Ghazali (c. 1058 – 1111) and Ibn-Rushd aka Averroes (c. 1126 – 1198), two of the famous minds from medieval Muslim world, had an opposite stance on the scientific approach of understanding the nature, as the former one—the more revered of the two by current Muslims—maintained incoherent mystic interpretation of the creation of the nature and its phenomena, while the latter one, being more rational yet less known to the today’s Muslims than to the West, advocated factual ‘cause and effect’ in understanding the universe. Ghazali, who is now widely regarded by many as a stalwart of Islam, criticized scientists, who were—in his time—known as natural philosophers or simply philosophers in his book, “Incoherence of the Philosophers”. Later, Ibn-Rushd in his book, “Incoherence of Incoherence”, refuted Ghazali’s views convincingly (at least to the people who relied on the facts) in interpreting natural phenomena.
According to Ghazali's philosophy, cotton burns in a fire because God wills it. Taking this argument into account, it is possible that a person may remain unscathed in a fire if God wills that fire does not burn him. This is how miracles happen if one applies Ghazali's ‘science’. On the contrary, Ibn-Rushd insisted while God created the physical laws, humans could more effectively say that fire caused the cotton to burn because the creation had formulations that humans could recognize and interpret.
Not surprisingly, these two individuals also differed on other issues, taken for an example, gender discrimination. While Ghazali insisted that women should be confined to their households, preventing them from even peering through windows or from roof, Ibn-Rushd, in contrast, said, “Much of the poverty and distresses of the times arises from the fact that women are kept like domestic animals or house plant for the purpose of gratification.”
Here’s another gem from Ibn-Rushd: “Ignorance leads to fear, fear leads to hate, and hate leads violence. This is the equation.”
Quite understandably, even the supposed Islam hater, Salman Rushdie, whose father changed his family name to Rushdie out of reverence, is an admirer of this Muslim philosopher.