Tuesday, April 21, 2009

471)Noor Cultural Center: 1)Ibn al-'Arabi's Cosmology and the New Creation; 2)Scientists, the Public, and Natural Selection: From Darwin to Dawkins

Quotes of Aga Khan IV, Aga Khan III and Nasir Khusraw:

"And the more we discover, the more we know, the more we penetrate just below the surface of our normal lives - the more our imagination staggers.........What we feel, even as we learn, is an ever-renewed sense of wonder, indeed, a powerful sense of awe – and of Divine inspiration.....the Power and the Mystery of Allah as the Lord of Creation"(Aga Khan IV, Ottawa, Canada, December 6th 2008)

"In Shia Islam, intellect is a key component of faith. Intellect allows us to understand the creation of God"(Aga Khan IV, July 23rd 2008, Lisbon, Portugal)

"The second great historical lesson to be learnt is that the Muslim world has always been wide open to every aspect of human existence. The sciences, society, art, the oceans, the environment and the cosmos have all contributed to the great moments in the history of Muslim civilisations. The Qur’an itself repeatedly recommends Muslims to become better educated in order better to understand God’s creation"(Closing Address by His Highness Aga Khan IV at the "Musée-Musées" Round Table Louvre Museum, Paris, France, October 17th 2007)

"......The Quran tells us that signs of Allah’s Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation - in the heavens and the earth, the night and the day, the clouds and the seas, the winds and the waters...."(Aga Khan IV, Kampala, Uganda, August 22 2007)

"....in Islam, but particularly Shia Islam, the role of the intellect is part of faith. That intellect is what seperates man from the rest of the physical world in which he lives.....This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives. Of that I am certain"(Aga Khan IV, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, August 17th 2007)

"In this context, would it not also be relevant to consider how, above all, it has been the Qur'anic notion of the universe as an expression of Allah's will and creation that has inspired, in diverse Muslim communities, generations of artists, scientists and philosophers? Scientific pursuits, philosophic inquiry and artistic endeavour are all seen as the response of the faithful to the recurring call of the Qur'an to ponder the creation as a way to understand Allah's benevolent majesty. As Sura al-Baqara proclaims: 'Wherever you turn, there is the face of Allah'.The famous verse of 'light' in the Qur'an, the Ayat al-Nur, whose first line is rendered here in the mural behind me, inspires among Muslims a reflection on the sacred, the transcendent. It hints at a cosmos full of signs and symbols that evoke the perfection of Allah's creation and mercy"(Aga Khan IV,Speech, Institute of Ismaili Studies, October 2003, London, U.K.)

"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 May1994, Cambridge, Massachusets, U.S.A.)

"The Holy Qu'ran's encouragement to study nature and the physical world around us gave the original impetus to scientific enquiry among Muslims. Exchanges of knowledge between institutions and nations and the widening of man's intellectual horizons are essentially Islamic concepts. The Faith urges freedom of intellectual enquiry and this freedom does not mean that knowledge will lose its spiritual dimension. That dimension is indeed itself a field for intellectual enquiry. I can not illustrate this interdependence of spiritual inspiration and learning better than by recounting a dialogue between Ibn Sina, the philosopher, and Abu Said Abu -Khyar, the Sufi mystic. Ibn Sina remarked, "Whatever I know, he sees". To which Abu Said replied," Whatever I see, he knows"."(Aga Khan IV, Aga Khan University Inauguration Speech, Karachi, Pakistan, November 11th 1985)

“Muslims believe in an all-encompassing unit of man and nature. To them there is no fundamental division between the spiritual and the material while the whole world, whether it be the earth, sea or air, or the living creatures that inhabit them, is an expression of God’s creation.”(Aga Khan IV, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, 13 April 1984)

"In Islamic belief, knowledge is two-fold. There is that revealed through the Holy Prophet (s.a.s.) and that which man discovers by virtue of his own intellect. Nor do these two involve any contradiction, provided man remembers that his own mind is itself the creation of God. Without this humility, no balance is possible. With it, there are no barriers. Indeed, one strength of Islam has always lain in its belief that creation is not static but continuous, that through scientific and other endeavours, God has opened and continues to open new windows for us to see the marvels of His creation"(Aga Khan IV, Aga Khan University, 16 March 1983, Karachi, Pakistan)

"Our religious leadership must be acutely aware of secular trends, including those generated by this age of science and technology. Equally, our academic or secular elite must be deeply aware of Muslim history, of the scale and depth of leadership exercised by the Islamic empire of the past in all fields"(Aga Khan IV, 6th February 1970, Hyderabad, Pakistan)

"The creation according to Islam is not a unique act in a given time but a perpetual and constant event; and God supports and sustains all existence at every moment by His will and His thought. Outside His will, outside His thought, all is nothing, even the things which seem to us absolutely self-evident such as space and time. Allah alone wishes: the Universe exists; and all manifestations are as a witness of the Divine Will"(Memoirs of Aga Khan III, 1954)

