Look around you and you will see a lot of things that you take for granted as being normal, but which only about one hundred years ago nobody then would have ever thought of those things coming into existence. Computer system, air-conditioners, TV set, internet amongst others. If we take it further back i.e. about two hundred years ago, people who were living then would not imagine themselves travelling to the next town (which is just about 50 kilometres away] and expecting to get there on the same day. It may take them as long as two days of continuous strenuous trekking before they can get to their destinations.
This is not to talk of people who need to travel for Hajj rites from countries like Nigeria. For people like this, it may take up to one year of continuous journey under tough weather condition before they can arrive at Saudi Arabia to perform this compulsory religious rite! But now, you can get to Saudi Arabia from Nigeria in just six hours in a comfortable condition where you will be served food and drink without the fear of being beating by the sun or the rain. This is possible with the invention of the aeroplane and other means of transportation. Without doubt science and technology has brought ease to the way we live our lives and we are grateful to Allaah for granting us human beings the intelligence.
What is science?
According to Microsoft Encarta dictionary, science is defined as; 1. Study of physical world: the study of the physical and natural world and phenomena, especially by using systematic observation and experiment.
2. Branch of science: a particular area of study or knowledge of the physical world the life sciences
3. Something studied or performed methodically: an activity that is the object of careful study or that is carried out according to a developed method the science of addressing success.
4. Knowlegde gained from science; the knowledge gained by the study of the physical world. Allaah encourages the Muslim to seek for knowledge both spiritual and mundane. The spiritual knowledge will help us live a good life in the Hereafter while seeking for mundane knowledge will make us live a good and comfortable life [insha Allaah].
Importance of knowledge
Knowledge is very important in the life of a Muslim and this can be seen in several verses and ahadeeth of the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him]. Let us see some of the evidences that point to this;
1. Knowledge: The first commandment When Allaah raised the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] as a Messenger, the first instruction that he gave to him was about knowledge and in it contained the knowledge of science! Allaah says;
"Reading the name of your Lord Who created [all that exists]. He created man from a clot [a piece of thick coagulated blood].Read and your Lord is Most Generous. Who has taught [the writing] by the pen. He taught man that which he knew not "[Q96: 15]
2. Wisdom: abundant good Allaah also emphasises the importance of knowledge and says it is indeed an abundant good for whoever it is granted. Allaah says;
"He grants Hikmah [wisdom, knowledge] to whom he pleases, and he, to whom Hikmah is granted, is indeed granted abundant good. But none remember [will receive admonition] except men of understanding." [Q 2:269]
3. "My Lord! Increase me in knowledge" One of the things that Allaah instructed the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] to do is for him to pray for an increase in knowledge. If knowledge is not important, then Allaah would not tell His Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] to pray for it. Allaah says;
"Then High above all be Allaah, the True King. And be not in haste [O Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him]) with the Quran before its revelation is completed to you, and say "My Lord! Increase me in Knowledge."[Q 20: 114]
The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] also stressed the importance of seeking knowledge for the Muslims. He said, "Allaah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim" [Tirmidhi].
He further added,
"A person who follows a path for acquiring knowledge, Allaah will make easy the passage to Paradise for him." [Muslim].
In addition to that, the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said:
"A Muslim is never satiated in his quest for good (knowledge) till it ends in Paradise. " [Tirmidhi].
The specific knowledge of the last two ahadeeth is spiritual knowledge, yet it is still knowledge and therefore important for us as Muslims. In following the advice of the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him], we have seen many Muslim scientists, inventors, thinkers etc. attained excellence in many fields, The likes of Ar-Razi, al-Kindi, Ibn Rushd, az-Zahrawi, Ibn Zuhr, Ibn Baytar, Ibn al-Jazzar, Ibn Juljul, Ibn al-Quff, Ibn an-Nafs, al-Biruni, Ibn Sahl all excelled in the field of medicine and other sciences which till today is still made a reference of point.
IBN NAFS: (1205-1288), ALSO KNOWN AS AL-QUARASHI, ACIENT ISLAMIC PHYSICIAN AND EXPERT ON THE SHAFI'I SCHOOL OF ISLAMIC LAW. IBN AL-NAFIS IS REMEMBERED FOR HIS NUMEROUS CONTRIBUTIONS TO MEDICINE, PARTICULARLY THE FIRST DESCRIPTION OF PULMONARY CIRCULATION THAT IS, THE MOVEMENT OF BLOOD FROM THE RIGHT TO THE LEFT VENTRICLES OF THE HEART VIA THE LUNGS
Furthermore, there are several scientific facts that agrees with what Allaah says in the Quran or what the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said. We must bear in mind that what we see in the Quran today or in the ahadeeth of the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] have been there for more than 1400years so it is significant that science for more than 1400 years so it is significant that science agrees to these facts today. Also, during the time that these verses of the Quran were being revealed, there were no sophisticated scientific equipments.
This specific agreement is thus a further proof that Allaah who is the Creator of everything, is the Revealer of the Quran. Let us take look at some of those things in there is an agreement between the Quran and the some scientific discoveries nowadays.
