| Azlan Othman |
HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said science and techno-logy should be used solely for virtuous things and not to bring destruction to our planet.
His Majesty said this in a titah at the opening ceremony of the Knowledge Convention 2014, held at the International Convention Centre yesterday.
“We do not accept science and technology to diminish the power of Allah the Almighty but rather admire His greatness. We reject science and technology that brings destruction to the planet.
“As we strive to create civilisation with science and technology as its foundation, our efforts should be centred around belief and confidence in Allah the Almighty. We must outline our civilisation beginning with education.
“We must educate our people with science and technology that are not against the religious laws,” said the monarch.
“We accept science and technology that ensures prosperity (with virtue and humanity) to those inhabiting the earth. We will support our scientists and technologists and give them adequate facilities to continue with their research and development, the results of which will allow us to always be at the forefront and successful. All this is in the blessing of Allah the Almighty,” added His Majesty.
“Our advancements should not stop us from continuing our efforts for the prosperity of all and promoting goodness and rejecting wrong-doings for the benefit of mankind.
Touching on this year’s convention, the ruler said, “I am pleased to note that we are able to organise Knowledge Convention 2014 to mark my 68th birthday anniversary celebration. I appreciate the theme chosen this year which reads ‘Science and Technology, Catalyst for Development and Enhancing the Ummah’s Quality of Life’.
“It is hoped that what is produced from this Knowledge Convention 2014, be it through discussions in seminars, talks, symposiums and the exhibition – will give many benefits to us. We are all aware that science and technology has become a benchmark for quality of life. We should not neglect the history of civilisation that is based on knowledge which is responsible for ensuring the continuity of human life.
“When we talk about the role of science and technology, we cannot ignore the history of renaissance in Europe, as it has produced many scientific and technological inventions and innovations for the society,” said the ruler. “With this, the quality of life of the people in Europe was enhanced.
“Science was the studied in the East and the West, passionately, to better the quality of life. But as Muslims, we must be careful in keeping up with the advances and efforts in developing our society. There is nothing wrong with science and technology as Islam has also contributed to its progress.
“Many scientific leads from the Quran have been used, but these were never highlighted by anyone. Hence, for us, science and technology would become ‘wrong’ if it was considered solely as human in nature without merging it with the divine element. In fact, science and technology is just a small ‘piece’ of knowledge whereby it does not belong to anyone but Allah. It is bestowed to mankind as a blessing and should be used properly,” His Majesty said.
Speaking of blessings (nikmat), His Majesty said Allah the Almighty has reminded us that we will be questioned in the days of the hereafter on how and for what purpose such blessings were used. “We could refer to the last verse of Surah At-Takaathur. If science and technology is not merged with divinity, its applications in life would separate us from divinity.
“In the end, mankind will become arrogant and disobedient to Allah the Almighty. The reminder from Allah in this context is terrifying, through what had happened to the people of ‘Aad that inherited knowledge and skills, but developed arrogance and disobedience without recognising the divinity in their progress. Prophet Hud (pbuh) was sent to the people for them to repent, but they remained arrogant and disobedient and Allah destroyed them wholly,” His Majesty said.
“We also use science and technology for our national development. In implementing our development programmes, we are always up-to-date with the latest scientific and technological knowledge – in constructing roads, buildings, houses, bridges, electricity and water, medical facilities, nutrition, education and so on,” His Majesty noted.
Also present at the convention were HRH Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah, HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik and HRH Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel.
The Minister of Development, Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Suyoi bin Haji Osman, as the co-chairperson of the steering committee of the Knowledge Convention 2014, said the event will help disseminate the government’s efforts to continuously upgrade the quality of life to a higher level and to be listed as one of the Top 10 economies in the world according to the UNDP Human Development Index.
The convention focuses on the contribution of science and technology in all aspects of development for mankind and the responsibility of the Ummah in maintaining individual and community balance, and to enhance the values and principles of Islamic life in line with the aspiration of becoming a Zikir Nation.
The ceremony also featured a special talk by the State Mufti. An exhibition is also being held in conjunction with the convention.