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Islamic Society ( 23 Jan 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Religious Prejudice And Obsession Of Pakistanis With Religion Have Been The Biggest Hindrance In Their Scientific Progress

By S. Arshad, New Age Islam

24 January 2022

Pakistanis Have Given Less Importance To Science Since The Beginning

Main Points:

1.    1.Pakistan Academy of Science has not contributed much to scientific progress in the country.

2.    2.Pakistanis do not get inspiration from non-Muslims scientists.

3.    3.The holy Prophet pbuh asked Muslims to learn even from the Chinese.

4.    5.Pakistani scientist Dr Abdus Salam is ignored in Pakistan due to his religious affiliation.

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Aversion of Muslims to science is known worldwide. In Pakistan it is witnessed more prominently. Though the country boasts of being a truly Islamic country, it has not appreciated scientific efforts or achievements by citizens or contributed appropriately to the promotion of  science. A religious community that has produced great scientists in the Middle Ages, is now empty-handed so far as scientific achievements in Pakistan are concerned. Muslims as a whole have lagged behind in scientific endeavour throughout the world because of their wrong perception of knowledge and because of wrong interpretation of Quranic verses. The Quran time and again asks Muslims to do research work on the creations, on animals, on birds, on stones, on astronomy but the Muslim scholars have made Muslims believe that scientific knowledge is corruptive and it makes Muslims materialistic. Therefore, Muslims in the world collectively drifted away from science in the modern ages.

Pakistan could have made some difference in the field of science as it boasts of some high profile scientists who were educated in the Western universities and educational institutions. It produced some scientists like Abdus Salam, Hargobind Khorana and Chandrashekhar but Pakistanis do not consider them role models because of their religious ideology. Hargobind Khurana and Chandrasekhar were educated in Pakistan but were Hindus. Dr Abdus Salam is not considered a Muslim because he belonged to the Ahmadiyya community. Here too, Pakistani mentality is not in accordance with the Islamic spirit as in the initial stages of Islam, the prophet pbuh asked captive Jews to teach one Muslim each for being freed.

Islam does not prevent Muslims from learning or obtaining knowledge from non-Muslims. A famous hadiths enjoins Muslims to go as far as China to acquire knowledge. Now in those days China was not a Muslim country but was known as a centre of knowledge and wisdom.

Al Beruni, the famous Iranian scientist came to India and learned Indian language to acquire knowledge about sciences. He knew Arabic, Persian, Greek, Hebrew and is known as an Indologist. He known as one of the greatest Muslim scientists and researchers for his zeal to earn knowledge from whatever sources it could be acquired and in this endeavour he truly imbibed the Islamic spirit of pursuing knowledge.

According to a nationwide survey of scientific aptitude of primary and middle classes of Pakistan conducted in January 2022, 90 percent of students have very weak understanding of Mathematics and Sciences. This speaks of the poor state of sciences in Pakistan. Though Pakistan Academy of Sciences has been established for the purpose of promoting sciences in Pakistan, it exists only in name and has not contributed much to the promotion of sciences in Pakistan. Prominent Pakistani scientist goes to the extent of saying that PAS should be dissolved because it is good for nothing.

The main reason for Pakistan’s backwardness in the field of science and technology is its thrust on religion since its inception. Pakistan was founded on religious lines and Pakistanis boasted in this fact. But soon after its formation, religious scholars and organizations put stress on making Pakistan a Shariah-ruled nation. Since any state claiming to be Islamic cannot ignore the sectarian challenges, Pakistan also became a centre of sectarian violence and different sects within the Muslim community became acrimonious to others. This is the reason, Pakistan could not prosper in the field of science.

Today, the common Pakistani Muslim does not have deep interest in sciences. The government also does not have any ambitious programme to promote interest in sciences. Leave alone, appreciating Hindu scientists of Pakistan, they do not appreciate Muslim scientists of India like APJ Abdul Kalam because he was an Indian. Dr Kalam could have been a role model for Pakistani students but for their political bias. In an interview with the BBC, the famous Pakistani scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer had said that Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was an ‘average’ scientist. This political bias of Pakistanis has done them a lot of damage as they cannot take inspiration from anyone who does not ‘belong’ to them.

One reason for the backwardness of Pakistan in the field of science is their obsession with religion. There are extremist religious organizations but not private organizations trying to promote scientific thinking and temperament among Pakistanis. Sectarian differences have done the most of the damage as violence, terrorist attacks and sectarian violence have become a daily routine.

Despite completing 70 years of its existence, Pakistan has not been able to produce any great scientist worth mention except Dr Abdus Salam while India has made many achievements during this period. The reason for this is that India got brains like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who formed the initial infrastructure and policy for the promotion of science and technology. India encouraged every one with scientific abilities irrespective of religion and caste to work for the nation. The result was that Muslim scientists like APJ Abdul Kalam made big contributions in the scientific progress of the country.

This is not the case with Pakistan. Right from the beginning, religion became the driving force of the national polity and sectarian bias was at the forefront of any policymaking process. Because of the unprofessional attitude of Pakistani bureaucrats, a great Islamic scholar like Muhammad Asad decided to leave Pakistan though he wanted Pakistan to be a truly Islamic country in word and spirit.

That Pakistani leaders are more obsessed with religion and with its protection is evident from the new imposed in schools which make it mandatory for students to learn the holy Quran in schools. The law was enforced in huff without any pre-planning. It has left students confused. There are millions of madrasas in Pakistan where Quran, hadith and jurisprudence is taught. And almost all the students studying in modern schools, get education of Quran at home. So, even if the Quran reading was made mandatory, a similar programme for the promotion of interests in sciences among the school students could have been adopted by the government. 

A study on the poor state of science education in Pakistan revealed that “the examination system emphasized memorisation and ignored the application of concepts. The science course content was lengthy and irrelevant and did not meet international standards.

A nation can collectively do research on science and take long term projects only when its society is stable and has a collective scientific and rational temperament. In Pakistani, opposing forces and ideologies pull the nation in opposing directions.

Overall, religious, social and political factors have hindered the progress of science and technology in Pakistan. Religious prejudices and bias are at the root of scientific backwardness of Pakistan. Pakistan will need to overcome their religious prejudices and adopt the Quranic attitude of research and inquiry to become a truly modern and scientific society.

URL:   https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-society/religious-prejudice-obsession-scientific-pakistanis-/d/126227

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