To some people, the link between Islam and science is something unthinkable, as if this religion had nothing to do with the developments and revolution that man has made in the field of science and technology. The reason for this scepticism filling the mind of many, and unfortunately some Muslim intellectuals who for many years have been swayed by Western culture or by what we can call the Western neo-colonialism, is the utter ignorance about what Islam is and the nature of the message it brought to mankind.
This perplexity has even led some of them to accuse Islam as the cause of what they term Muslims’ backwardness. In fact, these people have forgotten that this is the same religion that had enjoyed the supremacy of eleven centuries or even more. Shedding more light on this, we’d like to cite for you the following:
“Western thought today is in the midst of a raging battle between religion and science. It is almost impossible for a Western thinker today to accept the fact that there may be a meeting ground between religion and science. The Bible, in which the Christians believe, states that the tree from which the Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) was forbidden to eat was the tree of knowledge. Thus, after he ate from it, he gained certain knowledge that he had not had before. For this reason, Europe spent two centuries arguing whether or not to accept scientific knowledge coming from Muslims.
The Church ruled that the
pursuit of such scientific knowledge was the cause for the original sin. The bishops drew their evidence from the Old Testament, where it is mentioned that when Adam ate of the tree and gained some knowledge, Allah was displeased with him and denied him mercy. Scientific knowledge was therefore rejected entirely by the Church as a taboo.
Finally, when the free thinkers and scientists of the West were able to overcome the power of the Church, they took revenge by going in the opposite direction and suppressing any power of the religion. They went to all possible extremes in order to overcome the power of the Church and reduce its influence into a narrow and a confined corner.
Therefore, if you discuss the issue of religion and science with a Westerner, he readily goes into sheer wonderment. They do not know Islam. They do not know that Islam accords a very high status to knowledge and men of knowledge, regarding them as witnesses, after the angels, to the fact that there is no god worthy of worship in truth but Allah, as Allah Himself has told us in the Qur’an: “Allah (Himself) is witness that there is no God save Him. And the angels and the men of learning (too are witness).” (Al `Imran :18) Almighty Allah also told us: “Know, therefore, that there is no true deity but Allah.” (Muhammad: 19)
It is known from the Qur’an that Adam (peace be upon him) was favoured over the angels by virtue of the knowledge given to him by Allah. The Qur’anic story contradicts that of the Bible which Muslims hold to have been distorted. According to the Qur’an, the fact that Adam was given knowledge is a mark of honour, and not the cause of his expulsion from Paradise. Hence, if one discusses Islam and science with Western thinkers, they tend to expect an argument similar to what they have in their own religious and cultural context. That is why they react with surprise when they are p
resented with the crystal clear facts of the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Among those who were taken by surprise is Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson, Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Genecology, and Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. When we first met him, Professor Simpson insisted on verifying the Qur’an and the Sunnah. We were able, however, to remove his suspicion. We presented to him the text outlining the development of the embryo. We proved to him that the Qur’an informs us that the hereditary and the chromosomal make-up of the new being take place only after a successful union between the sperm and the ovum. As we know, these chromosomes contain all the characteristics which the new human being will have such as the color of the eyes, skin, hair, etc.
Hence, many of the details in the human being’s make-up are determined in his chromosomes. These chromosomes begin to form during the early Nutfah stage of embryonic development. In other words, the distinguishing features of the new human being are determined from the very beginning at the Nutfah stage. Allah, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorified, has stated this fact in the Qur’an: “Woe to man! What has made him reject Allah? From what stuff has He created him? From a sperm-drop: He has created him, and then molded him in due proportion.” (`Abasa: 17-19)
During the first 40 days of gestation, all the body parts and organs are completely, though consecutively, formed. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) has informed us in a Hadith that: “In every one of you, all components of your creation are gathered together in your mothers’ womb by 40 days.” (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim).
In another Hadith, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “When forty-two nights have passed over the drop (Nutfah), Allah sends an angel to it, who shapes it and makes its ears, eyes, skin, flesh and bones. Then he says, “O Lord, is it male or female?” and your Lord decides what he wishes.”(Reported by Muslim).
Professor Simpson studied these two Hadiths extensively, noting that the first 40 days constitute a clearly distinguishable stage of embryo genesis. He was particularly impressed by the absolute precision and accuracy of those Hadiths. Then during one of the conferences which he attended he gave the following opinion: “So that the two Hadiths that have been noted can provide us with a specific time table for the main embryological development before 40 days. Again, the point had been made repeatedly by other speakers this morning that these Hadiths could not have been obtained on the basis of the scientific knowledge that was available at the time of their recording.”
Professor Simpson says that religion can successfully guide the pursuit of knowledge. The West, as we said, has rejected this. Here is an American scientist who says that religion, namely Islam, can achieve this with success. By analogy, if you go to a factory and have with you the operation manual of the factory, then you will be able to easily understand the kind of operation that goes on in that factory, thanks to that manual by the factory designer and builder. If you do not have this manual with you, chances are much less that you will have good understanding of the various processes there.
Professor Simpson said: “It follows, I think, that not only is there no conflict between genetics and religion, but in fact religion can guide science by adding revelation to some traditional scientific approaches. That there exist statements in the Qur’an shown by science to be valid, which supports knowledge in the Qur’an having been derived from Allah.”
This is true. Certainly, the Muslims can lead the way in the pursuit of knowledge and that they can accord knowledge in its proper status. Moreover, Muslims know how to use knowledge as a proof of the existence of Allah, May Allah be Exalted and Glorified, and to affirm the Messengership of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Allah says in the Qur’an: “Soon will we show them our signs in the (furthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the truth. Is it not enough that thy Lord does witness all things?” (Fussilat: 53)
After having realized through examples of scientific miracles in the Qur’an as well as knowing the related comments of the objective scientists on them, let us ask ourselves these questions:
a- Could it be a coincidence that all this recently discovered scientific information from different fields was mentioned in the Qur’an which was revealed 14 centuries ago?
b- Could this Qur’an have been authored by Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) or by any other human being?
The only possible answer to that is that the Qur’an must be the literal word of Allah, revealed by Him. The Qur’an is the literal word of Allah which He revealed to His Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) through the Angel Jibreel (Gabriel). It was memorized by Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) who then dictated it to his Companions. They in turn memorized it, wrote it down, and reviewed it with the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) reviewed the Qur’an with the Angel Jibreel once every Ramadan and twice in the last year of his life in the same Islamic calendar. Since the Qur’an was revealed, up until today, there has always been a huge number of Muslims who have memorized all of the Qur’an, letter by letter. Some of them have been able to memorize all of the Qur’an by the age of ten. Thus, it is not surprising to note that not one letter of the Qur’an has been changed for centuries up to now.
The Qur’an which was revealed 14 centuries ago mentioned facts that are only recently discovered by proven scientists. This proves without doubt that the Qur’an must be the literal word of Allah, revealed by Him to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and it also proves that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is truly a Messenger and Prophet sent by Allah. It is beyond reason that anyone fourteen hundred years ago would have known these facts discovered or proven very recently with advanced equipment and sophisticated methods.”