الرئيسيةمكتبة الصورس .و .جبحـثالتسجيلدخول
أحباب الأرض
أهلاً وسهلاً بكم في منتديات أحباب الأرض منتديات الدفعة الثالثة عشر المتخرجة من قسم علوم الأرض والبيئة للعام الجامعي 2010-2011
أحباب الآض
منتديات أحباب الأرض بحلة جديدة
أحباب الآض
الفائزون هم الأشخاص الذين يوظفون قناعتهم الإيجابية في خدمة أهدافهم
أحباب الآض
التاريخ ما هو الى مجموعة قصص عن أناس كانوا واثقين من أنفسهم
أحباب الآض
النجاح ما هو الا التحقيق التدريجي لأهدافنا الكبيرة
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لا يقاس النجاح بما حققناه بمقدار ما يقاس بالمصاعب التي تغلبنا عليها
أحباب الآض
لا شيء يثير العدوى كالحماس، الحماس يزيل الصخور، ولا نجاح من دون حماس
أحباب الأرض
المعيار الصحيح في قياس النجاح هو عدد الأشخاص الذين جعلتهم سعداء
أحباب الأرض
حياتنا لاتقاس بالأيام والسنين وإنما تقاس بتجاربنا فيها ونتائج هذه التجارب
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حين تدور عقارب الساعه فترى مصائبها فتذكر أنها لكي تحمد فتشكر وأنها ساعه منقضيه ومنتهيه بالتأكيد
أحباب الأرض
هدفنا في الحياة هو ليس التفوق على الآخرين، بل التفوق على أنفسنا
أحباب الأرض
دعونا ننسى أنفسنا من خلال مساعدة الآخرين، الأمر الذي يعود بالخير علينا
أحباب الأرض
ضع في ذهنك أن إصرارك على النجاح هو أهم من أي شيء آخر
أحباب الأرض
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 Islam and science

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التخصص : بيئه عامه
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تاريخ التسجيل : 11/10/2010
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مُساهمةموضوع: Islam and science   السبت 11 ديسمبر - 15:35

Islamand Science

Letme start by uttering the traditional formula “In the Name of God theCompassionate the All-Merciful”. With this sentence, Muslims begin all theritual actions of their lives, as well as the actions of their everyday livesthat get the value of ritual actions. This formula opens every chapter, orsura, of the Holy Koran, the sacred book of Islam, as a key for the reading ofthe text, and for subsequent action inspired from this reading. The wholerevelation of the Koran comes from God the One, through His names of love andmercy.
Itsounds quite simple indeed. Unfortunately, one must admit that what actuallyhappens is far from these principles. Of course, everybody would agree thatthere is a gap between principles and realities, between what religion shouldbe and what the members of this religion make of it, between the realm ofspiritual tenets and the vicissitudes of history.
Butis there a specific issue with Islam? Many voices are heard that put theIslamic faith on trial. It is a fact that, in contrast with other culturalzones, the Islamic world seems to participate very little in the scientificpursuit of today, and to be struck by recurrent social and political disorders.Several authors have attributed these two facts to the same cause: the presumedinability of the Islamic faith to establish a sound relationship with thepractice of reason, and consequently to enforce reasonable behaviours insocieties. Islam is blamed for the following crime: it seemingly includes inits very principles the germs of its own, violent deviation.
Herecomes the point I would like to address, with your permission, in this lecture,from the specific viewpoint of a Western Muslim, who happens to be aprofessional scientist. Does Islam, because of its very principles, face aninsuperable difficulty with the methods and results of science? Has it aspecific problem with the practice of reason that would entail theimpossibility for Muslims to adopt reasonable behaviours in modern societies?In a single sentence, is it possible to be a coherent Muslim and to participateconstructively in the endeavours of our common world, and, first of all, inscience? I would like to hereafter argue that, although ignorance, hate andviolence unfortunately exist in the Islamic world, the spiritual tenets andintellectual resources of the Islamic faith actually prompt Muslims to searchfor knowledge, love and peace.
Mylecture will be divided into three parts: First I will summarize the basicprinciples of the Islamic faith that appear relevant to understanding thenature of knowledge in the Islamic perspective. Second, I will briefly review afew historical and contemporary positions about the relation between faith andreason, and between religion and science. Third, I will try to defend aviewpoint in which faith although it does not say anything about the specificcontent of science, offers a broad metaphysical background that helps me, as ascientist, find purpose and meaning in its discoveries. Finally, I willconclude by a new examination of the above-mentioned issue: the organization ofsocieties and the dialogue of faiths and cultures. It turns out that thismetaphysical background also helps us find purpose and meaning in the diversityof faiths, as well as it gives us guidelines for a peaceful coexistence in thisworld.
