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Emaan Friday, July 29, 2005 12:05 AM

Knowledge: An Islamic Perspective
[B]Knowledge: An Islamic Perspective [/B]
B. H. Siddiqui


Culture is a way of life peculiar to a people. It is a way of looking at things and acting accordingly. Every way of life is based on a body of knowledge of man and the universe he lives in. Knowledge determines man's attitude towards his own self (anfus) and the universe (afaq) in general, and his place in the universe in particular, besides setting norms to which his thoughts and actions must conform. All beliefs, ideals and values -- sacred or secular -- spring from the worldview that emerges from the fund of knowledge at the disposal of a community. This is to say that knowledge is the root of culture and culture is the fruit of knowledge. Culture is like the knowledge on which it is based. Its value can be judged by the type of individuals it produces and of society it establishes. It is not enough for man to be born physically. One is made human through a cultural birth, through the inculcation of knowledge along with the beliefs, ideals and values it carries with it. The primary fact about man is that he is not only a social but a cultural being. It is culture that gives meaning to what the Qur'an calls the divine amanah and khilafah, and makes man worthy of the exalted position of the moral agent of God on earth.

Thus knowledge is normative through and through. It is value-full, and not value-free and neutral as the Western scientists would have us believe. It is value-full, because it is based on the unshakeable belief that God is the creator as well as the sustainer of man and of the world he lives in. He created the world ex nihilo, not in sport, but with a definite purpose in view.

It is this fundamental belief that should be reflected in all a man's thoughts, feelings and actions, and in all the divisions of knowledge -- physical, biological, social and normative -- developed by man himself.
Belief in God is not an end in itself, but a means to action in accord with it. Since knowledge is a precondition of action, Islam exhorts us to acquire and transmit knowledge as a matter of duty. It ordains the Prophet (SAWS) to pray: "My Lord! increase me in knowledge."1 The Prophet (SAWS) in turn implored God not to burden him with knowledge which is not beneficial for him.2 In saying this he showed a keen awareness of what we call today "the sociology of knowledge." He esteemed and desired knowledge not for its own sake, but for reforming the individual and reconstructing society on a sound basis. Because of the moral and social implications of knowledge, he bade his followers to "seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave",3 and "go in search of it as far as China".4 Not content with this, he unreservedly made "the acquisition of knowledge incumbent upon every Muslim male and female".5 The story does not end here. Once knowledge is acquired by an individual, it becomes obligatory for him to spread it as far as possible.6 What is learnt must be transmitted to others. There is no knowledge without teaching, and no Islam without knowledge. That is why the Prophet (SAWS) said: "Verily! I was not sent but as a teacher".7 Knowledge, as the root of culture, is not given to man at birth. He has to acquire it for himself at the feet of a teacher and undertake long travels for it. F. Rosenthal's Knowledge Triumphant (E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1970), is a refreshing account of the zealous pursuit of knowledge in the world of Islam.

For whatever purposes other creatures might have been created, man has been created primarily to know what is good for him and to order his life accordingly. One cannot choose and attain goodness unless one knows what it is. Knowledge is power; it is a great cultural force that controls human ideas and actions, paves the way for moral struggle, and leads to the growth of a strong moral conscience which is the source of all good actions. The knowledge which makes man a really good man is not left to one's reason to ascertain, to one's personal likes to determine or to considerations of being beneficial to the society as a whole. Instead, it is revealed directly by God to prophets, the Qur'an being the last and final revelation in this regard. Since virtue is knowledge, God has taken it upon Himself to provide man this knowledge.

That virtue is knowledge is an unchallengeable proposition. Unless one knows what virtue is, one cannot strive to attain it. But Socrates, for one, thought otherwise. To say that virtue is knowledge, he said, is a half truth. The whole truth is that knowledge is virtue.8 What he stresses is that knowledge is not only the necessary, but the sufficient condition of virtue. It is the highest good. No one pursues that which he knows to be evil; he does so in all ignorance. But this is certainly not true, for more often than not we see the better and approve of it, but pursue the evil. What Socrates failed to see is that knowledge is a matter of intellect, while virtue is a matter of will, and there is no direct way from the intellect to the will. Feeling that intervenes between them and paves the way for the choice of good in preference to what is evil. Thus knowledge, though a necessary, is not the sufficient condition of virtue. What assures the choice of the good is not mere knowledge, but knowledge coupled with feeling. Feeling provides the motive power for voluntary actions. In his zeal to provide morality with a purely rational basis Socrates displaced feeling by intellect and completely eliminated the role of feeling or heart in volition. He demolished the edifice of conventional morality, but to fill the resultant void he failed in his attempt to reconstruct it on an exclusively rational basis. No wonder he was charged with corrupting the Athenian youth, and a cup of poison sealed his fate.

