Education

Fulfulde Poem In Honour of Engr. Nuhu Gidado

1. Waru nderɗam mi yeccuma hala goɗɗo giɗaɗo
Inde mako ko moye andi Nuhu Gidado
To mi timmini hala am a famai o giɗaɗo
Yeso Allah ma mi ɗon hammi o giɗaɗo

2. Ha jeyaɓe Allah fu o goɗɗo giɗaɗo
Sundu firoru fu noddimo Gidado
Lingu nder ndiyam fu andi o giɗaɗo
Ñu’ngu fu aibatamo gam o giɗaɗo.

3. Na mere non tan o warti giɗaɗo
Gikku mako tan wartirimo giɗaɗo
Nder ɓer’nde mako sam o wala ngañaɗo
Deni fu o ɗon nder seyo mako

4. Jungo mako ɗon hokka bano loddo
Ɓer’nde mako ɗon nana bone goɗɗo
Na o ñaɗɗo sam dow goɗɗo
Ko nasti jungo mako fu o hokki goɗɗo

5. Barjari mako fu ɗon nder bindi Sheniɗo
Gam o dariɗo masin dow Dina mako
Boɗɗi mako fu na ni o andina goɗɗo
Pulaaku mako hauti eh Dina mako.

6. Min kam nder ɓer’nde am o shuɓaɗo
Ɓawo Abba am mi wala bano mako
Nde mi andamo ma eh ɓer’nde am o giɗaɗo
Ɓer’nde am sai laɓa tas to goɗɗo wi mi
sahabo mako

7. Allah suru goɗɗo am gam o giɗaɗo
Allah foɗu balde nder imanaku Gidado
Allah ɓamtu daraja Modibbo Gidado
Allah wallu Ndottijo Nuhu Gidado.

8. Allah yafu dañoɓe Nuhu Gidado
Allah yafu Waziri dañuɗo ɓiɗɗo gabɗo
Allah yajjin walande Dada Nuhu Gidado
O dañani ummatore ɓiɗɗo belaaɗo.

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Education

Cosmic Inspiration.

In what might be to some, a futile effort to dispel the popular assumption that the students of science know nothing about emotions but dry logic and syllogistic hair splitting, I contrived the following quatrains to show that we also, as Stephen Hawking said “need love, care and warmth”.

It is open for criticism but I know some masters of the art would just dismiss it as “unconventional” but, during his lifetime, Ralph Waldo Emerson would have none of their judgements because he believed that originality is better than conventionality. I am also convinced of my “jumbles” because whatever; they bare out, good or bad, the actual contents of my heart.

Here we go:

1. Still It is One that It Was
‘ch now seems two Is One as It Was
Delusion then has it cast
Many shadows of One that Was

2. So my Sweetheart let us go
Even as shadows, hands clasped let us go
Into the Cosmos we shall go
Back to the Cosmos we shall go

3. I shall never let go of You
Nay, I get bemused by the words I and You
Fallen off the shadows I see only I and You
Just a vision of You in I and I in You

4. I love that I got this mad
So I no longer know what is man
Shadows of the Self on Self Land
Inspired, the shadow thinks is man

5. Whenever I say I is a moment of delusion of
of a shadow of Thine
An alone but never lonely shadow I
Know Thy shall send a lone pair of mine
Complimentary shadows shall Combine

6. Thou shall bring yin and yang
When all shadows You rip apart
Then, real shadows see no part
But only the One that Was

7. In the annihilated shadows is set
The real Cosmic journey with no end
All shadows then must end
No more shadow shall have a grain

8. A burning desire I ask of You
Absorb and dissolve I into You
When none shall Be but You
I desire no place but in the Core of You.