1. On human embryological and foetal development
The Quran has an extensive amount of information on the growth of the human embryo and foetus, especially the former. Before presenting this information, it may be helpful to provide a brief outline of human development in the womb as modern science understands it.
1. An unfertilized egg is produced by the female, and is subsequently placed in her Fallopian tubes.
2. The male cohabits with the female, and a single sperm cell fertilizes the egg.
3. The fertilized egg retreats into the uterus, and attaches itself to the uterine wall.
4. Embryological growth (roughly 3 months).
5. Fetal growth (6months).
6. Birth was according to a professor of medicine, Maurice Bucaille in his book, The Bible, the Quran and Science. Allaah in several verses of the Quran describes this development that takes place in the womb. Allaah says; And indeed We created man [Adam] out of an extract of clay [water and earth]. Thereafter, we made him [the offspring of Adam] as a 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 clot [a piece of thick coagulated blood], then We made the clot into a lump of flesh, the" We made out of that lump of flesh bones, then we clothed the bones with flesh, and then We brought it forth as another creation. So blessed is Allaah the Best of creators". [Q23: 12:14]
There are several verses that points to similar description in the Quran. These verses have led certain modern scientists such as Professor Maurice Bucaille to the conclusion these words can only be from the Creator of the universe alone and from nobody else!
2. On the origin of life in water
Modern scientific theory on the origin of life was not firmly established up until the last two hundred or three hundred years. Prior to that, the predominant theory on the origin of life was based on a concept called "spontaneous generation" where living creatures literally came out of non-living matter spontaneously and continuously. All of these were however discredited when the scientists came to the conclusion that all living things originated from water. With respect to this, In reference to these Allaah had earlier revealed to the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] in the Quran. His saying;
"Allaah has created every moving [living] creature from water. Of them are some that creep on their bellies, and some that walk on two legs, and some that walk on four. Allaah creates what He wills. Verily, Allaah is able to do all things". [Q24: 45]
Allaah in several verses of the Quran describes this development that takes place in the womb. Allaah says; The two earlier mentioned examples are from thestatement of the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him];
3. House-fly in your drink
The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] tells us what to do with regards to our drink when it is contaminated by the housefly. The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said:
"If a house fly falls in the drink of anyone of you, he should dip it (in the drink), for one of its wings has a disease and the other has the cure for the disease." [Bukhari]
Can you believe that today that scientists have exactly the same thing that the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said over 1420 years ago? Today scientists say that there are two sides to a fly. One of them contains toxin which is poisonous while the other side is contains the antidote to the toxin. Dont also forget that the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] never had anything like scientific equipment to make all the discoveries easy for him. Therefore, we can only say that it is only a miracle that can make him arrive at such a conclusion. In all, Allaah throws a big challenge to us mankind with regards to the miraculous nature of the Quran. He says;
"Do they not think deeply about the Quran, or are there hearts locked up [from understanding it]" [Q47: 24]
When science goes against Islam!
There are situations whereby scientific research or findings go against a verse of the Quran. What should a Muslim who find himself in this situation do? Let us take for example the popular theory of evolution that states that all species developed from earlier forms of life. For example the proponent of this theory said that human beings were like apes and that we have developed into this shape we are today over the passage of time. This clearly goes against what Allaah says in several verses of the Quran. Allaah says for example;
"Allaah created man [Aadam] from sounding clay like the clay ofpottery" (Q 55:14)
In another verse Allaah says;
"O man! What has made you heedless of careless about your Lord, the Most Generous? Who created you, fashioned you perfectly, and gave you due proportion" [Q82:6-7]
From these verses Allaah never mentions that He made us go through any evolutionary process like mankind being apes before becoming a man!
The Implications First and foremost we must recognise that Allaah is the Creator and Knower of everything and therefore He knows everything, whereas the scientists are only human beings and therefore can make mistakes. Allaah says;
"Have you not seen that Allaah knows whatsoever is the heavens and whatsoever is on the earth?" [Q 58:7]
In another verse He says,
"Should not He who has created know? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous [to His slaves], All-Aware (of everything). "[Q 67:14]
Secondly, we must also realise that Allaah is the Creator of the scientist and even the equipment they use. Therefore it will be incorrect for us as Muslims to feel that the scientists are better in their thinking than Allaah. Furthermore, we have seen several instances when scientists have had to come out to say the position of one of the colleagues is wrong but that is never the case with Allaah.
Finally, the implication of believing in science while and having doubts about what Allaah says is that the person becomes a disbeliever [i.e. a non-Muslim] because the person who has such a belief is saying Allaah can make mistakes while the scientist is perfect or more correct than Allaah. May Allaah save us from this kind of thinking. In conclusion, while Islam and science have their meeting points, there may be a few places where there is disagreement. In such cases, the Muslim affirms that the scientist cannot be correct; it is the words of Allaah and His Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah that are eternally correct! It is only Allaah who is perfect and science is liable to make mistakes. May Allaah guide us aright in this religion and preserve our faith in it [Aamin]
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited