Naquib Al-Attas’ Islamization of Knowledge: Its Impact on Malay Religious Life, Literature, Language and Culture

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About the Publication

The concept of the Islamization of knowledge was introduced by Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas in the late 1970s. It aimed to detach knowledge from Western culture and civilization in order to replace it with Islamic concepts, frameworks and values. 

The Islamization of knowledge was to occur in the fields of education and culture, manifesting in changes to the syllabus in institutions of higher learning and niche areas of interest in selected research institutes. In the field of culture, however, it resulted in an unintended consequence of Malay literature being heavily characterized by Islamic elements. 

Over the years, proponents of the Islamization of knowledge in Malaysia have moved beyond the fields of education and culture. They have entered the mainstream and become part of the state machinery, thus possibly impacting national policies. 

The concept has also evolved and arguably led to the strengthening of Islamic conservatism among Malaysian intellectual and cultural elites. 

More specifically, its exclusivist thinking does not augur well for intra- and intercommunal relations in the country.

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