The principles of Islamic faith
Thepresumed difficulty that Islam faces in its relationship with reason, wasrecently summarized, with great talent and large impact, by the famous lecturegiven by Pope Benedict XVI in Regensburg,on September the 18th, 2006, in front of an audience of“representatives of science” — the detail has its importance for the issue weare addressing here. In an attempt to propose a new vision to secularized Europe, the Holy Father explained what he considered thespecific feature of Christianity. For him, it is not surprising that modernscience and reasonable behaviours developed in countries where Christianity waspredominant. As a matter of fact, this lecture triggered strong reactions inthe Islamic world because Islam was used as a sort of counter-example, areligion in which the absence of reason and the presence of violence areinterwoven.
Accordingto the Pope, “For Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will isnot bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality.” After this Regensburg lecture, therewere exchanges between the Islamic world and the Holy See, requests forapologies on one side, and statements that the lecture was misunderstood on theother side. Here, I would like to address the issue raised by the Holy Fathervery much where he left it, and to answer positively to the calls for dialoguethat were eventually heard on both sides.
Asa matter of fact, I think the issue stems from the idea we have about God. Whenthe Pope writes, after many other authors, “for Muslim teaching, God isabsolutely transcendent”, he understands this sentence in the following way:“For Muslims, God is only transcendent”. Is the God of Islam different from theGod of Christianity? It is not the Muslims’ opinion. For them, Allah, a wordthat etymologically means “The God”, is not the name of the Muslims’ God. It isthe Arabic name of the One God, the God of all humanity, worshipped by Jews,Christians, and Muslims.
ForIslam, as much as for Judaism and Christianity, God is absolutely transcendentand He is perfectly immanent too. It means that He cannot be known by any ofour categories, and simultaneously, He is close to us, He acts in the world, Heknows and loves us, He lets Him be known and be loved by us. As the Koran says,“Nothing is similar to Him, and He is the One who perfectly hears and knows.”God gathers aspects that are contradictory: “He is the First and the Last, theApparent and the Hidden.” And “He is closer to us than our jugular vein.” Thiscoexistence of these two aspects is necessary, in a monotheistic religion, toprevent our idea about God from becoming an idol. In Islamic terms, one wouldsay that the tawhid, the statement of the Oneness of God, simultaneouslyrequires the tanzih, the statement that God is like nothing else, and thetanshbih, the comparison of names, attributes and actions of God with those ofthe world. A God who is only transcendent is an abstract concept, and a God whois only immanent is nothing else than a form of cosmic energy.
Onecan readily understand that the issue of the intelligibility of God’sattributes and actions, and the extension of the domain where reason can applyto know religion and to know science, strongly depend on the balance betweentranscendence and immanence. It is true that extreme standpoints did exist inthe Islamic thinking, in one direction or another. However, the main streamdefended the simultaneous existence of these two aspects, and the fact that,immanence is possible because God is so transcendent that His transcendence isunaffected by His presence in the world, close to us.
Godcreated the world. This sentence means that the world is not self-sufficient.The world may not have been there. But it actually is there, and theexplanation provided by religions is that the being of the world is given byanother Being, who is not “a being” like the others, but rather the action ofbeing itself. God also revealed Himself in the world through specific momentsin which infinity gets in contact with the finite, eternity with the temporal.These moments give birth to new religions that, in the Islamic perspective, areonly new adaptations of the same universal truth to new peoples (and to the“languages” of these peoples). And God has a specific contact with each of thehuman beings, whom he cares after, and inspires.
Islamis the third come of the monotheistic religions in the wake of the promise madeto Abraham by God, after Judaism and Christianity. Remember this story of theBook of Genesis, when Abraham obeys God’s order and leaves his wife Hagar andhis son Ishmael in the desert. For Muslims, the place where Hagar and Ishmaelwere left is the valley of Bakka, where a temple that was given by God to Adamafter the Fall from Eden,used to be located before the Deluge. Later, Abraham and Ishmael rebuilt thetemple, a small cubic building covered by a black veil, now in the great mosqueof Makka. This building is empty, and only inhabited by the sakina, amysterious and sacred presence of God, which is quite paradoxical, because Godis everywhere, and still he specifically manifests in some places.
