Persian Voices: Humanity and Science

Religions, by whatever names they are called, all resemble each other. No agreement and no reconciliation are possible between these religions and philosophy. Religion imposes on man its faith and its belief, where area philosophy frees him of it totally or in part. How could one therefore hope that they would agree with each other?

As long as humanity exists, the struggle will not cease between dogma and free investigation, between religion and philosophy, a desperate struggle in which, I fear, the triumph will not be for free throughout, because the masses dislike reason and its teachings are only understood by some intelligences of the elite, and because, also, science, however beautiful it is, does not completely satisfy humanity, which thirsts for the ideal and which likes to exist in dark and distant regions philosophers and scholars can neither perceive nor explore.

—Seyyed Jamal al Din Asadabadi (Afghani)


Janet Afary. The Iranian Constitutional Revolution 1906-1911: Grassroots Democracy, Social Democracy, and the Origins and Feminism page 27-28. Print.


Editor’s Note: In 1883, Ernest Renan published, Islam and Science in Journal des Debats, asserting that the Muslim religion was hostile to scientific pursuits. Two years later Asadabadi responded to Renan.


The science of history is the first of sciences,

Perhaps today it is the best of sciences.

The man who knows history does not err,

He does not make brainless statements.

That which is remembered in the world is history [yadegar tarikh ast],

That which is useful is history.


Farzin, Vejdani Making History in Iran: Education, Nationalism, and Print Culture. Chapter 2. Ashraf Al-Din Husayni Nasim Shumal. “Nasim Shumal.Tarikh Muqqadamati-ye Iran Manzumeh-i Ashraf.” Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015. Page 51. Print.