Merry Christmas to all my Christian friends, colleagues and readers.
On 25 December 2021, I published a post on the spectacular launch of the stunning James Webb Space Telescope. I talked about the many countries involved in this optimistic science project, and remarked on the conspicuous absence of Muslim countries from this great species endeavour. What inspires all of humanity, Muslims keep away from. Having the perfect religion is better, right?
It is one year to the day since NASA launched JWST. The first half of the year went to positioning, setting up, calibrating and testing the many instruments and systems on the telescope, leaving only the last six months to rack up the stunning catalogue of accomplishments that humanity can be rightly proud of. Humanity, because so many countries were involved in this mammoth project, and all over the world, people cheered, "Go Webb!" And boy, did it go! But in Muslim lands, no one had heard about it. 1400 years of not hearing about. That's a lot not heard about. With faultless timing, on this very anniversary, Afghanistan's Taliban Minister of Higher Education, Sheikh Mawlawi Neda Mohammad Nadeem, explained:
[The answer is that] we are all Muslims. To us, Allah's religion is the most important thing. Had the Islamic Emirate considered the development and civilisation of people as their real aim, then there would have been no need for war to begin with. [We could have] handed Osama [Bin Laden] over to them, and given women freedom like they demand now. The [governmental] system was already there – why was it necessary to [sacrifice] hundreds of thousands of martyrs?
Somewhere along the way, a smug Muslim "scholar," Mufti Ismail Menk, managed to let the world know that the JWST will only see what Allah permits it to see. Yeah, right. Major scientific contribution, that. Sounds like sour grapes, to me. Yet, it is progress. We must acknowledge it. Some Muslims have a nagging awareness that they've been missing out for 1400 years, even if they can't admit it to themselves.
In the meantime, the rest of us can allow JWST's first actual direct image of an extrasolar planet to make our heads spin. Our jaws can drop at the image of the clouds on Saturn's moon Titan, vast stretches of the universe in fine detail showing new stars in formation (wasn't that supposed to have taken place on the third day of creation, or something?), the earliest galaxies that were formed in the universe, detailed chemical breakdowns of the atmospheres of planets in other star systems, and so on and so on...
Just one more year and one more science instrument that Muslims missed out on. Why? Because it is offensive to follow the ways of the kufaar, and to like what the kufaar like, and value what the kufaar value and, in any case, the Qur'an knew it already. Even Christmas is haram. That's right. Merry Christmas, my former fellow Muslims.
- MEMRI TV, 25 December 2022, https://www.memri.org/tv/afghan-taliban-higher-education-minister-nadeem-we-care-about-hijab-more-than-about-development-of-people This is simply a more bad-ass way of saying what Ayatollah Ali Sistani said in Najaf in 1998, "Civilisation and Islam are two different things." (Abdulaziz Sachedina, What happened in Najaf? [no date, presumed late August 1998] http://islam.uga.edu/sachedina_silencing.html They would not listen. They're not listening still. Perhaps they never will.