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Education

Freewill And Determinism: An Opinion

The headline says a lot about what I am going to write about the subject; it is going to be a philosophical and scientific opinion without any religious authority because the intrinsic nature of the former two is scepticism, one can never express, with full confidence, what he or she can say is the absolute and exact way things are as they are in themselves.
I decided to avoid religion for two reasons; the foremost is that I am ignorant of the subject matter. The second is that for about a millennium, scholars; theologians, philosophers of religion, the scholastics, Mu’tazilites, the Ash’aris, the maturudis and other orthodox and traditional scholars had exhaustively discussed and debated this question without any success of achieving a convincing consensus and none of the groups had presented us with a simple, non dualistic, not complex, absolute and reliable position. Many learned people asking my inconsequential self to write about this matter is a clear indication that the perplexity is still strong in human minds as it was centuries ago and an alternative view is still in need as it was.
It is obvious that people are plagued with fear about their ultimate destiny. Nobody is exempted from this fear, from the ordinary masses, the most religious people – some of whom are so religious out of fear of their past or present actions in the hope that their dedication to religion would help erase the evil deeds from their records. That makes some of the worst criminals in history easily give up their evil acts and become devout religious people.
The only thing I would like to say about Islam before proceeding to make my philosophical and scientific analysis about how the human mind operates is that we ought to acknowledge the fact that Islam is a reality not an ideal and this idea cannot be free from translating the laws of Nature into human affairs; I strictly adhere to that because I am convinced that Nature itself is a book full of hints about the reality of human life. No doubt, Islam, like the Old Testament; is full of tough laws governing human behaviour, their legal codes are the strictest when viewed unilaterally. By unilaterally, I mean that without including the view that God is oft – forgiving, infinitely Merciful, one of His names is love – al-Wadud and many other soft attributes of God. These soft attributes are there to make for our weakness and assuage our fears and the ideal laws are there to restrain us. We fornicate which is forbidden by the law but when we repent; we become as clean as ever no matter how many times because God never gets tired of looking at His servants through the window of mercy and forgiveness. The same thing applies when we tell lies or gossip.
We are the embodiment of Nature, Nature itself is fashioned after our attributes and we are, at the same time, part of Nature. Therefore, whatever obtains in the laws of Nature is equally found in us; one of the most fundamental properties of Nature is the fact that the ideal laws of it never translate into reality with absolute efficiency. The same applies to human beings; we can never, never obey the absolute laws of our religions with absolute efficiency. Our live is a wiggly curve because that thing we call friction in Nature that hinders its laws from really working in a hundred percent of efficiency is also there in us. We swerve to the left, to the right like someone high on Alomo. In the end, our swerving is measured on a scale to determine how far we have stayed on the right and how far have we stayed on the left.
The three paragraphs above are completely dedicated to alleviate the deep fear that has grown to determine our psychological and socioeconomic behaviour to the extent that we project a fatalistic view of life; that we cannot do anything to help ourselves, waiting for the intervention from Providence to save us from our self created situations. The religious concept of determinism, as far as I am concerned, did not mean to take us to that extreme. We forget. Or we are in the delusion that the laws of God work somewhere in distant space not in our practical day to day life where we see that those who struggle and plan are far better off than those who sit down and say God has a provision for every mouth He created.
Now we go into the actual philosophical and scientific incision into the human mind. We will first invoke the first Athropic Principle which, in this case should be rendered as; “we are already here, else no one would be asking the question of whether we are free or determined”. This is absolutely true because none of us decided that the Universe should come into existence, none of us decided the existence of humankind and with the sophistication or otherwise that we have. None of us chose to be born, none of us chose his parents and immediate environment or where to be born, none of us chose his or her childhood circumstances, health conditions and so on and so forth.
These fundamental questions are a clear prove that at the fundamental level, we are absolutely determined because there is no streak of our Will that played a role in the coming to being of all those elements and circumstances which are to determine our choices for the rest of our life. But that is not all, there are circumstances where freewill pops up from the aforementioned, determined conditions without contradiction, let’s keep going.
Let me digress a little and honour and invitation extended to me yesterday to discuss the same subject but, unfortunately, I had no time or, rather; I was not in the proper frame of mind to participate. I gleaned from the post that the lead discussant explained the problem in terms spacetime and a personal God. Well, everybody has his own view of God; but, from the little physics and cosmology that I studied, it made no meaning to me to bring spacetime and a personal God into a discussion like this. It is inappropriate for us that whatever we gleaned from science, we hasten to form absolute opinions about it especially opinions in religion or philosophy. My reason is that; even the giants of cosmology are still not sure, with any grain of certainty, what spacetime actually looks like. It is one of the most rebellious questions in science because even under one theory, it dances from one form to another. The capriciousness of spacetime gets worse when examined from the perspective of two different theories; it gets so violent that it scares the hell out of physicists.
Especially, I am averse to the mere mention of the Big Bang Theory, let alone assuming it as the incontrovertible origin of the Universe. As I recently said, it is a contraption dished out to the non scientific masses, perhaps, to have them quietened and stop pestering the scientist as they go about their business without external disturbance. Within the departments of mathematics, theoretical physics and cosmology and renowned institutions for such sciences around the world, there is more confusion about spacetime than understanding and the Big Bang Model has been a far flung trash for some decades ago. The current competing theories include Eternal Inflation, Wormholes Theory of Infinite Bulges on an Eternal Balloon, Steady State Theory revisited and a lot more.
I have noticed that I am running into pages and our audience prefer short articles. So I rest here and, next time, we will continue from where we stopped. But you know the level of regularity of your travelling companion (smile), but we will try to cover it in time.
Thank you for reading and best regards.

