so has also added a wider importance to the Islamic revival as the Islamic world has proved to be a force to be reckoned with in international relations. The Islamic revival has caused renewed interest in Islamic affairs, and has promoted research and studies on the contemporary Islamic world, and there have been substantial academic developments in this regard, including the ambitious launch of Islamic Area Studies in Japan. The Study of Islam focusing on the contemporary religious ideas, however, has not been sufficiently pursued against the need to expand its scope from the pre-modern to the contemporary eras. Islam has proved to be a vital religion with its own ideas in the global age, so the Study of Islam should study such dimensions, with its wealth of resources coming from the accumulated research achievements on the pre-modern eras. This means that Islam should be treated as a system open to the present and the future, not just as a closed system in the past, to understand its current and prospective dynamics. Since any study on a current Muslim society requires intellectual resources from the textual studies in the Study of Islam, new studies in this field can and will contribute to studies of all related fields. The major subfields in the Study of Islam, which need immediate attention, are: (1) Tafsīr, or interpretations of the Qur'an; (2) Hadīth studies; (3) Creed, theology and firaq studies; (4) Philosophy; (5) Jurisprudence, including fiqh of politics and governance; (6) Tasawwuf, ethics and mystical metaphysics; and (7) New sub-fields such as Islamic economics and Islamic bioethics.