Spiritualising Science, Embracing Technology

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By Dr. Nor Saadah Mohd Yusof, Class of 2003

In this era, toys for kids are gadgets, not sticks or dirt. Teenagers are “plugged in” to Spotify, and not to the world. Adults connect through social media, and forget how to exchange smiles with a simple hello. Many cannot even recall their spouse’s number, or know how to get to places without phones. Less people are starving for food, but more struggle to feed their addiction to technology. Karl Marx once said, “The production of too many useful things result in too many useless people”.

Undeniably; dependency on technological advancement in this world is crucial, either to the Jetsons or the Flintstones. But, personally I don’t agree to the aforesaid quotation by Karl Marx. Humans are intelligent. We do appreciate the ease of technological aids, but most importantly, we advance with the current technologies. As another popular quotation, “To live is to learn, to learn is to know, to know is to grow, to grow is to give, and to give is to live.” This is how science lives and mankind evolves along. We are responsible in making the world go round.

In shaping the world, we are blessed with amazing tools and awesome materials from nature. Just like coming up with new recipes – we can use different tools and ways of preparation, with one aim: to satisfy our taste buds. The same concept applies for science and research.

But where do we find these tools?

ٱلَّذِينَ يَذۡكُرُونَ ٱللَّهَ قِيَٰمٗا وَقُعُودٗا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِهِمۡ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلۡقِ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقۡتَ هَٰذَا بَٰطِلٗا سُبۡحَٰنَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ ٱلنَّارِ

Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or (lying) on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth (saying), “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You (above such a thing); then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.” – 3:191

The obvious answer is, we find the tools by coming back to our Creator. We shape the world by being thankful to Him. Allah created light, and we use it to invent laser technology. Allah created wind, and we utilize it to power turbines. Allah created water, and we have hydroelectric power plant. Allah created sound, and look at all the wonders it can do. And Science made all of these possible. Science answered to Him – turning what He gave to good use.

This is what I see in Science. Advancement does not isolate individuals. Technology does not create selfish generations. Instead, Science demands us to think, to connect and to build. Science has brought us closer to one another, and more importantly, closer to Him.

So, what went wrong?

To me, the answer is very simple. Things went wrong when we stop thinking and thanking. We take flights for holidays and we don’t think of the birds. We look at our phones all day, and we no longer think of our loved ones. We have a nice lunch, and we don’t think of our natural food resources. We visit all the wonders of the world, and we don’t think of the Creator behind the beauty. So which of the favours of our Creator would we deny?

فَبِأَيِّ ءَالَآءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ

So which of the favours of your Lord would you deny? – 55:13

Dr. Nor Saadah is currently serving in the Department of Chemistry, University Malaya

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