Beliefs & Practices, Chapter 08, Islam & Modernism / Sunday, August 17th, 2008

In the last few years the historical achievements attained by American scientists in the field of space technology,
particularly the incident of man’s landing on the moon, has attracted the attention of the entire world. Undoubtedly, the amazing journey of Apollos in to space has presented a wonderful exposure of human intellect. The success achieved by them is extremely valuable and a historical marvel from the scientific point of view. They have indeed demonstrated the highest accuracy of mathematical calculations and technological implementation of the scientific ideas. They are able to make prediction of extraordinary circumstances.

The first time man has examined the moon from so near through these spacecrafts. If a century ago somebody claimed that mail had reached the moon by flying in the space or that he had seen the earth rising from the horizon of the moon, it would have been considered a fabulous Story of the Arabian Nights. It is a reality today.

Every phase of this journey, right from the “take off’ of the spacecraft to its successful landing on the earth, is an extremely amazing feat for the common man. From the purely scientific point of view this journey is an achievement that can never be forgotten. But this is only one side of the Picture (Taking in view the end result of this wonderful journey reminds us of an incident that occurred at the time of Caliph Haroon al Rasheed.

It is stated that a certain person sought the permission of the Caliph to present an astonishing performance in his court. When the permission was granted he erected a needle upright on the floor and himself stood at some distance with a few needles in his hand. Then he took one of those needles in the other hand, aimed at the needle on the floor, and threw the needle in his hand toward it. People saw that this needle passed through the eye of the needle on the floor. He repeated this performance several times and never missed the target even once.

On seeing this astonishing feat the Caliph ordered, “Give him ten dinars, and punish him with ten lashes!” The courtiers asked for an explanation of this equally astonishing reward. The Caliph said, “He gets ten dinars for his accuracy of aim, truthfulness and ambition, as a reward. But he will get ten lashes as a punishment for spending his capabilities in a thing that is of no benefit to any one materially or spiritually.”

This incident of the prudence and wit of Haroon al Rasheed is fully applicable to the space-race of the present times. In fact one feels obliged to commend and praise the scientists on the remarkable feat of landing on the moon who have set unique records of their technical and intellectual skill and their courage and endurance. But when we see how much mental, financial and physical energy of mankind has been spent on this and what did humanity receive in return, this very achievement becomes an international crime.

Since there are several misunderstandings perplexing in the minds of the people we would discuss the matter in some detail.

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