Mawlana Hazar Imam: “The Faith urges freedom of intellectual enquiry and this freedom does not mean that knowledge will lose its spiritual dimension”

“…I am struck by the close relationship which exists between intellect and the faith. During the glorious periods of Muslim history, Muslim thinkers, scientists and philosophers were beacons of light, sharing their knowledge freely with the non-Muslim world, indeed often leading it. I am convinced that the way for the Ummah to achieve its aspirations is through the development of first-rate institutions and professionals, steeped in the ethos of the faith, but applying their intellects and resources to help humanity to develop solutions to the very real problems facing it today…”
Extracts from Mawlana Hazar Imam’s speech at a dinner in honour of President Askar Akayev, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, May 30,  1995
Speech published in The Ismaili, May 1995

Aga Khan IV
Mawlana Hazar Imam’s visit to Kyrgyz Republic, May 1995. Photo: The Ismaili, May 1995 issue

“The divine Intellect, ‘aql-e-kul,’ both transcends and informs the human intellect. It is this intellect which enables man to strive towards two aims dictated by the Faith: that he should reflect upon the environment Allah has given him and that he should know himself. It is the light of intellect which distinguishes the complete human being from the human animal and developing that intellect requires free inquiry, The man of Faith who fails to pursue intellectual search is likely to have only a limited comprehension of Allah’s creation, Indeed, it is man’s intellect that enables him to expand his vision of that creation.”

“If the frontiers of physics are changing, it is due to scientists discovering more and more about the universe, even though they will never be able to probe its totality, since Allah’s creation is limitless and continuous.”

“The Holy Qur’an’s encouragement to study nature and the physical world around us gave the original impetus to scientific inquiry among Muslims. Exchanges of knowledge between institutions and nations and the widening of man’s intellectual horizons are essentially Islamic concepts. The Faith urges freedom of intellectual enquiry and this freedom does not mean that knowledge will lose its spiritual dimension. That dimension is indeed itself a field for intellectual enquiry.”
Extracts from Mawlana Hazar Imam’s speech at the 
Inauguration of the Aga Khan University’s Faculty of Health Sciences and
the Aga Khan University Hospital
Karachi, Pakistan, November 11, 1985
Speech published in Hikmat, Vol II No. VI, February/March 1986

“in Islamic belief, knowledge is two-fold. There is that revealed through the Holy Prophet [Salla-llahu ‘alayhi wa- sallam] and that which man discovers by virtue of his own intellect. Nor do these two involve any contradiction, provided man remembers that his own mind is itself the creation of God. Without this humility, no balance is possible. With it, there are no barriers. Indeed one strength of Islam has always lain in its belief that creation is not static but continuous, that through scientific and other endeavours, God has opened and continues to open new windows for us to see the marvels of His creation.”
Extracts from Mawlana Hazar Imam’s speech
Upon the Acceptance of the Charter of the Aga Khan University
Karachi, Pakistan, March 16, 1983
Speech published in Hikmat, Vol I No IV, July 1984

Compiled by Nimira Dewji


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