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24 January 2011

Islam & Philosophy


“and whoever is granted wisdom is indeed given a great wealth”(Qur’an;2:269)
“Thus clearly do We spell out Our signs un to people who think” (Qur’an;10:24)
“a Scripture that We have revealed unto thee, full of blessing, that they may ponder its revelations, and that men of understanding may reflect”(Qur’an;38:29)
Allah never changes the condition of a people until they intend to change it themselves”(Qur’an;13:11)
“if ye turn back (from the Path), He will substitute In your stead another people; then They would not be like you!”(Qur’an;47:38)
Presently Muslims, as a community are mostly illiterate and ignorant, once they excelled in all the fields of knowledge. Islam encourages thinking and to ponder upon signs of Allah in the universe. Gradually the Muslims started to concentrate on rituals and ascetic practices, leaving their philosophy of rational thought, reason and scientific knowledge, the hallmark of their intellectual development. Their heritage of intellectual treasure slowly passed on to the West, which now dominates the world. Islamic world, the one fifth of humanity, is backward despite possessing energy and other natural resources in abundance. Muslims should realize the importance, of rationale thinking, wisdom (hikmah) and intellectual upkeep so as to acquire their lost heritage of knowledge to lead the humanity in attainment of ethical and spiritual peace.
Introduction:
Generally the people consider philosophy to be a subject of little value and consider its study as waste of time.  It should be known that ‘Philosophy’ not only strengthen the faith but is also the driving force behind any development, progress or descend be it a nation, community, group or civilization. The history is full of examples. It was the faith and philosophy of Islam which transformed the unknown, uncivilized, illiterate Arab tribes, in to the torch bearers of the great civilization with in 23 years, unmatched event in the history of mankind. While at its zenith, its followers failed to face the divine test of devastation they had to suffer in the hands of Mongol hordes and humiliating expulsion from Spain. They started to concentrate on rituals and ascetic practices, abandoning their philosophy of rational thought, reason and scientific knowledge, the hall mark of their intellectual development. Their heritage of intellectual treasure was slowly allowed to pass on to the West. According to Encyclopedia Britannica: “The decline of Muslim scholarship coincided with the early phases of the European intellectual awakening that these translations were partly instrumental in bringing about.  The translation into Latin of most Islamic works during the 12th and 13th centuries had a great impact upon the European Renaissance. As Islam was declining in scholarship and Europe was absorbing the fruits of Islam’s centuries of creative productivity, signs of Latin Christian awakening were evident throughout the European continent. The 12th century was one of intensified traffic of Muslim learning into the Western world through many hundreds of translations of Muslim works, which helped Europe seize the initiative from Islam when political conditions in Islam brought about a decline in Muslim scholarship. By 1300 C.E when all that was worthwhile in Muslim scientific, philosophical, and social learning had been transmitted to European schoolmen through Latin translations, European scholars stood once again on the solid ground of Hellenistic thought, enriched or modified through Muslim and Byzantine efforts.” Read more <<<<<