Just as knowledge is a means of attaining virtue, of gaining power over one's own self, so also it is a tool for gaining power over nature (afaq) and harnessing its stupendous forces in the service of man. But it is not the same knowledge that leads to self-conquest and to the conquest of nature. Knowledge: the knowledge of what is morally good for man, and knowledge of what is materially useful for him are two different kinds of knowledge. The former is the prerogative of religion, the product of revelation; the latter is the privilege of science, the product of inductive intellect which, as Iqbal is convinced, was made self-conscious by the recurrent appeal of the Qur'an to reason and experience.9 Since the knowledge of what is materially useful is as essential for man as the knowledge of what is morally good, he needs both science and religion for steering through life in this world. What he needs is not science without religion, but science structured by religion. Conversely, what he requires is not religion without science and philosophy, but religion given intellectual content, wherever possible, by science as well as philosophy, without doing violence to its spiritual framework. Western science is positivistic and atheistic. It is value free and poses a threat to the continuance of life on earth, if it is not tempered with the high ideals and values preached by religion. Culture is not mere virtue or self-conquest, nor mere power or conquest of nature, but an organic unity of the two; it is a happy blend of science and religion. Man is neither mere body nor mere spirit, but an embodied spirit. The knowledge which will adequately answer to the needs of this complex of body and spirit must be one in which science and religion are completely integrated.


The one thing that we must always remember about Islam is that it is rationalistic and mobile in spirit. It is rationalistic, because reason acts in it as the deputy of revelation. It is mobile and forward looking, because of ijtihad as the principle of movement in its structure. Revelation in it does not stand above reason; nor does reason stand above revelation, as rightly stressed by Arberry, al-Faruki and others.

Secondly, Islam is not only rationalistic and mobile, but a universal and comprehensive religion. Its law embraces both the spiritual and the temporal, the anfus and afaq. Religion "is not a departmental affair; it is neither mere thought, nor mere feeling, nor mere action; it is the expression of the whole man."10 It employs all the three modes of consciousness in arriving at the knowledge of reality. Besides revelation it uses sense-perception for the knowledge of things concrete, intellection for the knowledge of things abstract, and intuition for the knowledge of things spiritual, besides revelation. It does not confine its epistemology to any one of these sources, for in that case it would cease to be the expression of the whole man and would be reduced to a truncated expression of one or the other part of his nature, at the cost of doing injustice to the remaining part or parts of it.

Thirdly, there is no room for renunciation of the world in Islam. It exhorts us to pray for the good in this world and the good in the hereafter.11 It further reminds us not to forget to take our share from the world.12 We must always seek the good of the world to come, but not at the cost of the good here and now. This makes it abundantly clear that neither the spiritualism of religion nor the naturalism of science taken singly can solve all our problems. What we require today is the integration of science and faith, of facts and values, of foresight, hindsight and insight.

Fourthly, Islam is characteristically a religion of moderation in all spheres of life, extremism of any sort is alien to its spirit. The distinguishing feature of Muslims is that they are 'a community of the middle path'.13 They are neither extravagant nor niggardly in matters of expenditure, but hold a just balance between the two extremes.14 Allah does not love those who exceed the limit set by moderation.15 Epistemology is no exception to it. With moderation as the cardinal principle of Islam, it has no room for arch rationalism, arch empiricism or arch intuitionism in it. It strips off these theories of their extremism to suit its moderate temper.

