Daily Times: COMMENT : A tribute to Dr Abdus Salam — Syeda Sultana Rizvi
Salam preferred to retain his Pakistani nationality and green passport over the knighthood that was offered to him
On November 21, 1996, with the death of Dr Abdus Salam, not only did we lose Pakistan’s only Nobel laureate, a physicist and a mathematician par excellence but also a man whose passion and deep love for the Quran and Pakistan were manifested in both his words and deeds. The spirit of his legacy is still alive and cherished in many parts of the world as the institutions he established continue to benefit millions of human beings. Salam was a multidimensional individual and so is his legacy. His scientific contributions remain influential even today as his contribution and prediction about the Higgs-Boson particle — a discovery that earned the Nobel prize for physics this year — is well recognised by scientists. However, his achievements in fields other than the sciences and sometimes in the realms considered in conflict with science are equally fascinating and motivating. We must remember this role model and give him a place we were unable to during his lifetime.
Most of us are aware of the traditional conflict between faith and reason, religion and science. These streams are seen as opposing each other, sometimes deemed fatal to each other’s growth. Salam successfully busted this myth and established reconciliation between the two by achieving heights of excellence in Mathematics and Physics while retaining deep connections with faith and religion. For him, the Holy Quran and his firm belief in Allah were his guiding principles for widening his vision of scientific inquiry. Salam understood the meanings of the Holy Quran and found it to be a great source of guidance and motivation for his scientific work. He made huge efforts to introduce to the world the intellectual side of the Holy Quran. He tried to make people aware that the Quran was not a book in conflict with reason but one that is truly compatible with reason, knowledge and scientific thinking.