Thursday, May 24, 2012

Explorations in Islamic Science - 1

Explorations in Islamic Science by Ziauddin Sardar, Mansell Publishing Limited, London 1989. Re-issued by Center for Studies in Science, Aligarh, 1996.

Here is our journey through this book. Mostly the assertions are of the author. Yours truly's opinion should be apparent by the context.

Author was stuck by the extent of discussion on Islam and science during his visits to science institutes and universities in many Muslim countries, from Morocco and Senegal to the Pacific, during a period beginning in mid seventies of twentieth century. In spite of lip service to Islam and science Muslim scientists did have some problem with the topic inducing the author himself to re-examine the issue. For fear of being termed as fanatics as well as implications for career they did not articulate their religious beliefs in scientific circles. After half a decade the situation changed significantly and Muslims scientists started to air their views but some issues still remained to be sorted out. In spite of science being value neutral it was felt that some Islamic justification is required for Muslims to adopt science. Could Arabization solve the problem?

Though science is neutral but the attitude with which it is approached does make it secular or Islamic. The way we utilize it also Islamizes science. A Turkish scientist also asserted that even in its current form science leads to an ideology. This in turn results in Muslim scientists working for the interests of external people - the west. Muslim scientists also asserted that both object and means to do science must be permissible in Islam. Thus assumptions of Muslim scientists about the purpose and uses of science are different from those of the rest of modern scientists. They have their own view of man, nature, culture, space and time.

(To be continued.)