In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are signs for men of understanding,- They remember God while standing, sitting, and on their sides, and they reflect upon the creation of the heavens and the earth: "Our Lord, You did not create all this in vain. Be You glorified. Save us from the retribution of Hell. (3:190-191)
Science Vs. religion has always been a polemic. In the present day the impression of science is something that should be taken away from religious belief. However, many of today's Muslims are looking back to the romantica of the Muslim scientist legacy (700 - 1500 C.E.) when science, astronomy and mathematical discoveries were contributed by Muslims scientist before the European Renaissance.
Most of the points in this article are taken from the book "Holy Quran and the science of nature".
Science is a knowledge (of natural phenomena) and the concept is based on observation and thought activity. It is a dynamic process which is dependent on the data and human perception (and paradigm). It is also apt to changes with time. On the other hand, the Muslim (submitters to God) believe the Quran is the true manifestation from God, but we realize also that our understanding and perception on the Quran about natural phenomena can be relative and also can change with time/discoveries. Thus, to make a dogmatic understanding of natural phenomena based on the Quran may also mislead the truth/direction.
"A Book, whereof the verses are explained in detail;- a Qur'an in Arabic, for people who have knowledge (yaaalamoona) (41:3)"
What is the role of science to Islam?
In the Quran, we are encouraged to observe and study natural phenomena as one of the way to know and to remember (the greatness and the glory) of God, the Creator.
See they not how God originates creation, then repeats it: truly that is easy for God. Say: "Travel through the earth and see how God did originate creation; so will God produce a later creation: for God has power over all things (29:19-20).
Say, "Look at all the signs in the heavens and the earth." All the proofs and all the warnings can never help people who decided to disbelieve (10:101).
God's signs in His creations can be attained by human perception.
It is He (God) who sends down rain from the sky: from it ye drink, and out of it (grows) the vegetation on which ye feed your cattle. With it He produces for you corn, olives, date-palms, grapes and every kind of fruit: verily in this is a sign for those who give thought/contemplate (yatafakkaroona). He has made subject to you the Night and the Day; the sun and the moon; and the stars are in subjection by His Command: verily in this are signs for men who use their reason/sense (yaAAqiloona) (16:10-12).
The words/terms 'tafakkur' (to think), 'tafaqquh' (to understanding), 'tadabbur' (to contemplate), 'Aql' (using reason/sense), 'sudoori' (chest) 'qalb'(heart), 'ilm' (knowledge), ulama (who have knowledge), 'ulul ilm' (those undue with knowledge) i.e. 3:18, 'ulul absar' in (those who have vision) i.e. in 24:44, 'ulul albab' (those endue with understanding) i.e. in 3:7, 38:29, 'ulul yadi wal absar (those endue possessors of power and vision) in 38:45 and ulul azmi (those endue firmness of hearts), i.e in 46:35 are used (addressed to us) in the Quran.
"Without doubt, the worst of beasts in God's sight are the deaf, the dumb, who do not use their Aql (reason/ sense)" (8:22)
Natural phenomena is something that can be studied/understood, as everything is in the order and balance of God' law
We have made the Night and the Day as two (of Our) signs: the Sign of the Night have We obscured, while the sign of the Day We have made to enlighten you; that ye may seek bounty from your Lord, and that ye may know he number and count (hisab) of the years: all things have We explained in detail (17:12)
The sun and the moon are perfectly calculated. The stars and the trees prostrate. He constructed the sky and established the law. You shall not transgress the law (55:7-8).
As for the earth, we constructed it, and placed on it stabilizers (mountains), and we grew on it a perfect balance of everything (15:19).
"God has knowledge of everything" (33:40)
.. Teacheth man that which he knew not (96:5).
The more we understand God's creation the more we know the greatness of God,
Who hath created seven heavens in harmony. Thou canst see no fault in the Beneficent One's creation; then look again: Canst thou see any rifts ? Then look again and yet again, thy sight will return unto thee weakened and made dim (67:34).
But we also have to realize our limitations.
Glory to God, who created in pairs all things that the earth produces, as well as their own (human) kind and (other) things of which they have no knowledge (36:36).
Science from a Quranic perspective can be a tool to raise up the standard of living of the society. By understanding science we are able to utilize what God has given and provided for us, so we may be thankful for His blessing.
It is He (God) who has made the earth manageable for you, so traverse ye through its tracts and enjoy of the Sustenance which He furnishes: but unto Him is the Resurrection (67:15)
God it is who hath made the sea of service unto you that the ships may run thereon by His command, and that ye may seek of His bounty, and that haply ye may be thankful; And hath made of service unto you whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth; it is all from Him. Lo! herein verily are portents for a people who reflect (45:12-13)
By mastering science (and other knowledge), it is also in-line with the the purpose of Islam, to build a "monotheistic" society as the highest society (not a repressive society).
Thus, have We (God) made of you an nation justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Apostle a witness over yourselves; and We appointed the Qibla to which thou wast used, only to test those who followed the Apostle from those who would turn on their heels (From the Faith). Indeed it was (A change) momentous, except to those guided by God. And never would God Make your faith of no effect. For God is to all people Most surely full of kindness, Most Merciful (2:143).
