Al Ghazzali On Science & Philosophy

When I began my long and unfortunate sleep, the Muslims had already fallen far behind in the physical and theoretical sciences and had been struggling terribly to catch up. I had hoped, upon learning that I had slumbered so long that this project would have been completed by now. Rather I found that we had fallen behind further still. 

But not only this; we had taken to borrowing our proofs from Christian writers who in turn had taken them from us long ago. But we had forgotten our own learned men’s warnings – that we must not be dilettantish in these fields.

Today I see a baffling array of arguments from physics and the life sciences arrayed against our true belief  but an almost total absence of learned men who have mastered these to defend us. I worried to see men ignorant of both science and the faith speaking of the scientific proofs in Islam. No doubt these proof s are there. But had such as they apprehended them?

I remembered Imam Ghazzali, the Proof of Islam, who had warned us of this long ago…

‘I was convinced that a man cannot grasp what is defective in any of the sciences unless he has so complete a grasp of the science in question that he equals the most learned of it’s exponents in the appreciation of it’s fundamental principles, and even goes beyond and surpasses them, probing into the tangles and profundities which even the professors of the science have neglected. Then and only then is it possible that what he has to assert about it’s defects is true.

So far as I could see, none of the doctors of Islam had devoted thought and attention to philosophy. In their writings none of the theologians engaged in polemic against the philosophers, apart from obscure and scattered utterances so plainly erroneous and full of inconsistencies that no person of ordinary intelligence would be likely to be deceived, let alone one well versed in the sciences.

I realised that to refute a system before understanding it and becoming acquainted with it’s depths is to act blindly.’

Al Ghazzali – Deliverance From Error

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