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Islam and Science

Even if Muslims had been developing science for centuries, their science could not have been exactly classified as modern: their practice was fused with a spiritual and religious understanding of the world, of man’s position as the vicegerent of God on earth. They didn’t share in the later European conceptions of nature as a raw force to be conquered and endlessly exploited to serve man’s needs….

 
Science and Technology in Islam
Mohammad Hashim Kamali
Science and Technology in Islam
Mohammad Hashim Kamali

Some of the Maqasid, especially in the Zaruriyaat (essential purposes) category, are taken from a general reading of the Quran and Sunnah, and are, therefore, textually based. There are five essential Maqasid of Shariah — protection of life, faith, intellect, property and lineage — and a sixth is added according to a variant reading. A minority opinion adds protection of honour to the list.....

Science and the ‘Sinful’ Eclipse
Nawar Fakhry Ezzi
Science and the ‘Sinful’ Eclipse
Nawar Fakhry Ezzi

The “heavens” and “celestial objects” have intrigued human beings on different intellectual levels throughout history. Mathematicians, physicists and astronomers have been interested in unravelling their scientific mysteries while ancient cultures attempted to understand them through myths and legends....

 

He recites plenty of verses from the Holy Quran, which could be scientific. The verses are then compared to myriad scientific theories from several disciplines for example: Medicine, Astronomy, Geology etc. But in the first place, why does Zakir Naik require scientific evidence to prove that Quran is a book of God or that it was never fabricated or altered for centuries?  Does faith require scientific validity? Zakir Naik and his acolytes should read Karl Popper’s Science as Falsification. It is a bizarre idea to use scientific principle to justify religion.…..

Talking further about human creation in terms of time, Quran tells us; “He is, Who has created you (human) from clay, then he spent a term of time (away from you), and (it is) a specific term he determined. Yet, you doubt (his ability)!” (6:2) Thus, the word ‘Then’ (Fa) prefixed to each stage represents a period of time between the stages. The question is what were the durations of time-periods between those stages? Being a divine book, the Quran talks in cosmic time which is different from how we perceive time. That is why, in places, it uses the term Kun Fia Kun which in scientific terminology is a time-space Warf, where time and space and the physical laws which govern them lose their existence.....

To start with, it challenges our intelligence about our existence in pre-life form when it says, “Do not man remember that We created him before, while he was naught (nothing, non-existent)?” (19:67). T his verse clearly points at existence in non-life form. What was that non-life form? Quran puts it in chronological order by saying: (1) “He created you of dust,” (30:20) corresponding to the initial phase of earth when its atmosphere was filled only with dust. (2) “We created man from sounding (noisy) clay,” (15:26)....

In what they hope will be a spark of light in years of darkness, a group of scientists circulated a beam of electrons around a ring in Allan, Jordan, in January. The group, called Sesame, is made up of physicists from several countries that rarely talk to one another — Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Turkey and Pakistan — and also from the Palestinian Authority, but whose scientists are determined to collaborate.....

 

The Quran places great emphasis on individual and collective research. It gives great importance to ‘men of understanding’ – scientists and engineers – whom it frequently refers to as ‘men who are wise’, ‘people of knowledge’, ‘the ones who consider’ and ‘those who understand’. No wonder Islam’s inspiration for scientific investigation served as a catalyst for the Muslim spirit of enquiry in the heyday of their civilisation. They made revolutionary contributions to scientific thought and activity at a time when the pursuit of science was considered taboo and punished like witchcraft elsewhere in the world.....

 

There is unanimity among philosophers and researchers that Muslim world is currently lagging behind in key scientific and economic areas. The question can be raised why the second most populous human community of world is not able to contribute in science irrespective of the fact that many countries have immense natural resources. The sad part of the story is that the Muslim World, which once was at its peak in scientific endeavours...

While Europe was in an intellectual coma, the Islamic empire which stretched from Moorish Spain, to Egypt and even China, was entering their “Golden Age”. Astronomy was of particular interest to Islamic scholars in Iran and Iraq and until this time around 800 AD, the only astronomical textbook was Ptolemy’s Almagest, written around 100 AD in Greece. This venerable text is still used as the main reference for ancient astronomy in academia to this day...

There is certainly no reason to admire a science which counts insects and atoms but is ignorant of God; which makes an avowal of not knowing Him and yet claims omniscience by principle. It should be noted that the scientist, like every other rationalist, does not base himself on reason in itself; he calls “reason” his lack of imagination and knowledge, and his ignorance are for him the “data” of reason.  He sarcastically remarks that “too many “believers” consider that it is time that religion should shake off “the dust of the centuries”, which amounts its “liberation” from its very essence and from everything which manifests that essence.”...

I recall the first verse that was revealed to our beloved Prophet from the holy Quran. This opening verse came with a direct message urging us to seek knowledge and keep on challenging ourselves and surroundings. I no longer have doubts regarding my scientific career as the Almighty; Allah (swt) has said in His Holy Book that the works of the righteous people will never go to waste.....

