---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: shanavas683105 <shanavas683...@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri, Mar 5, 2010 at 10:12 AM
Subject: [MuslimPV] Unlike Muslim Scientists, God speaks same truth in
and out of Mosques
To: musli...@yahoogroups.com

        Unlike Muslim Scientists, God speaks same truth in and out of Mosques

                                                         T.O. Shanavas

(Author: Creation and/or Evolution An Islamic Perspective. ISBN-10:
1413465803 and
The forthcoming book: Islamic Theory of Evolution: The Missing Link
between Darwin and The Origin of species)

Science has been defined as, "a continuing effort to discover and
increase human knowledge and understanding through disciplined
research. Using controlled methods, scientists collect observable
evidence of natural or social phenomena, record measurable data
relating to the observations, and analyze this information to
construct theoretical explanations of how things work."

Based upon this definition, physicians, engineers, chemists,
pharmacists, sociologists, and all other professionals who utilize the
scientific method are called scientists. An embarrassing reality is
that many Muslims among the scientific community lead a double life.
In their professional life they are true believer in science, but,
when it comes to their religious lives, they passionately reject many
scientific theories and its applications. They have a truth tell in
the mosques and another for their external professional lives. The old
Latin expressions, "contra evidential credo (I believe inspite of the
evidence)" and credo quia evidentia (I believe based on evidence),"
most accurately differentiate their dual lives.

As most physicians (and people in other areas of human endeavor)
knows, what they learned during formal education is but a basis onto
which new knowledge is added as they progress though their
professional lives. Once, more advanced remedies and methodologies are
discovered, one does not apply the same remedies learned during formal

Yet, how do the Muslim scientists fare when regarding new knowledge
within the context of religion?

Many Muslim scientists, relentless in questioning the validity of
scientific opinions, will become submissive in accepting old and worn
out, commentaries, tafsir, of the Qur'an. Such intellectual
complacency and lethargy is demonstrated despite the fact that many of
the commentaries written in the past, some in a very remote past,
conflict with current scientific knowledge. It is an amusing
contradiction that many of our Muslim scientists accept science at one
level but reject it on another. Why don't they apply the same
intellectual curiosity to religion that they eagerly apply in other

In order to reconcile this contradiction, many Muslim scientists cite
the evolving nature of scientific theories. It is a fact that science
has truth with proof but without certainty. It must be noted, though,
that the science-rejecting Muslim scientist accepts religious truth
with certainty but without proof. Many offer defensive rationalization
that the scientific theories are not absolute, that the human
intellect is not reliable, and the religious truth is absolute. In
this justification, they forget that humans must utilize their
intellect to determine whether the Hindu Geetha, or Jewish Torah or
Christian Gospel, or Muslim Qur'an or all of them are to be
acknowledged as holy books from God. If science-rejecting Muslim
scientists have determined that human intellect cannot be considered a
reliable measure of discernment, then why should anyone accept their
point of view in matters relating to human affairs or wellbeing
including holy book?

At the time of birth, babies have only instincts and reflexes. They
show their need by crying and attracting those who feed them and
comfort them. Mothers became the center of their universe. As babies
get older their world-view evolves, though still focused primarily on
their mothers. Gradually this restricted view matures and broadens to
include family, friends, community, and the natural world.  A
world-picture is an echo of the underlining system of thought by which
we process and harmonize our recurring experiences that we label as

Generally, a fact is defined as something that is true, something that
actually exists, or something having objective reality that can be
verified according to an established standard of evaluation. The more
closely any particular fact is linked to the core of one's
world-picture, the greater its subjective meaning and importance to

In other words, everything that is in harmony with our world-picture
appears to us as truth. So, the truth or tafsir heard from Imams whose
world-picture is stuck in the past and who have limited modern
knowledge of natural world, distorts the meaning of a Qur'an when the
Qur'an is meant to be timeless and ever-relevant.

To us, everything that is in harmony with our intellect appears to us
as truth. Therefore, truth is relative.  In this, the following
Qur'anic verse is most relevant:

"On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear…" (Qur'an 2:286).

How then do science-oriented Muslims best respond to science-rejecting
Muslims' who rally on the points that since science is always
evolving, confirmed scientific observations could be proved wrong in
the future? Should one reject the Qur'an if further scientific
discoveries replace the present paradigm with a new one? Definitely
not! If the Qur'an is the divine book in human vernacular,  "the
universe is a "written scroll" (Qur'an 21:104) in the material medium
or vernacular of the natural world.

Qur'anic verses are called by Allah, ayath. The phenomena of the
material world, Allah similarly refers to as ayath:

 "And in the earth are signs [ayath] for those who have firm faith,
and in your own selves. Do you not discern?" (Qur'an 51:20-21).

These two books, one the Qur'an and the other the book of nature, come
from the same divine source and so one divine revelation cannot
contradict the other. According to the Qur'an, God provides humans
with ample evidence in the universe to serve as proof of existence.
If God told humans one thing in the Qur'an and gave the evidence for
another in His book of Universe, this would do the opposite of proving
His existence. So, an occasional contradiction has nothing to do with
these two divine books but all to do with the meaning extracted from
the two books. As this meaning can be distorted by our subjective
world-view, it is vitally important that we seek always to find the
most objective meaning that is relevant to all times, inclusive of new
discoveries within the modern era.

As such when we encounter contradictions between the two divine books,
our meaning and our world-picture are at fault for the imaginary
conflict we have created between the two. Muslims must go back and
re-read the two books in order to reconcile the contradictory meanings
and their world-picture arising from their previous reading of the
books.  Such repeated experimentation, until the resolution of the
conflict, is demanded by the Qur'an:

"He created seven heavens in layers. You do not see any discordance in
the creation of the All-beneficent. Look again! Do you see any flaw?
Look again, once more. Your look, return to you, humbled and weary."

Therefore, the Qur'an and the science applied to the natural world
demand repeated experimentation and evidence so that they may come
nearer to the truth until there is no conflict between the two divine

Finally, we, Muslims, talk today about `Qur'anic truth' as the truest
kind of truth, the kind we swear by, the kind we feel in our bones to
be true, the last truth of all that we are not willing to give up. It
is that kind of truth, a universal belief shared by all Muslims, which
has to be unraveled and restated harmoniously with each new discovery
of verses written within the divine book of the universe in order for
this truth to remain true for all the times. We shall not be afraid to
tell the truth as it appears to us. Indeed, if we truly believe in
God, we should recognize that Allah gave us the brains to conduct
scientific research. Not to do so -- not to use the marvelous gift of
intelligence with which He has blessed us -- would not only be
impolite, it would express a heinous ingratitude to God. The Qur'an
cautions the consequence of the squandering of divine gift offered to
humanity in verse:

Behold! In the creation of heavens and the earth, and alternations of
night and day,--There are indeed Signs for men of understanding,--Men
who celebrate the praise of God, standing, sitting, and lying down on
their sides, and contemplating the (wonders of) creation in the
heavens and the earth: `Our Lord! Not for naught hast Thou created
(all) this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the penalty of
fire.' (3:190-191)

(Originally published in THE ALTERNATE VOICE, January/February 2010)


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