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Unity of Knowledge
May 1, 2009

Seyyed Hossein Nasr, an outstanding figure of our time, rejects the separation of spiritual thought from science. In this issue we feature an interview with Professor Nasr in “Talks on Matter and Beyond,” a new department we are launching this month. Based on the “unity of knowledge,” Nasr argues for a strong interrelation between “all the different disciplines, from poetry to music to philosophy to history to geology to medicine to physics and mathematics,” and he challenges any overly compartmentalized approach to learning.

In line with Professor Nasr’s ideas, and in an effort to seek knowledge in a holistic way, this issue examines diverse topics from science and spirituality. The lead article draws attention to “seditious organizations and followers of Satan who hold a grudge against people-particularly against believers.” With a comprehensive introduction on Satan’s rebellion and his role in the “controversy between unbelief and faith,” Fethullah Gulen calls believers to be on their guard against Satan’s contemporary followers and their temptation.

“Life is too complex to have occurred by mere chance,” says Ahmet Yildiz in his description of energy conversion in the microcosmic world of the cell in our body. Just like in a power plant, there is “a dynamic environment that involves constant formation, breakdown and repair of constituents” in a cell which is perfectly equipped with a command center, defense mechanisms, and the replication and repair systems of DNA.

In “The Last Prayer for Giants” we discover the wisdom in a Prophetic command to plant trees even when one knows doomsday is imminent. The importance of being kind to and protecting nature is emphasized in this allegory.

In return for our kindness to nature and thankfulness, God the All-Merciful

blesses us with many benefits from nature. Patchouli, for instance, is not only famous for its fragrance, but also a useful plant in medicine, in repelling pests, and even in cleaning our homes. There is more in “Health and Natural Balance with Patchouli.”

How do we achieve a balance between our jobs, personal lives, and families

and still serve the sole purpose of our existence-to worship God and seek His pleasure? How is it possible that God will grant believers eternal life although we can only achieve a limited number of actions in a limited lifetime? What is the secret of converting the finite into the infinite? The answer is in Vedat Akyuz’s essay on sincerity.

Medicine, like other fields of science, has developed enormously with techniques which surpass our imaginings. “Open Heart Surgery” is about a technique in which the heart is temporarily stopped while the body is connected to an artificial mechanism. Enis Turker describes this operation which opens a gateway for us to reflect upon the complex functions of our body, which are nothing but divine miracles.