Finally, the nature of an act in Islam unmistakably depends upon the intention (niyyat) with which it is done,16 as is clearly stated by the Prophet (SAWS). In other words, "It is the invisible mental background of the act which determines its character. An act is temporal or profane, if it is done in a spirit of detachment from the infinite complexity of life behind it; it is spiritual if it is inspired by that complexity",17 as elaborated by Iqbal. An act, though secular in its import, is spiritual, if it is done to earn the pleasure of God; it is profane if it is done without any such concern. We should never lose sight of the fact, says Iqbal, that "the spirit finds its opportunities in the natural, the material, the secular. All that is secular is, therefore, sacred in the root of its being . . . the merely material has no substance until we discover it rooted in the spiritual. There is no such thing as a profane world. All this immensity of matter constitutes scope for the self-realisation of spirit."18 Since God is the creator and sustainer of the world, the knowledge which science gives us about it is the knowledge of the work of God. In other words, "The knowledge of nature is the knowledge of God's behaviour."19
Nature is to God what habit is to man. This leaves us in no doubt that a scientist, in his study of the phenomena of nature, is essentially in 'an act of prayer'.


Since God is the creator of the world, Islam assigns transcendental value both to things empirical and to knowledge of them. It is God who created the world out of nothing, and it is He who is the source of all knowledge about it. All knowledge begins and ends with Him. The object of knowledge is nothing but the realisation of God; both teaching and learning are directed to achieve this objective.

Knowledge is a gift of God to man; it is He who taught man the use of the pen and taught him that which he knew not;20 he bade him to read with His blessed name.21 What He taught man is no secret. He taught Adam among, other things 'the names of all things'22 of the world in which his lot was cast. Names are of two kinds: proper and common. Proper names are non-connotative; they are not given because of any essential attribute inherent in the objects named. They denote individuals, but connote no attributes. For example, Karachi, Lahore and Aslam and Ahmad are the names of individual cities and men which serve the social purpose of identification. Common names which God taught to Adam are denotative as well as connotative. They are given because of the attributes which essentially belong to the objects named. They not only denote the individuals of a class, but also connote their attributes. For instance, the essential attributes of man are animality and rationality. We call him man because of the possession of these attributes. Thus when God taught Adam 'the names of all things', He made him conversant with the essences of things of the world where he was destined to be sent. He did not bless angels with this knowledge, for they did not need it in heaven. It is the possession of knowledge of the things of the world which gave Adam a higher position than the angels in deference to which they had to bow before Adam. God gave this knowledge to Adam as a weapon to control his environment. But he did not give him knowledge of each particular thing of the world. He gave him analytic as well as speculative intellect as the source of the knowledge, respectively of the concrete and the abstract and thereby gave him instant knowledge of 'all things' of the world. "The first thing God created was the intellect,"23 said the Prophet (SAWS).

Rationality is the specific differense of man, distinguishing him from the rest of the animals. Animals are devoid of reason and so they are not required to learn how to live in the world. They are born fully equipped with a natural way of life and live at the level of instinct. They are armed with physical weapons of defence, e.g., horns, hoofs, paws, sharp teeth, swift running feet, feathers, etc., to protect themselves against possible dangers. This is not the case with man. He has to learn everything in the world and invent weapons to defend himself against threats to his life. Not nature, but he himself is his teacher. God-given knowledge comes to his rescue and gives him power over himself as well as his environment. It not only preserves his life, but also makes it worth living. It is his only weapon in the struggle for existence; without knowledge he cannot survive on this planet.
Knowledge has not only survival but immense cultural value for man. It is knowledge which makes man a human, a creature of high ideals and values, the moral agent of God on earth. It beautifies his life and infuses him with the spirit of godliness.

