One does not have to look too deep to find the reasons for the dreadful drought of Science and Technology in the lands of Islam. Simply look at the history of King Faisal International Prize, an annual award sponsored by the King Faisal Foundation of Saudi Arabia presented to men and women who make positive contributions in five categories: Service to Islam, Islamic Studies, Arabic language and literature, Science and Medicine, and you will have the answer.

From 1979 till 2015, not a single Scientist or Doctor of Medicine from an Islamic country had received the award of Science and Medicine. Of course, the awards in other categories particularly the service to Islam went to the great minds of Muslims. Interestingly, one of those great minds, Abd Al-Aziz Bin Baz, a former grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, had issued a Fatwa (Islamic Decree) declaring the earth being flat. Since the poor Mufti was blind, one can give him the benefits of doubts. But what about the recipient of this year Zakir A Naik , an Indian TV preacher of Islam who had said, ”If Osama Bin Laden is fighting enemies of Islam, I am for him.” Zakir has also said that the “Theory of Evolution” is only a hypothesis. Prior to Zakir, Ahmad H Deedat, a South African Islamic preacher also got the award in 1986. One should not expect from these guys that they would encourage Muslim youth to study science.  They are the master orators of religions and take great pride in debating other master orators of other religions. They claim victory when their audience gets the false sense of superiority over other religions by listening to their meaningless debates. Unfortunately, the majority does not accept the fact that they are the chips of the same block with shrewd business skills.

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At least, it is commendable that King Faisal Foundation acknowledges the importance of Science and Medicine and one can hope that there would be some future recipients of this award belonging to Islamic world. However, it would be wise for the foundation to clearly define the “Service to Islam” category and stop awarding the prize to those who often contradict science and logic. There are many Muslims who have been servicing Islam by encouraging reasoning and logic. They should be discovered and rewarded. It is encouraging to see that the foundation has given 2015 Science award to an American of Jordanian origin. May be it is a good Omen!     

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