In the path of the Imam (40)
Welcome to this week's episode of the series "In the Path of the Imam". Today, we discuss the concept of beneficial science and its manifestations in the view of the Founder of Islamic Republic of Iran, late Imam Khomeini (God's mercy upon him).
In the previous weeks, we discussed topics such as daily prayers, fasting in the holy month of Ramadan, promotion of virtues and prevention of vice, Hajj pilgrimage, and Jihad, in the religious viewpoint of the Father of Islamic Revolution, late Imam Khomeini (God's mercy upon him). Today, we intend to familiarize you with the concept of beneficial science. As you know, science is one of the important concepts in the divine religion of Islam, which in addition to maintaining ideological and personal aspects, has social and global dimensions; given that the topic of science is a subject which belongs to, and is related to mankind, extending beyond regional, religious, and personal realms. Study and analysis of the status of science in the view of late Imam, especially elaboration of the concept of beneficial science, plays a decisive and important role in the perception and understanding of the standpoints, and insight of the Father of Islamic Revolution toward the contemporary world.
Late Imam's standpoint toward science is rooted in his religious and ideological view. In other words, in order to understand the outlook of late Imam toward science, one should refer to Islamic teachings, as the source of his standpoint. As you are well aware of, science maintains an elevated and prominent status in sacred religion of Islam. Several ayahs of Holy Quran point out that science and scientists are of paramount importance, and have a unique status in the divine religion of Islam. One of the first ayahs of Holy Quran which have been revealed and descended to the Prophet of Islam, Mohammad (Blessings of God upon him and his progeny), revolves round reading and education. Basically, one of the goals behind the prophet hood of divine prophets has been education, which once again goes to show the significant importance of science and knowledge in Quranic outlook.
Holy Quran, in addition to calling on people and the faithful to acquire knowledge, urges them to contemplate and ponder about the universe, as well as the divine signs and manifestations. Furthermore, God Almighty invites His servitudes to ponder about the creation of universe, earth, animals, and plants and to learn lessons from the previous generations. Holy Quran has never invited any servitude of God to do something which is not based on wisdom or to carry out a deed blindly and in the absence of any contemplation. Additionally, Holy Quran has clearly named knowledge as one of the criteria which distinguish individuals from one another.
In addition to ayahs of Holy Quran, Prophet Mohammad's keynote remarks and tradition manifest and point out the elevated status of science and acquirement of knowledge in the divine religion of Islam. One of the main topics pointed out in the Islamic outlook toward acquirement of knowledge, is that emphasis has been put on acquisition of knowledge and maintenance of faith in God, both. This standpoint is in complete contrast to the view of the Church in Middle Ages. In Christian ideology, especially in the bleak era of the Middle Ages, science and knowledge was considered to be detrimental toward faith, and the faithful were dissuaded from acquirement of knowledge. However, based on the outlook of sacred religion of Islam, science and acquirement of knowledge plays a complementary role toward religion. In the Islamic outlook, the outcome of acquirement of knowledge is attainment of proximity to God Almighty. In Islamic standpoint, science and knowledge is a means for accomplishing faith in God. However, knowledge can also turn into a means for derailment from the righteous path. In other words, science and knowledge acts as a double-edged sword, which can serve personal and collective prosperity, or lead to the derailment of the individual and the community from the righteous path. In the view of sacred religion of Islam; true science, which leads to, and serves the individual and community's prosperity in the mortal world and Hereafter is the "beneficial science".
Late Imam, in his writings, pointed out that a science which is not beneficial is not appropriate. The beneficial knowledge is provided by the divine prophets and figures; which are namely knowledge about God Almighty, the Hidden World, divine revelations and Holy Books, which are provided by divine prophets and figures, philosophers, and mystics. The other beneficial science is the knowledge of ethics, and terms of acquirement of ethical virtues, and avoidance of immoralities, which are provided by divine prophets and figures and Ulema of ethics and Islamic teachings. The third beneficial knowledge includes the science of Jurisprudence and its principles, the knowledge of mannerism and terms of interaction with others, which is provided by the divine prophets and figures, Ulema, jurisprudents, and hadith scholars.
Martyr Morteza Mottahari, who was one of the students and followers of the Father of Islamic Revolution, late Imam, considered the division of sciences into religious and non-religious sciences as incorrect. He emphasized that "given the comprehensive nature of the divine religion of Islam, any beneficial science which is necessary for the Islamic community should be considered a religious science."
This outlook blends acquirement of knowledge with faith in God, and considers the two of them as the two wings of the Islamic community for attainment of prosperity in the mortal world and Hereafter.