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The Limits of the Scientific Mindset – The Parable of the Storm

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Quran 2:19:

Or (another similitude) is that of a rain-laden cloud from the sky: In it are zones of darkness, and thunder and lightning: They press their fingers in their ears to keep out the stunning thunder-clap, the while they are in terror of death. But Allah is ever round the rejecters of Faith! (Yusuf Ali Translation)

The following excerpt is taken from “The Message of the Quran” by Muhammad Asad pg. 17 Note 12:

‘The obvious implication is: “but He does not will this” – that is, He does not preclude
the possibility that “those who have taken error in exchange for guidance” may one day
perceive the truth and mend their ways. The expression “their hearing and their sight”
is obviously a metonym for man’s instinctive ability to discern between good and evil
and, hence, for his moral responsibility. – In the parable of the “people who kindle a
fire” we have, I believe, an allusion to some people’s exclusive reliance on what is
termed the “scientific approach” as a means to illumine and explain all the imponderables
of life and faith, and the resulting arrogant refusal to admit that anything could be
beyond the reach of man’s intellect. This “overweening arrogance”, as the Qur’an terms
it, unavoidably exposes its devotees – and the society dominated by them – to the
lightning of disillusion which “well-nigh takes away their sight”, i.e., still further
weakens their moral perception and deepens their “terror of death” ‘


Asad, Muhammad (1980). The Message of the Quran.

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