By Dr. Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, Radiation Oncologist
Imagine a world in which medicine lacks the sophistication of advanced chemical structures, tailors rely solely on their hands to fashion clothes, or space travel is simply a figment of our imagination. Had it not been for revelation through dreams, civilization today might still be centuries behind in its scientific and socioeconomic advancements. Throughout history, dreams are an integral part of the engine of discovery, leading to many breakthroughs that have advanced our
world for the better.
In order to better understand the impact of dreams on the advancement of scientific knowledge, it is first essential to define the types of knowledge that exist. First, there is the knowledge that is obtained through sense-perception is called posteriori or empirical knowledge. Second, rationalists believe that true knowledge can only be discovered a priori, or through deductive reasoning and logic, processes that are hardwired in the human brain and independent of sensory experience. “Both a priori knowledge, such as reason, intuition and logic, and a posteriori, or empirical knowledge, are necessary for man to construct an understanding of life and the universe. Mystical experience is necessary to reveal the inner nature of things while science is necessary for modern life.(1)
As we uncover the essence of these two types of knowledge, it is apparent that beneath them lies the concept of revelation, which is defined as “A: an act of revealing or communicating divine truth. B:something that is revealed by God to humans.(2)” And in understanding the impact that revelation has on scientificc advancement, science itself is defined as the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. (1)
In his masterpiece book, “Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge, and Truth,” Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, (rh) sheds light on the definition and nature of revelation and writes: “People who believe in revelation differ in their understanding of its nature.… If we widen the scope of our study, we observe that many authentic cases of revelation are also reported outside the domain of religion. For instance, there are many interesting cases of highly complex information conveyed through revelation to some scientists. (3)”
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