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Seyyed Hussein Nasr
On Western Science
And Islamic Civilization

from BBC-TV, 1st May, 1993; 2 parts of about 28 and 12 min
[Listen only or download the audiofiles]

part_01 speech (1/2)


”This [Islamic] science although it made these great achievements, never meant to reach the same goal as science as pursued in the West, as it began to follow since the 17th century.

”Until very recently, the Western world could not possibly posit the possibilty of more than one science of the world. Because the very philosophical structure of the dominant schools of philosophy in the West since the 18th and 19th century cannot conceive of but one civilization with a capital C and and one science with a capital S to which everything else is subservient.

”It is not accidental that all the major achievements of Islamic science since the rise of modern Western science have been systematically ignored by Western historians of science - systematically - and it is only during the last 20 years we have made little headway, there [for example] are still 3000 manuscripts in the field of medicin alone in the libraries of India and Pakistan which have never been studied.
”Western science is based on forgetting the unity of knowledge and on forgetting the hierarchy of knowledge and on the idea of forgetting the sacredness of nature - everything is being [sacrileged]*.”

* The speaker said "sacrilized", probably he meant "sacrileged", from "sacrilege": meaning:
"an intentional injury to anything sacred or held sacred; disrespectful treatment of anyone or anything sacred." (2006 World Book)
part_02 continuation (2/2) & questions and answers


“God! Increase my wonder in Thee!
“The sense of wonder is the foundation of man's religious life. If religion becomes every-day, if the sacred becomes every-day, it ceases to be the sacred. It's in the nature of the sacred to be out of the ordinary, and to integrate the ordinary unto itself, not to descend to the level of the ordinary, ... and for that reason the loss of the sense of the beauty of the world - of the fact that it comes from God, of the fact that it is related to God, is the greatest danger of all, as far as the confrontation between Islamic society as a whole and Western science, modern science is concerned, because through thinking that ... that particular star is nothing more than - let us say - a condenced matter - without really studying what that m-a-t-t-e-r in the middle of the space thus far away - means, this gradually makes one lose sight, awareness of the remarcable fact that the sun does rise every day.
“And the sense of the profoundness of nature, of the fact that the study of nature should draw us closer to God rather than explain it away, is the greatest danger which the multitude of Islamic society faces. Islamic science always explained, it didn't explain away, it is it explained by [bringing] one closer to God rather than explaining away, not to have to bother with thinking about the grandeur of the divine creation.”



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Living By The Book; Sh. Hasan Gai Eaton


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Video interview Sh. H Nasr







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