The basic sources of Islam - the Qur'an and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad - place a great deal of importance on science. So, theoretically, the relationship between Islam and science is both close and very deep. It was this relationship that established science as an integral part of Muslim culture and civilisation. During the classical period, from the ninth to fifteenth century, Muslim scholars pursued science as famine stricken people hanker after food. Science not only flourished in Muslim societies but became synonymous with Islam. But the decline was just as spectacular. Why did Muslim societies abandon the pursuit of science? Why is science so conspicuously absent from Muslim societies? Why are theory and practice so out of sync? This lecture explores these questions and argues that a viable, dynamic culture of Islam is not possible without a serious infusion of the scientific spirit. Science belongs at the very heart of Islamic culture and the survival of Muslim civilisation itself is intrinsically linked to its troubled relationship with science.
Ziauddin Sardar is a writer, broadcaster and cultural critic. He is currently Honorary Visiting Professor in the School of Arts, The City University, London and is considered a pioneering writer on Islam, science and contemporary cultural issues, he has been described as ' Britain 's own Muslim polymath'.
This lecture is generously supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.