The Ministry of Culture held an intellectual symposium entitled (The Impact of Islamic Civilization on Humanity), in conjunction with Qatar’s hosting of the twelfth Conference of Ministers of Culture in the Islamic World, which is organized by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) over two days.

Her Excellency Dr. Aisha bint Youssef Al-Mannai/ Director of the Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani Center for Muslim Contributions to Civilization at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and Tunisian writer and academic Dr. Nizar Chakroun participated in the symposium.

Mrs. Maryam Yassin Al Hammadi/ Director of the Department of Culture and Arts at the Ministry of Culture, explained during her presentation of the symposium that she seeks to provide a deep intellectual approach to the reasons behind the civilizational leadership that our Islamic culture has achieved in the past, and exploring the obstacles that hindered Islamic culture from contributing effectively to the human renaissance movement and the global cultural renewal that we have been witnessing for less than two centuries.

On her part, Her Excellency Dr. Aisha Al-Mannai confirmed that Islamic civilization has reviewed man as having a single origin, and this is the meaning of the Qur’anic verses and the Prophetic hadiths that mentioned this principle. Among these is the words of God Almighty in Surat Al-Hujurat: {O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted}, and the saying of the Prophet, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him: “People are from Adam, and Adam is from dust…”

She pointed out that Islamic civilization believes in preserving the human body, mind and spirit, while Western civilization is concerned with the body and mind rather than the spirit.

She added that Islamic civilization succeeded in shining in various places and in different environments based on the principle of monotheism, as it swept the world from east to west in just 80 years, as it is based on equality between all human beings and among those addressed by Islamic law, so there is no difference between people except by piety. Noting that Islamic civilization is humane in its culture and is based on justice and freedom that do not conflict with rights or the public interest.

She added that Islamic civilization recognizes the other and his culture while other civilizations reject it, and believes in pluralism and the freedom to differ, and leaves the matter to the other person’s relationship with his God, who commanded the call to his religion with wisdom and good preaching, confirming that it is the only identity capable of opening the way for creativity, movement, work, and self-struggle against evil.

Dr. Aisha Al-Mannai spoke about the contributions of Islamic civilization to thought and human sciences, confirming that Islam called for adopting the causes of science within the framework of morals and values, pointing in this regard to many Islamic models that had contributions and cultural innovations to human civilization.

The Director of the Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani Center for Muslim Contributions to Civilization at Hamad Bin Khalifa University also addressed the Center’s efforts to introduce the cultural contributions of Muslim scholars through printing, translation, and others.

Under the title (Engines of renewal in Islamic cultural history – The narrative of the treasury and the key). Dr. Nizar Chakroun’s speech came in which he asked: Why do we think about renewal? Does moving in its direction necessarily mean acknowledging the existence of a crisis in our cultural discourse and before that in our thought and practice? Pointing out that various civilizations throughout the ages have faced the issue of renewal as much as they have faced political, economic and social challenges, and this confrontation is not only an indication that they have fallen into successive crises, but rather it is a sign that civilizations are born to transformations, and for the sake of their survival and continuity, they accept those transformations.

He added that our Arab-Islamic cultural history has witnessed many crises, and is still experiencing them in various forms, and the question of “renewal” has accompanied that history to outline its turning points and joints that require further contemplation, extrapolation, and study through analysis and deconstruction, which confirming that what matters to us in returning to history is to stop at those engines that shaped the structure of the mind over centuries, and gave our Arab-Islamic culture the ability to renew.

Chakroun, during his participation, reviewed the efforts of Islamic civilization and its contributions throughout the various Islamic eras in the fields of science, arts and literature, as the treasury in the Islamic world was the repository of sciences, and the concern for the “treasury” was a kind of raising the status of the “book” in our civilization. The “treasury” among Muslims was not just a repository that preserved the heritage of knowledge of other nations. He confirmed that the great merit of the Islamic treasury was that it expanded functions that were not known to the treasuries of previous nations. In addition to activating the translation movement, the “treasury” turned into an incubator for scientific discussions.

He confirmed that renewal can only be achieved by urging the restoration of “treasury thought” in its most advanced forms today, including restoring national libraries, public and private libraries to their role in being centers of scientific radiation and incubators for thinkers and scholars in various fields.

He said: If the treasury is considered a fundamental engine in the renaissance of civilization and a factor in influencing human civilization, then the key to this treasury is in turn considered one of the important engines, and this key is none other than thought, which works by reading, understanding, and renewing the treasures of the treasury, and creates concepts according to the needs of the people of the era.

The symposium, which was attended by a group of intellectuals, witnessed many discussions on the subject, the most prominent of which was the intervention of the poet Dr. Hassan Al-Nama, in which he confirmed that the prosperous Islamic civilization today needs to continue building on what its predecessors presented. He confirmed that Doha’s hosting of the Conference of Ministers of Culture in the Islamic World constitutes part of this effective movement, as it discusses the renewal of cultural thought that will return our civilization to renaissance and prominence.