Thesis: Islam and Modern Science

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Islam and Modern Science

Islam is the world's fastest growing religion in the world and the second largest after Christianity. This is evident from the fact that out of 1200 mosques currently in the U.S., 80% were built in the last 12 years.

Despite the media's tainted presentation of Islam, the religious has consistently grown stronger. This can be largely due to the simple nature of Islamic teachings and the ease with which they can be practiced.

This brings us to the very essence of Islam i.e. practice. Islam has repeatedly made it clear through Koran that practice is what makes a Muslim, a true believer in the eyes of God (Allah). Many Muslims in the world today have inherited the faith from their parents but practice remains a very personal effort based on individual's level of commitment to the religion. The five pillars of Islam were enforced to inculcate in Muslims a sense of dedication and to send the message of practice across. One can be a Muslim in name but Islam requires practice to consider a Muslim a true follower. And to become a follower, they must accept and practice the five pillars of Islam.

When it comes to practice, Islam follows a very natural course. A child is never strictly told to perform certain rituals but his parents are expected to naturally get him interested in them through example. Children grow up knowing their parents practice some purification rituals, followed by prayers and they naturally imitate them. No one cares if they stop in the middle and go off to play but as long as it is a common practice at home, parents know that children too will come around.

Growth and Spread of Islam

History of Islam is probably well-known but its true teachings are not. Many would still sadly assume that like Jesus holds a place in divinity for Christianity, Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) does the same in Islam. But there can be nothing farther from the truth. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) holds an important place as a messenger of Allah and there is absolutely no divinity bestowed on any of the prophets. Allah repeatedly claims divinity entirely for Himself and Prophet Mohammad always made it clear that he was a messenger of God and must not be considered a son of God or heir to divinity in any sense of the word. This is what sets Islam apart from other religions. It is what makes it a truly monotheistic religion.

Islam did not begin in 600 a.D. As some may believe. It had already been there since the times of Abraham but it came to stay in its present form in 600s when Koran was revealed to Prophet Mohammad. While most Muslims are as familiar with the history of their religion as they are of theirs but many people outside the religion have fairly vague idea of how Islam came into being and how it gained strength as a major world religion.

Mohammad was born in Mecca in 570 a.D. He grew up without a father because he had passed away months before his birth and his mother left the world six years later. Mohammad's grandfather and his uncle largely took over the responsibility of raising him. A Christian monk who had once seen him instantly knew he was the chosen one. Mohammad grew up with strong character and sense of integrity and even before his Prophet-hood, he had gained immense trust of his people. Mohammad was considered Sadiq (Honest) and Amin (Trustworthy) by the people of Arabia who would never question the veracity of what he said. His quest for the right path would often take him to caves of Mecca where he would meditate for hours. His first revelation came at the age of 40 which was the first revelation of Koran. Prophet Mohammad faced many obstacles and endured extreme hostility from idol-worshippers because he told them to believe in One God and did not endorse idol-worshipping. But together with few followers, among them his wife and a dear friend, Mohammad kept moving forward with his message. Islam was revived with him or actually discovered by many for the first time with Mohammad's consistent effort. The religion continued to gain strength as Prophet and his followers kept spreading the message. From few followers to few hundreds to many thousands, Islam continued making a mark in Arabia and by the end of his days; Prophet Mohammad had spread the message to every nook and corner of Arabia. This resulted in massive success and people embraced Islam in droves as Koran attests:

"When God's support comes, as well as victory, and you see mankind entering God's religion in droves; then hymn your Lord's praise and beg Him for forgiveness, since He is so Relenting!" (Surah Al-Fateh: chapter 110)

ISLAM and MODERN SCIENCE

The reason why it is important to understand Islam's connection with science is because as one observer explained "the word of God as expounded in the Quran, cannot be contradictory to the work of God."

Religion's connection with science was considered important by other great thinkers as well. Ahmed Afzaal observed that modern science needs validation from religion because in many cases, religion can provide "the missing pieces in the puzzles of scientific knowledge."

Einstein went on record to say that "science without religion is lame, and religion without science is blind." Max Planck also commented: "with religious people, God appears at the beginning of their thinking, with natural scientists, at the end."

Islam plays a fundamental role in understanding of important matters. And these important matters are discussed in the Quran in detail. Quran offers a clear guideline to every individual for living a life worth God's blessings. But along with that, it also discusses some truly amazing facts about the creation of the universe and everything within. Everyone who recites the Quran is urged to think and reflect on variety of subjects such as changing of days and nights, of seasons, finding ways with the help of stars, water flows, sun and moon movements and thousands of other such scientific matters. Islam doesn't only want Muslims or others to recite the Quran, it urges them to reflect and ponder on what is written in this revealed book. In Surah Yousuf, the command to think and reflect follows some amazing observations:

"The likeness of this world's life is only as water which We send down from the cloud, then the herbage of the earth of which men and cattle eat grows luxuriantly thereby, until when the earth puts on its golden raiment and it becomes garnished, and its people think that they have power over it, Our command comes to it, by night or by day, so We render it as reaped seed; produce, as though it had not been in existence yesterday; thus do We make clear the communications for a people who reflect." (10.24)

What is truly amazing about Quran and its observation of scientific matters is that it goes far beyond what was known at the time. What Quran said in 600 a.D. is something we have only learned today as the result of modern knowledge. The fact that Islam always urged Muslims to strive for knowledge shows that this religion had a close connection with science as Prophet Mohammad (p.b.u.h) said:

"Seeking knowledge is compulsory on every Muslim." (Bucaille)

Interestingly in older commentaries on Quran, there was not much discussion on Quran's observation on scientific matters. This was because in those days, authors, as learned as they might have been, did not yet know of modern science. What was written in Quran was so far beyond their knowledge that they did not ponder those observations. It was only when modern science and knowledge expanded that we could finally compare Quranic verses to modern scientific discoveries and found them to be exceptionally accurate. Even before man knew much about his own creation, Quran had made very accurate medical comments which we know to be true only today:

[15.26] and certainly We created man of clay that gives forth sound, of black mud fashioned in shape.

[16.4] He created man from a small seed and lo! he is an open contender.

[16.5] and He created the cattle for you; you have in them warm clothing and (many) advantages, and of them do you eat.

[23.12] and certainly We created man of an extract of clay, [25.54] and He it is Who has created man from the water,

It is important to understand that even modern science testifies to the fact that man is created of sperm and egg, which are water-based substances and the child is surrounded by amniotic fluid inside the womb which is again water that sustains him for the duration he is inside a mother's body.

It must be made clear here that Quran is a book of guidance; its real purpose is to offer a clear path for life for all Muslims. But it… [END OF PREVIEW]

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