07 Jul I know Qur’an Is Not a Science Book… But Doesn’t Science Beat It?
I know Qur’an Is Not a Science Book… But Doesn’t Science Beat It?
I know the Quran is not a science book but when you do take a look at science then at religion, science started making sense to me. I dont want to doubt this beautiful religion but I sometimes cant help but think. Isnt one of the reasons for the fall of the golden era because these 2 conflict each other? I need help 🙁
The Qur’an does not concern itself with science. That is the first thing you must understand.
Let me put it to you this way: does the fact that the Big Bang Theory is true, or Evolution being true (read about Islam and Evolution here), or Higgs boson being discovered… All of that, how does a single one of those scientific concepts change what religion directs us to consider: how do you treat your fellow man.
Why people do not understand this, literally, confounds me.
The discursive framework you are putting forth, is quite frankly, a Western one, in which “religion” (i.e. perceptions of forms of Christianity) is put in contrast to “science,” “reason,” and, “rationality.”
This bifurcation between the two is a distinctly Western conception. It is a consequence of Western historical experience, an experience that the Muslim World did not have.
Well, that is a gigantic answer, but let me put it to you this way:
Do you know who is the “father” of the scientific method? A Muslim. It was created by ibn-Haytham, otherwise known as “Al Hazen,” who as a devout Muslim, was the force behind creating the very basis of science, as we know it today.
It was continually through the prism of Islam in which the Muslim World was able to advance in scientific and technological fields.
Muslims think it is because of some sort of “true piety” or whatever. The reality, being far less romantic, but to me far more appealing, is simple: It was Islamic institutions that were producing not just what we call, today, “Islamic scholars,” but they were also the source of education in mathematics, medicine, engineering, and a whole host of other scientific and “non-religious” study.
Because there is no difference between the knowledge of this world, what is demonstrable, and what is religious knowledge, these two fields are one in the same.
Don’t believe me? (Good, don’t, question everything and everyone, demand proof) That being said, let’s go to The Qur’an (that sounds super cheesy, but whatevs):
“Verily, in the creation of the heavens and of the earth, and the succession of night and day: and in the ships that speed through the sea with what is useful to man: and in the waters which God sends down from the sky, giving life thereby to the earth after it had been lifeless, and causing all manner of living creatures to multiply thereon: and in the change of the winds, and the clouds that run their appointed courses between sky and earth: [in all this] there are messages indeed for people who use their reason.” [2:164] Muhammad Asad
Look how God underlines that it is through our understanding of this Earth and all that encompasses our existence, it is through these issues that we may get to know God’s messages. How profound a point is this?
That is why I must ask: “Where is the conflict?” I see none, I know of none, and I do not see why there is such a conflict, because The Qur’an has no conflict with science, because The Qur’an does not need to either prove or disprove anything in order for it to be valid. That is not the purpose of The Qur’an, and those sort of “science vs. religion” debates don’t work with The Qur’an, and that’s why atheists have such a tough time arguing against The Qur’an.
Put aside the fact that I have yet to meet someone who has actually read The Qur’an who debates against it, but furthermore, there is a distinct and clear issue, there are sets of assumptions against Islam and The Qur’an that are simply not applicable, and this oversight underlines how making a simplistic “religion vs. science” discourse is downright laughable.
As far as the “end of the golden era,” I have never been able to figure out why Muslims and historians date this time period to 750 to 1250ish. What is even more funny is when historians use Ibn Khaldun (he died in 1406) as proof of this, but also because this dismisses the tremendous work of Al-Maqrizi, Al-Qalqashandi, As-Suyuti, and a whole host of others.
However, I have never understood why the Ottoman Empire is never mentioned. It makes no sense to me. This was the Empire that forced Columbus to try and sail around the world to find India, because the Ottomans controlled everything. Whether it is Suleiman the Magnificent (d. 1520) or his legendary architect Mimar Sinan, or the fact that Sultan Ahmet Mosque, built in 1606, is somehow in the “Islamic Golden Era” wiki page… I could go on, but what confuses me, and frankly disappoints me is that, I understand why Western historical sources would like to minimize Islamic strength to a constrained period of 750-1250, but why Muslims seem to want to forget the Ottomans, makes no sense to me. The history of the Ottomans is incredible, to truly understand the sheer strength and power of the Ottoman Empire, which did not truly begin decline until the late 1690’s (most argue 1699, actually), underlined that there was a not an end, but rather a continuation of the “Islamic Golden Era” from 750 to the time in which the Ottomans began their decline.
Why do I say all this?
To dispute and push-aside the notion that science is what led to a “downfall” of Islam, when it was science that ensured that Islam had multiple golden ages, and it is our adoption of Western perceptions of disciplines that has ensured our stagnation, and the evidence underlines (Japan and Turkey being my favorite examples) that the conscious use of domestic, authentic, and most importantly, culturally tailored policies is what ensures the growth and success of non-Western nations.
My advice? Instead of looking at science as antagonistic to religion, you should follow what The Qur’an teaches: use the evidence of the world to see how God did things, and that that enlightenment, of knowledge, is how you should have greater appreciation of this world, and of the central importance of proper action towards others as the essential purpose of The Qur’an, rather than as some sort of “alternative” to science, because, as I have said before, there is no difference between scientific knowledge and religious knowledge in Islam.
I hope that this helped, and if not (which I’m pretty sure it didn’t) please ask me more questions, so that I can attempt to help you, insha Allah.
May I suggest, also, that for explanations of various scientific concepts and how they compare to religious belief, please ask my friend, and brother-in-Islam, Haedar, who is actually a scientist, a devout Muslim, and a great person, masha Allah.
I hope this reaches you and your families in the best of health and Iman, insha Allah.