MIDDLE EAST

Responding to calls for knowledge revival

The social and economic welfare that man enjoys today would not have existed if it hadn’t been for science and its development. Knowledge contributed to ending people’s fears and helped them be in control of their lives thus completely overcoming myths and legends. Man became master of his world and it is through science that he became in control of it.

King Salman said in the statement which Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid al-Falih read out on his behalf: “Today, the Muslim world needs knowledge revival more than ever, particularly amid the major challenges it is confronting.”

Confirming the significance of knowledge is necessary. Knowledge and science contribute to solidifying the relativity of truth which leads to proper behavior and decreases hatred, racism, sectarianism and grudges. This path was pursued by Europe and helped it transition from wars and destruction into co-existence and harmony. 

Greek era 

Scientific development progressed as conditions and standards renewed. This has been the case since the Greek era.

Bertrand Russell, the author of the ‘Wisdom of the West’ and ‘The Impact of Science on Society’, said: “Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives' mouths. He also said that children will be healthier if conceived when the wind is in the north. One gathers that the two Mrs. Aristotles both had to run out and look at the weathercock every evening before going to bed. He states that a man bitten by a mad dog will not go mad, but any other animal will, that the bite of the shrewmouse is dangerous to horses, especially if the mouse is pregnant; that elephants suffering from insomnia can be cured by rubbing their shoulders with salt, olive-oil and warm water.”

Understanding the contradictions of the activity of truth and the production of the standards of knowledge and evidential, inductive, experimental or “falsifying” conditions contributed to developing science and strengthening its comprehensive influence in societies that were blessed with geniuses.

Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran



Magic was removed from the world thanks to the development of science throughout history and via experiments and standards and theories which eventually led to facts.

Scientific outlook 

The most important result of philosophers’ and scientists’ efforts in the 17th Century was the formation of a scientific theory that dominated the scene in the 18th Century.

Russell summed up this “scientific outlook” as such:

1. Fact sheets must be based on observation and they must not be baseless.

2. The materialistic world has a self-functioning and self-sustaining system where all changes submit to laws of nature.

3. The earth is not the center of the universe and it’s possible that man is not the purpose of the universe and that teleology itself is not something with scientific benefit, and “this is the (mechanical outlook) that clergymen fought”.

Science helps man enjoy life more. Its development has granted the world the ability to form different visions in all social, economic and political fields. It is science that created the relativity of how right a man is.

Science did not only make relativity part of the forms of truth but scientific errors have actually helped mould the truth as Gaston Bachelard put it: “The history of science is the history of errors.”

Understanding the contradictions of the activity of truth and the production of the standards of knowledge and evidential, inductive, experimental or “falsifying” conditions contributed to developing science and strengthening its comprehensive influence in societies that were blessed with geniuses.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ call for a knowledge revival came at a time when Islamic societies are suffering from weak education and from violence due to racial, ethnic and sectarian fighting and conflicts.

This renaissance requires the response of Arab and Muslim countries that always priotitize knowledge revival. Symbols of enlightenment and religious reform have called for this revival for centuries but the situation is only getting worse.

This article is also available in Arabic.

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Fahad Shoqiran is a Saudi writer and researcher who also founded the Riyadh philosophers group. His writings have appeared in pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Alarabiya.net, among others. He also blogs on philosophies, cultures and arts. He tweets @shoqiran.

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Last Update: Thursday, 5 October 2017 KSA 16:52 - GMT 13:52
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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