By Easy Nash
My rebooted Blog(Part 2), resumed in late 2018/early 2019(ie a few short weeks ago), began with a comparison between 2 similarly-sounding quotes uttered by Mawlana Hazar Imam which nevertheless have 1 critical difference, as follows:
A thousand years ago, my forefathers, the Fatimid imam-caliphs of Egypt, founded al-Azhar University and the Academy of Knowledge in Cairo. In the Islamic tradition, they viewed the discovery of knowledge as a way to understand, so as to serve better God’s creation, to apply knowledge and reason to build society and shape human aspirations(Aga Khan IV, Speech, 25th June 2004, Matola, Mozambique)
Education has been important to my family for a long time. My forefathers founded al-Azhar University in Cairo some 1000 years ago, at the time of the Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt. Discovery of knowledge was seen by those founders as an embodiment of religious faith, and faith as reinforced by knowledge of workings of the Creator’s physical world. The form of universities has changed over those 1000 years, but that reciprocity between faith and knowledge remains a source of strength(Aga Khan IV, 27th May 1994, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A.)
The critical difference between the above 2 excerpts should be transparent to any Science aficionado: while excerpt number 1 emphasizes the practical applications which come from the discovery of new scientific knowledge, ie, using the fruits of those scientific discoveries for the practical benefit of humanity and society, excerpt number 2 describes the one step that must logically precede any talk of practical benefits for humanity and society and that is to actually make the basic scientific discovery of new knowledge as it pertains to answering 2 very fundamental questions: 1) What is the universe made up of and 2) How does the universe operate? To put it more succinctly excerpt number 1 relates to the practical benefits of applied science whereas excerpt number 2 relates to pure basic science!
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