Page 80 - Islam In Focus

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1. True knowledge based on clear proofs and indisputable evidence acquired by
“ experience” or experiment or by both. In this connection it is safe to say, beyond
doubt, that the Qur’ an is the first authority to enjoin zealous quest for knowledge
through “ experience” as well as experiment, meditation and observation. In fact it is a
Divine injunction incumbent upon every Muslim, male and female, to seek
knowledge in the broadest sense of the word and search for truth. Nature and the
whole universe are open and ever revealing treasures of knowledge and truth, and the
Qur’ an was the first book to point to these rich sources of knowledge. It does not
accept inherited “ truths” or claimed facts which have no proof or evidence to
substantiate them. As far as we have been able to know, the Qur’ an was the first
Scripture to say intelligently: “ Why” and to demand proof in support of any
conviction or contention (Qur’ an, 2:111 and 21:24)
The Qur’ an itself is an outstanding intellectual challenge; it challenges the human
intellect to dispute any Qur’ anic truth or produce anything similar to the Qur’ an. Open
any chapter of the Qur’ an and you will find the warmest appeal to search for
knowledge through the infinite sources of nature. Devotion to true knowledge is
regarded by Islam a devotion to God in the most compensating sense
2. The second part of this point is faith in God, an ever-revealing source of knowledge
and a spiritual insight into countless fields of thought. In Islam Faith in God is the
cornerstone of the whole religious structure. But in order to make Faith in God valid,
Islam requires that it should be founded on unshakable certainty and convictions.
These, in turn, cannot be acquired without the proper investment of the intellect. Any
stagnant or indifferent mind and any limited vision cannot possibly reach the height of
the Most Supreme Truth, God, nor can it attain the real depth of Faith
Islam does not recognize faith when it is attained through blind imitation, when it is
accepted blindly or unquestioningly. This fact is very important as far as the
intellectual life of man is concerned. Islam requires Faith in God; and the Qur’ an
makes numerous statements calling for Faith in God. But the significance of such
statements is not in shelving them in the study room or even in the mind. The
significance of such statements is that they constitute a warm invitation and an urgent
appeal to the intellect to wake and think, to ponder and meditate. It is true that the
Qur’ an reveals the essential truth and facts about God, yet it is equally true that it does
not want man to behave like a lazy heir who makes no effort of his own. It wants man
to enrich his intellectual wealth through serious endeavor and honest earning, so that
he may become intellectually secure. “ Easy come, easy go,” and Islam disapproves of
easy coming faith which is bound to be easy going. Islam wants Faith in God to be
effective and permanent, to light every corner in man’ s heart and prevail in every
aspect of his life. Easy coming faith cannot possibly do that, and Islam would not
accept anything less
When Islam demands Faith in God on the basis of knowledge and research, it leaves
wide open all fields of thought before the intellect to penetrate as far as it can reach. It
lays down no restrictions against the free thinker who is seeking knowledge to widen
his vision and broaden his mind. It urges him to resort to all methods of knowledge,
be they purely rational or experimental. By calling on the intellect in this way, Islam
shows its high regard for and confidence in the intellectual abilities of man and wishes
to free his mind from the tight shackles and limits of tangibility. It wants to elevate