Understanding the ‘other’: the case of Al-Biruni (973-1048 AD)

Senin, Nurhanisah and Grine, Fadila and Wan Ramli, Wan Adli and Mohd Khambali @ Hambali, Khadijah and Ramlan, Siti Fairuz (2019) Understanding the ‘other’: the case of Al-Biruni (973-1048 AD). International Journal of Ethics and Systems, 35 (3). pp. 392-409. ISSN 2514-9369, DOI https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOES-01-2018-0010.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOES-01-2018-0010


Purpose: This study aims to demonstrate al-Biruni’s originality in the study of religion and the exploration of religious truth, while his firm stance on his religion effectively advocated his need to understand others more accurately. Design/methodology/approach: This study is a review of al-Biruni’s literature that uses content analysis method in establishing al-Biruni’s approach in understanding other religions through three main methodologies. From these approaches, this paper advocates al-Biruni’s firm stance toward his own faith despite using a scientific study on Hindu, which is in contrary to other phenomenological scholars who find that religious truth is relative in nature. Findings: Al-Biruni’s methods have proven that researchers are not necessarily required to dispose off their religious identity and commitment to faith, while simultaneously achieving objectivity and accuracy. Al-Biruni’s approach to understanding others may be seen as a remarkable early model of interfaith, intercultural and inter-civilizational dialogue seeking, eventually, to promote a harmonious co-existence within a highly polarized cultural and religious context. This inquiry demonstrates al-Biruni’s scholarly depth in his attempt to harmonize his methodology with the study of religious phenomena in compliance with Islam. Originality/value: This study signifies al-Biruni’s intellectual background with his mastery of first-hand information as a solid basis and grounds for the effective understanding of others in a descriptive, systematic and comparative manner. This paper also signifies al-Biruni’s methods of understanding others without having to dispose off one’s religious identity and commitment to faith which could be exemplified by other religious scholars. © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Al-Biruni; Comparative religion; Interfaith dialogue; Islamic theology; Tahqiq ma li al-Hind min Maqula Maqbula
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
Divisions: Academy of Islamic Studies > Dept of Aqidah & Islamic Thought
Depositing User: Ms. Juhaida Abd Rahim
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2020 05:26
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2020 05:26
URI: http://eprints.um.edu.my/id/eprint/23498

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