Maker Majlis’ Schifa promotes faith-science dialogue during Doha Cultural Capital of the Islamic World 2021
Jan 17, 2022
Doha has been named the World Capital of Islamic Culture for the year 2021 by the World Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO). The timing of this huge honor for the city was significant. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to the world that, for religious believers, the pursuit of knowledge for the betterment of well-being urgently needs a dialogue between faith and science.
Neither science nor faith alone can guarantee that humanity is able to progress effectively through a global crisis. For this reason, it is vital to establish and maintain a bond between them. The Islamic worldview of unity (tawhid) highlights this necessity, ensuring harmony of both faith and science, arts and crafts, theory and practice.
To this end, the year-long celebration aimed to promote eternal Islamic values, especially those based on science and human dignity. He sought to make faith integral to the development of social, economic and environmental innovations that improve the lives and well-being of Muslims.
“Doha, Capital of Culture in the Islamic World 2021” included a series of activities carried out by the Ministry of Culture and Sports, in cooperation with ICESCO, the Qatar National Committee for Education, Culture and science, and several strategic partners in the country, namely the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs, the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), Qatar Museums, Cultural Village Foundation (Katara) and many participating entities. Various activities included the Challenge and Innovation Forum, the Qatari Song Festival and other enriching initiatives on culture, literature, history and science.
Science-Faith-Innovation Nexus: Schifa’s role
Maker Majlis, a platform under the College of Islamic Studies, part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University, has left a mark by organizing the Science, Faith and Innovation for Human Dignity (Schifa) program. Schifa provides an opportunity for young scholars, professionals, entrepreneurs and innovators who aspire to prepare, engage, reflect and act on the nexus between science, faith and innovation to respond to global challenges that undermine social cohesion and human dignity. The seven-month program aims to promote the culture of creators in science communication and innovative design in collaboration with the Qatar Scientific Club, Doha Debates, Qatar Reads and Voicing Voices.
Fostering the mindsets needed to unite and inspire a generation to solve the world’s challenges and build a better future for generations to come is at the heart of Schifa’s Deep Dive sessions. With a carefully curated set of materials by Jennifer Geist of Doha Debates, Deep Dives engage event attendees and facilitators in conversations that require critical thinking, self-awareness, empathy, tolerance, sense of civic responsibility, a willingness to learn from others, and a firm belief that individual action matters. These sessions support participants through a systems thinking process as they strive to understand and progressively resolve complex global issues through a four-step PERA process: Prepare, Engage, Reflect and Act by having productive conversations. .
The Schifa program, since its inception in October 2021, has hosted 12 Deep Dive conferences that examine the core elements of the program in the areas of science, innovation, faith and human dignity. Examples of in-depth discussions are “Science Diplomacy”, “History of Islamic Science and Medicine”, “Food and Faith Project”, “Islam and Sustainable Development”. Other discussions focused on the Islamic future and the future in Islam, remosquing communities, Islam and post-normal times, and Socratic reasoning in Islam.
What awaits Schifa?
The main result of the Schifa program postulates an exciting contribution to humanity, especially in the digital age.
Participants, together with organizers, producers, mentors and coordinators, are producing five online open courses, each focusing on one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Each course will be open to young people, with the aim of promoting Islamic cultural heritage in today’s interconnected digital world while encouraging creativity and innovation as important values.
As the celebration of Doha’s year as the Capital of Islamic Culture draws to a close, Schifa builds on its intent, particularly the central goal of inspiring Muslim generations to embrace their role in the enrichment of culture globally and its emphasis on the value of culture diversity for Islamic countries.
Dr. M. Evren Tok is Associate Dean of Innovation and Community Engagement, Associate Professor of Islam and Global Affairs, and Founder of Maker Majlis.