Islambrings the renewal of this Abrahamic faith, through a new revelation, that is,an initial miracle that founds a new relation of a part of the human kind withGod. This initial miracle is the revelation of a text, the Holy Koran, to ahuman being, Prophet Muhammad, who was born in Makka at the end of the 6thcentury. The revelation started during the Night of Destiny, and lasted twentyyears till the Prophet’s death in 632. What exactly is this miracle? ForMuslims, the miracle is the fact that not only the meanings of the Holy Korancome from God, but also the choice of the words, sentences, and chapters, in agiven human language, the Arabic language, in such a way that the divine speechcan be heard, pronounced, and understood by the human. As a faithful messenger,Muhammad did not add nor cut a single word of the Holy Reading or Proclamation(the meaning of the word Koran) that subsequently became a Book, and acquiredits final appearance under Uthman’s caliphate (644—656). Of course, the Arabiclanguage almost breaks down under the weight of the divine speech. There aresubtleties, the use of an uncommon vocabulary, separated letters that mayconvey mysterious information. The Arabic words frequently have severalmeanings, and the task of the commentators is to highlight the richness of theteachings that a single verse can bring forth. The Prophet himself mentionedthe multiplicity of the meanings of the Koran by saying that “each verse has anouter meaning and an inner meaning, a juridical meaning and a place ofascension”, that is, a direct spiritual influence on the reader. This pluralityof meanings makes the task of the translator quite uneasy, because thisplurality does not transfer directly into other languages, and especially intoEuropean languages. Another fascinating aspect of the Koran is the fact that itgathers messages about the divine names, attributes and actions, prescriptionsand prohibitions from God, stories of the prophets, descriptions of this lowerworld and of the hereafter, ethical advice, and chronicles of the life of thefirst Islamic community around the Prophet. But all these chains are more orless mixed up, or interlaced, in each of the 114 chapters, in such a way thatthe internal coherence can be found only after reading and re-reading the text,which progressively sheds light on itself.
Themiracle of the descent of the Koran reproduces the miracle of creation. Godcreates things though His speech, with His order: “Be! (kun)” The creaturesreceive their existence from God through this ontological order. Godsubsequently unveils hidden knowledge, again though His speech, with another ofHis orders: “Read! (iqra’)”, the first word of the Koran given to ProphetMuhammad. This instruction speaks to the reader, the human being who uses itsintelligence to understand the Holy Text. As a consequence, the Koran is like asecond creation, a book where God shows his signs or verses (âyât), very muchas we contemplate God’s signs (âyât) in the entities and phenomena of the firstcreation. God unveiled the Book of Religion (kitâb at-tadwîn) very much as Hecreated the Book of Existence (kitâb at-takwîn). The issue of the relationshipof faith with science specifically deals with the coherence between the firstand the second book. This topic of the Liber Scripturae and the Liber mundi isexpressed in similar terms in other faiths.
Islammanifests itself as the renewal of the faith of Abraham, as a new adaptation ofthe same universal truth that was given to Adam, first human being, firstsinner, first repentant, first forgiven human, and first prophet. Muhammadcomes as the last prophet, after a long chain that includes many prophets ofthe Bible, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Moses, David and Solomon, aswell as John the Baptist and Jesus. The Koran also includes stories about otherprophets that are not known by the biblical tradition, and were sent to theArabs, or maybe to other peoples in Asia.Hence the fundamental formula of Islam, the so-called profession of faith, orshahada that is the first of the five pillars of Islam: “There is no god butGod, and Muhammad is God’s messenger”. The message is the Koran, a message fromGod that prompts the Muslims to be faithful to their own spiritualvocation. The second pillar of Islam isthe canonical prayer performed five times a day, at specific moments linked tocosmic events: before sunrise, after noon, in the middle of the afternoon,after sunset and when night is dark. The third pillar is alms-giving onaccumulated wealth. The fourth pillar is ritual fasting during the month ofRamadan (the month during which the first verses of the Koran were revealed),from the first light of the day to sunset. And finally, the fifth and lastpillar is the pilgrimage to the House of God, the kaaba, and some places aroundMakka. These five pillars constitute reference points for the actions ofworship. This is the most important part of the religious law, or sharî’a. Thesharî’a also includes a description of many aspects of the social life. Thereare only few Koranic verses that actually deal with social organization, but,in the time of the first Islamic community, the presence of the Prophet allowedit to solve all issues. Later, when Islam became the religion of a vast empire,it became necessary to have a more complete codification of the religious law, andthe so-called classical sharî’a was slowly constituted. Muslims now need tore-examine this issue in a context that is much more complex, in societieswhich are shaped by science and technology, globalization, exchanges of peopleand information, and the presence of many minorities. It is a great challenge,and a strong “effort of interpretation” or ijtihâd, is necessary.
