Both Sufism and theology(ilm-i-kalam) have been instrumental in turning the rise of science into decline among Muslims. Historically both elements triggered scientific downfall among Muslim societies. The Sufis humiliated the capacity and functionality of the material mind, the intellect, and preferred the revelation of the heart. In this way, the knowledge seeker was tempted and prevented from using the material mind, observation and mathematics rather self-purification was given priority which was not to be found and could not be found.
On the other hand, a thousand years ago, the medium of Theology (ilm-i-kalam) came to the fore to accuse believers as infidels. The pioneer of this scheme was Imam Ghazali. He began the process of testing new ideas in light of Qur’an and Hadith. By declaring Ibn Sina and Al-Farabi etc. as infidels, he endangered the lives and faith of their followers too. Since then, the slogan of “Threat to Islam” has been echoing against knowledge, reason and critical thinking.
Although the destruction of Baghdad by the Mongol army and the burning of Dar al-Hikma (City of Wisdom) may be considered as a formal declaration of the end of the Golden Age of the Muslims, little attention is paid to the reasons for not being able to rise after this destruction. After all, those who started from scratch and rose to prominence could have risen again after that loss, because now, outside of Baghdad, there were scholarly books of their elders that later benefited Europe.
Shortly afterwards, Muslims restored political and economic power in the form of the Ottoman Empire, the Safavid Empire, and the Mughal Empire, but the scientific decline continued. The reason for this was the double-edged sword of Sufism and Takfeer. Ibn Taymiyyah (Scholar/Mujaddid) promoted takfeer started by Imam al-Ghazali and ignorance began to dance everywhere. He bullied logic by writing, Ar-Radd ‘ala al-Mantiqiyyin (The refutation of the Logicians)
Nowadays, Ghamdi’s social media pages and channels are waging a literal jihad against Shirk, (Sin of idolatry or polytheism i.e., the deification or worship of anyone or anything besides Allah) even though Ghamdi himself fled from Pakistan out of fear of such thinking and is hiding in a country of polytheists like the United States. Today, Ghamdi is spreading sugar-coated takfiriyyah against Sufism, sniffing out “shirk” and “kufr” from their books.
People considered Ghamdi to be a follower of Imam-Ibn-Rushd. He turned out to be a follower of Ibn-Taymiyyah. Ghamdi was also linked to a thousand-year-old takfeeri chain of command, in the name of theology (ilm-i-kalam), which began in the time of Imam al-Ghazali that led the Muslims from their Golden Age to “Boko Haram” and the blowing up of schools by Taliban. We have to move from the ignorance of Sufism to the light of science instead of the blind alley to Wahhabism (A conservative Islamic creed centered in and emanating from Saudi Arabia) and Takfiriyyah.
The fatwas of polytheism and disbelief restrict thinking and make the researcher victim of dual thoughts and an ideology which could be in conflict with his faith. If we do not get rid of the intellectual terrorism poised by Imam Ghazali and Ibn-Taymiyyah centuries ago, then the next thousand years will pass in intellectual bankruptcy and obliviousness too. Ghamdi is doing the same thing with clean shave and make-up as Dr. Israr Ahmed and Zakir Naik used to do with beards.
Few years back, with elegant western suiting and fluent English, Dr. Zakir Naik was considered a torch-bearer of modern ideas. Parents were satisfied with their children attending to his preaching. But his propagandizing resulted in the finding of terrorists from the youth of modern educational institutions, examples of which abound from Saad Aziz of Karachi to Rohan Imtiaz of Dhaka. 15-20 years, down the line, the clean-shaven jihadists will attack every person and group that Ghamdi has stamped with shirk and parallel religion. Because the basic ‘Takfiriyyah” is right there, just the tone and the words are different. These words are also pulling an individual out from the dark pit of ‘Sufism’ into the blind well of ‘Wahhabism’.
We have to adopt the scientific thinking of Imam Ibn-Rushd and Imam Ibn Sina etc. Beliefs should not be the medium to differentiate between a Muslim and an infidels and the right of others to intellectual freedom must be respected. The time has come to throw the antagonists of science, theology (ilm-i-kalam), into the dustbin of history.