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Education, religion

Almajirci: Problems, Solutions and Unexplored Possibilities III  

By Hajara Bukar 

Growing without discipline, ambition and self esteem

“Ask not what your country can do for you; rather ask what you can do for your country.”~~John Fitzgerald Kennedy. 

The above statement would sound to any discerning mind as if the man was addressing Nigerians. This is a country in which virtually every citizen expects the government to do everything for him; a country in which everything that goes wrong is blamed on the government if a whirlwind of hurricane passes, the government is blamed. But at an individual and communal level what are we doing to sanitise our society? What have we done to make our respective communalities more organised, more secure and, therefore, well poised for progress?

Of course the government is the primary stakeholder in society but not the only one; our society belongs to us the individuals, government is just an abstraction. The truth is that every one of us is individually responsible for his life and, as a result, needs to do whatever it would take to ensure peace and tranquillity that will guarantee his individual development. One should therefore, cooperate with his nearest neighbours to work out a well organised, safe, and peaceful environment necessary for one’s individual activities.

We are talking about almajirci which has become a social mess amidst all of us and no sensible person would wait for any government to come clean the mess in his house. The government’s best tool of doing things is the law. If the governments at all were to exclusively clear the issue without cooperating with the society and individuals, the best way for it is to pass a law prohibiting it and order the law enforcement agencies, the police to enforce the law by arresting and prosecuting defaulters. Knowing the behaviour of our people, one does not need a soothsayer or prophet to tell him that it is going to trigger a bloody conflict. I, therefore, think that way should not be our first option, nay; it should not even be part our options on the table. Moreover, the government would be reluctant to act that way due to its hunger for votes. The man at the helm of our government today did it forcefully and effectively when he sat on the chair as a military dictator, but now; being a democratically elected president who seeks for one more term in office; he would dare not send to the legislature a bill as such nor would any lawmaker agree to be the one to move a motion of that feature.

Since it is obvious that the government is technically inept in confronting social issues as such, I don’t think we, as collective individuals, should not stand aloof or remain disinterested passersby as the social menace heaps up like an anthill in our societies. The anthill that we might now take for granted may one day grow into a mountain that will volcanically erupt and spew molten lava that would not choose its victim; is it not that kind of mountain or an allied one that has  been spewing such a molten lava that has already burned thousands of lives and property? Yes it has spewed so much lava in the North-Eastern part of this country; not only there, the rest of the country was never safe from the mayhem. It all happened because parents and the society as a whole took it for granted when youngsters were busy embracing and being indoctrinated with a weird religious ideology that was incompatible with the norms and values of the society and out of phase with present day realities.

