In ancient civilizations, the library was the center of the capital. When enemy armies attacked, the defending nation would surround their library to protect it above all else. The library kept the history, culture, arts, and scientific innovations of the society. Islamic civilizations were no exception, and some of the earliest and greatest libraries in history were found in ancient Islamic cities.
The Bayt al-Hikmah (House of Wisdom) project aims to provide the same kind of treasured library experience to the global community of 1.2 billion Muslims and any non-Muslims who wish to learn about Islam and study its texts.
To make this a reality, we are proposing the formation of the Bayt al-Hikmah Digital Islamic Library as the first step toward achieving this vision. Bayt al-Hikmah will be a component of OneUmmah.Net.
"Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave." -- Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him)
Bayt al-Hikmah strongly believes in the Islamic principles of education and that the unity of Muslims and dignified standing of Islam among non-Muslims depends on presenting a clear and unbiased picture of the religion, its texts, and of Muslims. We also believe that knowledge should be free and accessible to all, and believe that the Internet presents the best way to deliver that knowledge to a global audience.
Bayt al-Hikmah will publish text, images, video, and audio recordings of Islamic works from classical and modern Islamic scholars and artists, and from the general Muslim population. The published materials will be inclusive of all Muslim schools of thought and will be presented in a light that will unite Muslims on common ground and also encourage tolerance and respect of all other religions and people.
Subjects to be acquired for the collections will include but not be limited to:
- Qur'an and Qur'anic exegesis
- Fundamentals (Usul)
- Theology (Kalam)
- Hadith and hadith commentary
- Jurisprudence (Fiqh)
- Mysticism (Sufism)
- Art, Music, and Entertainment
- Comparative Religion and Interfaith Studies
The collection development policy shall follow guidelines established by modern library science standards and will also adhere to certain Islamic principles agreed upon by Muslim schools of thought. The collection will not censor Islamic literature if it is believed to be authentic by even a minority among the schools of thought, and will make an effort to include a wide variety of opinions and rulings. The collection will include some sacred texts of other religions, as well as comparative literature about major world religions. The collection will not include polemical works that defame or otherwise insult other religions or schools of thought.