Religion versus Science

  • Sayyid Jamal al-Din al-Afghani


M. Renan wanted to clarify a point of the history of the Arabs that had remained unclear until now and to throw a living light on their past, a light that may be somewhat troubling for those who venerate these people, though one cannot say that he has usurped the place and rank that they formerly occupied in the world. M. Renan has not at all tried, we believe, to destroy the glory of the Arabs, which is indestructible; he has applied himself to discovering historical truth and making it known to those who do not know it, as well as to those who study the influence of religions on the history of nations, and in particular on that of civilization. I hasten to recognize that M. Renan has acquitted himself marvelously of this very difficult task, in citing certain facts that have passed unnoticed until this time. I find in his talk remarkable observations, new perceptions, and an indescribable charm. However, I have under my eyes only a more or less faithful translation of this talk. If I had had the opportunity to read it in the French text, I could have penetrated better the ideas of this great thinker. He receives my humble salutation as an homage that is due him and as the sincere expression of my admiration. I would say to him, finally, in these circumstances, what al-Mutanabbi, a poet who loved philosophy, wrote several centuries ago to a high personage whose actions he celebrated: “Receive,” he said to him, “the praises that I can give you; do not force me to bestow on you the praises that you merit.”


Arab World Muslim Country Great Thinker Christian Religion Arab Civilization 
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© Mansoor Moaddel and Kamran Talattof 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sayyid Jamal al-Din al-Afghani

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