A civilizational worldview is a complex theoretical framework that provides a civilization with a necessary epistemological foundation for the reception, construction, dissemination and utilization of knowledge. As a result of a progress or revolution of a civilization, a civilizational worldview may be challenged, modified or at worst receded to give birth to another worldview, but it will continue to operate if only unconsciously behind any living civilization. Without a worldview, a civilization will become stagnant and defunct.
Khilāfah, literally translated as vicegerency, is an Islamic key term that conceptualizes the purpose of human creation. It delineates the beginning of the existence of human species on earth, outlines his missions on it, predicts his end on it and stimulates human mind to ponder over the creation and Creator of the universe at large. It is the same concept that charts the role of human as a civilized and civilizational being amidst the entire biosphere. Man as Khalīfah of Allah, is charged with cultivating, conserving and utilizing responsibly the natural resources that have been made subservient (taskhīr) for him in the course of his life long voyage of savantship (‘ubūdiyyah) to Almighty Allah. As a civilization can hardly exist without a clear and distinct epistemology, Khilāfah provides workable epistemological foundations, which are characteristically Islamic, for the formation and direction of civilization.
Based on a textual analysis of the concept of Khilāfah as used in various contexts in the Qur’an, the proposed study will explore major characteristics of Khilāfah ias compared to the components and constituents of civilization. It will argue that while Khilāfah links the present with its past, it also charts its future direction. The study is expected to contribute to the philosophy of civilization in Islam.