The Holy Prophet of Islam emphasized that the quest of knowledge and science is essential upon every Muslim, man and women. He strained his followers to search for knowledge even if they had to travel to China in its exploration. Here undoubtedly he had scientific rather than religious knowledge in mind, as well as prominence on the internationalism of the scientific quest. Ever since the dawn of human life on this planet, man has always strived to understand nature, his own place in the format of creation and the purpose of life itself. In the quest for truth, spanning many centuries and diverse civilizations, organized religion has shaped human life and, to a large extent, has determined the course of history. While some religions have been based on written text, claimed by their followers to be delightfully inspired, others have relied exclusively on human experience. There is nothing in the teachings of Islam that argue against learning, against science, and against technology. While we enter in the 21st century, Muslims are so backward, and they are treated with impertinence and they are suspect for terrorism. Muslims are also the most demoralized people anywhere in the world. The Muslim countries are weak and are unable to do anything to defend themselves, their people and their fellow Muslims anywhere in the world. There was a time when most of the scientists in the world use to be Muslims and history tells us that they contributed extensively in the field of science and technology but the question is; how many “Muslim Scientist” do we have in the Modern Information Age? Does Islam tell us to remain behind in the fields of science and technology?
According to the famous physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Albert Einstein, “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind”. Religion has always played a vital role in shaping society through education. In glorious age of Islam, Madrassas (religious educational institutes) as a strong educational system were the center of educational activities and provided guidance not only for religious matters, but for worldly affairs. Students used to study science, medical and engineering courses, algebra, geometry, logic and philosophy alongside FIQH (Islamic jurisprudence) and IJTEHAD. The extensive and realistic nature of the syllabi enabled the students of Madrassa to be good doctors, engineers, architects, teachers, and statesmen. But, in the beginning of British rule, Madrassas began to lose their authority. The British built new educational system to train people in administrative interaction and divided the system of education into two separate domains: religious and secular, traditional and modern, old and new. However, directly or indirectly every Muslim had association with Madrassa education in every Muslim country and still there are number of young learner enrolling day by day. But, the question arises; are these Madrassas providing that level education through which students can contribute to modern world?
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
“…Inner experience is only one source of human knowledge. According to Qur’an there are two other sources of knowledge – Nature and History; and it is in tapping these sources of knowledge that the spirit of Islam is seen at its best…” (Muhammad Iqbal, Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam)
After the Second World War, most Islamic countries became independent from British colonial rule. But, the Islamic countries on the whole are far behind in Science and Technology as compared to developed countries. In the modern age, science and technology is playing an enormous function and providing great new opportunities to every nation in the world for developing and training new generation. The population of Islamic countries is largely comprised of youth and there is need to organize the youth to face the challenges of present age and future. To acquire technology optimally, Muslims must undertake a comprehensive literary program in all the basic sciences and engineering and there must be a strong connection between religious institutes (Madrassas) and modern universities. There must be a strong platform for youth of Islamic world to share their ideas and discuss the problems and challenges. In order to provide a dynamic technological change in the Islamic world, there is need to have a strong alliance between Islamic teaching and modern sciences. Muslims need to adopt the way Europeans did in the period of their revival. We must learn languages like English, German, French and Chinese as most of the knowledge and advance scientific literature is only available in these languages. Young scientist of Islam world should come forward because this is the age of science and technology and like our ancestors we should take the lead in scientific study, exploration and knowledge. Intellectual Revival of Muslims is the need of this time and every Muslim man’s and every Muslim woman’s prayer should be:
“My Lord! Enrich me with knowledge.” Surah TAHA, 20:114.