Since God is the fountainhead of knowledge, it is value-full. It brings with it a complete system of beliefs, ideals and values inseparably linked with its teleological worldview, as opposed to the value free mechanistic worldview of the secular Western science. It instil's in us the belief that the world, far from being an accidental juxtaposition of the blind forces of nature, is a creation of an all wise and all good God. He created it with the sole objective of seeing which of us is intensely God conscious in his thoughts, feelings and handsomely good in conduct. It is normative knowledge which helps us in realising the ideal of good life here as well as in the hereafter. The Qur'an gives us moral guidance; it is a book of transcendent morality. It seldom speaks of kitab (knowledge) alone, but pairs this with hikmah (wisdom).24

The Book gives us knowledge of the true objective of the creation of man.
Wisdom makes us realise the rationale, value and importance of this knowledge for ordering our life, individual and collective, in accordance with it. This consists in reflecting on what we already know, and implies extension in depth, in internalising knowledge, rather than in extending the frontiers of knowledge. Every wisdom is at the same time knowledge, but every knowledge is not wisdom. This gives knowledge an edge over wisdom, but it is wisdom, not mere knowledge, which has sole value in the eyes of God. "Whosoever is given wisdom, is given abundant good,"25 says the Qur'an.

Again, since God is the creator of the world and the source of all our knowledge about it, Reality is at once being and knowledge. The knower and the known are not poles apart; there is no cleavage between the subject and the object of knowledge. The knower and the known fuse into one in the act of knowing. It is the presence of "the infinite in the movement of knowledge that makes finite thinking possible,"26 says Iqbal. In other words, "thought, in the very act of knowledge, passes beyond its own finitude. The finitudes of nature are reciprocally exclusive. Not so the finitudes of thought which is, in its essential nature, incapable of limitation and cannot remain imprisoned in the narrow circuit if its own individuality."27 Thought, stripped of positivistic Western rationality, is indeed 'a greeting of the finite with the Infinite'.28 Insofar as he has body, man is a part of nature, but nonetheless is not a mere cog in the machine of the universe. Unlike other parts of nature, he is conscious of his being a part of nature, because of being substantially more than a mere part of nature. He is conscious that the world and himself are two distinct realities. He is not only conscious, but self-conscious, which breaks the chains of his finitude and establishes his contact with the Infinite.


The distinguishing feature of knowledge in Islam is that it is value-full, normative through and through. Its normative characteristic is not a mere matter of thought, feeling or volition,but an organic whole of all these aspects of consciousness. Islamic epistemology is, therefore, not restricted to the revelations made by God to the Prophet (SAWS), to intuitions characteristic of mystics, to the abstract speculations of philosophers, or to the concrete thought of scientists. It is an integrated whole of the knowledge derived from all these sources, for without this integration it cannot satisfy the demands both of the head and the heart. Neither mere intellectual nor mere emotional satisfaction would make man a whole man. Dissatisfaction with any side of this nature would disturb the balanced growth of his personality, and he would remain far away form the ideal of the whole man as envisaged by Islam.

Knowledge is the result of interaction between the knower and the known, man and the world, anfus and afaq From either of the two angles we view it, it is invariably structured by the whole of human consciousness, besides revelation. Viewing it from the side of the world, we cannot make it wholly intelligible, if we restrict ourselves to any one form of consciousness such as thought, feeling or volition. In order to attain a true and comprehensive knowledge we must integrate the findings of reason, sense-perception, intuition and revelation into a well-knit whole. Light from only one direction does not and cannot illumine the whole of reality in all its manifestations, temporal and spiritual. The Qur'an regards both anfus29 and afaq30 as the veritable sources of human knowledge. The outer experience of man no less than his inner experience yields knowledge of Reality in its own way. Hence "it is the duty of man to judge the knowledge yielding capacity of all aspects of experience."31 Thus Islamic epistemology is neither exclusively rationalist, nor empiricist, nor intuitionist. It is an integrated whole of rationalism, empiricism and intuitionism, under the overriding authority of the knowledge revealed by God to the Prophet (SAWS).

Man is a questioning being; he raises questions to satisfy his thirst for knowledge. The Qur'an is a model of the question-answer form of knowledge. Who created the world and all that is in it? How didl His creation take place? Why was the world created at all? What is the place of man in it? The most certain answer to all these questions was revealed by God to the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS). The history of revelation begins with Adam and ends with Muhammad (SAWS). The Qur'an is the last and final revelation of God who has taken it upon Himself to preserve it in all its purity of letter and spirit. It particularly gives us knowledge of what virtue is and how it is to be attained. The one condition of becoming virtuous in accordance with it, is unquestionable faith in its veracity. 'Believe in order to understand' is the standard of Divine knowledge for belief not only yields knowledge, but also provides an impulse to action.