If we were to learn only one lesson from the Boko Haram tale of tragedy, it should be that governments, our government at least, gets serious about confronting any social malaise only when it has already gone out of control. Everybody can hide under the grossly misunderstood phrase of the freedom of religion to propagate any sort of social incongruence as the government looks the other way or pretends not have perceived the disastrous consequences of a certain social weirdness that blossoms and flourishes in the society. Had the parents of those little children that were turned child soldiers or “killing machines” seriously frowned and took effective measures when the children were tending to and embracing the extremist ideology and; had the society as collective individuals done the needful to muffle the voice of such an ideology, this bloodletting could have been avoided. Parents and the rest of society can be excused for not being able to predict where the movement was leading to, hence, taking it for granted as their children embraced the new ideology. But security agencies with all their experts in the nature of social degeneration to insecurity have no excuse.

For the society as collective individuals, I would like to say once beaten, twice shy. Some people simply argue that almajirci would be phased out as the society progresses. That is an act of self delusion! The population of almajiris wandering about as vagabonds is too large to be ignored whereby as any society progresses in unison, any conservative element is a form of resistance and one does not need to be told that most of the Tsangayas or almajiri school teachers, the so-called mallams, are a group out of many that promote the most conservative values and ideals. We can ignore this fact at our own peril because I can already foresee our society in a fundamentally precarious situation. We, as a nation, already have more than enough crises to handle; there is, therefore, no wisdom in ignoring another potential crisis. That is one possibility out of many.

From another perspective, if we take the risk of accepting the argument that the scythe of time would do away with almajiranci; then I ask that in the meantime, how much of child labour or outright slavery are we ready tolerate as we wait for time to do our work for us? How much juvenile delinquencies are we ready to manage? How dangerous drug addicts are we ready to accommodate and entertain? How many rehabilitation centres are we willing to provide? How many more psychiatrists are we ready to train? How much talent are we willing to let go to waste? How much frequency of individual crimes ranging from minor acts such as those of pickpockets, prowling in the darkness of the night to major ones such as ready to be hired assassins (hashashin) to delusion motivated vengeances in form of deadly assaults are we stiff enough to withstand? There are inexhaustible questions with difficult answers that the proponents of time need to be asked.

My opinion is that we must something and we must do it urgently. In the next article I will outline my views on what should be done to tame and transform the system beginning from the family level to the society as a whole and the involvement of governments at the grassroots.     

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The Physical Constants, What We Think We Know And The Ultimate Mystery — Part Two

The Cosmic grandeur

​The Universe forces those who live in it to understand it. Those creatures who find everyday experience a muddled jumble of events with no predictability, no regularity, are in grave peril. The Universe belongs to those who, at least to some degree, have figured it out – Carl Sagan

To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit—Stephen Hawking. 

The struggle to figure out and make meaning of the universe is obviously as old as human thinking. At various stages of human history, various views of the Cosmos had been held by different group of people depending on their exposure to the Cosmic environment, their climatic conditions and, indeed, other terrestrial factors such as topology, vegetation and even domesticated animals.

When there was no communication between communities of people, human beings must have held views of the world that vary from place to place. For instance, when the wrath of God is somewhere expressed by a thunderbolt, in another place it might in form of volcanic eruption or earthquakes. When for some people, springs emerging from fountains on the rocks in mountainous regions depict glory or providence, to some people it might that the earth wept for being maltreated or denied sacrifice. Unfortunately, such sacrifices were offered sometimes in so a savage manner that human beings were sacrificed to appease a god or a goddess.

However, the evolution of means transport and communication has brought about an ever increasing contact between various nations, civilisations. Thereby making it possible for perspectives to be merged and normalised into nearly a common worldview.  A standard has now been set as a methodology for observing the Cosmos.  Minor disagreements are only found when it comes drawing conclusions about the observations made; yet all arguments are within the matrix of interpreting the observed phenomenon.  That common culture, tradition, method or whatever one wishes to describe it; is the culture of science. 

So much consensus has been achieved that today, all those who are concerned about figuring out the Universe are agreed about one idea of what it is and, probably, what it is becoming. This, yet, does not in any way mean that the world is agreed about the meaning of the Universe for the question of its meaning is still a metaphysical question before which science is helpless. Despite the near universal consensus concerning the structure of the Universe, the meaning people make out of such a grand structures still remains subjectively varied; a matter for the individual to resolve.

However, there is something to celebrate about science even though it gave us just a pinch and an approximated form of what reality really is. The good news is that despite the fact that the knowledge it brought us can be said to be so little; that so little has revealed to us so much about ourselves and about our environment. We have, at least to some extent, a common way of doing and seeing things. I will not allude to the progress in medicine and energy generation that helped in sustaining the present unprecedented population against Malthusian catastrophe; it is a topic for another day.

 I am more focused on the fact that science has cleared away so many superstitions that were the causes of some conflicts among human beings in the past. You hardly now find people fighting over different gods. I must say that the Indian and Muslim societies are embarrassingly backward in this regard; as, in the case of India, we occasionally hear reports of communal clashes between Hindus and Muslims in which the former consider the cow as a sacred symbol (it is even questionable if this has any strong basis in the orthodox Hindu tradition) and the later consider it a domestic animal just like any other, the goat, the sheep and so on. The slaughtering of cows for food that is done all over the world including Indian Muslims is seen as sacrilegious by the extremist Hindu, hence the communal clashes.

From another perspective, we have Muslim extremists who interpret the Quran literally and, beyond that, invent lies against the founder of the religion to propagate incredible mayhem across the globe; they kill their captives whenever their whims desire that, they kill in the most gruesome and obnoxious ways; beheadings, slitting human throat, hanging, burning people alive and whatever kind of cruelty one can imagine, they commit it without scruples. But the Muslim extremist is no different from any other extremist, even a scientific extremist. If those extremist Hindus could have their way, especially the strength of numbers that the Muslim extremists take advantage of; they would have waged a war on humanity; they would have gone on a spree of killings for the sacrilege being committed over the world by killing cows. Do we find better extremists among Buddhists? Then we must have forgotten Myanmar. One common thing about extremists is illiteracy and poor exposure to the world. 

I still have some hope for humanity as science continues to do away with superstitions that make other people have a sense of superiority over others. In the end, when the doctrine of science and humanism is lucidly espoused in a simple language, not the language of the professionals that sounds like some abracadabra to the ordinary people reaches out to more individuals and makes them understand that we are all one and the same; that substance of humanity pervades all of us. There may be a semblance of peace; even though it is, unfortunately, the nation in which most scientific discoveries are made that sees itself and its values as superior to all others. This is the best example of paradox that I have ever found; the foremost country in scientific development being one of the most superstitious and self deluding one. I still emphasise my hope that the universal brotherhood of humankind despite the fact that some engineers connive with politicians to steal the ideas of science and build lethal weapons. 

Now to the main business of this writing which is to popularise as well as demystify science; in that respect, I think there are two things to focus on; the overall structure of the Cosmos and the substructure of life within it. It is in this view that I propose to present the currently accepted Cosmic structure and the structure of life on the planet earth, I will pretend a kind of certainty that the earth is the only planet or place that harbours life as we know it throughout the Universe and ignore the possibility that there may be other corners of the Cosmos where life flourishes. The rest of the work will be questions left for everyone to answer for herself.

The currently accepted structure and origin of the Universe is that proposed by the Big Bang theory or a more advanced form of it known as the inflationary theory. The details of either theory are not our concern here but the kind of Universe it projects to us and the processes that are likely to occur in that version of the Universe.

By the demystification of science, I mean that I intend to point out some inadequacies of science itself to bring home the fact that no human being or any mortal can do or understand something perfectly and that is the beauty of our Cosmic journey; a door is always there opened for new questions to be ask so that human curiosity will never be exhausted.

 The engineers among us are aware of the Carnot engine and how it imposes a mind boggling limit to how much man can extract useful energy from any kind of power plant or any quantity of fuel burned. There are always limits in transforming facts from the ideal world of thoughts to the real, external and objective world of Nature. For instance, the famous Newton’s equation F = ma is an ideal equation which needs other variables and constants to be added to it before it can describe real life events in the natural world. However, I think that scientists and engineers should concentrate attention on beating the Carnot engine; I have more faith in the engineers than scientists because scientists of nowadays only study classical physics as a stepping stone to “modern physics”. You hardly, therefore, find a scientist doing research in classical physics; they see it as an object of the past, more suitable for historical museums. 

In my next outing on this series, I intend, unless circumstances dictate otherwise, to focus on the demystification of science to dispel the notion that science has already given correct and accurate answers to the Cosmos and its substructures. My sole aim is to expose the truth about science; its extraordinary achievements given our size and significance and some of its unprecedented failures given the intricacies of Nature and the large scale structure of the Universe. It was recently that a famous scientist remarked that “still no one know exactly even what the hydrogen atom, we are only forced to make do with what we think is responsible for the observable phenomena under certain circumstances,

Thank you for reading.

Until we meet, have splendid week.

Best regards.

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Philosophy, religion

Memoirs: A Sincere Account Of The History And Evolution Of My Thoughts III

A Wonderful Scene of a Valley; the Beauty of Nature.

I then felt like the ground below my feet was crumbling! Where do I turn to? How do I make meaning of such verses? Anybody can help? That was the time I knew nothing about allegories, metaphors and paradoxes. Therefore, anybody can guess my solution; I threw away everything as something jumbled up by some medieval people in imitation of the Judeo-Christian myths, Greek and Alexandrian philosophies with some pinches of Mithraism and Persian metaphysics, not even Hindu practices I excluded especially my likening of yoga practices and daily prayers of Islam.

I became a full blown atheist but nobody knows for two reasons. One; atheism is not something to proud of for any sensible person because you feel all your pillars withdrawn, even though your fears of hell vanish, the assurance can never compensate your hopes being dashed and the feeling of loneliness and desolateness in an unimaginably vast Universe in which nobody cares what the hell you are doing. My own atheism was not the kind of hurray! There is no God so we can do as we wish and even proudly mock religion. I considered that then, and still do; as the maximum height of ignorance. I think no one is as doomed in this world, and utterly ignorance who thinks he knows all, like an overnight atheist. 

No! It brought in my mind a kind of sombreness and a challenge. I felt that now a serious work is ahead of me because this vastness cannot be for nothing or come out of nothing. I, as a formal student of physics and a pastime student of astronomy, was quite sure that the first law of thermodynamics or the law of conservation of matter and energy must apply to the universe as a whole; otherwise, physics will itself be a bunch of lies. Some parts of physics can be questionable but not this intuitive and demonstrable law that cannot be denied without denying physics all together. This backbone of modern science tells us that the Universe cannot just pop out of nothing; what was the initial energy that started the inflation which led to the Big Bang if the theory is correct? If it isn’t correct and Fred Hoyle’s steady state theory was correct, from where the extra matter leaks into the Universe thus making it expand?

It cannot come from nowhere, of course. I, therefore, became sober and remorse because I don’t take anything for granted; I force everything to reveal itself by aggressive questioning. As a result, I knew my hard work and most difficult task had just started. Then what is there to be jubilant about?  For me to study the intrinsic nature of matter, the forces that organise it whether intelligent or brute, how or what ordered them was a daunting task that must have waved away the last shred of smile from me. When do I have time for ridiculing others who had something when I was only trying to find my own? In retrospect, in this writing I mean, I still cannot help myself out of perceiving some shreds of intelligence in gravity, especially when I contemplate star formation and death. Do not shout blue murder; if there is more than a just shred of intelligence in us, in apes, in worms, so why not in gravity? I did a lot of contemplation during that time and, perhaps, it was then I learned to be seated throughout the night when everywhere remains calm.

Tried as I could, I could not conceive of cosmological nothingness; the question of why do we have something rather than nothing? I realised that we are capable of conceiving absolute nothingness. I was little bit aware of philosophy; the business of I then considered mere sophistry; nice talk. But then, I came to realise that ibn Sina was not joking about the concept of a “Necessary Being” and it did not come to his mind for granted. Was that a stepping stone? Yes and no! 

Two; Islam is the religion of my parents who have done so much for me since the time I used to pee and the other thing on them, from the time they carried me from one hospital to another due to my defective gene; and when I come to think that the entire material in my body was from them starting from the zygote to embryo that stayed nine months as a burden on my mother to the breast milk, the food and the school fees and pocket money they sent to me up to that time, in fact it was like they owned me. I owe both my internal being; mind and external body first to their labours and then to a community that is distinctly Islamic. That made me feel they and whatever they hold dear deserve so much reverence from me. No! I can never ridicule what my father or mother is dedicated to; it is not ridiculous after all, I would rather help them in it. The society has also done a lot for me, it protected me and it still would, then why should I deride its members? In some communities whose members would clap for me for doing so, my identity alone is enough to get me sliced like bread.

Until we meet in the next article of the journey,

Best Regards.  

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Memoirs: A Sincere Account Of The History And Evolution Of My Thoughts 2

By the time I was able to start thinking in abstract terms; I had a conception of God in terms of His attributes like infinite mercy, Eternal Being, subtlety, infinite love and so on and so forth. Being introduced to the concept of infinity in what we today call basic mathematics was of great help to me in distinguishing His mercy and the mercy shown by man which is, in most cases, intermittent. It visits and leaves without notice, though the frequency can be asymmetrically controlled by strict mental and spiritual exercises we, in Islam, refer to as dhikr; asymmetric frequency in the sense that it stays longer when it visits and comes quickly when it leaves. To me then, God became an indivisible locus of qualities or attributes that is but nowhere because ‘where’ implies a place and I was told He cr king the question in human language) was He the creation of everywhere? But thinking of any being outside space was something impossible for a fifteen to sixteen year old; therefore, I had believe in what I could neither understand nor conceive.

I used one of the attributes, Mercy, to represent all of them because; upon contemplation, all of them are one and the same thing. That is why the multiplicity of the attributes with regards to one Being should not be perturbing since every one of them is a way of expressing the other; so the locus became less multidimensional, yes, I had assign coordinates to it despite it was one because that was best my mind could at the time; yet dimensions not of space in which is necessary for the understanding of man who lives in a perceived multiplicity. 

But all of them coalesce into one indivisible attribute that why I had conceive it as a dimensionless entity; for that reason, it is enough to say that God is Truth, God is Forgiveness or God is Love or Justice. I also came to understand that whenever man delves in acting out one of these attributes, it shall instil the rest in him and his entire life shall become a godly life; thus he becomes a godlike being who does the work of God on earth, a true representative of God on earth. Lest I delve too deep into this matter to express my current theological perspective; thus completing the story without narrating other numerous ordeals I had to pass through to the present and; as I understand the human mind as being phenomenological, I am not sure if the present opinion would be the last unless I die today or now.

My next challenge was encountered still in senior school where I learned with conviction and evidences about the rotundity of the earth, its rotation that brings about day and night, its revolution that accounts for the passing of years and its shifting coordinates that brings about weather differences and even medium term climatic changes so catastrophic as the Ice Ages and inland floods (though the concept of Ice Ages and Great floods actually a knowledge acquired later). These did not bring into my mind, deep scepticism about some statements in the Quran; about day and stalking each other, about eclipses only but they also made me realise that an objective mind and sincere seeker of knowledge could not just fling away the arguments of the Quraishi elite who dismissed most of these narratives as myths concocted by ancestors or previous civilisations.

One comes to question narratives such as lifting a slice of the earth up and throwing it back upside down to destroy the dwellers thereof for committing, it never made sense to me that God should punish someone by death. Destruction of city states by hurricanes is still acceptable but the story of Gog and Magog, of an iron wall, of someone going to the both ends of the flat earth to see where the sun sets and where it rises from. I also questioned the notion that the sun rose out of a murky soil in the eastern end of the world where the inhabitants hid in caves and bunkers until the Sun went high (I wonder about the material with which such caves and are made to withstand the temperature of the solar atmosphere). 

On logical grounds and the compulsion by reality, one must also question the hadith which says that on the Day of Judgement, the sun would be brought so low, near our heads until our brains boil. If our brains boil won’t we die again? Which sun? Does it mean the sun of this world? Or is the concept of the world limited to the earth, the nearest? Seems so and sounds Aristotelian; because in another narrative, the world would be rolled up like a mat and a brand new one new one spread or the believers. 

Then what is the size of the Sun compared to the earth? Does it mean that in the hereafter, we would still have our Sun, stars, our neighbour; the Andromeda galaxy and other galaxy clusters and QSOs so that the geeky physicists and astronomers who make it to heaven would still be able to construct their telescopes and particle accelerators to continue their research to capture the whole gamut of the electromagnetic spectrum and continue to study quantum mechanics, relativity and the origin and fate of the Universe? So that Einstein might have another chance to complete his theory of everything? Because this simply means that the Universe as whole is coeternal with God; a notion which nobody would wait to be told that it is absurd. 

These questions are also trying to encroach into my recent contemplation, so let’s leave them here.

Such were challenges enough concerning creation but more stunning ones struck me in the University and in the course of the continuation studentship (Because I have chosen to be a lifelong student); they were not many but so formidable. Thunderbolts, comets and stars all are different from what religion told us. We were told in the Quran that: “verily, We have adorned the closest firmament with lamps (shining stars) and made them, simultaneously, as missiles against intruding daemons”. In another chapter, the daemons say: “Indeed, we have attempted penetrating up to the nearest firmament but we found it guarded by violently burning flames”. Here, like in Middle Age Europe, comets (shooting stars) were mistaken to be real stars; wait a second! Maker of the universe couldn’t distinguish between comets and stars?! To be honest these are still facts which we must confront seriously and decisively.

And that comets are stars launched to destroy daemons who, by their own tricks, build up towers (of Babel) to spy on the secret affairs in heavens? While comets and stars are far different entities, the most boggling concept is that there are no firmaments let alone seven or eight or twelve. What seems to us as a built up firmament is limit of our sight in space through an atmosphere full of different molecules of gases that spectrally emit the colours that we see by being impinged upon by packets of electromagnetic energy from the Sun.

There are no firmaments? Another great shock! They are central points of communication in my Holy Book. No! I didn’t want to be atheist, I protested. There things that are inseparably tied to these notion in my religion that if you don’t believe in them you are not a disbeliever, at least, with respect to Islam and they are unbelievable. My study of philosophy and physics were then introducing me to the concept of relativity of values. I did not only want to be theist, but I also insisted on remaining on the platform upon which my parents placed me. Though I realised that there multiple other religions which are even more benign than mine.

In continuation, I shall discuss my learning of philosophy, especially the concept of substance, accidents and humanity. My flight into astronomy; our department doesn’t offer an option in astronomy; therefore no course was dedicated to it. But if you are armed with the laws of physics, venturing into astronomy is as easy as finishing a 35cl of pepsi.

Meanwhile, I have been telling you one side of the story; that is how I have been shocked by the demystification of some aspects of Nature. There is, in fact, another side to the story which is philosophical; such discovery of inconsistencies and consistencies as well with historical facts such as the laws of Hammurabi and the establishment of society, consideration of universal human nature and many more. This little mind of mine has been stormy ever since I started calling people by their names.

Until the next episode, have a happy weekend.

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