I recently read the article titled Why The Arabic World Turned Away From Science written by Hillel Ofek. I found it very interesting and a stampede of thoughts and ideas rushed through my mind. Following are some random thoughts about it. I hope to organize them in a better way in future.
But there is another vantage point to it. The Greek science was not rubbish at all. Actually, if nothing else, modern days’ scientific method has its roots in Greek Science. Consider the necessity of theorem proving, for instance. While contemporary world was also a lot more advanced, such as the engineering acumen of Egyptians, who raised monumental pyramids, only Greeks made the science flourish by necessitating the adoption of some scientific method. Greeks were genuine thinkers.
This is not to say that Muslims were not. Imam Al-Ghazali was a skeptic of sorts for a considerable period of his life. He eventually proposed occasionalism. The latter means that every single thing and action happens in the universe by the direct and immediate will of God (i.e. Allah, in an Islamic context). This means, for instance, that incidents like hurricane Sandy happen by the direct will of God. Western science states that laws of Physics dictate such events. Occasionalism suggests that laws of physics may be suggested as causes effecting such events. But at the core of them direct will of Allah is responsible for them and the laws of Physics are only used as covers to conceal the divine hand. West frowns upon such ideas. Indeed, even in the midst of such events one can hear Western intellect shouting that the idea that a divine will is responsible for all such events is ridiculous. I know Western skeptics say this even while they are dying. Muslims (and also Christians and possibly also Jews), on the other hand, suggest that the reason behind such events is moral decadency, such as homosexuality and lesbianism.
A belief in occasionalism also has a consequence for the Islamic belief system. This becomes evident when natural disasters like floods and earth quakes strike Muslims countries. In wake of such events, the Western intellect ridiculously asks the Muslims that why is this happening to Muslims and claims that there is no God. Surprisingly, the theology of Islam has an answer for this too; moral decadency of the society. And this is where the debate starts lurching into other extreme dimensions.
The question is whether Muslims should read philosophy or not. Our times suggest that we should do it. Imam Ghazali suggests that we should not do it. The main reason is that it can lead the Muslims away from piety. Indeed, the propensities of philosophers and the nature of the subject is such that it leads the pupil away from firm belief and lead to heresy. For, if a Muslim was not to pose and address the most arch-question of philosophy, “Does God exist?”, he could be lured in to addressing the following question, “Does devil exist?”. Or there could be other dodgy questions, investigation of which would at least sway the Muslim away from performing diurnal rituals. West has a problem with the way religious people think. While the Muslims, for instance, use all the ifs and buts of logic to show the superiority of their theology, the Western intellect uses them to address the most primordial questions about existence of God. This causes a friction of ideologies. While a Muslim (or a Christian for that matter) would be highly inclined to circumscribe and direct his theses and arguments in a way that eventually find that God exists, philosophers and free thinkers have a genuine problem with that predisposed way of thinking which clearly inhibits free inquiry. This is absolutely understandable.
Coincidentally there is now much evidence that human consciousness survives bodily death. A lot of evidence about this can be found in Western literature about spiritualism and near death experiments. This is obviously no proof for the existence of God. Stated in other words, the fact that human beings have ever lasting souls is by no means a proof of existence of a God. Human beings could possibly just have souls just like they have bodies. I would not be surprised to hear one day of emergence of a theory concerning evolution of human souls. But if the evidence that suggests that human beings have souls is true does point to the possible truth of religion, which after all is all about afterlife and souls. This again does not point us to the truth of a single religion. All religions have mentions of souls and afterlives within them. And a keen adherence to the spirit of science demands that we stick the necessities of evidence and proofs. Evidence and proof are indeed two strong pillars of science.
Meet an average European guy, who is possibly also a student of sociology. Ask him about his views on religion and he would say that religion is wrong. This is suggested because of sociological reasons. For one of the things religion is considered important that historically it has been a vital tool in organizing the society. West wants to get rid of this crutch. Western intellect claims that society could be organized by adopting means from other ecological systems. Study apes, for instance, and we can learn to make peaceful and prosperous communities. But organizing the society is and has possibly been one trivial utility of the society. The main speciality of religion is afterlife. It is to meet this end successfully that religion has other arenas pertaining to the worldly social life. And if there is indeed an afterlife, religion becomes all the more significant. Organized religion may as well be wrong, specially if there is no afterlife. But I have a propensity that if any organized religion stands a chance for being right, it has to be Islam as it is the most organized of them all. I make this claim based on empiricism in some sense. Islam has already addressed every thing. This includes Christianity, Judaism, Idolatry, polytheism, atheism and all the philosophical intellect. This has been done in Quran. And Allah invites every human being to convert to Islam. This is done by frightening, by encouraging, by showing great rewards, by showing that He is merciful and extremely punitive at the same time and by showing them signs. Muslims are advised to invite others to Islam and to amend their own ways in the meantime. In the meantime they have been consciously advised not to use force of any sorts. For there is no compulsion in the religion. The greater emphasis is on the Muslims to live according to the tenets of Islam in this ephemeral worldly life. In the mean time they have also been advised to resist any force that tries to sway them away from achieving their otherworldly goals. This is called Jehad. The smaller and the bigger jehad. Which, of course, Muslims have not been doing very well.
On a separate note, Ubqari is a non profit organization that invites people to the religion of Islam. There are many prayers and Islamic medicines that can be found here. By and large Pakistanis browse the website the most. The second largest number of people who browse the website are from the United States of America, the third largest from from Saudi Arabia and the Fourth Largest from the U.K. There are many healing methods that are taught, such as Islamic sufi meditation. The message of the organization is not that of terrorism at all, but a genuine effort to attract the humanity to the religion of Islam. I would like to assert here that organization does not teach Muslims to hate non-Muslims. I am privy to this as I have heard many lectures of Hazrat Daamat Barkaatam Allama Hakeem Tariq Mehmood Chughtai. I have to force this point because I have read many Western accounts, specially those of Sam Harris, which claim that Islam spreads hatred. This is not true. I have heard Hazrat crying in combined prayers for infidels too. Islam is not a hate based religion. Besides, mostly average Muslims genuinely love the Western people. Indeed, this is because of the general attitude of the Western people which makes them so adorable. Even if you don’t like it, Islam is worth reading and understanding.
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