Jewsand Christians were present in Arabia duringthe time of the Koranic revelation, and the Koran alludes to the exchanges thatthey had with Prophet Muhammad. It turned out that these exchanges had thefollowing outcome: The majority of the Jews and Christians did not acknowledgeProphet Muhammad, and Islam became a religion clearly and completely separatedfrom Judaism and Christianity. The main difference with Judaism is the factthat Islam, like Christianity, is a religion that is explicitly universal. Itsmessage speaks to all the human kind, whereas Judaism is linked to a givenpeople. The main difference with Christianity is the disagreement about thenature of Jesus. Jesus is present in the Koran as an “Islamic prophet” who cameto bring the message on the Oneness of God. But he is a very unusual Prophet.He was born miraculously from Maria the Virgin, who herself was protected againstany sin. The angel Gabriel announced Jesus’ birth to Maria. For Muslims, Jesusis the Christ, al-Masîh, the anointed by the Lord. He spoke out with wisdomjust after his birth, and made miracles with God’s permission. He miraculouslyescaped from death and he is still alive, beside God. Muslims say that Jesus isa Spirit of God (Ruh Allah) and a Word from God (Kalimat Allah), but they donot say that Jesus is God’s son. If they were to say so, they would beChristians, and Islam would be only one more Christian church. As aconsequence, for Islam, there is no incarnation, no Trinity, no crucifixion andno redemption (and in any case, no primeval sin that would make redemption ofthe human kind necessary). It is true that Jews differ from Christians alsoabout the figure of Jesus. Apart from this central figure, the threemonotheistic religions have a lot in common: the One God, the creation of theworld, the creation of the human being “according to God’s image and likeness”(we Muslims say: “according to the form of the Merciful”), the call forspiritual life, for helping the poor, and the belief that the human being,despite his sins, can improve and be saved. Finally, it is fair to say that,even if Jesus currently separates Jews, Christians and Muslims, he willeventually reunite them, in a horizon that is at the end of times. Muslimsconsider that Jesus is “the sign of the ultimate hour”, and that he will cometo gather the believers of all religions. As a matter of fact, Christians saythe same thing about Jesus, and Jews wait for the Messiah. It is a greatmystery that these believers who say things that are so different about theMessiah will eventually recognize and follow him.
Accordingto the constant teaching of the Islamic tradition, and because of the specificstatus of the Holy Text of Islam as the fundamental axis of revelation, faithis intimately linked to knowledge. A famous Koranic verse[1] prescribes: “worship yourLord till certainty”, and many Prophetic sayings strongly recommend the pursuitof knowledge as a religious duty “incumbent to all Muslims”. The Prophethimself used to say: “ My Lord, increase my knowledge”. Of course, thisknowledge consists in knowing God through revelation. But it is clear too thatall sorts of knowledge that can be in some way connected to God, and that helpthe religious and mundane life of society, are good and have to be pursued.Clearly, when the Prophet recommended that his companions search for knowledgeas far as China,he did not alluded primarily to religious knowledge.
Humanbeings have a “faculty of knowing” that is described in the Koran according toa three-fold aspect: “And it is God who brought you forth from your mothers’wombs, and He appointed you for hearing, sight, and inner vision”.[2] Hearing is our faculty ofaccepting and obeying the textual indication, that is the Koran and theProphetic tradition which are the two primary sources of religious knowledge;sight is our ability to ponder and reflect upon the phenomena, and is closelyrelated to the rational pursuit of knowledge; and the inner vision symbolicallylocated in the heart is the possibility of receiving knowledge directly fromGod, through spiritual unveiling. As a consequence of these three facets, thenature of knowledge is also three-fold: It is religious through the study ofthe Holy Scriptures and the submission to their prescriptions and prohibitions,rational through the investigation of the world and reflection upon it, andmystical through inner enlightenment directly granted by God to whom ever Hewishes among His servants.
Moreover,there is a well-known story about the independence of natural rules withrespect to religious teaching. Farmers who used to grow date palms asked theProphet whether it was necessary to graft these date palms. The Prophetanswered “no”, and they followed his advice. They then complained that the datecrops were very bad. The Prophet answered that he was only a human like them.He said “You are more knowledgeable than I in the best interests of this worldof yours”. This is a very important story. There is a domain in which religionsimply has nothing to say, a domain that is neutral with respect to the ritualend ethical teachings of revelation. However, because Islam does not separatethe intellectual aspects of life from ethical concerns, the only knowledge thatshould be avoided is useless knowledge, which, in this Islamic prospect, isthis type of knowledge that closes our eyes to the treasures of our ownspiritual vocation.