A society which balances the material and the spiritual dimensions:
And seek by means of what God has given you the future abode, and do not neglect your portion of this world, and do good (to others) as God has done good to you, and do not seek to make mischief in the land, surely God does not love the mischief-makers (28:77).
And cares for the harmony of the environment and does not transgress the limit.
The servant of the Most Gracious are those who treat the earth gently, and when the ignorant speak to them, they only utter peace (25:63).
When he turns his back, His aim everywhere is to spread mischief through the earth and destroy crops and cattle. But God loveth not mischief (2:205).
And does not force its ways on others. [(10:99),(18:29),(16:125),(29:46-47)].
The Quran is the guide and provides solutions and answers in any step of our life, and it is boundless by any condition, time, circumstances, frame or paradigm.
.... We (God) have revealed to you this book (Quran) to provide exposition for everything (likulli shay-in), and guidance, and mercy, and good news for the submitters to God (muslim) (16:89)
Say, "If the ocean were ink for the words of my Lord (in the Quran), the ocean would run out, before the words of my Lord run out, even if we double the ink supply." (18:109)
There are many verses that show us natural phenomena that remind us and attract our attention toward God, the Creator of the universe (some of which can be perceived by the discoveries of modern science).
Versus about the creation of universe.
"Your Lord is the one GOD, who created the heavens and the earth in six days (yaum), then assumed all authority. The night overtakes the day, as it pursues it persistently, and the sun, the moon, and the stars are committed to serve by His command. Absolutely, He controls all creation and all commands. Most Exalted is GOD, Lord of the universe (7:54)
"Do not the unbelievers see that the heaven and earth were one unit (as one unit of creation) then We (God) ripped them apart " (21:30)
"Then He (God) took hold of the sky when it was smoke (dukhan)" (41:11)
".. and the heavens (sky/universe) we created with might (power) and we are expanding it" (51:47)
"...as if it were a brilliant star........whose oil (fuel) is well lit, even no fire touches it "(24:3)
"He (God) has ordained the sun and the moon, each one runs (it's course) for an appointed time " (13:2)
".. and the earth, after that, He (God) made it 'dahaha' (oval shape) (79:30)" .
"And the sun constantly journeys towards a homing place for it and for the moon We (God) have determined phases" (36:39)
Versus about the creation of living things.
".........and We (God) made, from water, every living thing" (21:30)
"We (God) have created man from a Clay" (23:12)
"Then We (God) placed him (man) as (a drop of) sperm in a place of rest, firmly fixed; Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a (fetus) lump; then we made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then we developed out of it another creature. So blessed be God, the best to create! (75:4)
"And He (God) created you in stages (or phases) "(71:14)
Versus reminding us of the Judgment-day and our resurrection.
"And the Day that the Trumpet will be sounded - then will be smitten with terror those who are in the heavens, and those who are on earth, except such as God will please (to exempt): and all shall come to His (Presence) as beings conscious of their lowliness. When you look at the mountains, you think that they are standing still. But they are moving, like the clouds. Such is the manufacture of God, who perfected everything. He is fully cognizant of everything you do." (27:87-88)
"And when the heaven (sky) splitteth asunder and become red like a rose" (55:37)
"When stars lose their luster"(77:8)
"When the sun is rounded (swelling like a ball) when the stars have collapsed when the oceans boil over in a swell" (81:6)
"Lo! the day of decision is a fixed time, A day when the trumpet is blown and ye come in multitudes, And the heaven is opened and becometh as gates" (78:17-19)
O people, if you have any doubt about resurrection, (remember that) We (God) created you from dust, and subsequently from a tiny drop, which turns into a hanging (embryo), then it becomes a fetus that is given life or deemed lifeless. We thus clarify things for you. We settle in the wombs whatever we will for a predetermined period. We then bring you out as infants, then you reach maturity. While some of you die young, others live to the worst age, only to find out that no more knowledge can be attained beyond a certain limit. Also, you look at a land that is dead, then as soon as we shower it with water, it vibrates with life and grows all kinds of beautiful plants (22:5).
Finally, as an epilog, I would like to ask why most of the religious people are so allergic when it comes to the word 'evolution'?.
"He is Allah (God), the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms ...." (59:24).
To God belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth, and all matters are controlled by God (3:109).
and in the Quran it is said
"And He (God) created you in stages (or phases)" (71:14).
Can people who are allergic to the word 'evolution' explain how the first elephant came to earth, in the sense of science? At least, I believe whatever processes happen in the universe, all is under God's control, and there can be a lot of parameters that we don't know yet that are not included into the model of deductive logic in science.
Soon will We (God) show them our signs in the regions, and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that thy Lord doth witness all things (41:53)
This article is written not free from error, and it does not necessary reflect Islam due to human mistakes and my limitation. Critics are welcome.
To get more information on Islam, read the Quran and all will be revealed...
Golshani M., 1999, The holly Quran and the science of nature, Global Publications, 242 pages
The Nature and Philosophy of Science http://www.angelfire.com/mn2/tisthammerw/science.htm
Philosophy of Science http://www.friesian.com/science.htm
Muslim scientist, mathematicians, and astronomers http://users.erols.com/zenithco/index.html
By LQ (firstname.lastname@example.org)