fact that rainfall sometimes is caused in response to the prayers is a matter of
human experience. Although I cannot narrate an incident directly, I know from
the observations of people who would not exaggerate unnecessarily that such
things have happened before their very own eyes. However, this fact should not
cause people to believe that there isn’t any cause-effect relationship operating
in our world. What this definitely means is that there is much more to reality
than what we know.
We can keep
exploring to know more about how it comes about that the Almighty causes things
to happen in ways that are sometimes unexplainable. However, to deny a known,
observed reality is not a very rational approach. Whether it is scientific or
not is something I don’t know nor do I care.
people, not just the Muslims alone, have a common experience of observing that
their prayers get responded in ways that cannot be explained by applying the
logic of cause-effect relationship. You just have to be in your senses to know
that they do happen when they happen before you. Had that not been the case,
most people wouldn’t have been religious in this world.
I think that
the mistake committed by Dr Hoodbhoy is that he has set forth for himself a very
limited criterion for judging what is correct and what is not. His line of logic
seems to be that since Science is what we need the most, therefore we ought to
have knowledge of Science at all costs in our country. Whatever conflicts with
the popularity of Science education, therefore, would be condemnable.
To me the
correct approach of any rational person should be to decide that he is eager to
know the truth, whether it conforms to the scientific standards or not. The
problem I can see Dr Hoodbhoy is going through is that since he has narrowed
down his mind to be influenced by only those facts that could be explained, by
the cause-effect relationship, he has in the process denied himself the
possibility of accepting any reality that seems to be happening in defiance of
that line of logic. That’s a classic example of academic prejudice: You decide
beforehand that you would only accept a certain point of view and as a result of
your decision you refuse to see anything else that is presented to you, even if
it is as obvious as the bright sun. If a religious person falls into the same
trap because of his predisposition towards a certain religious point of view,
his religious bias is condemnable. Likewise condemnable is the bias of the
person who has blindly made Science and the principle of cause-effect
relationship a religiously binding principle for himself.
The truth of
the matter is that the more Science progresses the more it shows to man that he
knows very little. Indeed Science has progressed by emphasizing the significance
of cause-effect relationship in our world. However, to assume that there isn’t
anyone who can do things by defying it is taking the understanding too far. It
amounts to suggesting that the believers in the inviolable application of the
cause-effect relationship are not going to accept any reality except the one
that appears to them as scientific. That is the kind of attitude that blinds an
individual from a good part of the truth because of an exaggerated emphasis on
one aspect of reality.
that comes to my mind to describe Dr Hoodbhoy’s mistake is that of a student of
a language who after mastering its principles of grammar starts looking at the
masterpieces of that language and concludes that they carry some ‘grammatical
errors’. Of course, the problem doesn’t lie in those masterpieces; instead, it
lies in the erroneous perception of the simpleton student who thinks that the
masters of the language were bound by the principles of grammar discovered by
the grammarians by carefully reading those very masterpieces! Likewise, our
world is not running on the principle of cause-effect relationship. It is
running the way it is being run by its Master. Man has discovered that,
generally speaking, the physical phenomena of our world are following the
principle of cause-effect relationship. However, that may not always happen,
because the One who is running it has never committed Himself to stick to that
principle. Moreover, we don’t even know that certain happenings that seemingly
defy the cause-effect logic may actually have been caused by a cause that we
cannot, at least for now, perceive.
There are two
reasons why Dr Hoodbhoy’s observation about reason for the lack of development
of Science in Pakistan is unacceptable:
i) There are
many countries in Asia, Africa, and South America which though not Muslim are
doing equally bad in Science.
Muslims belonging to earlier generations were pioneers in discovering new fields
of scientific enlightenment despite their strong faith in God’s ability to defy
cause-effect relation in this world.