Tosummarize, the descent of the Koran, in which God unveils His transcendence andHis immanence, provides the Muslims with a way to celebrate God’s mystery aswell as to approach His intelligibility. This intelligibility requires the useof reason encapsulated in a broader perspective of knowledge. Through Hisexplanations and promises, God chooses to be partly bound by the categories ofreason, out of His Mercy and Love for the world. But reason itself is unable toapproach all the Truth, because Truth is not only conceptual. It also involvesall the being. In the Islamic perspective, the “intellect” precisely includesthe practice of reason, and the lucidity to understand where reason ceases tobe efficient in this quest. The question of the exact extension of the domainof reason has been debated, and I will now try to illustrate the type ofdebates that took place in Islamic thinking.
Islamic perspectives on faith and reason
Afterthe extension of the Islamic empire, during the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates,the Islamic thought met Greek science and philosophy. At that time, it becamenecessary to define more accurately the place of rational knowledge in thereligious pursuit, by marking the field that we can validly explore with ourown reason. The greatthinker al-Ghazali (1058—1111), known in the West as Algazel, examined therelation between science and philosophy on the one hand, religion on the other.As all his predecessors, he had the strong belief that there is only one truth,and that well-guided reason cannot be in contradiction with textual indicationsgiven by the Koran and Prophetic tradition. In his intellectual and spiritualautobiography “The Deliverer from Error” (al-Munqidh min al-dalâl), heenumerated the list of sciences practiced by Islamic philosophers(al-falâsafah) in the wake of Plato's and Aristotle's works. Among thesesciences, “arithmetic, geometry and astronomy have no relationship whatsoever,positive or negative, with religious matters. They rather deal with issuessubmitted to proof, which cannot be refuted once they are known andunderstood.” However, al-Ghazali writes, there is a “double risk” in theirpractice. On the one hand, because these scientists are too proud withthemselves, they often adventure beyond the field where reason can validlyapply, and they make metaphysical or theological statements about God andreligious issues that happen to contradict textual indications. On the otherhand, the common believers, after seeing the excesses of these scientists, areled to reject all sciences indiscriminately. Al-Ghazali condemned “those whobelieve they defend Islam by rejecting the philosophical sciences”, and“actually cause much damage to it.” Now, providing there is only one Truth, howto deal with possible contradictions between science and Koranic verses? Thesituation is clear: Wherever science apparently contradicts textualindications, it is the fault of the scientists who surely have made errors intheir scientific works, as far as they have been led to conclusions which areat odd with revealed truth. In his book “The Incoherence of the Philosophers”(Tahâfut al-falâsafah), al-Ghazali attempted to revisit the proofs given byphilosophers, and to demonstrate logically and scientifically where theirerrors come from.
In his book “The Decisive Treatise which establishes the Connectionbetween Religion and Wisdom” (Kitâb fasli-l-maqâl wa taqrîr mabayna-sh-sharî’ah wa-l-hikmah mina-l-ittisâl), Ibn Rushd (1026--1098), known inthe West as Averroes, examines again the issue addressed by al-Ghazali. IbnRushd was a judge (qâdî) and his text is indeed a juridical pronouncement(fatwa) to establish “whether the study of Philosophy and Logic is allowed bythe revealed Law, or condemned by it, or prescribed, either as recommended or asmandatory.” Ibn Rushd quoted some of the many Koranic verses that prompt thereader to ponder upon Creation: “Will they not ponder upon the kingdom of theheavens and the earth, and all that God created?” As the enforcement of therevealed Law requires the use of the juridical syllogism (qiyâs shar’î ) inIslamic jurisprudence, knowing Creation and meditating upon it require the useof the rational syllogism (qiyâs ‘aqlî ), that is, the philosophers’ works.Now, Ibn Rushd wrote, “since this revelation [i.e. the Koran] is true andprompts to practicing rational examination (nazhar) which leads to theknowledge of truth, we Muslims know with certainty that rational examinationwill never contradict the teachings of the revealed text: because truth cannotcontradict truth, but agrees with it and supports it.” As a consequence, IbnRushd explains that wherever the results of rational examination contradict thetextual indications, this contradiction is only apparent and the text has to besubmitted to allegorical interpretation (ta’wîl).
The Islamic world met modern science during the 19th century,as a double challenge, a material one and an intellectual one. The defense ofthe Ottoman empire in front of the military invasion brought by Westerncountries, and the success of colonization, have made the acquisition ofWestern technology necessary, and also of Western science which is thefoundation of the latter. The West appears as the model of progress that has tobe reached, or at least followed, by a constant effort of training engineersand technicians, and by transferring the technology that is required to developthird-world countries. But the encounter between Islam and modern science alsogave birth to a reflection, and even a controversy, the nature of which isphilosophical and doctrinal.
