It is important to understand the meaning of faith and reason
and their impact on our life.
Every individual has two personalities.
Religious faith with its practices
Logical Mind based on reasoning and scientific
The personality of religious faith with its practices is
acquired from a majority of customized Madrasa-based
education, where a few basic tenets of Islam are taught.
Beyond this it has not probed to the level of learning.
The personality of logical reasoning is acquired from
modern education in schools, colleges, universities, research
foundation etc. Logic, reasoning and scientific verification
form he backbone of this system. This appeals to the mind
because it leads to results and brings effects, as it is based
on more concrete and scientific approach.
It is generally misunderstood that there is an antagonism
between reason and faith. When religious faith is not
explained in a larger perspective and many of these
unexplained questions remain vague in the mind of an
Many educated people think that religion demands
unreasonable and blind belief. This is not true in Islam.
The modern system of education is based on scientific
principles. It uses logic, reason, and experimentation to gain
Many think reason and faith do not go together. If he
practices religion, he thinks he must forego modern science.
If he suffers from this delusion, he may experience mental
tension. In the extreme form, such tension can even cause
a neurosis. We must understand that the true nature of
religious belief in Islam is based on intelligent faith. This
faith grows from observation, reflection, and contemplation of
nature and what is all around us. The Holy Quran encourages
a rational approach to every problem. Early Muslim history
is to record to this fact.
While the civilization in Europe was in dark ages,
rational and scientific thinking and ideas were
predominating in Muslim Countries. This knowledge later
on passed to the west through Spain and Sicily. This
was the real foundation of the developed west. As a
result we can see many of the English words derived
from the Arabic language. Eg.
According to Peter Drucker "Knowledge is the distinct
resource for business, economics and human development."
In developed countries knowledge workers are the new
riches on the dawn of the millennium.
Knowledge and its relative importance in Islamic
Next to ALLAH, the most common word used in the Holy
Quran, is ILM, i.e. Knowledge. The first five verses of the
Holy Quran revealed to Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) highlights
us to read, write and gain knowledge. We can find a number
of traditions of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) signifying the
importance of knowledge.
The Arabs were in a barbaric and uncivilized culture until the
advent of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). The advent of Islam
ushered a glorious cultural renaissance to the Arabian
Peninsula and the Arabs reached an exalted position, both
in administration and knowledge.
During the Islamic era, from 7th to 14th century, knowledge
was held supreme in all spheres. That is how the Muslims
made significant progress in the field of Astronomy,Mathematics, Physics, Medicine etc.
Major Achievements of the Arabs:
- The Arabs were the masters in Mathematics.
- They were an authority on Astronomy.
- The Muslims were the first to build an
astronomical observatory as a scientific
institution - the observatory of Maraghah
in Persia was established by Al Tusi.
- The first great Muslim Mathematician, Al
Khwarazmi, was the author of the first
treatise on Algebra.
- In Physics, it was Qutb Al Din who gave
the first explanation of the rainbow.
- The greatest of all Muslim physicians, Ibn
Sina, was called 'the Prince of Physicians"
in the west. He synthesised Islamic
Medicine as a masterpiece, Al Qanun
Fi'ltibb (the cannon of medicine).
What happened to Muslims:
The Muslims deviated from the original teachings of Islam
(Quran & Sunnah) and assimilated to local belief & practices.
As a result Muslims depicted themselves backward contrary
to the original civilizations seen in Muslim history.
We can attain faith through a process of rational thinking.
In the beginning, there is doubt. Sometimes we do not
understand the cause of a phenomenon. But we can
observe the effect. The hidden connection between cause
and effect is truth.
When we understand the truth which links cause and
effect, realization sets in. Doubts get cleared. With growing
awareness, faith dawns on us.
So we must give up this false dichotomy between
reason and faith. This is the Second Principle of
successful Islamic living.
In Islam reason is a part of faith. In Islamic words this
can be put together as ILM+IMAN.