Jul 19, 2013, 10:58 AM
The Path to Islamic Unity
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN KNOWLEDGE AND FAITH
(Continuation of previous article)
Faith elevates our desires in addition to helping us in realizing our aims and objectives. It bases our desires and ideals on love, spiritual and moral relations. If we take this into consideration in our personal lives, we would only realized that faith endeavour to perfect society, which is free from social and economic inequality, prevent self aggrandizement and lust of power and wealth. Knowledge and faith will make the individual consider the above as vices and make him avoid them. The combination of knowledge and faith opens us to humanity and prevents us from individualism. When they are absent the result is capitalism, domination of one group over another.
Although knowledge and faith supplement each other, none of them can take the place of the other. It is important to note that faith should be recognized in the light of knowledge. Thus it will save it from being confused with myth or contaminated. That is why Allah (SWT) says "Tarifuu nii kabla an taa buduunii" meaning "know me before you worship me". So the logic is that if you don't know your faith you tend to miss the reason for your worship. As a result you become easily misguided. Without knowledge, faith could easily be driven into a web of blind prejudice, blind faith, and leading to religious and social vices.
For example in most part of the Middle East, the existence of religious knowledge, which is not perfectly utilized, brought about a situation of political and religious crisis in the region.
We must always bear in mind that the use of knowledge depends on the will of man. So only if one has the will to learn, then he will be able to make the best of it, by achieving one's objective.
The truth is that we cannot live in this world without admiring something. If we do not worship or acknowledge Allah then we might be bound to recognize something else as Supreme Being, which is the basis of our existence. And this kind of existence is burdensome. The Quran tells us in (Surah Ta Ha, 20:124) "he who turns away from remembering me, his life will be burdensome".
Faith has various effects on man. It can make him optimistic about the world and its governing laws, life and creation. The goal of creation is betterment and evolution.
There are two realities; man will always seek to achieve: success and fear of death. This brings him in harmony with this world and the hereafter and the result is peaceful existence.
In these modern times, there is a belief that science is not enough to humanize mankind, what scholars are lacking is faith. Bertrand Russell an influential 19th Century British philosopher puts it "the work that merely aims at earning income shall not produce good results. For this purpose one should adopt a profession that implants in the individual a faith, a purpose and a goal".
Finally I will leave you to ponder on the words of George Surton who also acknowledges the importance of faith in life by writing "Art reveals beauty; it is the joy of life. Religion means love; it is the music of life, science means truth and reason; it is the conscience of mankind. We need all of them - Art and Religion as well as science".
(George Surton, Six Wings: Men of Science in the Renaissance, P. 218 (London, 1958)