(CONTINUED FROM LESSON-2 POSTED ON JULY 31, 2016)
Now I come to a kind of supra-rational knowledge which I have called spark of wisdom. I am sure that every adult has experienced this knowledge sometime in life. Assume that my friend Commander Abdul Majid is in Bangladesh at this time. Suddenly I hear the door-bell of my house in Montreal ringing. For no reason whatsoever I feel that Commander Majid is at my door. I open my door. Lo and behold, it is Commander Majid! Reason cannot explain how I knew that it was my friend Commander Majid at my door.
We receive many long-distance telephone calls in our house. The ring-tone of all long-distance calls on our telephone receiver is the same. Yet my wife will run to the telephone receiver sometimes because she knows that our son is calling us at those times. Her knowledge comes true. I should mention that our son does not call us at specific days or times. She also somehow knows from a distance when a close relative of ours is sick or has died.
Our son Hamid, who is considered one of the best kidney doctors of the world, is also endowed with this kind of intuitive knowledge. I shall give two of many examples that I know.
The Bangladeshi community of Montreal gave him a citizens’ reception in 2009 for his achievements. While my family and I were getting ready to go to the reception hall, Hamid said, “I shall be back in a few minutes” and went to my office room on the second floor of our house. In 10 minutes He came back to our kitchen where we were waiting and delivered to me a printed copy of his short speech at the reception that evening. I was very much surprised that he wrote, typed and printed his speech—all in 10 minutes. I can say that the people in the gathering of that evening were very happy about the speech, and a number of young people requested him to give them its copies. That speech is available on my website bangladeshisabroad.com
The second example convinces me even more than the first that Hamid makes many decisions on the basis of what I have called a spark of wisdom. Harvard University sometimes invites outstanding physicians to diagnose extraordinarily difficult cases of disease publicly, in the presence of the medical doctors and students. The purpose of this exercise is to teach Harvard doctors and students how very difficult cases are diagnosed. Sometime ago the University invited Hamid to perform this exercise. Harvard took a long time and the expertise of many doctors to diagnose the disease of a particular patient.
The event started in the morning. Doctors and students filled a large auditorium of Harvard University and Hamid examined the patient on the elevated podium. He described what he was doing step by step in the investigation of the case. The doctors and students asked him questions about the various steps that he was taking. As far as I remember this process lasted the whole day.
At the end of the day when all the people were anxious to hear the diagnosis, Hamid gave his verdict that shocked the people present in the auditorium. The symptoms that the patient had did not warrant the kind of diagnosis that Hamid made. But the important thing is that Hamid’s diagnosis was correct. He was then asked how it was possible for him to arrive at the conclusion that he did. He answered, “It was my gut feeling.” To me it was Allah’s gift to him–a spark of wisdom. Reason by itself cannot explain this kind of phenomenon.
The entire proceedings of the day were broadcast on the closed circuit TV of Harvard University for the benefit of the people who could not be present in the auditorium, and were later published in the reputed New England Journal of Medicine.
As for myself, I made most of the major decisions of my life on a demonstrably non-rational basis. I can report to you that ma sha Allah all those decisions proved to be fruitful. In buying a building in Canada, especially when a building consists of many apartments, buyers usually have it inspected by experts to make sure that the structure, plumbing, electrical system and the roof are in good condition. I have bought many apartment buildings for rent in Montreal during the last 35 years, but never engaged an expert to inspect them. I simply entered a building, had a good feeling about it and made an offer to buy it. In one case a Jewish friend of mine who owned many apartment buildings in Montreal and initiated me in the real estate business was very much opposed to my buying a reasonably large building near McGill University. I bought the building against his advice. That building became my most profitable real estate investment in Montreal. In another case I negotiated the price of a building on the telephone and bought it without seeing the inside of that building. This building also proved to be very profitable.
I should also mention that I do my work very fast. In many cases I completed visiting a building, negotiating its price and getting the offer accepted by the vendor—all in one hour or so. One may say that what I do is reckless, but the results of my decisions have proved otherwise.
My Philosophy Professor at B. M. College in Barisal was Prof. Nurul Huda. He was like a tiger to his students. His students were very scared of him. No student ever came close to him. One day I received a message asking me to see him. I immediately felt that he was going to ask me to move to his house to live with him and his family. My feeling came to be true. I lived at his house which was part of the building of Mr. Abdul Wahab Khan, former Speaker of the Parliament of Pakistan and the grandfather of the famous Salman Khan of the Khan Academy on the US.
The matchmaker of my marriage told me only the following words about a female student of the University of Dhaka: “She is a golden girl, and her father is a Professor and a saintly man.” Later on, I had a quick glance of the young lady on the campus of the University from a distance. I had absolutely no other information about her or her family. Yet I instantly decided to marry her. You may think that I was crazy to make an important decision like marrying a girl on the basis of scanty information given by a matchmaker who is known to make exaggerations, and a quick glance at the girl from a distance. Yet I felt that she was a good girl and marriage with her would be a good one. I can say to you now that I made the best decision of my life by marrying Aishah in 1959. We have had an excellent life together for the last 56 years. Indeed, she has been an ideal wife, an ideal mother and an ideal grandmother. I have never heard of a complaint against her from anyone in the North and the South, East and the West. Recently I wrote in a book that our matchmaker was slightly wrong when he said to me that Aishah was a ‘golden girl’. Actually I have found her to be a ‘diamond girl’.
Philosophers and Psychologists will agree with me on my analysis of perception and inference. As for what I have called supra-rational knowledge, psychologists have their own explanations. A psychologist, for example, will say that what I call spark of wisdom results from the work of our unconscious mind. I can understand the psychologist’s position. Science is confined to perceptions, experimentations and inference. It does not admit of supernatural agencies to explain natural phenomena. As a believer in Allah, however, I have a different point of view. I do believe in Divine involvement in natural events, and I have tried to express my views in this regard in the paragraphs above.
(This is the third and final dose of Philosophy for now.)
Shibly Sadeque, Marzan Begum and 17 others
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