To cut a long story short, the Islamic world now has a great interestfor science, but a lot of disagreement about what science is, or has to be, tobe fully incorporated in Islamic societies by being made “Islamic”. For themodernist stream, “Islamic science” is only universal science practiced byscientists who happen to be Muslims. For the reconstruction stream, “Islamicscience” has to be “rebuilt” from Islamic principles, in the prospect of theneeds of Islamic societies. For the traditional stream, “Islamic science” isthe ancient, symbolic science that has to be recovered, in a prospect that ismore respectful of nature and of the spiritual pursuit of the scientists. Thevarious streams of the contemporary Islamic thought show an intense activity onthe relationship between science and religion. All of them have to identifypitfalls on their path. The main issue is that they are conceptions that areelaborated a priori, as mental representations of the activity of Muslimscientists, and may have little to do with the actual practice in laboratories.If I were to comment on these streams, I would say that each of them seizes,and emphasizes, a part of the situation. Yes, it is true that science, in itsmethods and philosophy, is largely universal, and the common property of thehuman kind. Yes, it is true that science cannot be decoupled from the societyin which it develops, and that the way it is organized, the topics that arehighlighted, the ethic that is practiced, are influenced by the worldview ofthe scientists. Yes, it is true that, even if science describes the materialcosmos, the issue of meaning and purpose, and the inclusion of the scientificpursuit in a broader quest for knowledge, have to be considered by scientistswho are believers.
As a matter of fact, most of the debates between science and religion inthe Islamic perspective simply forget a fundamental starting point, that is,the nature of the knowledge brought forth by the Koranic revelation. As it is explained already in the firstverses that descended on Prophet Muhammad during the Night of Destiny, Godspeaks to the human to teach it what it does not know: “Read in the name ofyour Lord who created. He created the human from a clot of blood. Read, andyour Lord is the most Bountiful,who taught the use of the pen, and taught the human that which he knew not.”The teachings of the Koran primarilyconsist in highlighting the spiritual vocation of the human being, the purposeof creation, and the mysteries of the hereafter. They speak mostly of what todo to act righteously, and to hope to be saved. These teachings are proposedunder the veils of myths and symbols. Here, we must give these words a strongmeaning. Myths and symbols in holy texts are not simple allegories. Thelanguage of the muthos conveys meanings that cannot be expressed otherwise,that is, in the language of the logos, the language of articulated and cleardemonstration. Myths, and symbols are just like fingers that point to realitiesthat would be otherwise beyond our attention. They just call for the meaningthey allude to, to knowledge that is obtained by an intuition in relationshipand resonance with the contemplation of the symbols. In some sense, all ritualactions are like “symbols” that bring spiritual influence. With this view, itis possible to avoid a literalistic reading of the text, and to focus onspiritual realities. The verses on heavens do not speak of astronomy, but ofthe upper levels of being inhabited by intellectual realities, as much as thechronicles on the wars and struggles that the first Muslims had with the pagansdo not speak of general rules for the relation of Muslims with non-Muslims, butof the symbols of the “greatest effort”, which is the struggle against our ownpassions that darken our souls.
Faith as a matrix for purpose
Let me now propose a view on how the articulation between modern scienceand religion can be addressed in the Islamic tradition. I would like to suggestthat the theological and metaphysical corpus of the Islamic thought is richenough to help the Muslim scientist find a meaning in the world as it isdescribed by the current scientific inquiry. Of course, I am not going topropose a new form of parallelism. I will rather speak in terms of convergence.Reality uncovered by modern science can fit in a broader metaphysical stage. Iwill only give four examples on how this convergence can take place.
(1) The intelligibility of the world
The fundamental mystery that subtends physics and cosmology is the factthat the world is intelligible. For the Islamic tradition, this intelligibilityis part of the divine plans for the world, since God, who knows everything,created both the world and the human from His Intelligence. Then He put intelligencein the human. By looking at the cosmos, our intelligence constantly meets HisIntelligence. The fact that God is One, guarantees the unity of the human andthe cosmos, and the adequacy of our intelligence to understanding at least partof the world.
The Koran mentions the regularities that are present in the world: “youwill find no change in God's custom”. Therefore “there is no change in God'screation.” Clearly this does not mean that Creation is immutable, since in manyverses the Koran emphasizes the changes we see in the sky and on earth. Theseverses mean that there is “stability” in Creation reflecting God'simmutability. Moreover, these regularities that are a consequence of God's Willcan be qualified as “mathematical regularities”. Several verses draw thereader's attention to the numerical order that is present in the cosmos: “TheSun and the Moon [are ordered] according to an exact computation (husbân).”
