Islamic Perspective On Modern Science
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Seeking out knowledge is a natural desire for human mankind. If this desire was not there, man would not have invented for example, electricity, aero-planes, space crafts and highly advanced means of transportations. All of these inventions and achievements are evidence that man is by nature seeking out knowldge.
Qur`an and Sunnah include many references to science, thinking and contemplating. Muslim scholars themselves have never ever through the different ages opposed science, simply because they know that the facts and realities mentioned in the Qur`an and Sunnah get more transparent and clear with the advancement of science. In fact, Islam called upon seeking out knowledge on all the levels. The first word of the Qur`an, revealed by God to prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was read, which highlights the importance of science and learning.
The prophet (PBUH) said:seeking knowledge is a compulsory on every Muslim.
He also said: whoever follows a path seeking knowledge, God will make his path to paradise easy.
These statements in addition to many others are clear cut invitations to humanity to enrich their knowledge. It comes as no surprise, therefore, to know that Islam and science have always been regarded as twin sisters and that today, while science has taken such great steps, they continue to be closely related. While recent discoveries and inventions directed a death blow to religious beliefs of other religions and contradicted with it, they continued to prove that the Qur`an is the literal word of god and that it was not authored by any human being due to its compatibility with all the recent inventions and discoveries. In fact, such recent achievements are never in opposition to Qur`an and Sunnah. Instead, They have helped to affirm the Qur`an and Sunnah in many things that people found them very difficult to comprehend.


Qur`an and Modern Sciences

The Qur`an which was revealed fourteen centuries ago mentioned facts only proven recently by scientists. This indicates, with no doubt, that modern sciences don’t contradict ever with Islam.
In his book entitled Earth, which is being studied as a basic reference textbook in many universities all over the world, Professor Emeritus Frank Press, one of the tow authors of this book and the Science Advisor to former US president Jimmy Carter and for 12 years was the president of the National Academy of sciences, Washington, DC. , mentioned that the mountains have deeply embedded roots in the ground, that can reach several times their elevations above the surface of the ground. This indicates that most proper word for mountains to be described of is pegs and this is the exact description that God gave to the mountains in Qur`an.
In Qur`an God has said: Have we not made the earth as a bed and the mountains as pegs (An-Naba`, 78:6-7).
Moreover, the modern theory of plate tectonics that mountains works as stabilizers for the earth has just begun to be understood in the frame work of plate tectonics since the late 1960s. However, God mentioned this scientific fact in the Qur`an fourteen centuries ago.
God has said in the Qur`an:
And he has set firm mountains in the earth so that it would not shake with you… (An-Nahl, 16:15).
Let us see other examples that prove that the principles of Islam and its teachings don’t oppose modern sciences, rather it completely supports them.
The whole universe was nothing before but a cloud of smoke(i.e. an opaque highly dense and hot gaseous composition). This is the fact that science of modern cosmology, theoretical and observational has recently proved.
God has said in the Qur`an several centuries ago:Then he turned to the heaven when it was smoke(Fussilat, 41:11)
Consequently, we can conclude that both the earth and the heavens (planets, galaxies, the sun , the moon ..etc) were one related entity and then they separated from each other’s and that is because both of them have been formed from the same smoke.
God tells us about this fact in the Qur`an:
have not those who disbelieved known that the heavens and the earth were one connected entity, then we separate them?..) (Al-Anbiya`, 21:30)
Also, Qur`an preceded all the scientists working in the field of anatomy and embryology several centuries ago when it referred to the stages of man`s embryonic development which have been known recently by scientists.
God has said in the Qur`an:
And indeed we created man (Adam) out of an extract of clay (water and earth). Thereafter we made him (the offspring of Adam) as Nutfah (mixed drops of the male and female sexual discharge and lodged it) in a safe lodging (womb of the woman). Then we made the Nutfah into a clot (apiece of thick coagulated blood) then we made the clot into a little lump of flesh bones, then we clothed the bones with flesh, and then we brought it forth as another creation…….. (Al-Mu`minun, 23:12-14).
During a scientific conference, Professor Emeritus Keith l. Moore, the author of the book entitled the developing human -translated into 8 languages- and one of the worlds pioneering scientists in the field of anatomy and embryology stated:
… because the staging of human embryos is complex, owing to the continuous process of change during development, its proposed that new system of classification could be developed using the terms mentioned in the Qur`an and Sunnah. This proposed system is simple, comprehensive, and conforms to present embryological knowledge. The intensive studies of the Qur`an and Sunnah in the last four years have revealed a system for classifying human embryos that is amazing since it was recorded in the seventh century A.D. Although Aristotle, the founder of the science of embryology, realized that chick embryos developed in stages from his studies of hens` eggs in the fourth century B.C., he did not give any details about these stages. As far as it known from the history of embryology, little was known about the staging and classification of human embryos until the twentieth century. For this reason, the descriptions of the human embryo in the Qur`an cannot be based on scientific knowledge in the seventh century. The only reasonable conclusion is: these descriptions were revealed to Muhammad from God. He could not have known such details because he was illiterate man with absolutely no scientific training.
Modern sciences also has come to discover scientific fact mentioned in Qur`an several centuries ago, that where two seas meet with each other’s a barrier between them is formed. This barrier separates between the two seas so that each one maintains its own characteristics (salinity, density and temperature). For example, when Mediterranean Sea water meets with the Atlantic Ocean water over the Gibraltar sill, it moves several hundred kilometers into the Atlantic with its own warm, saline and less dense characteristics.
The Qur`an tells us about this barrier that separate between two seas. Gad has said:
(He has set free the two seas meeting together. There is a barrier between them. They don’t transgress.) (Ar-Rahman, 55:19-20).
Scientists also have studied cloud types and have come recently to the fact that rain clouds are formed and shaped according to definite systems.
Meteorologists have found that cumulonimbus (one kind of rain cloud) go through some stages to produce rain. Firstly, they are pushed by the wind. Secondly, they are joined together forming a larger cloud. Thirdly, when the small clouds join together, updrafts within the larger cloud increase. The updrafts near the centre of the cloud are stronger than those near the edges. These updrafts cause the cloud body to grow vertically, so the cloud is stacked up.
God has said in the Qur`an:
Have you not seen how God makes the clouds move gently, then joins them together, then makes them into a stack, and then you see the rain come out of it…(An-Nur,24:43)
All these examples in addition to many others stress the fact that Islam gets flourished more and more with the a advancement of science and progress of technology.
This is an extract from Dr. Gronier, a French MP, who embraced Islam. Revealing the reason of embracing Islam he said: I read all of the Qur`anic verses which have a relation to medical, health, and natural sciences that I studied before and have a wide knowledge of. I found that these verses are totally compatible with and give a picture of our modern sciences. Thus, I embraced Islam as it was obvious that Muhammad revealed the Absolute Truth more than a thousand years ago. Had every specialist, artist or scientist compared those Qur`anic verses to his own specialization, beyond the shadow of doubt he would embrace Islam, especially if he has a sound mentality and goodwill to search for the truth and not a mentally defective person with the intentions of malevolent aims


