In Islam, Science = Religion = Truth = Islam = Haqq = Reality

Auron ka hai Payaam aur, mera Payaam aur hai, / Ishq key dardmand ka tarz-e-kalaam aur hai! (Iqbal) If what I am saying is true, then science and “religion” must not be in conflict with one another. But, rather, they must be parallel pathways to truth. They must be pathways that, though parallel at different stages,…

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SYED HUSAIN PASHA

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Auron ka hai Payaam aur, mera Payaam aur hai, / Ishq key dardmand ka tarz-e-kalaam aur hai! (Iqbal)
If what I am saying is true, then science and “religion” must not be in conflict with one another. But, rather, they must be parallel pathways to truth. They must be pathways that, though parallel at different stages, yet ultimately tend to converge in the divine revelation. That, however, will happen only when you mean by religion what Islam means by religion, that is direct divine revelation, as explained and exemplified by a prophet of God, Alaihis Salam  – by any prophet at any time and in any place.
In its final and pure form it means the Qur’an and the life and teachings of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, that the world calls Hadith and Sunnah.
Thus, Wahy and Islam, give us the fuller picture of truth, while the other, science, provides us only bits, pieces, shards and slivers of it. Science is human, Wahy is divine. Wahy is for all times and places, while science is dependent on the contingencies of time and space. It is a prisoner of what you may call specific space-time coordinates.
Wahy can only come from God, whereas science may show up as flashes of human brilliance from time to time or as a small light at the end of a long tunnel of hard and systematic scientific work.
Science is largely verifiable, while Wahy is, in the ultimate analysis, in its most irreducible form, faith dependent. That means you can argue all you want, and you can produce all kind of evidence you want, but whether or not God exists and whether or not the Qur’an is the word of God will forever remain a matter of your faith or Iman.
Science is neutral with regard to human origin and destination and the nature of human life on earth, but Wahy fixes those points clearly and firmly.
Science is entirely of this world, while Wahy addresses the issues and concerns of both worlds – this world as well as the next world – and offers a bridge for smooth transition from the one to the other. But the important point to remember is that, if religion and science are both true, they must both converge at the end – in the long run, as statisticians would say: at the end of an infinite number of trials, as it were, on the part of science.
That is why, in Islam, Science = Religion = Truth = Islam = Haqq = Reality.
A FALSE DICHOTOMY
For too long human beings had a tendency to divide up God’s world into all kinds of compartments and pretend each one of those compartments had nothing to do with the other. Often human beings tend to split an idea into two parts and think that those two parts covered everything that idea stood for.
While admittedly dividing up the twin labour of catering to humanity’s spiritual and physical needs by different specialists, it also turned out to be in practice a way for the “holy men” of religion to split up wealth, power and privilege with kings, nobles, landed aristocrats, rich merchants and other powerful, wealthy and privileged people in the realm. It also had the most terrible practical result of placing human freedom in double jeopardy, one secular and the other sacred.
Islam ended this dichotomization and proclaimed the essential unity and indivisibility of human life. Islam declared performance in this world to be a pathway to salvation in the next world. Thus, Islam removed the distinction of sacred and secular from the world and instead introduced a new way of looking at things: good and bad. Good, said Islam, was that which was in keeping with God’s laws. And which was rooted in a good and moral society’s norms and mores. And which was also compatible with the conscience and good moral sense of decent individuals. Bad, Islam said, was the opposite of all that.
As for salvation in the next world, while God’s grace was its ultimate arbiter, it was directly correlated to the individual’s good work in this world. That means a rapist, a murderer, a tyrant and one who unfairly and unjustly deprives people of their basic rights, dignity, reputation, valuables and possessions, cannot use God’s grace as an excuse for the perpetration of his dark deeds on his fellow human beings. Such a person must give a full accounting of his misdeeds against other human beings right here in this world, if he is to escape divine wrath and retribution in the next world. Thus, Islam paved the way for equal and unassailable freedom, dignity and personal empowerment for all human beings in this world.
ISLAM MEANS END TO TYRANNY
In a brilliant quote attributed to him, Thomas Jefferson proclaimed that he had sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility to all forms of tyranny over the mind of man. What Jefferson was doing was to assert and uphold a truth Islam had been preaching for over a 1000 years then.