(2) God’s action in creation
How does God act in His Creation? According to the mainstream Islamictheology, God does not act by fixing the laws of physics and the initialconditions and letting the world evolve mechanistically. As a matter of fact,the “secondary causes” simply vanish, because God, as the “primary Cause”, doesnot cease to create the world again and again. “Each day some task engagesHim.” In this continuous renewal of creation (tajdîd al-khalq), the atoms andtheir accidents are created anew at each time. This is the reason why “the accident does not remain for two moments.”The regularities that are observed in the world are not due to causalconnection, but to a constant conjunction between the phenomena, which is ahabit or custom established by God's Will.
The examination of causality by the Islamic tradition emphasizes themetaphysical mystery of the continuous validity of the laws. “All that dwellsupon the earth is evanescent”, and should fall back into nothingness. But the (relative) permanence of cosmicphenomena is rooted in God's (absolute) immutability (samadiyyah). This is thereason why “you will not see a flaw in the Merciful's creation. Turn up youreyes: can you detect a single fissure?”
In any case, the metaphysical criticism of causality by Islam did nothamper the development of the Islamic science at the same epoch. On thecontrary, the criticism of the Aristotelian conception of the causes as mereconditions for effects to occur necessarily and immediately opened the way to adeeper examination of the world to determine what the “habit” or “custom” proposedby God actually was. Deductive thinking that goes from causes to effects cannotbe used a priori in the realm of nature. One has to observe what is actuallyhappening. The development of science in Islam during the great classicalperiod was closely linked to the will to look at phenomena.
(3) God praises and loves diversity
One fundamental element of the Islamic doctrine is the fact the Godpraises and loves diversity: “Among his signs: the diversity of your languagesand of your colors.” As a matter of fact, God never ceases to create, becauseof His love, or rahma, a word that etymologically alludes to the maternal womb.The mother’s love for her children is the best symbol of this divine love onearth, according to a Prophetic teaching which says that God created onehundred parts of this rahma, and He kept ninety-nine parts of it with Him,while letting one part descend on earth. It is with this part on earth that allmothers care after their children. This divine love reaches the diversity of creatures,physical phenomena, plants and animals, as well as the human diversity ofethnical types, languages and cultures, and extends to the diversity ofreligions, according to this well-known verse: “And if God had wanted, He couldsurely have made you all one single community. But He willed otherwise in orderto test you by means of what He has given to you. Vie, then, with one anotherin doing good works. Unto God you all must return; and then He will make youtruly understand all that on which you are differing.”
A Muslim scientist can easily appreciate this love of diversity in themeditation on the results of modern science. Thanks to the technical means ofexploration, modern cosmology has discovered a spectacular view of the universeof galaxies, one hundred billions galaxies in the observable universe. Eachgalaxy consists in typically one to one thousand billion stars. And it is verylikely that each of these stars is surrounded by several planets, whichthemselves may have satellites. This makes an incredible number of planets, towhich one must connect the fact that differential evolution gives each planet aspecific identity that does not resemble to the others. Of course, we do notknow how much of these planets actually harbor life forms, but astrophysicistscannot contemplate these large numbers without thinking that life probablyexists elsewhere is the universe. Only on earth, there are millions of livingspecies. Can one imagine what the observable universe is? And the patch of theuniverse where it is expected that the laws of physics (and galaxies, stars andplanets) are similar to the ones we know, is probably much larger than theobservable universe, by a factor of many billions. And this patch of theuniverse may be encapsulated in an infinite multiverse in which the laws ofphysics and the properties of the outcomes greatly vary from patch to patch.What is the meaning of that all? A believer can read the creativity and love ofGod in this landscape. Love is the explanation of creation, according to thetradition where God says, “I was a hidden treasure. I loved to be known, so Icreated the creatures to be known by them.”
(4) Science cannot be separated from ethic
According to the Islamic doctrine, the human being is created from clay andfrom God’s spirit, to become “God’s vice-regent of earth”. The human being isthe only creature that is able to know God through all His names andattributes, and it is put on earth as a garden-keeper in the garden. Ourrelationship with other living creatures on earth is not that from the upper tothe lower level, with the concomitant possibility to exploit all “inferior”beings”, but that from the central to the peripheral. The “central” position ofthe garden-keeper on earth is the position of the watchman who equally caresafter all the inhabitants of the garden. This implies a sense of accountabilityfor all creation, and should lead to humility, not to arrogance. As aconsequence, we can eat the fruits of the garden, but we have no right to uprootthe trees, which do not belong to us. The power that science has given to usmust be accompanied by a greater sense of the ethic that is necessary to usethis power with discrimination and intelligence. To say the things in a fewwords, we must not do all what we can do, very much as Adam was not allowed totouch one specific tree in the garden. This prohibition makes us free, becausefreedom requires the possibility of a choice. This symbol of the garden keeperin the garden has a strong echo today, with the current debates on how to dealwith global warming, the share of natural resources in a sustainable way, orthe preservation of biodiversity.
