* Dr. Mohammed Ali Albar delivered a presentation about Contemporary Western Bioethics Philosophy in which he compares and explains the difference between the Islamic and western religious theories
"There are two predominant philosophical theories. Utilitarians Act would argue that if breaking a certain promise in a certain case brings more happiness, then the promise should be broken. Donation of an organ or organs from a living donor should not cause more or an equal harm to the donor, even if the donor is competent adult who consented to donate with his free will. Utilitarians considered brain dead persons as candidate donors, without any need for the consent of the family. Each brain death case can save several patients suffering from end stage organ failure e.g. kidney, liver, heart, etc. and hence many persons could be saved. The authorities in many European countries agreed to that. Such philosophy was adopted by President Bush (Junior) and his administration, allowing torture of those suspected with terrorism or resistant movements in Abu Gharib (Baghdad), Pagram (Afghanistan), Guantanamo (Cuba part occupied by USA) or sent to dictators allied to USA to torture the suspects outside USA,(Rendition).
The other philosphy is Deontology: Kantian Obligation-Based, Categorical Theory. Deontology is a moral philosophy which implies doing what we ought to do, whatever may be the consequences. Lying is never a virtue even if it is done to save an innocent human life. Similarly breaking the promise to take one’s children to a picnic, even if one of the parents fell ill at the same time and needs our help is not allowed. It seems too much and goes beyond intuition and common reason which will definitely accept lying to save an innocent person’s life, or to help parents in their illness."
Read more here.
* Poetic Heart theme for this year is Poetic Journey. Their 2019 symposium was at held building of the Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies. Dr. Shihab Ghanem was one of the participants who lectured in the symposium and revealed his latest translation of poetry from Indian to English.
Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Al Tamim was present the awards.
Follow the symposium here.
* Alumnus Farooq Murshed sent his condolences and sympathies on the death of the late Mohamed Girgrah Alshiba in November 2019. He prayed that alumnus Mohamed will rest in peace.
* An article by Imran Khan appeared in the Arab News; a leading English daily in Saudi Arabia-an eye opener which communicates real feelings of many a true Muslims in these trying times.
"WHY The West Craves Materialism & The East Sticks To Religion".
By Imran Khan
My generation grew up at a time when colonial hang up was at its peak. Our older generation had been slaves and had a huge inferiority complex of the British. The school I went to was similar to all elite schools in Pakistan. Despite gaining independence, they were, and still are, producing replicas of public schoolboys rather than Pakistanis.
I read Shakespeare, which was fine, but no Allama Iqbal - the national poet of Pakistan.
The class on Islamic studies was not taken seriously, and when I left school I was considered among the elite of the country because I could speak English and wore Western clothes.
Despite periodically shouting 'Pakistan Zindabad' in school functions, I considered my own culture backward and religion outdated. Among our group if any one talked about religion, prayed or kept a beard he was immediately branded a Mullah.
Because of the power of the Western media, our heroes were Western movie stars or pop stars. When I went to Oxford already burdened with this hang up, things didn't get any easier. At Oxford, not just Islam, but all religions were considered anachronism.
Science had replaced religion and if something couldn't be logically proved it did not exist. All supernatural stuff was confined to the movies. Philosophers like Darwin, who with his half-baked theory of evolution had supposedly disproved the creation of men and hence religion, were read and revered.
Moreover, European history reflected its awful experience with religion. The horrors committed by the Christian clergy during the Inquisition era had left a powerful impact on the Western mind.
To understand why the West is so keen on secularism, one should go to places like Cordoba in Spain and see the torture apparatus used during the Spanish Inquisition. Also the persecution of scientists as heretics by the clergy had convinced the Europeans that all religions are regressive.
However, the biggest factor that drove people like me away from religion was the selective Islam practiced by most of its preachers. In short, there was a huge difference between what they practiced and what they preached.
Also, rather than explaining the philosophy behind the religion, there was an overemphasis on rituals.
I feel that humans are different to animals. While, the latter can be drilled, humans need to be intellectually convinced. That is why the Qur'an constantly appeals to reason. The worst, of course, was the exploitation of Islam for political gains by various individuals or groups.
Hence, it was a miracle I did not become an atheist. The only reason why I did not was the powerful religious influence my mother wielded on me since my childhood. It was not so much out of conviction but love for her that I stayed a Muslim.
However, my Islam was selective. I accepted only parts of the religion that suited me.
Prayers were restricted to Eid days and occasionally on Fridays, when my father insisted on taking me to the mosque with him.
All in all I was smoothly moving to becoming a Pukka Brown Sahib. After all I had the right credentials in terms of school, university and, above all, acceptability in the English aristocracy, something that our brown sahibs would give their lives for. So what led me to do a 'lota' on the Brown Sahib culture and instead become a 'desi'?
Well it did not just happen overnight.
Firstly, the inferiority complex that my generation had inherited gradually went as I developed into a world-class athlete.
Secondly, I was in the unique position of living between two cultures. I began to see the advantages and the disadvantages of both societies. In Western societies, institutions were strong while they were collapsing in our country. However, there was an area where we were and still are superior, and that is our family life.
I began to realize that this was the Western society's biggest loss. In trying to free itself from the oppression of the clergy, they had removed both God and religion from their lives.
While science, no matter how much it progresses, can answer a lot of questions-two questions it will never be able to answer:
One, what is the purpose of our existence and
two, what happens to us when we die?
It is this vacuum that I felt created the materialistic and the hedonistic culture. If this is the only life then one must make hay while the sun shines-and in order to do so one needs money. Such a culture is bound to cause psychological problems in a human being, as there was going to be an imbalance between the body and the soul.
Consequently, in the US, which has shown the greatest materialistic progress while giving its citizens numerous rights, almost 60 percent of the population consult psychiatrists. Yet, amazingly in modern psychology, there is no study of the human soul. Sweden and Switzerland, who provide the most welfare to their citizens, also have the highest suicide rates. Hence, man is not necessarily content with material well being and needs something more.
Since all morality has it roots in religion, once religion was removed, immorality has progressively grown since the 70s. Its direct impact has been on family life. In the UK, the divorce rate is 60 percent, while it is estimated that there are over 35 percent single mothers.
The crime rate is rising in almost all Western societies, but the most disturbing fact is the alarming increase in racism. While science always tries to prove the inequality of man (recent survey showing the American Black to be genetically less intelligent than whites) it is only religion that preaches the equality of man.
Between 1991 and 1997, it was estimated that total immigration into Europe was around 520,000, and there were racially motivated attacks all over, especially in Britain, France and Germany. In Pakistan during the Afghan war, we had over four million refugees, and despite the people being so much poorer, there was no racial tension.
There was a sequence of events in the 80s that moved me toward God as the Qur'an says: 'There are signs for people of understanding. 'One of them was cricket. As I was a student of the game, the more I understood the game, the more I began to realize that what I considered to be chance was, in fact, the will of Allah. A pattern which became clearer with time. But it was not until Salman Rushdie's 'Satanic Verses' that my understanding of Islam began to develop.
People like me who were living in the Western world bore the brunt of anti-Islam prejudice that followed the Muslim reaction to the book. We were left with two choices: fight or flight.
Since I felt strongly that the attacks on Islam were unfair, I decided to fight. It was then I realized that I was not equipped to do so as my knowledge of Islam was inadequate.
Follow the article here.