Chapter 18: Science and Philosophy

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (A.S) was not only a religious leader, but a scientist, a philosopher and a man of letters. He used to teach theology, philosopher, science and literature. He was the first scholar in the world to have separated science and philosophy. No one before him paid any attention to the important point that they are two different subjects. He remarked, while pointing out the difference between the two which shocked many philosophers. They can be divided in two parts.

The first part read as follows: "Science and philosophy are two different subjects. Science gives us definite and exact results even if they are small and insignificant. But philosophy serves no practical purpose and gives no useful results."

The second part read as follows : "However, it is beyond the scope of science to discover the ultimate truth; but it is within the domain of philosophy to do that."

As the Imam was a religious leader he already knew the truth through religion and did not want to find it through philosophy. However, it was his firm conviction that philosophy would solve many problems. He was therefore more interested in philosophy than in science because it helped to recognise the Creator.

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (A.S) was not a physician by profession, but he introduced and formulated methods of diagnosis and treatment in the field of medicine. Western scholars find it hard to believe how he could have introduced certain diagnosis in that age and time.