Islam and Science in its Early Ages

In Islam, it is compulsory to try and seek out the highest levels of knowledge. The early Muslims paid due concern to that and were reminded about this every day. As result, advances in technological, medical, social, judicial, scientific, and political and many other areas were made every day by Muslims.
Really, the early Muslims gave us the best example for modernity and seeking out knowledge that Islam and its principles call for. Howard R. Turner writes: Muslim artists and scientists, princes and laborers together made a unique culture that has directly and indirectly influenced societies on every continent.
Let us refer only to some contributions made by Muslims that made scientific breakthroughs in that time and that are directly connected with our modern sciences. In fact, we can say that these inventions laid down the foundations of the modern sciences.

Abu al- Qasim Alazhrawi, known in the west as Albucasis, is regarded as the father of surgery. He invented many surgical tools that still been used up till now in the modern hospitals.
Ibn- Alhythm was a great scientist whose pioneering ideas led to many inventions that our modern age witnesses today such as camera. He is also called the father of modern optics. He managed to find a way of projecting the image into another surface through a small hall in a dark room which has been later called camera obscura . Cameras and cinemas of the modern science developed in original on the basis of this discovery which is only one of many great achievements he made.
Abbas Bin Firnas is the first man in history who tried to fly like birds. His attempts for flying were regarded as the catalyst that encouraged people who followed him to develop tools and devices that can able them to fly. Finally, after many centuries of his death, his dream came to be true by inventing planes.
Also, in the field of chemistry Muslims made remarkable contributions, in his famous book the story of civilization the famous American writer, historian and philosopher will durant states:
Chemistry as a science was almost created by the Muslims; for in this field, where the Greeks (so far as we know) were confined to industrial experience and vague hypothesis, the Saracens introduced precise observation, controlled experiment, and careful records. They invented and named the alembic (al-anbiq), chemically analyzed innumerable substances, composed lapidaries, distinguished alkalis and acids, investigated their affinities, studied and manufactured hundreds of drugs. Alchemy, which the Muslims inherited from Egypt, contributed to chemistry by a thousand incidental discoveries, and by its method, which was the most scientific of all medieval operations.
There are a lot of examples that affirm the quest of Muslims for science throughout the different ages and that also reflects the great achievements and inventions made by Muslims and how these inventions are closely related to the modern science.


The Recent Scientific Achievements From Islamic Perspective

As we mentioned above, the teachings of slam awaken the faculty of intellect and urge people to pursue knowledge. In this regard, Islam doesn’t oppose any modern inventions as long as it is useful to mankind. Scientific researchers about the moon and the sun, investigations, experiments, discoveries, machines, devices and instruments are not condemnable or rejected in Islam and there are no kind of restrictions laid down on them as long as they are made with the rightful intentions and methods for the sake of mankind. Television, for example, is not rejected for its self, but it can be desirable if it provides education and convey a good message that doesn’t contradict with morals and it may be at the same time condemnable tool if it provides immorality. The Islamic perspective for all the previous, current and the upcoming discoveries and achievements is like a glass that can be filled with nourishing drink, so it is desirable or it can be filled with a poison and in that case it is condemnable.
In reality, the criticism that Islam is nothing more than a chain of fixed and static principles that reject science, technology and advancements is baseless. It is sufficient to mention only some verses that stress the value of knowledge, science and thinking to refute such criticism.
God said in Qur`an:
God will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge…(Al-Mujadilah,58:11)
Those who remember God (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth…..(Al-Imran, 3:191)
… And say my lord! Increase me in knowledge(Ta-Ha, 20:114)
And on the earth are signs for those who have faith with certainty. And also in your own selves. Will you not then see?(Adh-Dhariyat, 51:19).
…. Are those who know equal to those who not? It is only men of understanding who will remember (i.e. get lesson from Gods signs and verses(Az-Zumar, 39:9).
Do not they look at the camels, how they are created?

And at the heavens, how it is raised?
And at the mountains, how they are rooted (and fixed firm)?

And at the earth, how it is outspread?(Al-Ghashiyah, 88:17-22)
Thus, we conclude that it is impossible to say that there is a conflict between science and Islam, for science reinforces and increases our knowledge of God . It was Islam that provided the impetus of scientific advance and whose scholars who realized that understanding the complexities of the universe bring people close to God.
God said:
We will show them our signs in the universe, and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Qur`an) is the truth… (Fussilat, 41:53)

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