C. A. Qadir (1909-)


C. A. Qadir was a founding member of the Pakistan Philosophical Congress and its Executive Head for almost a decade (1980-1989). He was the author of thirty books (in English and Urdu), a teacher of philosophy who influenced numerous young minds but whose own thought remained derivative. His major book, Philosophy and Science in the Islamic World (Croom Helm, 1988; reprinted Routledge, 1990) is a cursory survey of Islamic philosophy. His other works include The World of Philosophy (Lahore, 1965) and Logical Positivism (Lahore, 1965).


He wrote a history of science (in Urdu) but his own views on Islam and science fall into the general category of works which find no dissonance between Islam and science without defining the nature of science in any concrete way. His conception of science, as outlined in the second chapter of his Philosophy and Science in the Islamic World treats science in its idealized form. This chapter, “Religion, Science and Philosophy in Islam” repeats the oft-repeated theme of the nineteenth century reformers’ agenda: Islam emphasizes learning and Islamic theory of learning includes science which is perceived as a way of discovering God’s signs in nature.


This is, then, followed by a theoretical formulation of the inductive method and the claim that “Arabs were the originators of the scientific method.” This is a formulation that has been repeated ad infinitum in most derived works which quote such assertions from a Sarton, Briffault or Philip Hitti.


However, from the works of Qadir, one cannot discern his personal views of the relationship between Islam and science. All that one finds is descriptive in nature or quotations from other works. Qadir’s contributions, however, remain in the field of education, his lifelong activity which cultivated many minds.