No announcement yet.

*Science and Islam*

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    *Science and Islam*

    Science and Islam

    The scientific method was embraced and promoted by the West after witnessing its impact on scientific and technological advancement. However, the West extended the application of this method to areas where it cannot be used. As a result, many non-scientific areas of knowledge were given the term “scientific,” such as anthropology, psychology, sociology, politics, and education, despite the fact that human beings, human behavior, economy, society, and politics, are intellectual fields that lay beyond the ability of science to address. Although these areas of knowledge require research, observation, and analysis, the type of research and analysis that such fields require is not scientific.

    Many Muslims were confused by these areas of knowledge and began studying such “soft sciences” as global disciplines that are not influenced by any distinct point of view of life. In reality, such areas of knowledge were specific to the Western point of view and culture. Those who laid them down, such as Freud, Adam Smith, and Machiavelli, were not scientists but Western thinkers who studied human beings, human behavior, societies, and their relationships, based on Western culture. And the conclusions that they reached were also based on Western culture.

    This mixing between what should and should not be discussed scientifically was carried to Muslims, who began discussing intellectual issues from a scientific approach. For example, Muslims began discussing the “Scientific Miracles of the Qur’an,” not realizing that the Qur’an is not a book of physics or chemistry but rather, as Allah (swt) described it, “Hudan lil-Muttaqin,” which discusses truth vs. falsehood, halal and haram, and the previous prophets and nations in order Muslim to extract lessons from. All that is mentioned regarding some natural phenomena, such as rain, the shape of the earth, and the development of the fetus, was mentioned as a proof of Allah’s existence and signs of His Might and Wisdom. Thus, the Sahabah understood the Qur’an much more than the Muslims today, even though Muslims in today’s age witnessed, and in some instances pioneered, great advancements in science and technology. The Sahabah studied the Qur’an and the Sunnah and implemented them as orders and systems that governed the society, whereas Muslims today began discussing the Qur’an and Sunnah using the scientific approach and started holding conferences and publishing books to this end, which distracted Muslims from their objective of establishing the Islamic system and carrying Islam to the world.

    Islam clearly demarcated the lab and the physical universe, and not the Qur’an and the Sunnah, as the scope of applied and experimental science. It was reported in a hadith that a group of people came to the Prophet (saaw) asking him about the pollination of dates. He instructed them not to pollinate the date palms themselves since the wind may carry the seeds. That year there was no harvest; they informed him of this, and he told them, “You know best regarding your worldly affairs,” referring to scientific research. Also, Imam Muslim reported that the Prophet (saaw) said:

    “I am a human being like you, but I receive the revelation. If I instructed you on something related to the Deen, then take it, but if I instructed you on something related to your worldly affairs, then you know best.”

    Therefore, Islam clearly distinguished between the scope of science and technology, which is the lab and the physical universe, and the scope of the Deen, which is the life affairs and the systems governing the relationships and issues that human beings are confronted with. In spite of this distinction, there are so many shaykhs issuing fatwas on scientific issues based on their understanding of some ayahs and hadiths, such as the rotation and shape of the earth, the atom, the fetus and its development, and many other scientific issues. In addition, many Muslims are busy digging into the Qur’an and the Sunnah for a cure for cancer or diabetes rather than conducting the necessary research in the lab. The problem with such an approach is that those scientific fatwas may become part of the Deen itself, the way it happened with the Church during the European Middle Ages. Such a trend could lead either to not accepting any scientific theory or conclusion unless a fatwa exists supporting it, or a potential conflict between the Deen and science if the scientific research proves the error in any fatwa.

    "Only for Allah and to gain His pleasure"

    example of a fatwa for clarification



      Carleton S. Fiorina
      Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
      Hewlett-Packard Company
      SEPTEMBER 26, 2001

      Speach on Islamic contribution

      There was once a civilization that was the greatest in the world.

      It was able to create a continental super-state that stretched from ocean to ocean, and from northern climes to tropics and deserts. Within its dominion lived hundreds of millions of people, of different creeds and ethnic origins.

      One of its languages became the universal language of much of the world, the bridge between the peoples of a hundred lands. Its armies were made up of people of many nationalities, and its military protection allowed a degree of peace and prosperity that had never been known. The reach of this civilization’s commerce extended from Latin America to China, and everywhere in between.

      And this civilization was driven more than anything, by invention. Its architects designed buildings that defied gravity. Its mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would enable the building of computers, and the creation of encryption. Its doctors examined the human body, and found new cures for disease. Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the stars, and paved the way for space travel and exploration.

      Its writers created thousands of stories. Stories of courage, romance and magic. Its poets wrote of love, when others before them were too steeped in fear to think of such things.

      When other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived on them, and kept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge from past civilizations, this civilization kept the knowledge alive, and passed it on to others.

      While modern Western civilization shares many of these traits, the civilization I’m talking about was the Islamic world from the year 800 to 1600, which included the Ottoman Empire and the courts of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, and enlightened rulers like Suleiman the Magnificent.

      Although we are often unaware of our indebtedness to this other civilization, its gifts are very much a part of our heritage. The technology industry would not exist without the contributions of Arab mathematicians. Sufi poet-philosophers like Rumi challenged our notions of self and truth. Leaders like Suleiman contributed to our notions of tolerance and civic leadership.

      And perhaps we can learn a lesson from his example: It was leadership based on meritocracy, not inheritance. It was leadership that harnessed the full capabilities of a very diverse population–that included Christianity, Islamic, and Jewish traditions.

      This kind of enlightened leadership — leadership that nurtured culture, sustainability, diversity and courage — led to 800 years of invention and prosperity.

      In dark and serious times like this, we must affirm our commitment to building societies and institutions that aspire to this kind of greatness. More than ever, we must focus on the importance of leadership– bold acts of leadership and decidedly personal acts of leadership.

      With that, I’d like to open up the conversation and see what we, collectively, believe about the role of leadership.