By Nastik Durrani, New Age Islam
October 17, 2013
Just as politics should be disassociated with religion, similarly science too should be distanced from it. The reason is that faiths are based on firm and concrete textual grounds, while scientific theories and discoveries are subject to everlasting changes and challenges. For instance, in the ancient times people believed that the sun revolves around the earth, but in the age of enlightenment, we came to know that the earth revolves around the sun.
Now, in the twentieth century, we have got to know that the earth as well as the sun revolves around the centre of the galaxy and our galaxy along with other galaxies revolves around a possible centre of the universe. Maybe, with more scientific development in the future, we will get to know that our universe is just an average universe among the other universes that together revolve around a central cosmic system. Scientists have started calling it “the multi-verse” (or meta-universe). Now the people who extract science from religion and declare religion and science as compatible with each other will surely attempt to modify their religious interpretations in accordance with this theory, as they often do. Thus, they not only lose their credibility but also cause a grave defamation of their religions. Any religion that keeps changing its versions and interpretations with every new-born scientific theory can only be a laughing stock of the world, not a system of faith.
The religious traders of Islam have made it a business that lures the naive and gullible Muslims who feel a sort of religious supremacy in it assuming that all the sciences are hidden only in the Quran and Hadith. As a matter of fact, these self-styled Islamic scholars have done great damage to Islam in their bid to make Islam compatible with science. The realistic approach is that “the solid” (religious texts) should not be compared with “the raw” (science), otherwise, it will turn out neither as a service to science nor to religion.
The strength of science lies in experiments and observations not in the ancient religious writings, while the whole corpus of religion is based on the age-old writings that were not meant for science in any period of time. Instead, they laid emphasis on managing people's lives and telling them old stories for a specific purpose.
Moreover, the determining and discrete scientific facts (such as boiling of water at 100 Celsius) should not be given religious interpretations, because it is simply illogical to compare the visible material things based on logic (science) with the spiritual and non-material stuff (religion) that consists of miracles.
If the scientists make their observations and experiments keeping their religious postulates in view, they can never arrive at the right scientific facts and conclusions. For scientists, it is necessary to adopt scientific methods in their laboratories, something that requires from them that they get rid of their previous religious prejudices. But if any scientist wishes to carry out a research that can corroborate his religious dogmas and postulates and thus can help his religion gain worldwide reputation and attraction, such clinging to religion will ultimately result in the stagnation of his research work. On the contrary, the scientists who are free from all this bias and are purely scientific in their methods are likely to render highly valuable services to humanity, and not to religion. A striking difference can be noticed between the works of these two kinds of scientists. For instance, if any scientist carries out his research to prove that some harmful substances are found in the saliva of a dog, just because dog is an unclean animal according to his religion, he will not consider the studies carried out in other countries which reveal that a specific kind of bacteria is found in dog’s saliva, which can be used in the treatment of certain diseases.
Similarly, the scientists who reject, in their experiments, the use of the insulin extracted from alcohol and animals because of their religious inclinations, are actually restricting their available options by themselves. Thus, they turn a blind eye to many scientific facts in an effort to prove their religious texts and hypothesis that are lagging far behind the dynamically advancing scientific discoveries.
Given the moment-by-moment development of science, it is a pressing need of the time that scientists develop intellectual flexibility in their temperament and liberate science from all this unscientific stuff.
Already steeped in scientific stagnation and intellectual starvation, Muslim world should now feel impelled to focus on real science rather than organise misguiding conferences and seminars on “the Quran and Science” and “Islam and Science” etc. Otherwise, there will be almost no chance to get away from the existing scientific backwardness. Given the present scenario, I think it is pointless to hope for fresh scientific developments in the Muslim world.
(Translated from Urdu by the New Age Islam Edit Desk)