Saturday, December 9, 2006

46)His Holiness the Pope's controversial speech.

Interesting article by Tariq Ramadan in today's Globe and Mail regarding the recent controversial Papal speech:

"This is what Muslims must respond to; they must challenge a reading of the history of European thought from which the role of Muslim rationalism is erased, in which the Arabo-Muslim contribution would be reduced to mere translation of the great works of Greece and Rome. The selective memory that so easily "forgets" the decisive contributions of "rationalist" Muslim thinkers such as al-Farabi (10th century), Avicenna (11th), Averroes (12th), al-Ghazali (12th), Ash-Shatibi (13th) and Ibn Khaldun (14th) is reconstructing a Europe that is not only a deception but practises self-deception about its own past. If they are to reappropriate their heritage, Muslims must demonstrate that they share the core values on which Europe and the West are founded."

I take strong exception to Ramadan choosing to include al-Ghazali in this august group of rationalist philosopher-cosmologists. I myself would have included al-Sijistani, al-Kirmani and Nasir Khusraw in that list. The only rationalism al-Ghazali used was to claim that it was reasonable to elevate revelational knowledge based on the eternal, uncreated, written Quran to a status of exclusivity and relegate rationally acquired knowledge, which accrues to man from the use of his own rational intellect, to the dustbin of history. In so doing, al-Ghazali condemned generations of muslims to the condition they find themselves in today, bewildered and not knowing, in fact resisting, how to re-establish the delicate dance between revelation and reason that existed during Islam's golden age:


Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation:Aga Khan 4.
The God of the Quran is the One whose Ayats(Signs) are the Universe in which we live, move and have our being:Aga Khan 3