Islam issued a universal proclamation to end all forms of bondage and tyranny over the human mind when it gave humanity a simple command: Read! More than that, Islam actually placed in the hands of all human beings the key for the practical attainment of that goal: the golden key of reading and education. This was the idea that travelled thousands of miles – and took over 1200 years – to find acceptance and utterance in other parts of the world: the idea that human beings should be free; that they should be able to think for themselves; and that they should form judgments and conclusions not based on superstition or blind deference to authority, but after careful research, analysis, consideration and deliberation.
In Europe and America, recognition of this idea – though not of the Islamic source of the idea – came in the form of the thoughts and words of some of the 17th and 18th Century thinkers and philosophers such as Milton, Locke, Rousseau, Paine, Jefferson, Bentham and Mill.
Besides Intelligence, You Also Require Integrity, Courage and Humility. And above all, you also require a passion for truth – Haqq as the Qur’an calls it – if you are to make sense of God’s creation and bring lasting benefit to humanity.
These then are the basic human qualities we need, in addition to faith, if we are to discover the truth in God’s creation. And, thereafter, if we are to shape and mould our own lives, and improve other people’s lives, in this world based on that truth.
Those are generally the type of people the Qur’an attracts, talks to and deals with. The Qur’an shuns, rejects and refuses to open up or talk to those whose lives are devoted to lies, deceit, dissembling, double-dealing, fraud, manipulation, intrigue, dishonesty, moral cowardice, mendacity and duplicity.
That means hiding behind the labels of “religion” and “faith” will not necessarily lead us to truth. What we need also is basic, ground-level, human rationality. We need the basic ability for simple, logical straight thinking. That is what I mean by intelligence.
For, if we are below a certain minimum threshold of intelligence, we will fail to see these miracles, no matter how clearly and powerfully they may present themselves.
And then we need integrity, because if we do not possess a certain minimum amount of personal honesty and integrity, we will stubbornly refuse to own up to the truth of what we see. We will lie, cheat, dissemble and cover up, as do all too many people in the world when God Almighty brings them face to face with truth in general and with the truth of Islam in particular. Everything about Islam, Muslims and the Qur’an Is a Miracle. So, from this point of view, practically everything about the Qur’an and Islam is a miracle.
And so is any number of things about the life of ordinary, everyday Muslims everywhere.
And so is every detail about the life of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
And thereafter if you are not full of arrogance and conceit, or if your heart is not home to all kinds of bias, hate and prejudice against Islam and Muslims, and against truth itself, you will have little difficulty acknowledging the truth of what you see. That is why I say again: If God has given us even the least amount of intelligence, we should be able to see these miracles for ourselves.
And if he has blessed us with even the least amount of personal integrity, honesty, humility and courage, we should be able to accept the validity of what we see and own up to it. And that is the basic difference between Islam and non-Islam; between truth and untruth; and, to use the vocabulary of the Qur’an, between Haqq and Baatil. That is why Allah makes it abundantly clear in the Qur’an that he will judge people based on their attitude toward truth as well as based on their treatment of it.
So far as Islam is concerned, there is no religious mumbo-jumbo, and there is no vicarious atonement though the blood or sacrifice of a Saviour, and there is no absolution by an earthly human authority, that can help the rejecters of truth and makers and marketers of falsehood to cover up or wash off their crimes against truth, and against humanity, and against God Almighty himself.
GOD IS TRUTH
Therefore, in Islam, regardless of title, God’s people are those who have the intelligence to see the truth; who have the integrity to recognize the truth; who have the humility to bow their heads in reverence before the truth and embrace it; and ultimately who have the moral courage to stand up for truth and defend it.
That is a level of altitude for the human spirit and soul that religious mumbo-jumbo cannot reach. And that is a kind of pure and rarefied air that religious mumbo-jumbo cannot breathe. And that is a radiation of pure divine light that religious mumbo-jumbo cannot face. That should tell you why so many so-called “devoutly religious people” have such hard time dealing with truth when they are faced with it. For, in the ultimate analysis, God is truth, and truth is where God Almighty is, no matter what kind of religious mumbo-jumbo you use to dilute, deny, cover up or escape that fact.
Listen to the Qur’an say it in its own most beautiful words: Annallaha huwal haqqul mubeen. My paraphrase: “Surely, God is the most clear truth.” So, how can you say you love God and God loves you, when in fact you hate truth and truth frightens you?