Slowly and discreetly, modern western education has finally succeeded in collecting the booty of its unholy war against spiritual nature of man and the universe, the ultimate goal its stalwarts had set when renaissance in the West began on the debris of religion.
Prior to the 16th century, religious clergy and scientists were at logger heads in the west. This led to the persecution of scientists like Galileo, Bruno and others.
It was a time when religion in the west was being hijacked by its very custodians. They had replaced the true God and had themselves ascended the Divine throne to decide what is right and what wrong. It has ever since been the worst phase in the history of religion when the servants of God assumed God’s throne began judging people.
And this is the worst kind of shirk a servant of God can commit. The institution of ‘inquisition’ was the result of this shirk in the history of religion in the west. The atmosphere of suffocation for those who used to think compelled the lovers of knowledge and thought to flee for free air.
As a result, the free thinkers of the western lands fled to the most open-minded place of the then world. They reached Muslim Spain where the dazzling Muslim civilization, which had come into being due to yearning and love for knowledge of the Muslim scholars, was at its zenith.
Scientific knowledge, architecture, mathematics, and philosophy flourished greatly. Much of this intellectual climate can be traced to the precepts of the Qur’an.
Throughout the Qur’an, there is a strong emphasis on the value of knowledge. The Qur’anic approach of Tadabbur and Tafakkur in the signs of creation (reflection and thinking) had opened the doors of empirical study of nature. Pursuit of knowledge was rewarded as the best form of worship.
One of the brilliant and beautiful characteristics of the Qur’anic teachings regarding knowledge is that unlike the revealed knowledge of the Qur’an, human knowledge is not perfect, and therefore, requires constant exploration and advancement through research and experimentation.
According to the Qur’an, learning and gaining knowledge is the highest form of religious activity for Muslims, and the one which is most pleasing to Allāh.
It is knowledge which elevates the status of man from a biological animalian entity to a spiritual angelic existence.
It was because of knowledge, its spiritual conclusions leading to the Gnosis of the Almighty Creator which had made the Muslims the harbingers of a great Golden civilization during the time when the west was passing through ‘Dark Ages’.
While most of Europe was living in the intellectually dormant times of the Middle Ages, Muslim Spain was brilliantly shining due to its advancement in knowledge and love for humanity.
But at the same time elsewhere in the west, the tussle between religion and science had eaten into the vitals of man’s inherent capabilities as the supreme creation.
As such, these Western scholars learnt two things from the Andalusian Muslim thinkers: true science coupled with the concept of a God who loves those who acquire knowledge for knowing Him.
It was the Spanish Muslim Ibn Rushd, the jurist and philosopher, al-Kindi, the philosopher, Ibn Sina, the medical writer and author of al-Qānūn fī al-Ṭib,(The Canon of Medicine) who stimulated these Christian scholars to discuss reason and faith.
When they came back to their native lands, loaded with learning, and at the same time disgusted with their own religious clergy, they thought of striking the ‘men of God’ with iron fist. Consequently, their foremost aim became to give a deathblow to the conservative thinking of papacy.
Four giants who determined to banish religion from their lands were Charles Darwin in Biology, Sigmond Freud in Psychology, Karl Marx in Economy and Bertrand Russel in Philosophy.
All these thinkers provided material interpretation to life and creation and laid the foundations of the modern Western Civilization on purely material grounds completely devoid of religion and spirituality.
Status of man was denigrated from being Ashraf al-Makhlūqāt (best of the creations) to being a ‘social animal’. Values are now relative; reason is the final criterion to decide the nature of things; it is just one’s thinking to decide whether something is good or bad; religion is man-made; it is ‘the opium of masses’; there is no God and ‘man is his own God’; the ‘Ubermensch does not necessitate the existence of God’ so on and so forth. This is what the brain behind the material interpretation of science and knowledge wanted to accomplish. And this is what their education system stood for.
In fact the advocates of materialism wanted to murder God by hijacking science. By all standards of rationality, it does not seem fair to say that ‘science neither proves nor disproves God’ but it is the very reason that necessitates the existence of Creator of the grand design which is full of wisdom.
The blunt claim that reason and faith are parallel to each other, having no meeting point is a blatant coercion in matters of knowledge and science.
The slogan that reason necessarily leads to a logical negation of God and is thus scientifically explained, while faith is simply blind trust that cannot be reasoned out is what the founding fathers of the modern western civilization wanted to indoctrinate into the minds of the students of modern western-secular-materialistic education.
The argument that to be rational means to not believe in God or, in other words, the more rational and scientific you are, the more liberal and non-religious you become, became the hallmark of Enlightenment in the West. Famous Indian poet Akbar Ilahabadi had exclaimed:
Raqībūn ne rapat likhwā’ī hay jā jā ke thāney mein
Ki Akbar nām letā hay Khudā kā is zamāney mein
“The enemies of God repeatedly went to the police station and got an FIR registered against Akbar for talking about God.”
‘Enlightenment’ means thus: you are progressive, broadminded and scientific when you don’t believe any God, for belief makes you blind, curbs your capabilities to know further and renders you backward.
We cannot blame the materialistic mind wholly and solely for this sheer injustice they did to humanity and knowledge itself. Equally blameful are those people of religion who said:
“We believe in God, not in science; when we believe in God, we have to kill our intellect.” This made the case for God very flimsy and religion had to cut a sorry figure against not science but those who monopolized science.
To be continued…
Dr Nazir Ahmad Zargar, Coordinator, Department of Religious Studies, Central University of Kashmir, Ganderbal
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.