Invitation to an International conference
Islam and modernism in Nigeria
The Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies
University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
is an ever-changing world. For the first thousand years since
the Hijrah, change came mostly in new wars with old weapons, new
dynasties with old policies, new generations in the same
ancestral lands, with scarcely a new idea that transformed
society. Tradition dominated all.
Change had been
incubating, but burst with the industrial revolution, convulsing
the world with new technology, new means of travel and
communication, and mass exposure to other cultures, and other
religions. Change on all fronts accelerated, more in our own
life-time than in the first Islamic millennium. Modernism?s
buzz-word was ?reason?, which in some countries sought the free
itself from religion and promised a ?brave new world? with
unlimited progress. Though such anti-religiosity does not
prevail in Nigeria, some foreign governments pressure Nigeria to
conform to what they consider ?reasonable? norms, which however
are abhorrent to Nigerian traditions.
tenacity, however, has baffled Modernism. Religion?s roots
tapped the sea-floor of humanity, undisturbed by the stormy
waves above, and towered above the clouds, where divine light
shines night and day. At the same time, Modernism?s appeal has
baffled Tradition, for how can airplanes and internet be the
products of perverted reason?
Can Reason and
Revelation ever reconcile? Ibn-S?n?, al-Ghaz?l? and Ibn-Rushd
examined the problem in their days, but we are in a different
context: a multi-religious Nigeria in the 21st
century. In the claims of Tradition and Modernity, can we sift
the authentic, from the distorted? Can we then harness both
reason and tradition to confront inter-religious hostility at
home, and the equally dangerous invasion of anti-religious norms
from abroad to build an harmonious and healthy society? That
is the task of this Seminar.
This program is
hosted by the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies of the
University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.
speakers, representing various religious traditions (Sunnism,
Shi`ism, Christianity) and differing evaluations of modernism,
have been invited to speak on modern challenges in areas such
as: Scriptural exegesis, the interpretation of history, the
scope of religious liberty, theological assessment of other
religions (Christianity, African Traditional Religion), the
place of religion in society, academic freedom, etc.
welcome to attend and take part in the discussion sessions.
inquiries to any or all of the following: