Super-Scientific Religious Scriptures!
[“Listen, O uninformed, a man has the ability to write a book, the book does not have any ability to create a man” –Nazrul] 
My response to a very innocuous e-mail impelled me to write this fastidious essay. Let me first elaborate on this. Just about four years ago, I set on my overseas sojourn from my native Bangladesh to a foreign university. In the beginning, it was really difficult to ignore the immense enthusiasm that I enjoyed browsing free Internet provided by this university. You may literally compare my situation similar to a frog used to live in a well, suddenly let in a big ocean. This academic place was abound with immense free-flow of knowledge. It was in such a profound milieu of scholastic freedom that I truly became obsessed with—even to the extent of forgetting my food to the cyber world! I skimmed and skimmed—in search of knowledge; almost like exploring an ocean. While searching the net in this fashion, I suddenly received an e-mail from Mr. Jamal Hasan; along with it, the address of the website www.bangladesh-web.com/news, an on-line newspaper; News From Bangladesh (NFB). At first, I was not that keen on this website being a bit skeptical about the quality. Then, when I really visited the website, I was simply amazed and perplexed. After reading a few informative, high-quality articles, I was extremely flabbergasted. That many Bangladeshi Muslims, a rather very conservative society, wrote those high caliber, rational and secular essays was quite unthinkable to me. Indeed, it was a great surprise to me, to say the least. I still remember very clearly one such essay, entitled, ‘The Qur’anic Folklore—Who Was Zulkernain?’ When I read that article, I was simply dumbfounded—no exaggeration. Even the names of the authors were also pretty odd :Syed Kamran Mirza, Fatemolla—no, never did I hear such names in my life, I swear.
That was the beginning. Gradually, I came know about Abul Kasem, Aparthib Zaman, Narayan Gupta, Sabbir Ahmed, Dr.Jaffor Ullah, Jahed Ahmed, Dr Ali Sina, Dr Kaushik Sen, Bishnu Dey, Paramanab, Shabnam Nadiya and many others. Each of them was like a spark of fire. A little later, I set up ‘Mukto-Mona’ (http://www.mukto-mona.com ), a progressive, secular and humanist Internet forum for the people mainly of Bengali origin. This forum is very much in the know to many overseas Bangladeshis familiar with various Internet forums. Mukto-Mona has always put forwarded opinion contrary to the prevalent views—an exception, you might say. That is why Mukto-Mona has become famous; expressing the voice of the dissents and the unconventional–to explain further. In a world replete with religious bigotry and communalism, Mukto-Mona stands out as a beacon of a progressive, guiding light, that will enlighten many a soul groping in darkness.
I leave the topic of Mukto-Mona for a while; not forgetting that the history of Mukto-Mona is very unique, no doubt. I deliberately brought out the affairs of Mukto-Mona, as I am quite sure that it (Mukto-Mona) is now essentially intertwined with the theme of this essay.
Let me be back to NFB, once again. I noticed that not all writers of NFB had unchained the shackles of religion to pen their essays. I do remember a distinguished Western educated university professor; always unrelenting in finding science in a specific ancient religious scripture. Now a day, it is a trend that has immensely engulfed a good number of educated Bangladeshi Muslims—a sort of fashion, we may say. Their main motivation has sprouted from the ‘shattering’ works of two Occidental charlatan scientists–Dr Maurice Bucaille and Dr Keith Moore. They blithely discovered in Qur’an, ‘Big-Bang’, ‘expansion of the universe’, ‘theory of evolution of human species’, science of ‘atoms and molecules’, ‘milky-way, ‘constellation’, ‘white dwarf’, ‘black-holes, ‘embryology’, ‘theory of relativity’, ‘theory of super string’…and what not. Now, our distinguished professor, mentioned before, imbued with such inspiring discoveries, was writing endless article in NFB to prove how ‘super scientific’ the Qur’an is! Enough was enough! Finally, I decided to protest against his non-stop ranting. I wrote, ‘why try to find ‘Big-Bang’ in Qur’anic verses, thousands of years old’? There are plenty of books on Astrophysics dealing with ‘Big-Bang’. Why not consult those books instead? ‘For example’, I explained – ‘if we want to learn about the solution of differential equations then we invariably have to refer to books on Mathematics’. Can we find the solution of differential equations in the Qur’an? I questioned him. After reading my audacious essay, the gentleman exploded—like a freshly set bomb. In his next epic sized essay, he spared no pain to exhort the utter shortcomings of my understanding of science and Islam. How stupid and foolish I was, he had no hesitation in surmising. Citing examples after examples from innumerable sources, he was hell bent in proving only fact—that is, all modern science is absolutely indicated in the Qur’an. Qur’an is definitely a ‘Book of Science’, he was very adamant.
When his obdurate, obstinate and bigoted approach pushed me to my limit, I was compelled to write this essay. My contention was quite simple: if we read carefully, we surely note that those ancient religious scriptures were composed at a time when the humanity had a very limited understanding of scientific knowledge. One cannot legitimately expect to find the complex theories of ‘Big-Bang’, ‘Super String’, ‘Relativity’ etc. in the pages of those dated Holy Books. In reality, the contents of those primitive books reflected the sheer backwardness prevalent in the contemporary society; their thoughts, belief, hopes and despair; nothing more than that and nothing less. Let me illustrate with an example: when the holy Qur’an was composed (a better word is compiled, I should emphasize), the eminent scientists like Galileo, Bruno, Copernicus, et.al were not even born. How could the people of that primeval period even think of an earth, revolving around our sun? Nay, they could never comprehend this, as they were familiar only with the sun rising in the east and then setting in the west; the rising of the moon at the onset of night. These are the phenomena they have observed since their birth. God controls these heavenly objects, they thought. That certain laws of physics govern the progress of these celestial bodies, they could never comprehend. This is what is accurately reflected in many verses of the Qur’an, Hadis, Vedas and the Bible. Consider this verse from Sura Luqman (31:29) from the holy Qur’an :
Hast thou not seen how Allah causeth the night to pass into the day and causeth the day to pass into the night, and hath subdued the sun and the moon (to do their work), each running unto an appointed term; and that Allah is Informed of what ye do?
In this verse Allah clearly says that he is the one who converts the day into night and vice versa; subjected the sun and the moon to follow a fixed orbit. We find many similar verses elsewhere in the Qur’an as well. Here are a few samples: Sura Ya-Sin (36:38), Sura Az-Zumar (39:5), Sura Al-Rad (13:2), Sura Al-Anbiya (21:33), Sura Al-Baqara (2:258), Sura Al-Kahf (18:86), Sura Ta-Ha (20:130), just to name a few. However, even a thorough, painstaking search of the entire Qur’an does not show a single verse anywhere in it that supports the scientific reality of the rotation of earth. According to Allah, the earth is motionless, completely static. Period.
In Sura An-Naml (27:61) it is stated clearly:
Is not He (best) Who made the earth a fixed abode, and placed rivers in the folds thereof, and placed firm hills therein, and hath set a barrier between the two seas? Is there any Allah beside Allah? Nay, but most of them know not!
In the same vein, Sura Al-Rum (30:25), Sura Fatir (35:41), Sura Luqman (31:10), Sura Al-Baqara (2:22), Sura An-Nahl (16:15) exhorts the Allah’s decree that the earth is completely immovable.
Since the previously mentioned scholar was absolutely certain that the Qur’an contains all the scientific principles, with due respect, I earnestly requested him to show me a verse, just a single verse in the Qur’an that states that the earth moves round the sun; or that the earth rotates on its own axis, at the least. ‘I shall accept all your contentions, for sure, if you can show me such a verse’, I wrote. The Arabic word for earth is ‘Ard’ and the Arabic word for rotation is ‘Falak’. ‘Please show a just a single verse in the Qur’an that uses the two words ‘Ard’ and ‘Falak’ side by side’, I insisted.
He could not show me a single verse to that effect.
Of course, he could never succeed; I knew this from the very beginning. How could he succeed when it is totally certain that there is no such verse/s in the Qur’an as I had already elaborated? People of that era did not have the knowledge to calculate the speeds and periods of diurnal and annual rotations of the earth. The transition from the ‘Geo-Centric’ concept of the earth of Ptolemy to Copernicus’ ‘Helio-Centric’ universe took a long time to hold. People during Muhammad’s time had the slightest clue as to the mystery ‘where do the sun go at night?’ They had no idea on sun’s movement, to say the least. The sun really proceeds to a far-off place to take rest—this was their notion about the setting of the sun. The learned readers will have no trouble in finding this truth out by simply gleaning through the Sura dealing with Zul-Karnain (18:86):
Till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout. We said: O Dhu’l-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness.
How is it possible for Allah to commit such a humongous blunder—come to think of it! Have our learned Islamic scholars, searching endlessly for ‘Big-Bang’, ‘Super String’, etc. in the Qur’an has ever seriously pondered on it? How could Allah think that the sun must have a resting place of its own! How could we accept the Qur’an as a ‘Book of Sciene’? Shall we not consider it a book of comic, instead?
Many readers may not be aware that the ‘Muslim World’ considers Muhammad to be the greatest scientist, thinker and philosopher that Allah ever created. Now, think about the funny answer, this ‘greatest’ creator of science gave when people questioned him: Where does the sun hang about at night? In a conversation with one of his companions (Abu Dhar), Muhammad claimed that the sun ‘prostrates’ under the throne of Allah for the entire night and seeks His permission to go to its usual work in the morning! Let us read this hadis :
Volume 6, Book 60, Number 326:
Narrated Abu Dharr:
Once I was with the Prophet in the mosque at the time of sunset. The Prophet said, “O Abu Dharr! Do you know where the sun sets?” I replied, “Allah and His Apostle know best.” He said, “It goes and prostrates underneath (Allah’s) Throne; and that is Allah’s Statement:–
‘And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term (decreed). And that is the decree of All-Mighty, the All-Knowing….’ (36.38)
It will be foolhardy to assume that those erudite scholars making desperate attempts to demonstrate science in ancient scriptures are not aware of those laughable verses. Surely, they are very much aware of them (verses). With full knowledge, they deliberately confuse the gullible people. This is exactly where I have severe objection. My response to this Islamic scholar did create some stir among many readers. Many progressive web-sites duly published my essay and even one threw a challenge to the fundamentalist Mullahs under the heading, ‘Avijit Roy challenges the fundamentalists.’ This challenge still stands in the cyber world . So far, no Islamic scholar could refute my assertions by citing the appropriate verses from the Qur’an.
Let me elaborate more on this particular word, “Challenge.” Many people consider this word (Challenge) to be a very crude and impolite. But those who are long-term practitioners of Rationalism and Skepticism know rather well that a challenge could really be a lethal weapon. There are many rationalists who have issued ‘earth shattering’ challenges on many topics. Some of them have challenged the divine and spiritual ‘gurus’; some have challenged the Astrologers about their fortune telling; some challenged the medical practices of the so- called Faith Healers while many others have challenged the infallibility of Holy Scriptures. I can cite the example of challenge by the ‘Amazing’ Randi, the founding fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). He had issued a challenge of one million dollars to the practitioners of supernatural power. Dr Abraham Kovoor, a life-long fighter against superstitions, has also thrown similar challenge. Prabir Ghosh, a Bengali Rationalist has issued a challenge of fifty thousand Indian Rupees to the powerful clique of Astrologers. The Bangladeshi magician, Jewel Aich has also proclaimed a challenge to prove the existence of the genies (Jinns) and ghosts. Those who consider the Qur’an to be the infallible words of Allah, Dr Ali Sina, a member of Mukto-Mona and the co-founder of Faith Freedom International, has a challenge for them. The truth is: challenge is an important phase of movement of rationalism by the freethinkers. Being in tune with Prabir Ghosh , I would also like to announce, “Those cows who have been elevated to such lofty positions through advertisement and media, let us bring them down to earth to graze there by issuing challenges to them. A challenge may not be ‘nice’ to the vacillators, the opportunists and the envious people, but it (the challenge) does expose the truth. A popular and logical question is: If you are so sure to prove your claims, then why not accept the challenge?”
Lest you misunderstand me: I must clarify that, just because I cited the Qur’an on the immovability of the earth, does not at all mean that other religious scriptures are blameless. In actuality, we invariably come across with many similar verses in the Bible and the Vedas too.
Let me illustrate from the Bible the very concept of stationary earth [Bible]:
Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved. (1Chronicles, 16/30)
The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, [wherewith] he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. (Psalms 93/1)
Say among the heathen [that] the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. (Psalms 96/10)
[Who] laid the foundations of the earth, [that] it should not be removed for ever. (Psalms 104/5)
Likewise, we read in the Vedas :
From the Rig Vedas (Book10, 173/4):
Firm is the sky and firm the earth, and stedfast also are these hills.
Stedfast is all this living world, and stedfast is this King of men.
In another verse of the Rig Vedas (Book10, 149/1), it is stated:
SAVITAR fixed the earth with bands to bind it, and made heaven stedfast where no prop supported.
Savitar milked, as ’twere a restless courser, air, sea bound fast to what no foot had trodden.
The above verse is especially important for a very specific reason. This verse clearly informs us that, in the Vedic period, the people believed not only in a stationary earth, but also considered the sky as the roof of the earth! They used to think that the almighty God had suspended this roof above us without any support. This was possible, only because God possessed an incredible supreme power. We read an uncannily similar verse in Sura Luqman of the Qur’an (31:10):
He hath created the heavens without supports that ye can see, and hath cast into the earth firm hills, so that it quake not with you; and He hath dispersed therein all kinds of beasts. And We send down water from the sky and We cause (plants) of every goodly kind to grow therein.
Due to advancement in scientific knowledge, we of course, know for certain, that the sky is not the roof of the earth. The truth is: there is absolutely no such object called ‘sky.’ In reality, the ‘sky’ is actually our limit of vision. The blue in the sky we see is nothing but scattered blue light only due to the presence of the atmosphere surrounding our planet. Take the example of the ‘sky’ of the moon; it is absolutely black. Why? Because there is no atmosphere around our moon! However, the trouble is: we do not find any such scientifically correct explanation in the so-called ‘super scientific’ religious books! Sometimes, I wonder how long will it take us, the human to be enlightened! When will the common folks reject the so-called Holy Scriptures and come to comprehend the real meaning of ‘sky?’
In this connection, I recall a few very meaningful lines from one of my favorite Bangla poetry ‘Standing Under a Tree’ of Sunil. Here are those memorable lines :
So many centuries have gone by but men remained an infant
They could not fathom out the meaning of the word – ‘sky’
Which one could see in Chottogram or in Bakura.
The word “man” cannot be enveloped by barbed wire.
No one named Eshwar (God) – a big boss – is running the show in this mortal world
Religions, nothing more than some folklore
They won’t hear the cry of neighbor’s baby smothered with dust
They love spewing slogans that lacks harmony
A few man who wanted to make us grow old tried so hard
We hung their portraits but no one seems to care….
As soon as this essay was published in NFB, a load of criticism was hurled at me. A rather pious lady friend of mine sent an e-mail, writing: It may be true that The Qur’an does not directly mention about the rotation of the earth; however, bear in mind that nothing in the Qur’an is that straight forward. For example, nowhere in the Qur’an one will find that the earth is round. But this does not necessarily means that the Qur’an talks about a flat earth.
In my reply, I mentioned that the Qur’an, does, indeed talk of a flat earth. In support of my contention I cited the following verses:
And the earth have We spread out, and placed therein firm hills, and caused each seemly thing to grow therein…(Sura Al-Hijr 15:19)
Who hath appointed the earth as a bed and hath threaded roads for you therein and hath sent down water from the sky and thereby We have brought forth divers kinds of vegetation,…(Sura Ta Ha 20:53)
Who made the earth a resting-place for you, and placed roads for you therein, that haply ye may find your way;…(Sura Az-Zukhruf 43:10)
And the earth have We spread out, and have flung firm hills therein, and have caused of every lovely kind to grow thereon, …(Sura Qaf 50:7)
And Allah hath made the earth a wide expanse for you…(Sura Nooh 71:19)
It is certainly palpable from those verses that there is no accord between the Qur’anic motionless, flat earth and the modern physicist’s concept of a round-shaped earth. Please read the previously mentioned verse 18:86 once again. This verse states that a faithful servant of Allah, did actually saw the sun to set on a certain muddy place. Verse 18:90 (of the same Sura), even describes a particular place where the sun rises. Naturally, one would not hesitate to ask: why did Allah think that the sun must have a definite abode for its rise and a definite abode for it to set or to take rest? Only one conclusion can be made from such an idea, and that is; in Allah’s sight, the earth is surely a flat surface.
We can definitely deduce from the fixed prayer times that the ancient people were quite accustomed to the notion of a flat earth. Aroj Ali Matubbar , the peasant-philosopher of Bengal has further elaborated on this idea of flat earth in his book ‘The Quest for Truth’ Let us take this opportunity to examine his elaboration.
In Islam, it is compulsory to offer prayers five times a day. Preset times are appointed for these prayers. Offering of prayers apart from these set times are forbidden. For example, a Muslim cannot pray at sunrise, at sunset or at midday. We know from the diurnal rotation of earth that, at any fixed time, the sun is seen at any position on earth and as such, a prayer can be offered at any site on the earth. What does this mean? Consider the following fact. When the sun is rising at Barisal (a district in Bangladesh), it has still not risen at Calcutta (in West Bengal, India). However, in Chittagong (another port city in Bangladeh), the sun is already up. So, when offering prayer at Barisal is haram (forbidden), it is not haram at Calcutta or at Chittagong. Thus, can we find any justification for imposing a ban on offering of prayers at some other times apart from the set times of prayers? Aroj Ali Matbor, the rationalist, in his book mentioned before has posed a very interesting question: Suppose, a Muslim, after offering the Zuhr prayer at 1:30 PM, leaves for Mecca. Arriving in Mecca, he will be surprised to note that it is yet not noon there. So, shall he offer another Zuhr prayer at Mecca too? The answer to this enigma is actually contained in the question itself. Aroj Ali, himself has answered this question in a rational way. According to him, there was a time when the concept of earth as stationary and flat was very much in vogue. From this perception, the idea of fixed times for prayers emerged—he opines. Nonetheless, this old concept is now dead; instead, the modern science has proved that the earth is round and in motion. That is why complications have arisen while trying to fit the modern day life-style with age-old religious doctrines. These complications will definitely keep increasing in future, no doubt. Here is a very compelling illustration: if an astronaut or an aircraft pilot flies at a speed of 1041.67 miles an hour from the west, he will find the sun to be motionless, still. This means that, for the air-passengers there will be no such time as morning, noon or evening—as if the sun is standstill at one position only! What would happen to prayer and fasting—come to think of it? If in future, human habitation is established in the North Pole, there will be more problems. There is approximately six month of days and six months of nights at this forlorn place. Will it be possible to strictly follow the rules of fasting as well the dictums of five prayers a day between sunrise and sunset there? Please ponder closely on this issue and you will surely discover that the root cause of this problem is the erroneous idea of a flat and motionless earth.
Let us search history. A famous Arabic scientist of the twelfth century did think that the earth is not really flat but round. As soon as his idea became known, all his works were declared as blasphemous, his books confiscated and burnt. Just a few years ago, the supreme religious authority of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdel Aziz ibn Baaz issued a fatwa (Islamic edict) in this fashion:
‘The earth is indeed flat. Those who do not accept this are atheist—they deserve to be punished.’ In his book ‘The Demon-Haunted World’, Karl Sagan has enunciated this fatwa in detail.
The Hindu scriptures are also similar. A vivid description has been cited in page 169 of Narasingha Mythology. That is why, Jambbudipa, an organisation at Baroda, Gujrat is working relentlessly to prove ‘scientifically’ the infallibility of Vedic ‘flat’ earth belief.
In September 15, 1999, Tim Miller, professor and chair of religious studies at Kansas University, claimed that “The Bible says the Earth has four corners,” said and added that he believes the Earth is either a square or a tetrahedron, a solid figure with four triangular faces. It is quite amazing to observe that, based on the erroneous idea, some people, even in this twenty-first century still upholds that the earth not round– rather flat. They even have formed societies, named International Flat Earth Society (http://www.1hup.edu/~dsimanek/fe-scidi.htm) and ‘The International Square Earth Society’ (http://pwi.net.com/~rogermw/square_earth.html). These are all laughable organizations; their main aim is to prove that the earth is actually flat, no matter what science says!
Thanks to Bucaille and Moor, we repeatedly return to the topic of divine power of the Qura’an. Let us face squarely—Is the Qur’an’ really celestial, supernatural and a ‘great book of science’—flawless and spiritual in content? To paraphrase from the Bengali singer Suman Chatterjee (who borrowed from Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the wind”), I must write, “The questions are easy; the answers, too are known.” The answer is that Qur’an can never be a miraculous, heavenly book. Just like any other ancient religious scripture, the Qur’an is also littered with downright errors, sheer antiquated beliefs, absolute scientific blunders and numerous ambiguities, to say the least. In actuality, there is no ‘Big-Bang’, no theory of Relativity, no Black Holes, not even the concept of atom-molecule in the entire Qur’an. What we find in the name of ‘Big-Bang’ and Relativity is the cunning and deceptive manner in which certain Qur’anic verses are interpreted. Here is an example.
Consider the following verse from Sura Al-Ambia (21:30)
Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, and we made every living thing of water? Will they not then believe?
It is quite astonishing that the so-called ‘erudite’ science experts discover ‘Big-Bang’ in this verse! Is there an iota of ‘Big-Bang’ in this verse? Think carefully with a rational mind. Let us examine up-close this verse and the verses immediately following this:
21:30 Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, and we made every living thing of water? Will they not then believe?
21:31 And We have placed in the earth firm hills lest it quake with them, and We have placed therein ravines as roads that haply they may find their way.
21:32 And we have made the sky a roof withheld (from them). Yet they turn away from its portents.
For further clarification let us also quote verse from Sura Al-Rad (13:2)
Allah it is Who raised up the heavens without visible supports, then mounted the Throne, and compelled the sun and the moon to be of service, each runneth unto an appointed term; He ordereth the course; He detaileth the revelations, that haply ye may be certain of the meeting with your Lord.
The above verses actually depict a very obscure and ancient idea of the universe. Don’t you think that the concept of support-less roof and the placement of mountains for the earth not to shake is very much akin to the use of a heavy paper-weight on a piece of paper so that it is not blown away by the wind? And what did Allah do to prevent the ‘sky’ from falling on heads? Yes, He supported the ‘sky’ on unseen pillars! How could one pass these as twentieth century science? Still more strange is this part of verse 21:30:…the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then we parted them, …..’ If these few words are really the proof of ‘Big-Bang’, then one may legitimately ask; where is the mention of the huge explosion? The word ‘Big-Bang’, itself, is very significant here. Where do we find the sign of that famous ‘Bang?’
Furthermore, in Physics, the ‘Big-Bang’ is related with space-time singularity, not with matter per se. The earth did not even exist when the ‘Big-Bang’ took place—the earth having been born billion years after the ‘Big-Bang’! The above verses are clearly referring to earth and sky being “joined” (which doesn’t even have a common sense or scientific meaning) together and then being split apart (again meaningless as per science), and that is all. Of course, from scientific point of view this is a complete nonsense—not to talk of ‘Big-Bang’.
Therefore, simply using a few jargons and playing with words in the above verse (21:30), in no way expresses scientifically, the ‘Big-Bang’ incidence. We learn from Quantum Physics that, just after the ‘Great’ explosion, the four forces of nature, the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, electro-magnetic force and the gravitational force existed as a unified ‘super force.’ Where in the above verse one can find this scientific truth? How could one calculate the Hubble Constant from the above verse? How can we compute the Doppler effect? There is, of course, no answer on these questions.
If there is no answer of those scientific enquiries, how can one make himself convince that those verses actually describing big bang, not the partition of an egg before making an omelet ? On this matter, the readers with an open mind on the exegesis of the Qur’an, may refer to the essay, ‘10 top-most scientific myths about Qur’an’ kept in the archives of Mukto-Mona website.
One important issue must be bear in mind: due to my debate with the exegetes of the Qur’an one must never assume that the ‘experts’ of other Holy scriptures are free from blame. In reality, they are all same and akin to the other side of the coin, and that is all. There are a number of Hindu ‘divine’ philosophers who will insist that the world-vision shown to Arjuna by Lord Krishna as mentioned in the epic, Mahabharata was nothing less than ‘Big-Bang’. Mr. Mrinal Dasgupta, a prominent scientist of National Indian Academy of Science, insists that the ancient sages already knew about the constant new discoveries of theories of science of today—the Vedas are quite clear on this, he is adamant. According to him, even a scientist of the calibre of Openheimer was so much impressed by the scientific content of the Geeta that when the intense power of atom dazzled him, he recited the hymns in Sanskrit from the Geeta :
“Dibi shurjushohosro vabed jugpoduthiita.
Jodi vah shodrishi sa syad vashshosh mohatmano.”
Many Hindu scientists are quite certain that the discoveries of modern science are nothing but the repetition of the scientific knowledge scribed in the Hindu scriptures eons ago. The communalistic organization like Ramkrishana Mission is preaching that the existence of ‘Black Holes’ is nothing new—the Hindus knew about them a long time ago. How? One may ask. Their answer is the famous words uttered by the supreme Lord Brahmma: ‘One moment of Brahmma is one thousand years for earth’. Some Hindus will even stretch their believe to bizarre extreme saying that the mythological war of Kurkshetra was nothing but an Atomic War. One popular Indian writer, Prasanata Pramanic, in his Bengali book ‘Modern Science in Indian Philosophy’ has stretched his imagination even to the extent of Mohenjodaro. In page 6 of his book he wrote, “It is most likely that an ally of Durjodhan (a character in Mahabharata) was annihilated in a nuclear holocaust in Mohenjodaro .” These ‘Veda-addicted’ utopians will, unhesitatingly claim that the modern ‘test tube baby’ and ‘surrogate mother’, though attributed to modern science is nothing new to Hindu civilization. They will invariably cite examples of the mythological births of Dhrone-Dhroni, Kripa-Kripi etc. Even the recently used Scud and Patriot missiles in the Gulf war are ascribed to the likes of ‘Barun Baan’ and ‘Agni Baan’ of Hindu mythology. These ‘scientists’ will, invariably find similarities between modern science and Hinduism in practically everything. Such was the case with the eminent Indian magazine, The Desh: Hrishikesh Sen, the author of the article, ‘Science and God’ published in the The Desh on April 22, 1995, found the similarity between the modern model of the universe and the ‘spider’ described in the Vedas. Strange comparison, indeed.
Aparthib Zaman, a prominent member of Mukto-Mona severely criticized this futile attempt to search science in religious scriptures. In an article on this topic he succinctly wrote:
‘ I see an attempt here to link planetary nebulae with a religious verse. This is a flawed attempt that is often made by apologetics of all religions, some more than others. If one likes to see science in anything they can see it anywhere. Some Joe may have said “All is relative” before Einstein’s theory of relativity. By this stretch of imagination that Joe can legitimately claim that he already knew about relativity and claim originality. Any vague phrase, pun, quote etc by humans, scriptures etc can be customized and made to fit any scientific principle which also have been phrased in a very general way for popular consumption hiding the underlying precise sense of these principles. Its an insult to science and the scientists whose painstaking research has helped unravel the complex workings of the laws of nature and reality. None of these scientific revelations were inspired from, dependent on, or utilized any of the religious revelations. If religious revelations could not and did not lead to any of these scientific truths in a stand alone way then by any criterion and logic they cannot be used to corroborate science. There are many unanswered questions in the basic understanding of the universe. Why can’t the verses of scripture throw any light on them? For example we don’t at this time know for sure if the universe is closed, open or flat. No body dares to make a prediction based on any revelation. But if it is ever found out by science I am sure one can dig out some vague words of a verse from some book of some religion and claim to “see” the answer that science has finally managed to find. Its always AFTER the fact that these semblances are found. It has never been found BEFORE the scientific discovery. Is that a coincidence?’
Realizing this sheer nonsensical game of the religionists, Probir Ghosh, in his book, ‘Why I don’t believe in God’ has mentioned a very interesting analogy  . Let us ask a drunken person about the model of this universe. At first, the drunkard may simply look at the questioner with baffling eyes; pick up the bottle from the street and drink more. Then he will throw the empty bottle in the street and start walking. If we wished, we could easily liken the whole episode to the affairs of the universe. We may compare the full bottle as the expanding universe, the drinking and emptying the bottle means the drunkard was saying that at a certain time this expansion (of the universe) will come to a stop and then contraction will ensue. Then, when the drunkard cast away the empty bottle he wanted to imply that before the contraction of the universe starts, all creations will be annihilated, leading to the point of singularity. Shall we accept this explanation as plausible?
Of course, the above explanation is absolutely nonsense, to say the least. For the last few years, we see with dismay, this game of sheer stupidity is being played in Bangladesh. This is exactly similar to the futile attempt of elucidation of the universe through the drunkard’s behavior cited above. Books, such as, ‘Gyaner kotha’ (Of knowledge), ‘Lojja’ (Shame) are readily banned on the lame excuse of hurting the ‘religious sensitivity’ of the public. Even a freedom fighter like Mr Wahab is shamed by parading around his village with shoe ‘necklace’ around his shoulder  for the simple ‘crime’ of reading books such as ‘ The Quest for Truth’ by Aroj Ali Matbor and ‘Je golper shesh Nei’ (The never-ending Story) by Devi Prasad Chatterjee; Taslima Nasrin  is exiled from her motherland ; Ahmed Sharif , Ali Asghar, Kabir Chowdhury are declared as Murtads (apostates) for exercising their right of free-speech. On the other hand, with the generous patronage from the Government, the Islamic Foundation publishes the pseudo-science book, like ‘Scientific Identification in Holy Qur’an’. With the blessing of the blind faithfuls and the fatalist believers, the likes of Bucaille and Moore have a great feast with the huge circulation of their ‘great’ scientific books. The entire Bangladesh is now flooded with books such as ‘Al-Qur’an the greatest Bangla book of science,’ Space and the challenge of the Qu’ran’, ’Qur’an or Science’, ‘Science and Al-Qur’an’, just to name a few. Last year, while celebrating the first anniversary of the founding of Mukto-Mona, Dr Ajoy Roy, a Professor of Dhaka University wrote in his essay, ‘Scientific Mind and Building of a Society Based on Science Oriented Thought’ :
If the holy books are the only source of knowledge, then stagnation will result in the society, the society would turn into a static state in its conscience and thinking, creativity would be replaced by superstition, unproductiveness, narrow-looking attitude, illiteracy and foolishness. That type of society would be retrogressive and backward looking. What we see in our society? Superstition and fruits of technology mutually co-exist. We don’t want the reason of science; we want only its fruits in our material life; side by side we will nourish blind faith and submission to fate. We decorate our drawing with a colored TV and watch satellite program, send our hysterical daughter to the abode of a peer (religious guru) instead of taking to medical center.- this kind of contradiction is possible only in our society. In this society it is possible for a microbiologist to carry on higher research biochemistry , at the same time kissing the feet of a famous peer. It is in our society possible for a learned political scientist to a research monograph on secular political system at the same time to rush to a half educated spiritual peer for begging his blessings to have a lucrative coveted post of administration. This is the typical panoramic view of our society we are used to see.
