Islam, Science, and Society (ISS) seeks projects which leverage unique insights from Islamic thought in service of positive cultural change in the three areas of education, community and “living-together”, and urban life in its various aspects. Projects may engage these areas individually or in common (such as the way Islam may inform notions of community that promote holistic educational cultures). We are especially interested in projects testing the value of these insights through experimental interventions that are informed by the social sciences, can produce empirically testable results, and have relevance to current issues in the science-and-society arena. Projects emphasizing research and/or academic or public engagement, and projects on themes other than education, community and urban life, are also welcome.
For more general and foundational guidance, please also read the below Overview section carefully.
In ISS, we generally fund projects that seek to do one or a combination of the following:
- revitalize traditional discourses by identifying principles and arguments that situate scientific learning and technological innovation within a Muslim’s general understanding of Islamic law, theology, and spirituality, and, by extension, God, society, and the world.
- examine how Islamic thought, by being brought to bear on issues of shared global concern, can contribute towards human flourishing.
Additionally, successful ISS proposals engage with discussions and research methods in mainstream science and technology in a substantive manner. Below are two core elements which characterize strong funding inquiries. For additional details, please also refer to this recent interview on ISS by Rashid Dar, Program Officer for Culture and Global Perspectives.
Research on what it could mean to ‘do science’ from an Islamic perspective. There is a need today to articulate a uniquely “Muslim philosophy of science,” one taking into account particular Islamic views on what constitutes sufficiently actionable knowledge, and, by extension, a definition of what “scientific progress” could mean. In so doing, points of convergence and divergence between Islam’s wider episteme and mainstream scientific approaches might help sketch out the contours of a Muslim “alternative modernity.” Successful proposals often draw from history, natural and physical science, and philosophy, as well as Islamic law, theology, and spirituality.
Research on Muslim self-conceptions in light of emergent challenges and opportunities presented by modern science and technology, as well as other issues of global concern to humankind more broadly. The present time is one in which myriad challenges—such as biotechnology, transhumanism, pandemics, climate change, and more—serve as an opportunity to Muslim thinkers to produce thought conducive to human flourishing amid great confusion and uncertainty. Other issues of more global concern might include climate change, inequality, the benefits and pitfalls of human cooperativity, societal polarization, economics and finance, migration flows and societal integration, and the roles, effectiveness, and renewal of different human institutions, from public education, to government, the family unit, and more. Do note that applicants need not limit themselves to the challenges listed here.