Unity and diversity: a key for the century to come
The Islamic tradition has a considerable spiritual and intellectuallegacy that should make it contribute to the building of the 21st century. Wedo hope that the human kind will find a paradigm for its diversity within astrong sense of its unity. Unfortunately, there are also forces of darkness andignorance that operate in our world. Instead of diversity, we seefragmentation. Instead of unity, we see uniformity. The believers have theirshare of responsibility in this tragedy, because they do not promote a genuinesense of the religious truth.
What has the debate between science and religion to do with that? Ithink that the idea that God wrote two books, the Book of Creation and the Bookof Scriptures, with the certainty that these books are in fundamental agreementin spite of apparent discrepancies, can prepare us to the idea that God haswritten, or revealed “many Books of Scriptures”, that are also in fundamentalagreement in spite of apparent discrepancies. As far as the solution of thesediscrepancies is concerned, we must leave with some tension, while praising theLord for the marvelous diversity He created and revealed.
In conclusion, let me address this issue of ultimate truth, and tell youa brief and profound story that illustrates the mystery of the human condition.We have to go back to the past, and look again at Ibn Rushd. Around 1180, IbnRushd was informed that a young man, called Muhyî-d-dîn Ibn ‘Arabî, aged about15, was granted spiritual openings during his retreats. Ibn Rush, who was thegreater philosopher of his time, invited this youngster to meet with him.Later, Ibn ‘Arabi, who then was considered the Greater Master of Islamicmysticism, wrote about the story of the meeting in the introduction of hismajor book, The Meccan Openings, a 4000-page treatise that unveils the contentof his spiritual intuitions. I just let Ibn ‘Arabi speak. “When I entered inupon [Ibn Rushd], he stood up out of love and respect. He embraced me and said,“Yes”. I said, “Yes.” His joy increased because I had understood him. Then Irealized why he had rejoiced at that, so I said, “No.” His joy disappeared andhis color changed, and he doubted what he possessed in himself.” Then Ibn Arabigives us the key of these strange exchanges, in which answers come beforequestions. Ibn Rushd addresses the central topic of our lecture of thisevening: “How did you find the situation in unveiling and divine effusion? Isit what rational consideration gives to us?” Ibn ‘Arabi replied, “Yes no.Between the yes and the no spirits fly from their matter and heads from theirbodies.” Ibn ‘Arabi reports Ibn Rushd’s reaction to these words: “His colorturned pale and he began to tremble. He sat reciting, ‘There is no power and nostrength but in God, since he has understood my allusion.”
As a matter of fact, Ibn ‘Arabi alluded to eschatology, by recallingthat even if reason can go very far to capture reality, no one has beenintimately changed by scientific knowledge. Knowing Gödel’s theorem, quantumphysics of the Standard Hot Big Bang Model changes our worldview, and maybe theway our minds work, but it does not change our hearts. Of course, thesediscoveries are fundamental milestones in intellectual history. They canproduce strong feelings in those who dedicate their lives to such studies. Butrevelation speaks of another degree, or intensity, of Truth that changes ourvery being, and prepares it for the mystery of the afterlife. The teaching ofreligions is that we shall have to leave this world and enter another level ofbeing to pursue our quest for knowledge in a broader locus more fitted tocontemplating God than our narrow, physical world. Our reason fails to conceivehow it is possible. It is a matter of faith in the promises of our HolyScriptures. At that time, it is better to stop speaking, because, as the poetand mystic Jalal-ad-Din Rumi used to say, “the pen, when it reaches this point,just breaks.”

[1] Koran 15:99

[2] Koran 16:78
الرجوع الى أعلى الصفحة اذهب الى الأسفل
معاينة صفحة البيانات الشخصي للعضو
ايهاب الفاضلي

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التخصص : طبقات ونفط
عدد المساهمات : 34
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تاريخ التسجيل : 11/10/2010
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الموقع : ehabalfatheli@yahoo.com

مُساهمةموضوع: رد: Islam and science   الأحد 12 ديسمبر - 1:10

thank you Mr.ramsi



this is excellent objects.
الرجوع الى أعلى الصفحة اذهب الى الأسفل
معاينة صفحة البيانات الشخصي للعضو
 
Islam and science
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