Aziz Ali Dad

Aziz Ali Dad

The writer holds an MSc Degree in Philosophy of Social Sciences from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). His main area of interest is philosophy and the history of ideas. He tweets @azizalidad (twitter.com/azizalidad)

Is Islamic thought suffering from a shrinking intellectual horizon?

Time is the cruellest of all historical forces. It renders obsolete all human endeavours attempting to eternalise ideas and ideals about religious truth. It is thinking that enables us to fight against the ossification of ideas and the imprisonment of our own imagination. Owing to this, the inquisitive mind brings about change when comprehending religious experience by liberating one’s vision from the narrow confines of ideology, hence broadening one’s intellectual horizons. However, thinking itself operates within a epistemic range, which can be called the horizon of the mind. A narrow horizon produces exclusionary ideas and thus fails to interpret a phenomena ...

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Islam’s mythopoetic conundrum

One of the unique traits of the Pakistani masses in general, and the ‘intellectuals’ in particular, is the arbitrary use of concepts without exploring their epistemological basis, resulting in a collective failure to explore the true depths of the different facets of life. It also explains our unwillingness to venture into domains which have thus remained unexplored. Though religion is the preferred topic of discussion for many, we remain largely ignorant about the topic because of a reluctance to truly engage with the religious corpus. For a clear understanding of religion, it is imperative to explain the nature of religious language and critically analyse different approaches, including theology, ...

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Has contemporary Urdu poetry lost its essence?

In Urdu literature, traditionally two concepts have remained dominant with regards to where creativity emanates from. The first is amad (spontaneity) and second is awrad (contrived). For a long time, the majority of Urdu writers, and the socio-cultural ethos in general, tilted more towards the amad theory, with Mirza Ghalib writing, “Aate hain ghaib se ye mazaameen khayaal mein Ghalib  sareer-e-Khaama nawaa-e-sarosh hai…” (The subjects (for my poetry) come to me from divine hidden sources, The scratching sound my pen makes resonates like the sound of angels) There were several writers who grappled with these ideas in Urdu literature, however they were not formally conceptualised until Muhammad Hussain Azad, ...

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Pakistan’s burgeoning intellectual dilemma

Normally, we think of knowledge as an activity which is shorn off from society in the libraries and laboratories of thinkers and scientists. On the contrary, production of knowledge is very much connected to the prevailing mindset and cultural ethos which directly influences our perception and reception of knowledge. It is this very mindset that has contributed to the poor state of human sciences in Pakistan – where these subjects have essentially been assigned a marginal status at the higher education level, as compared to natural sciences. Instead of engaging with complex ideas, we reject them by stating that they are ...

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