Science conflicting with Religion?

by Salah Zaimeche Published on: 1st September 2002

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The apparent conflict of science and religion is a uniquely Western creation. Islam, unlike medieval Catholicism, it is observed, 'did nothing to stifle the spirit of scientific enquiry'.

Summarised extracts from a full article:
Islam and Science by Salah Zaimeche

“Read: In the name of your Lord Who creates – creates man from a clot. Read: And your Lord is the Most Bounteous, Who teaches by the use of the pen, teaches man that which he knew not.” Quran 96:105

Today, the separation is not just between Christianity and science, but between religion in general and science. The reason is that the science, which nations and people from the world over seek to acquire, is Western science.

Thats science, had risen in conflict with religion. The Muslim science, however, had risen in concert and harmony with religion. This fact, imposed by the dominant science, today’s reality, and the absence of historical knowledge, easily drives people into believing that as a rule, science and religion live into conflict. Yet, as in the words of Ali Kettani `claiming that all religious experiences are the same and projecting the Western experience to the Muslim world results from a serious ignorance of historical realities.'(endnote 3)

The apparent conflict of science and religion, and their separation in `watertight compartments,’ as put by Sadar.,(endnote 4) is a uniquely Western creation, the result of hostilities between those who claimed to be custodians of Christianity and those who challenged their power. And he adds that `to take an inductive leap from what was a particularly European experience and generalise it to an all embracing conflict between science and religion is not just Eurocentric but also poor scholarship.'(endnote 5)

Islam, unlike medieval Catholicism, it is observed, `did nothing to stifle the spirit of scientific enquiry.'(endnote 6) And one outcome was that, from `Basra to Cordoba, great universities arose centuries before the earliest studium generale in Christendom;’ the library of Cordoba contained 600,000 books, and `the craftmanship of the Arab world was on a par with its scholarship.'(endnote 7)

It seems, though, that such preceding statements have little relation with reality. First and foremost, the picture offered of Islam, even that given by Muslims, runs against the preceding points. Muslims are depicted very unfavourably on television, magazines, films and daily media. There is a constant bombardment of opinion of well chosen articles, concocted facts, off-putting photographs of Muslims. It is not surprising that in any mind, just the idea that these people and that religion having any link, however faint, with civilisation and science is an impossible fact.

Historians, and other opinion makers also stress the dark moments of Islamic history with such skills and high competence that it is as if the Muslims, worse than the Mongols, left only death and destruction in their trail, besides enslaving every being falling under their grips.(endnote 8) The Muslim nation itself, lacking in order, power, and organisation, is partly responsible for that poor image, too.

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