It has been one of the goals of the Zaytuna Institute, with which I am proudly affiliated, to use the deep reservoir of traditional Islamic knowledge to provide insight into and solutions for our contemporary condition. By traditional Islamic knowledge, I refer not only to the Qur'an and the prophetic tradition (Sunna), but also to the wealth of jurisprudential and exegetical writings that have helped to insure the historic integrity and continuity of the Islamic project. I also refer to the methodological tools that have allowed for a flexible, practical, and dynamic application of Islamic law. Only by immersing ourselves in that reservoir will Muslims be capable of making an intelligible contribution towards addressing the challenging issues of our times.However, that knowledge is not applicable in a vacuum. It must be applied in the context in which we find ourselves: the context of advanced western civilization. That being the case, we must have knowledge of this civilization and its intellectual tradition. Only then can traditional Islamic knowledge be relevant and make an effective contribution to the ongoing advance of human civilization.
-pg. 2 of Imam Zaid's Scatted Pictures: Reflections of An American Muslim