"Thus Islam's basic principle can only be defined as mono-realism and not as monotheism. Consider, for example, the opening declaration of every Islamic prayer: "Allah-o-Akbar". What does that mean? There can be no doubt that the second word of the declaration likens the character of Allah to a matrix which contains all and gives existence to the infinite, to space, to time, to the Universe, to all active and passive forces imaginable, to life and to the soul"(Memoirs of Aga Khan III, 1954)

"Islam is fundamentally in its very nature a natural religion. Throughout the Quran God's signs (Ayats) are referred to as the natural phenomenon, the law and order of the universe, the exactitudes and consequences of the relations between natural phenomenon in cause and effect. Over and over, the stars, sun, moon, earthquakes, fruits of the earth and trees are mentioned as the signs of divine power, divine law and divine order. Even in the Ayeh of Noor, divine is referred to as the natural phenomenon of light and even references are made to the fruit of the earth. During the great period of Islam, Muslims did not forget these principles of their religion"(Aga Khan III, April 4th 1952)

"O brother! You asked: What is the [meaning of] `alam [world] and what is that entity to which this name applies? How should we describe the world in its entirety? And how many worlds are there? Explain so that we may recognize. Know, O brother, that the name `alam is derived from [the word] `ilm(knowledge), because the traces of knowledge are evident in [all] parts of the physical world. Thus, we say that the very constitution (nihad) of the world is based on a profound wisdom"(Nasir Khusraw, 11th century Ismaili cosmologist-philosopher-poet, from his book "Knowledge and Liberation")

The above are 15 quotes and excerpts taken from Blogpost Four Hundred, a collection of around 100 quotes on the subjects of Knowledge, Intellect, Creation, Science and Religion:

Noor Cultural Center, 123 Wynford Drive, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3C 1K1
Sat. April 25, 3:30 pm
Lecture Two in Dialogues of Faith and Reason Series
Special lecture series featuring Dr. Timothy Gianotti (April 18), Dr. Laury Silvers (April 25), and Dr. Bernard Lightman (May 9)

Offered in connection with Noor's Darwin and the Divine course, this special lecture series will also be of interest to the general public. The series began with an examination of different ways of knowing the world, continues with a lecture on the creation theory of one of Islam's greatest thinkers, and culminates with a discussion on Darwin's theory of evolution.

1)Ibn al-'Arabi's Cosmology and the New Creation
Dr. Laury Silvers
Date: Saturday April 25, 2009
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: Auditorium, Noor Cultural Centre
Admission: $5

The Qur'an says, "Were We then tired from the first creation that they are in doubt as to the new creation?" (50:15) For Muslims, God did not rest after creating the heavens and the earth - rather, creation continues in every passing moment. This talk will be a brief introduction to Ibn al-'Arabi's vision of the cosmos as a barzakh, an "isthmus" or a relationship struck between God and Nothing, renewed in every passing moment, on every level of existence down to the tiniest atom. Ibn al-`Arabi (d. 1240) is known as the Greatest Shaykh, one of Islamic civilizations greatest mystical thinkers, philosophers, theologians, and poets.

Laury Silvers is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion at University of Toronto. Her scholarship focuses on Islam in the Formative Period, particularly Sufism, Sufi Metaphysics, and Gender.

2)Scientists, the Public, and Natural Selection: From Darwin to Dawkins
Dr. Bernard Lightman
Date: Saturday May 9, 2009
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: Auditorium, Noor Cultural Centre
Admission: $5

This presentation will discuss how Darwin's theory of natural selection was received by Anglo-American scientists and the public since he presented it in his Origin of Species in 1859. It will explore how the changing fortunes of natural selection have affected the way the religious implications of evolution have been perceived right up to the debates between creationists and atheists like Richard Dawkins.

Bernard Lightman is Professor of Humanities at York University, Director of the new Graduate Program in Science and Technology Studies, and Editor of the history of science journal Isis. His publications include The Origins of Agnosticism and Victorian Popularizers of Science.

Volunteers needed: To volunteer for any of the lectures in the series, please sign up at http://noorculturalcentre.pbwiki.com/ or email volunteers@noorculturalcentre.ca.

Related Posts:

A Collection of Posts on Charles Darwin,a Scientist Way Ahead of His Time; Dynamic vs Static Creation; Quotes of Noble Quran, Aga Khans IV and III

The Peter McKnight Collection Of Posts On Science And Religion; Read Them Along With Blogpost Four Hundred; Quotes of Aga Khans IV and III

Knowledge Society: A Collection of Posts on the Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain; Quotes of Aga Khan IV.

Easy Nash

The Qur'an itself repeatedly recommends Muslims to become better educated in order better to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
The Quran tells us that signs of Allah's Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives: Aga Khan IV(2007)
Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2006)
The Holy Qu'ran's encouragement to study nature and the physical world around us gave the original impetus to scientific enquiry among Muslims: Aga Khan IV(1985)
The first and only thing created by God was the Intellect(Aql): Prophet Muhammad(circa 632CE)