15 Nov The concept of Science and Technology.Part2
Although science might be a deadly weapon in the hands of an irresponsible minority, we should not hesitate to adopt both it and its products and then use them to establish a civilization in which we can secure our happiness in this world and the next.
It is pointless to curse machines and factories, because machines will continue to run and factories to operate. Science and its products will begin to benefit us only when people of truth and belief begin to direct our affairs.
We have never suffered harm from a weapon in the hands of angels. Whatever we have suffered has come from those who still believe that only might is right. This situation will continue until we build a world on a foundation of faith and science.
* According to Islam, the universe resembles a book written by God, a palace built by Him to make Himself known to conscious beings—primarily us. The universe essentially exists in God’s Knowledge in meaning. Creation means that through His Will, He specifies or gives a distinct character and form to that meaning as species, races, families, or individuals. Then, through His Power, He clothes each in matter so that it can exist in this time-and-space constrained material realm. After a thing ceases to exist, it continues to live in God’s Knowledge and in the memories of those who saw it and through its offspring (if any). For example, a dead flower continues to exist in God’s Knowledge, in the memories of those who saw it, and in its seeds.
Everything has five stages or degrees of existence.
•First, and essentially, it exists in the Creator’s Knowledge as meaning.
Even if God Almighty did not create it (in the material realm), it would exist in His Knowledge as meaning, for meaning constitutes the essential existence of everything.
•Then, it exists in the Divine Will as a form or a plan; as a material object in the material realm; as a memory and through its offspring (if any);
•Its eternal existence in the other world.
God Almighty will use the debris of this world to construct the other one.
There, animals will continue their existence, each species through a representative of its own species, while each human being will find the eternal life designed for him or her according to how he or she lived while in this world.
I hope now that the relationship between science and Islam is clear.
The universe, which science studies, manifests God’s Names and therefore has some sort of sanctity.
Everything in it is a letter from God Almighty inviting us to study it and acquire knowledge of Him. Thus, the universe is the collection of those letters or, as Muslim sages call it, the Divine Book of Creation issuing primarily from the Divine Attributes of Will and Power. The Qur’an, which issues from the Divine Will of Speech, is the universe’s counterpart in written form. Just as there can be no conflict between a palace and the paper describing it, there can be no conflict between the universe and the Qur’an, for they are two expressions of the same truth.
Similarly, humanity is a Divine book corresponding to the Qur’an and the universe. This is why the term used to signify a Qur’anic verse—ayah—also means events occurring within human souls and phenomena occurring in nature.
The meaning of the first command “Read!”
It is interesting that the first revelation of the Qur’an was:
Read, in and with the name of your Lord Who created. He created man of an embryo suspended. Read, and your Lord is the Most Munificent, Who taught by the Pen, taught man what he knew not (96:1-3).
•The Qur’an ordered people to read when the local civilization to which it was revealed had almost nothing to read. What does this apparent contradiction tell us? Nothing less than that we are to read, in the sense of studying, the universe as the Book of Creation and its written counterpart, the Qur’an. We are to observe the universe, perceive its meaning and content, and use the resulting knowledge to deepen our appreciation of the beauty and splendor of the Creator’s system and the infinitude of His Might. And so we are obliged to penetrate the universe’s manifold meanings, discover the Divine laws of nature, and establish a world in which science and faith complement each other so that we can be God’s vicegerent and attain true bliss in both worlds.
God Almighty has two kinds of laws.
One is the Shari’ah, which comprises His laws issuing from His Attribute of Speech, governs humanity’s religious life, and serves as the basis for reward or punish-ment, which are usually given in the afterlife.
The second in the Divine laws governing creation and life as a whole, which issue from His Attribute of Will and are generally (but mistakenly) called “the laws of nature and life.” The reward or punishment for them is usually given in this world. For example, patience and perseverance are rewarded with success, while indolence brings privation. Industry brings wealth, and steadfastness victory.
•The Qur’an insistently draws our attention to natural phenomena, which are the subject matter of science, and urges their study. During the first 5 centuries of Islam, Muslims united science and religion, intellect and heart, material and spiritual. Later on, however, it was the West that pursued scientific knowledge and therefore showed an (unconscious) obedience to the Divine laws of nature. The West dominated the Muslim world because the latter no longer understood or practiced Islam correctly in their daily lives, and because they neglected scientific investigation and the study of nature. All of this amounted to dis-obeying the Divine laws of nature.
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