Dear Aslam, assalamu alaikum:
In the article, Understanding Religion and Science, in Muslim Observer (April 10-16, 2009), Mr. Mirza Beg very eloquently explained that faith in any religions and its scriptures is blind and science is based on evidence. They cannot be mixed. He implies that those who read scientific meaning out of certain verses in scriptures are dishonest and only those who read moral meanings are real believers.
Let me first define â€œblind Faithâ€ as I understand it: Confident belief in value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing without sufficient evidence or the use of intellect. The famous skeptic Mark Twain defines: â€œFaith is believing what you know ainâ€™t so.â€ What is the difference for Begâ€™s faith in any one of religions or in the religion of Islam if faith is blind?
I ask myself: Do I accept Mr. Begâ€™s definition of religion? How do I define my faith in the religion of Islam? Did I continues to accept Islam based upon sufficient evidence or blindly? Did I arrive at Islamic faith by applying our intellect evenly on every matters of importance to me? On contrary, am I applying intellect and accepting evidence only when it favors the form of Islam that I believe in and reject evidence when it conflicts with my faith?
On these matters, my point of view is that faith in the religion of Islam cannot be blind because the foundation of Islam, the Qurâ€™an, demands from its believers the use of intellect.
Verse 4:82 states: Do they not ponder on the Qurâ€™an? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy. [Qurâ€™an 4:82]. â€œDiscrepancyâ€ between what? It may be the discrepancy between ideas and principles within the Qurâ€™an, or between the Qurâ€™anic and the systematic human understanding of the structure and functioning of natural world.
The universe, a creation of God, is a divine book in material medium and phenomena of nature are described by the Qurâ€™an as ayaths (verse) that are to be read by human to learn and wonder about the amazing grandeur of God. Universe in material medium and the Qurâ€™an in human vernacular are books of divine origin and, therefore, stories read from both the divine books must be one and the same and cannot contradict. Therefore, based upon verse 4:82, human reading divine books cannot contradict. If we see a contradiction, read the books again and again until both stories merge into one.
If I agree to Mr. Begâ€™s proposition that the science of the nature and the science of the Qurâ€™an belong to two separate domains that cannot be mixed, truly I become dishonest to myself. I cannot swear by science to my patients in my office to prop up my recommendations and scorn at science in my mosque a little later.