I shall now turn from the Divine to the human sources of knowledge of the world and its creator. These are intuition, sense-perception and intellection. Intuition is inner-perception of the self (anfus), an immediate certainty of the heart (fawad) without the aid of the senses or intellect. It is a question put to one's own self, the answer to which lies in meditating over the self where one encounters Reality face to face. This inner experience is called ecstasy, and the knowledge yielded by it is called esoteric, as opposed to the knowledge which we call exoteric. Positivistic rationalists identify reality with what is observable, and so regard the intuitions of the heart or feeling as non-cognitive. But man is not an invention of the Renaissance; He is a creation of God with Whom he has emotional involvement. As a form of human consciousness, feeling is not devoid of cognitive content, but in its own way is a source of knowledge and reaches the innermost core of reality.

The Qur'an recognises not only the intuitions of the anfus, but also the sense-experience of afaq as a veritable source of human knowledge: senses are the gateways of our knowledge of the external world. Of these, the Qur'an specially draws our attention to 'hearing and sight',32 the two major tools of science. The knowledge thus obtained, when internalised, makes us see the signs of God in the sun, the moon, the mountains, the rivers, the fields of corn, the orchards,33 in the clouds held in the air,34 in the lengthening out of shadows,35 in the alteration of day and night,36 in fact in the whole of nature revealed to human sense-perception. It is the frequent emphasis of the Qur'an on the faculties of "hearing and sight" that made self-consciousness the rational and scientific faculties of man, and convinced Iqbal beyond any shadow of doubt that "the birth of Islam . . . is the birth of inductive intellect".37 Scientific knowledge is based on sense-experience, that is, on observation and experiment. Observation is watching a fact; experiment is making a fact through a question put to nature. We should not feel shy of asking questions, for it is the questions, said the Prophet, which yield knowledge.

Sense-experience gives us knowledge of the concrete and finite. Intellection gives us knowledge of the abstract and immutable. The one is called scientific knowledge, the other philosophic knowledge which the Qur'an calls hikmah (wisdom). Science is concerned with facts, philosophy with the meaning of facts; it discovers the value and worth of things. Science is analytic, philosophy is analytic as well as speculative. Science tell us something about everything, but there are no things about which it tells us everything. Its explanations are partial and quantitative; it is concerned with the how and how much of things, and with their manner of acting. But the mind of man is so constituted that it longs to know not only how things act, but why they do as they do; it craves to know the why and wherefore of things as well. This knowledge is provided by philosophy which seeks to comprehend the world as a whole, particularly with regard to its meaning, purpose and value for human existence, which concern it shares with religion.
Philosophy is a consistent and persistent effort to think clearly. It is the art of thinking things through. Its essence lies in a discursive movement of thought. Hujjah38 (argument) burhan (proof)39 and jadal (disputation)40 are the three words which the Qur'an uses interchangeably for this discursive exercise. The knowledge obtained through the discursive movement of thought is certain only epistemically (ilm al-yaqin).41 It does satisfy the mind of its certitude, but possesses theoretical certainty at best, as opposed to what the Qur'an calls the certainty of sight (ain al -yaqin)42 characteristic of personal observation. The highest degree of certitude belongs to the knowledge revealed by God to the prophets which the Qur'an calls truth of assured certainty (haqq al-yaqin).43


Islam is essentially and fundamentally a religion of moderation; extremism is alien to its spirit. Committed to the accommodative principle of moderation, its epistemology is neither exclusively rationalist, nor empiricist, nor intuitionist. It employs all the sources of knowledge -- reason, sense-experience and intuition -- to arrive at the knowledge of truth, and integrates the relative truth supplied by them with the absolute truth revealed by God to the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS). A question may be raised here. Is it possible to harmonise the knowledge supplied by divergent sources into a well-knit whole? Do not rationalism, empiricism and intuitionism mutually exclude each other; if not, how can these be integrated into a meaningful whole?

