BY ZURAIRI AR
ANKARA, July 25 — The academic dominance of the Muslim world has declined after its ancient scholars rejected the pursuit of secular knowledge, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
In his opening speech to the Council of Higher Education Ankara here, the prime minister said the rejection has caused the Muslim world to fall to Western colonialists and eventually weakened.
“They become people who are ignorant of the knowledge that are changing the world. They started to regress,” Dr Mahathir said in his speech on the topic of “knowledge”.
The rejection, Dr Mahathir said, came following a fatwa, or religious decree by those scholars, deeming secular knowledge such as mathematics and science as having no merit for the afterlife.
In comparison, he said that European powers had instead acquired the knowledge previously pioneered by the Muslim world and subsequently took a leap over the latter.
He also again lambasted modern Muslims for simply parroting other scholars and taking their interpretations of Islam for granted.
The prime minister also reiterated his message that religious terrorism and jihadism go against “true” Islamic teachings.
Dr Mahathir was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University following his speech.