In a gentle way, you can shake the world
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To criticize a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous, but to criticize their religion, that is a right. That is a freedom. The freedom to criticize ideas, any ideas – even if they are sincerely held beliefs – is one of the fundamental freedoms of society. A law which attempts to say you can criticize and ridicule ideas as long as they are not religious ideas is a very peculiar law indeed.It all points to the promotion of the idea that there should be a right not to be offended. But in my view the right to offend is far more important than any right not to be offended. The right to ridicule is far more important to society than any right not to be ridiculed because one in my view represents openness – and the other represents oppression

A great thinker does not necessarily have to discover a master idea but has to rediscover and to affirm a true but forgotten, ignored or misunderstood master idea and interpret it in all the diverse aspects of thought not previously done, in a powerful and consistent way, despite surrounding ignorance and opposition. This criterion we think would include all prophets and their true followers among the Muslim scholars. He is both a great and original thinker who brings new meanings and interpretations to old ideas, thereby providing both continuity and originality to the important intellectual and cultural problems of his time and through it, of mankind. Thus the brilliant interpretations of scholars and sages like al-Ghazali and Mulla Sadra then, and Iqbal and al-Attas now, deserve to be recognized and acknowledged as manifesting certain qualities of greatness and originality.

In the 1920s, there was a dinner at which the physicist Robert W. Wood was asked to respond to a toast … ‘To physics and metaphysics.’ Now by metaphysics was meant something like philosophy—truths that you could get to just by thinking about them. Wood took a second, glanced about him, and answered along these lines: The physicist has an idea, he said. The more he thinks it through, the more sense it makes to him. He goes to the scientific literature, and the more he reads, the more promising the idea seems. Thus prepared, he devises an experiment to test the idea. The experiment is painstaking. Many possibilities are eliminated or taken into account; the accuracy of the measurement is refined. At the end of all this work, the experiment is completed and … the idea is shown to be worthless. The physicist then discards the idea, frees his mind (as I was saying a moment ago) from the clutter of error, and moves on to something else. The difference between physics and metaphysics, Wood concluded, is that the metaphysicist has no laboratory.