by von Aurum
Many of us have heard narratives about the Muslim world being behind in terms of economy and power because of the decline of Sciences in the Muslim world. Instead of giving a historical analysis of what had happened, I would like to share a couple of true stories and let the reader draw the conclusions about what is happening. I do not like to make generalizations based on a few examples but I recogonize that in many cases such examples can tell us something about ourselves.
It’s simple Brother: So there I was in the library one day when I ran into a brother. I had “Islam and Science” by Pervez Hoodbhoy in my hand. After the mandatory salutations, the brother asked what I was reading so I replied, “I am reading this book by a Pakistani physicist, he is even a visiting professor at MIT. Although I do not agree with many of the things that he says but he tries to outline why did the study of Science decline in the Islamic World.” Before I could add anything to my story the brother interrupted me, “Its simple brother. You do not need a professor to tell you that. The reason that the Muslims are behind because we should not be interested in this world. We should be more interested in the next world. Science and those things are not of much importance anyway.” And that was the end of the conversation as I continued my errands for the day but may be he had given an answer to this question without really giving one.
Stuck on a Stationary Earth: There is really strange debate going on in a forum regarding whether the Earth was stationary or not and the person who was advocating that it was stationary stated that he had “proofs” from the Quran and sunnah that it was stationary. When I read his so-called proofs I realized that they were not really “proofs” but he was just trying to his own interpretation of the verses into the text. Later when I met another brother, who was studying computer science at a reputable university in the US, I stated the absurdity of this position. Amazingly the brother became defensive, saying that since it is in one of the two main sources the Earth must be stationary. So I said, “I have read the verses myself. They do not say that.” “No. If it says that then it must be true.” “But it does not say it.” “No the Earth must be stationary.” “It does NOT say that in the Quran. Muslims scientists in the past affirmed that the Earth is rotating. Why are you trying to ascribe something to the Quran which it does not say?” “Hmmm …. you might be right. So the Earth is rotating.” Later I asked myself, “Why are we so earger to listen to people who do not even have credentials about what the two main sopurces of Islam say without cross checking what they are saying and then end up defending what is not even part of Islam?”
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