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WHY WE REFER TO SCIENCE AND SCIENTIFIC FACTS WHEN EXPLAINING ISLAM

The Quran declares: “Those who truly fear God, among His ser­vants, are those who have knowledge .”

The reason why we refer to science and scientific facts when explaining our religion is that some people are determined that they will never accept any­thing other than scientific facts. Materialists and anti-re­ligious people have sought to exploit science as a means of defying religion and use its prestige to spread their thinking. By this means, they have distorted and cor­rupted the minds of a great number of people. Therefore, using the same materials we have to show that science and technology are not contra­dictory to our religion. In other words, as opposed to materialists who evaluated matter in their own way and thus went astray, we have to evaluate the same mat­ter and lead people to the right path. I personally do not disapprove of this kind of argument. On the contrary, I hold that believers should be well versed in such facts in order to fight back against materialism and atheism. For, the verses of the Quran urge us to reflect and study, they direct us to observe the stars and galaxies. They impress upon us the Magnificence of the Creator. They exhort us also to wander among human beings and direct our attention to the miraculousness of our organs and physical creation. From the world of atoms to the larg­est beings, from man’s first being on the earth to his leav­ing it, the Quranic verses place the whole creation before our eyes. Touching upon a multitude of facts, the Quran tells us that those who truly fear God, among His ser­vants, are those who have knowledge (al-Fatir, 35.28), and so encourages us to seek ‘ilm, to reflect and to re­search. However, it should always be borne in mind as a first condition that all these reflections and research must comply with the spirit of the Quran. Otherwise, while claiming to be following the advice and command of the Quran, we shall in fact be departing from it.

Science and the facts it presents can and should be used to expound Islamic facts.

Science and the facts it presents can and should be used to expound Islamic facts. But if we use them to show off our knowledge or to impress others with our authority, whatever we say does not influence its hearers in the right way, if at all. Words and arguments in themselves bright and persuasive lose their effectiveness on account of the intention in our hearts: they get as far as the lis­teners ear­drums and no further. Similarly, if our argu­ment aims at silencing people instead of persuading them, we shall our­selves have blocked the listeners’ way to understanding and so fail to achieve our goals. How­ever, if we try to per­suade with a full and proper sin­cerity, those who do need such arguments to believe will receive their portion and benefit from it even if we our­selves do not notice this happening. Sometimes an argu­ment sincerely presented in this way, even if you felt at the time it was ineffective, may in reality be far more beneficial to the listeners than another when you spoke rather more freely and eloquently. Our primary aim when introducing science and scientific facts must be to win the pleasure of God, and we must present them ac­cording to the level of the listeners.

It is not correct to regard science as superior in some way to religion, or to present substantial Islamic issues with this attitude as if to justify religion or reinforce its credibility by means of modern scientific facts.

It is not correct to regard science as superior in some way to religion, or to present substantial Islamic issues with this attitude as if to justify religion or reinforce its credibility by means of modern scientific facts. This atti­tude is incorrect because it implies that we ourselves have doubts about the truths of Islam and are, or to speak, in need of science. Equally incorrect is it to accept science or scientific facts as absolute, as the decisive criteria for the authenticity or supra-human origin of the Quran, and so place them in a position which confirms the Quran. This is not only absurd, it is abhorrent and by no means to be permitted or tolerated. Such argu­ments and allusions to science have at best a secondary, supportive use and may be of value in that they open a door onto a way which, otherwise, certain people simply would not know exists.

Science is to be used as an instrument of awakening or stirring some minds which, otherwise, might remain asleep or unmoved.

Science is to be used therefore as an instrument of awak­ening or stirring some minds which, otherwise, might re­main asleep or unmoved. We may think of it as a dusting brush with which to brush the dust off the truth, and the desire for truth, which lie hidden in un­stirred consciences. By contrast, if we set out from the position that science is the absolute, we shall end up seeking to fit the Qur’an and Hadith to it, and where the Qur’an and Hadith disagree with science we shall be the instigators of doubt and corruption.

The Quran and Hadith are true and absolute. Science and scientific facts are true as long as they are in agreement with the Quran and Hadith

Our position must be clear, and it is this: the Quran and Hadith are true and absolute. Science and scientific facts are true as long as they are in agreement with the Quran and Hadith, and are false inasmuch as they differ or lead away from the truth of Quran and Hadith. Even the defi­nitely established scientific facts cannot be pillars to uphold the truths of iman (faith). They can and should only be accepted as an instrument to give us ideas or to trigger us to reflect. God it is Who estab­lishes the truths of iman in our con­science. To expect that that takes place, or could take place, through science is a grave error: iman comes by Divine guidance, and only by Divine guidance. Anyone who fails to grasp this is in an error from which it is hard to recover. Because, while he is trying to look for and gather evidence from the universe, he will attempt to make it speak eloquently in the Name of God, and thus he himself will always remain as a servant to nature and as a nature worshipper, though unaware of being so. He will study and speak of flowers, of the verdancy and spring of nature, but not the least greenness or bud of iman will sprout in his conscience. In his lifetime, he may never feel the existence of God within his con­scious­ness. In appearance, he will be free from wor­shipping na­ture, but in reality that is what he will be doing throughout his lifetime.

A man is mu’min owing to the iman he holds in his heart, not to the heaps of knowledge in his head.

A man is mu’min owing to the iman he holds in his heart, not to the heaps of knowledge in his head. After a person has got as far as he can in understanding by means of evi­dence objective and subjective, he must rid himself of de­pendence on the outer circumstances and qualities and conditions of all such evidence if he is to proceed at all in making spiritual progress. When he abandons that dependence and walks in the way of his heart and conscience within the light and guidance of the Qur’an, then, as God wills, he may find the en­lightenment he is looking for: as the German philoso­pher, Kant, said: “I felt the need to leave behind all the books I read in order to believe in God.”

Undoubtedly, the grand book of the universe, the book of the true nature of man, and the books that comment on these, have their proper place and significance.

Undoubtedly, the grand book of the universe, the book of the true nature of man, and the books that comment on these, have their proper place and significance. But, after man makes use of them, he should be rid of them and live with his iman, as it were, face to face. What we are here saying may seem abstract to those who have not gone deep into the experience of faith and conscience. But those souls whose nights are bright with devotion and who acquire wings through their longing to aspire to their Lord will understand.


Recommended Reading:
The miraculousness of the Quran

Last Updated on September 24, 2000

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