Indeed, today, this is the reality of our society—a society that is on a journey riding a strange camel to fit with religion! In this age of supreme advancement of science, when the chain of religion is gradually being loosened elsewhere, when the humanity has every doubt and skepticism about religion, a relentless effort is mounted to perpetuate the religion-based sheer exploitation of the gullible devotees by brainwashing them. It is a very clever strategy, no doubt—repackaging religion in modern science. It is a kind of drug and many people are hooked on it. Under the morbid influence of such a powerful narcotic, people have really started to believe that the 1400 years old scripture do augment the theory of ‘‘Big-Bang’’ or the concept of time dilation is really contained in some verses of those ancient scriptures. What a pity! What a catastrophe! Who will free this nation obsessed with religion?
As I was pondering deeply with this sorry affairs of my native land, an answer came to my mind. It was Omar Khayyam  who wrote these few lines:
” If Madrasahs of those drunks Became the educational institutes Of teaching philosophy of Epicures, Plato and Aristotle;
If Abode and Mazars of Peer and Drabesh Is turned into research institutes,
If men instead of following blind faith of religion Should have cultivated ethics,
If the abode of worships were turned into Centers of learning of all academic activities,
If instead of studying religion, men Would have devoted to develop mathematics – algebra,
If logic of science would have occupied the place of Sufism, faith and superstition,
Religion that divides human beings Would have replaced by humanism, ….
Then world would have turned into haven, The world on other side then would have extinguished, The world would then become full of Love-affection-freedom-joy,
And there is no doubt about it.”
How astonishingly the state of affairs in Bangladesh matches with the sayings of this famous bard, come to think of it! In unison with the voice of Dr Ajoy Roy, we also wish to say, ‘Dear Omar, please hasten to see us—witness how deeply immersed we are in superstition, ignorance—we need you very very desperately in this land of fatwabaj (religious diction)’.
 Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899-1976), A famous poet of Bengal; popularly known as rebel poet (Biidrohi Kabi).
 http://www.humanists.net; http://rationalthinking.humanists.net/; http://www.faithfreedom.org;
 Prabir Ghosh, General secretary, Science and Rationalist Association of India. http://www.humanists.net/avijit/prabir
 Sunil Ganguli, one of the most contemporary prominent literary figures in India. His famous poem “Standing under a tree” (ekta gaachtoly daariye) has been translated by Dr. A.H. Jaffor Ullah: http://humanists.net/avijit/kobita/standing_beneath_a_shady_tree.htm
 “MohaGuru” Aroj Ali Matubbar – a truly homegrown philosopher of Bangladesh: http://mohaguru.humanists.net
 Prabir Ghosh, “Why I don’t believe in God” (Aami keno Iswarey Bishwash kori na) Calcutta: Dej Publishing, 1996, p. 132.
 Mohenjodaro was a city of the valley of Indus. This was one of the earliest known civilization in India.
 Prabir Ghosh, “Why I don’t believe in God” (Aami keno Iswarey Bishwash kori na) Calcutta: Dej Publishing, 1996, p. 136.
 Professor Ajoy K. Roy, “Scientific Mind and Building of a Society based on Science oriented thought”, http://www.mukto-mona.com/rationalism/index.htm
 Omar Khayyam (1048 -1131), one of the greatest mathematicians, astronomers, and poets of Iran whose Ruba’iyat (quatrains) are translated into most of the languages of the world.
 The Victim of ‘Fatwa’ is now a Man; http://www.humanists.net/avijit/article/news/wahab_1.htm
 Taslima Nasrin – Author, poet, physician, refugee under fatwa. http://www.mukto-mona.com/human_rights/taslima/index.htm
 One Brave Woman vs. Religious Fundamentalism, Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 19, Number 1. http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/nasrin_19_1.html
 Dr. Ahmed Sharif (1921 -1999)- A consummate rational humanist, prominent freethinker and an outspoken scholar, renowned researcher of Bengali literature. http://www.mukto-mona.com/personalities/ahmed_sharif.htm
 Please note:
All Qur’an translation is by Marmaduke Pickthal and are cited from the website: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/
Sahi Bukhari translation is by Dr Muhammad Muhsin Khan and are cited from the website: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/
All Vedas translation is by Ralph T.H. Griffith and are cited from the website: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/index.htm
All quotes from the Bible are extracted from the website: http://www.blueletterbible.org/
[Mukto-mona] [Articles] [Recent Debate] [Specia