The objection cannot be sustained. When we hear a song on television, our ears and eyes give us knowledge of two different sorts, the one pertaining to the realm of sound, the other to that of sight. But nobody doubts the unity of the knowledge thus arrived at. Its dualism is lost in the unity of the singer. Likewise, thought and intuition have distinct roles to play and operate at different levels. They are not essentially opposed to each other. "They spring up," writes Iqbal, "from the same root and complement each other. The one grasps reality piecemeal, the other grasps it in its wholeness. The one fixes its gaze on the eternal, the other on the temporal aspect of reality. . . . Both are in need of each other for mutual rejuvenation. Both seek the visions of the same reality which reveals itself to them in accordance with their function in life."44 Springing from the same root, thought and intuition are organically related and cannot be antagonistic to each other. If we agree with Bergson that intuition is a higher kind of intellect,45 the possibility of their being antagonistic to each other is entirely ruled out.

Again the Qur'an does not separate the faculties of hearing and sight, the two major tools of inductive intellect, from the faculty of heart, the seat of intuition. At more than one place it pairs the one set of faculties with the other faculty: "It is He who has made for you the faculties of hearing, sight and feeling (fawad), but little ye thank Him for these." This pairing of the two kinds of faculties suggests that there is a close affinity between them, and so they cannot be antagonistic to each other.46 The outer experience of afaq must, in its last analysis, agree with the inner experience of anfus.


With philosophy as a handmaid of religion, knowledge continued to be sacramental till the Middle Ages. The revolt of the Italian Renaissance and the German Reformation against authority and tradition of all kinds, and the gradual rise of science as an intellectual and social force, particularly in its violent conflict with the Church, played a decisive role in desacralizing sacred knowledge, and ushered in the modern era of secular science and technology. The spirit of the modern age is rationalistic in the sense that it makes human reason the highest authority in the pursuit of knowledge, and naturalistic in that it seeks to explain the inner and outer nature without supernatural presuppositions. Belief in God is reduced to a presupposition of a prescientific era. Man is not a servant of God, but desires to become God. Religious humanism is replaced by a humanism of the scientific sort which puts human interests above everything else, making man the source of all knowledge -- the knowledge of what is materially useful, as well as of what is morally good. This humanism lies at the root of all the ills -- political, social and moral -- of the modern world.

Modernity is proud of separating the State from the Church. But this divorce of politics from religion has reduced it to a weapon of plunder, loot and destruction. Iqbal's New Year message broadcast from the All India Radio Station, Lahore, on January 1, 1938, is a brilliant monograph on the religionless politics of the modern world.

Remember, man can be maintained on this earth only by honouring mankind, and this world will remain a battle ground of ferocious beasts of prey unless and until the educational forces of the whole world are directed to inculcating in man respect for mankind. Do you not see that the people of Spain, though they have the same common bond of one race, one nationality, one language and one religion, are cutting one another's throats and destroying their culture and civilisation by their own hands owing to a difference in their economic creed. This one event shows clearly that national unity too is not a very durable force. Only one unity is durable, and this unity is the brotherhood of man, which is above race, nationality, colour or language. So long as this so-called democracy, this accursed nationalism and this degraded imperialism are not shattered, so long as men do not demonstrate by their actions that they believe that the whole world is the family of God, so long as distinctions of race, colour and geographical nationalities are not wiped out completely, they will never be able to lead a happy and contented life, and the beautiful ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity will never materialise.47

Three and a half months after the establishment of Pakistan, an education conference was hastily held at Karachi, from November 27 to December 1, 1947, to formulate broad guidelines for shaping the future education policy of Pakistan. In his spirited presidential address to the conference Fazlur Rahman, the then education minister, highlighted the inhumanism of desacralised knowledge, and laid pointed emphasised developing and shaping the spiritualist outlook of the students with the zeal of a reformist:

I attach the highest importance to the spiritual element, for its neglect, which has characterised modern education, has had disastrous consequences, and the experience of two World Wars as also the vast technological inventions of recent years, fraught as they are with incalculable possibilities of destruction, have brought home to us the realisation that unless the moral or spiritual growth of man keeps pace with the growth of science, he is doomed to utter destruction. It is surely a profoundly disturbing thought that every step forward in the domain of knowledge should be attended not with a diminution but with an increase in barbarism and frightfulness, so that the pursuit of knowledge becomes a self-defeating process.48

