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‘Give me a suitable fulcrum and I will give you a bar to lift the planet earth.’ These are Einstein’s words.
Does this apply to physics only? Or does it also apply to thoughts, morality and concepts? Does the human mind need a central starting point, and then it moves to the right or to the left, or rather in the right or the wrong direction? Or is it better to leave everything to be relatively determined in different times and places?
Should the human mind be bound to a divine system which it trusts to be suitable for human life? Does this enhance the role of man’s mind or give it a lower status?
Newton’s laws apply to quantitative physics, but then they rely on observations and experiments that cannot be altered, such as floating and gravity.
To use the human mind in building spaceships and websites is fine, but to use it for re-inventing the wheel and rediscovering fire is ridiculous and absurd.
The human mind faced a great battle to arrive at a set of rules that operate to improve human life. In the process, the human mind had to go from one extreme to another and to rise from absurdity to logic. However, at no stage was the human mind absolutely right. When you do not have a point of reference, you cannot be completely certain.
History proceeds like sea waves. What appears repugnant and prohibited at some place and time may be appealing and encouraged at others. There may be a difference of only a short distance between one place and another or a few years between one time and another. Every community considers its law to be the best and most appropriate. Only a few decades ago, black people were not allowed to use the same seats that the white people use in public transport in the United States. To use public toilets or water taps by a black person was a punishable offence and seen as repugnant by the great majority of white people. To advocate full equality between whites and blacks was to them sheer idiocy.
Laws change with time and place. Without a clear standard of reference, how are we to distinguish right from wrong?
At one stage, the Germans upheld Nietzsche’s theory that the extermination of the lower races is acceptable in order to give a better chance for the higher races to survive and prosper. This was upheld by millions of people who considered it logical enough to be implemented.
Such concepts were acceptable at certain periods. Not only so, but criticising them was considered blasphemy. Only few people thought that there would come a time when such ideas would be seen as absurd. Do we today hold on to ideas that our children will think absurd?
Islam establishes that the human mind needs a sound basis; a moral point of reference; a compass pointing out the way. People have millions of compasses; indeed everyone have his or her own moral indicator. Where from can we have a primary indicator? And, if we find one, how do we know that it is the right one?
Descartes stated the principle: ‘I think; therefor I am,’ which is known as methodological scepticism. His disciples doubted everything, including their minds and their own existence. They should not be blamed, because when there is no central point of reference, how can we be absolutely sure?
Islam establishes a complete way of life, based on a sound concept of life and the universe. It is a comprehensive and permanent concept because it is established by God, the Creator of man, the universe and all that exists.
Some people today may object to the Islamic way of life, and some may ridicule it as unsuitable for our modern time. This is just as the white masters would have laughed when they were told that the only criterion that distinguishes people is their fear of God. They would have said: ‘You must be kidding!’ Is it not a backward religion that equate a monkey climbing the tree and a White, Anglo-Saxon Person? They would have said that such a religion was unsuitable for their time. Likewise, the priests who wondered in 520 whether women were animals, satans or merely inferior humans, would have laughed if they knew that Islam establishes the principle of complete equality of men and women. They would have said that it was a religion that did not suit their age.
Should we ask: which Islamic principle you find unsuited for your own age?