 
How Muslim Inventors Changed the World
Paul Vallely
How Muslim Inventors Changed the World
Paul Vallely

Other borrowings from Muslim genius included ribbed vaulting, rose windows and dome-building techniques.  Europe’s castles were also adapted to copy the Islamic world’s — with arrow slits, battlements, a barbican and parapets.  Square towers and keeps gave way to more easily defended round ones.  The architect of Henry V’s castle was a Muslim.....

Most people believe that Islamic cultures’ contributions to science ended after the Islamic Golden Age. Since most Islamic countries are notoriously fundamentalist, it’s an easy presumption to have. However, Islam is not a monolith. With the globalization of over 1.6 billion Muslims, Islamic culture has spread beyond the Middle East to join the various tapestries of countries across the Earth...

The Islamic Empire for more than 1,000 years remained the most advanced and civilized nation in the world. This is because Al-Islam stressed the importance and respect of learning, forbade destruction, and developed in Muslims the respect for authority, discipline, and tolerance for other religions. The Muslims recognized excellence and hungered intellectually. The teachings of Qur’an and Sunnah drove many Muslims to their accomplishments in sciences and medicine....

There should be grass root efforts across the Muslim world to stimulate curiosity about science among students of all ages operat­ing without much government support. Ahmed Djebbar an emeritus science historian at the University of Lille in France has constructed an online pre-university-level course called ‘The Discoveries in Islamic Countries’ available in three languages, which relates science concepts to great discoveries and stories from the Islamic Golden Age....

 
Science and Religion
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
Science and Religion
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

Speaking historically, belief without a good rational basis or evidence may have been a necessity in the past, but today, this is neither necessary nor a good thing. Today blind belief is more harmful than blind rejection but acceptance on a rational basis is not only good but indispensable to leading a truly “moral” life with values that are transcendental and not merely utilitarian.  Religion gave us concepts and moral principles that were far beyond the capacity of human minds to fully comprehend their utility and role in leap frogging their society on the scale of civilization....

Related Article:

Deen-e-Islam or the Moral Way of Living in Islam

Fasting: Regiment For Healthy Body and Brain
Tommy Dharmawan
Fasting: Regiment For Healthy Body and Brain
Tommy Dharmawan

Now, how about our brain function during intermittent fasting in Ramadhan? Although it is hard for humans to concentrate during fasting, according to Farooq et al in Journal of Academy Nutrition and Dietetic, in the fourth week of Ramadhan fasting, performance on the spatial planning, working memory task and working memory capacity test increased significantly....

 
Is It Science Or Theology?
Pervez Hoodbhoy
Is It Science Or Theology?
Pervez Hoodbhoy

Compounding scientific ignorance is prejudice. Most students have been persuaded into believing that Muslims alone invented science. And that the heroes of Muslim science such as Ibn-e-Haytham, Al-Khwarizmi, Omar Khayyam, Ibn-e-Sina, etc owed their scientific discoveries to their strong religious beliefs. This is wrong.....

But that’s not to say religious clerics are off the hook. While the media shouldn’t deliberately mock religion for the sake of mocking and getting hits, scholars should also refrain from expressing views in areas they don’t fully understand and are not their fields of expertise.....

 

Are we now at a stage where Islam no longer contributes to science because its adherents fear that understanding the ways of God’s unseen creations are somehow attacks on His existence?....

 

Both modern science and Ibn Khaldun agree: The nature transforms one species to another. Pre-Darwin Muslim scholars believed human family was created from the ape family. But now we know human species was not evolved from monkey but ape family and human family have a common ancestor. Ape and human species are distant cousins. Secondly, the sentence, “At this point we come to the first stage of man (after the world of monkeys),” suggests that the pre-Darwin Muslims knew about the existence of other hominid species. Thirdly, physical observation of the nature led Muslim to the idea of evolution of life. That is why Ibn Khaldun states: “This is as far as our (physical) observation extends.”….

Historians currently conclude the Islamic golden age of science began to decline during the 12th Century but this stance ignores the major contributions made during the Ottoman Empire up until the 14th Century. In Sardar’s opinion, Ibn Khaldun was the last great scholar of the age; he died in 1406 CE.

The Abandonment of Science
Rafia Zakaria
The Abandonment of Science
Rafia Zakaria

The report produced by the Muslim World Science Initiative is an attempt at targeting just this tension, one that is plaguing the university campus in much of the Muslim world. It may not be possible to magically or suddenly eliminate it, but the report gives some suggestions of small steps forward.

 
Islam and Education
Hamid Naseem Rafiabadi

On educational front, efforts of Nursi’s contemporary and successor visionaries of Islam like Shibli, Maududi, Sir Syed and Ismail Raji Faruqui have met but with very less success in convincing the traditional Muslim clergy about the tenacity of modern sciences like religious sciences. But Madrasah Zahra model presented by Nursi stands for “in¬tegration of knowledge”,...

 
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