Desacralized knowledge has made man spiritually homeless; he has become a stranger to himself. The anguish of self-alienation has ruined him. "The greatest problem of our time," says S. M. Vujica, "is to find a way of preserving the humanity of man, and preventing the erosion of spiritual and moral values in an age dominated by science and technology, which by their very nature are incapable of promoting these larger human goals, and may even be destructive to them." As one man put it, "The future of the human race lies in its humanity, . . . A purely scientific civilisation, destitute of ideals and values, devoid of the humanising and mellowing influence of religion, philosophy and art, would be as cruel for the soul as the pre-scientific civilisation was for the body."49

The main problem of the twentieth century, says Andre Malraux, is to fill the vacuum created by the nineteenth century's loss of faith. And the way to fill this vacuum is to reaffirm man's spiritual dimension. The answer is humanism of a religious sort. "The greatest need of this age is a great prophet who can accept the facts of science and at the same time give inspiration to fill the great spiritual void,"50 observes Dr. H. Urey. Spengler sounds a strong note of pessimism about the fate of the earth-rooted civilisation of the West. Both Sorokin and Toynbee call for a spiritual rehabilitation of modern man returning to the religious idealism of the past, for science cannot heal the wounds of the spirit.

Emaan Friday, July 29, 2005 12:06 AM


1. Qur'an, 20:114.
2. Bukhari, vol. I (Lahore: Hamid and Compnay).
3. Haji Khalifa, Kashf al-Zunun, vol. I (Liepzig, 1825), p. 13.
4. Ibid., p. 32.
5. Mishkat al-Masabih, vol. I (Lahore: Al-Faisal Publishing Co., n.d.), p. 87.
6. Qur'an, 3:184.
7. Mishkat, vol. I, p. 87.
8. F. Thilly and L. Wood, A History of Philosophy (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1955), p. 86.
9. Iqbal, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, ed. M. Saeed Sheikh (Lahore: Institute of Islamic Culture, 1986), p. 101.
10. Ibid., p. 2.
11. Qur'an, 2:201.
12. Ibid.
13. Ibid., 2:143.
14. Ibid., 25:67.
15. Ibid., 2:190.
16. Bukhari, vol. I, pp. 94, 119; vol. III, p. 53.
17. Iqbal, op. cit., p. 122.
18. Ibid., p. 123.
20. Ibid., p. 123.
21. Ibid., 96:1.
22. Ibid., 2:31.
23. Cited by al-Ghazali, Ihya al-Ulum, vol. I kitab al-llm, translated into English by Nabih Amin Fairs, Sh, Muhammad Ashraf (Lahore, 1962), p. 222; E. Gilson, The Unity of Philosophical Experience (London, 1938), 9-34.
24. Qur'an, 1:129; 3:164.
25. Ibid., 2:269.
26. Iqbal, op. cit., p. 101.
27. Ibid., p. 5.
28. Ibid.
29. Ibid., 41:53; 51:21.
30. Qur'an, 41:53; 51:21.
31. Iqbal, op. cit., p. 101.
32. Qur'an, 16:78; 32:9; 67:23.
33. Ibid., 13:16; 16:11.
34. Ibid., 24:43.
35. Ibid., 25:44-45.
36. Ibid., 2:159.
37. Iqbal, op. cit., p. 101.
38. Qur'an, 6:82; 6:149; 4:165.
39. Ibid., 2:111; 21:24; 27:64; 38:32; 28:75.
40. Ibid., 16:125.
41. Ibid., 102:5.
42. Ibid., 102:7.
43. Ibid., 69:51.
44. Iqbal, op. cit., p. 2.
45. H.L. Bergson, Creative Evolution (London: 1911), pp. 187-88.
46. Qur'an, 16:78; 32:9; 67:23.
47. L.A. Shervani, ed., Speeches and Writings and Statements of Iqbal (Lahore: Iqbal Academy, 1977), pp. 250-51.
48. F. Rahman, New Education in the Making in Pakistan (London, 1953), pp. 6-7.
49. Proceedings of the Eighth Session of the Pakistan Philosophical Congress (Karachi, 1961), p. 171.
50. Ibid., p. 172.

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