Top 12 Quotes from Professor Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas

1. “To know how to put what knowledge in which place is wisdom (hikmah). Otherwise, knowledge without order and seeking it without discipline does lead to confusion and hence to injustice to one’s self.” ― Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, Islam: The Concept of Religion and The Foundation of Ethics and Morality

2. “Change, development and progress, according to the Islamic viewpoint, refer to the return to the genuine Islam enunciated and practised by the Holy Prophet (May God bless and give him peace) and his noble Companions and their Followers (blessing and peace be upon them all) and the faith and practice of genuine Muslims after them; and they also refer to the self and mean its return to its original nature and religion (Islam)” ― Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, Islam: The Concept of Religion and The Foundation of Ethics and Morality

3. “It is like the thirsty traveller who at first sincerely sought the water of knowledge, but who later, having found it plain perhaps, proceeded to temper his cup with the salt of doubt so that his thirst now becomes insatiable though he drinks incessantly, and that in thus drinking the water that cannot slake his thirst, he has forgotten the original and true purpose for which the water was sought.”― Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, Islam: The Concept of Religion and The Foundation of Ethics and Morality

4. “Justice and injustice indeed begins and ends with the self.” ― Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, Islam: The Concept of Religion and The Foundation of Ethics and Morality

5. “Islam is a religion based upon knowledge, and a denial of the possibility and objectivity of knowledge would evolve the destruction of the fundamentals basis upon which not only the religion, but all the sciences are rooted.” ― Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, The Oldest Known Malay Manuscript: A 16th Century Malay Translation of the ‘Aqa’id of al-Nasafi

6. “Man is like an island set in isolation in a fathomless sea enveloped by darkness, saying that the loneliness his self knows is so utterly absolute because even he knows not his self completely.” ― Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, Islam and Secularism

7. “Justice implies knowledge of the right and proper place for a thing or a being to be; of right as against wrong; of the mean and limit; of spiritual gain as against loss; of truth as against falsehood.” ― Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, Islam: The Concept of Religion and The Foundation of Ethics and Morality

8. “But the philosophical and scientific process which I call ‘secularization’ necessarily involves the divesting of spiritual meaning from the world of nature; the desacralization of politics from human affairs; and the deconsecration of values from the human mind and conduct.”  Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, Islam and Secularism

9. “Seeing that he owns absolutely nothing to ‘repay’ his debt, ‘his own consciousness’ of the fact ‘that he himself that very substance’ of debt, so must ‘return’ himself to Him Who owns him absolutely.” ― Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, Islam: The Concept of Religion and The Foundation of Ethics and Morality

10. “The secularizing ‘values’ and events that have been predicted would happen in the Muslim world have now begun to unfold with increasing momentum and persistence due still to the Muslims’ lack of understanding of the true nature and implications of secularization as a philosophical program.”
― Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, Islam and Secularism

11. “An Islamic university…structure is different from a Western University; [its] conception of what constitutes knowledge is different from what Western philosophers set forth as knowledge; [its] aims and aspirations are different from Western conceptions. The purpose of higher education is not, like in the West, to produce the complete citizen, but rather, as in Islam, to produce the complete man, or the universal man…. A Muslim scholar is a man who is not a specialist in any one branch of knowledge but is universal in his outlook and is authoritative in several branches of related knowledge.” ― Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas

12. “When the man, by means if ‘ibadat, succeeded in curbing his animal and canal passions and has thereby rendered submissive his animal soul,making it subject to the rational soul, the man thus described has attained to freedom and existence;he has achieved supreme peace and his soul is pacified, being set at liberty, as it were, free from fetters of inexorable fate and the noisy strife and hell of human vices.” ― Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, Islam and Secularism

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