Quran and Science


Fourteen hundred years ago, when the world was shrouded in darkness, the Quran mentioned that the Universe is expanding – وَالسَّمَاءَ بَنَيْنَاهَا بِأَيْدٍ وَإِنَّا لَمُوسِعُونَ “AND IT IS We who have built the Universe with [Our creative] power; and, verily, it is We who are steadily expanding it.” (51:47).

Human beings have been given the power to control the forces of Nature:

أَلَمْ تَرَوْا أَنَّ اللَّهَ سَخَّرَ لَكُم مَّا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَأَسْبَغَ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعَمَهُ ظَاهِرَةً وَبَاطِنَةً وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يُجَادِلُ فِي اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَلَا هُدًى وَلَا كِتَابٍ مُّنِيرٍ

ARE YOU NOT aware that God has made subservient to you all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth, and has lavished upon you His blessings, both outward and inward? And yet, among humans there is many a one that argues about God without having any knowledge [of Him], without any guidance, and without any light-giving revelation. (31:20)

Definition of knowledge

•      The word “Science” is derived from the Latin word “Scientia” which means “knowledge”

•      Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning [Wikipedia].

Quran describes three kinds of Knowledge

•      عِلْمَ الْيَقِينِ (102:5) – Knowledge that is born of certainty.

•      عَيْنَ الْيَقِينِ (102:7) – Knowledge that is visual certainty

•      حَقُّ الْيَقِينِ (56:95) – Knowledge that is certain truth

•      It is duty for  believers to acquire knowledge: خَلَقَ اللَّـهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ بِالْحَقِّ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ (29:44) – God has created the heavens and the earth in accordance with truth: for, behold, in this there is a message indeed for all who believe.

Some facts about the Universe and human body

•         There are about 300,000 x 1018 stars within our observable universe.

•         It is estimated that there are between 1078 to 1082 atoms in the known, observable universe.

•         There are at least 10 x 1018 planetary systems in the known universe. Earth would be “1” of those.

•         The Earth has roughly 7.5 x 1018 grains of sand.

•         If you took 10 drops of water and counted the number of water molecules in those drops, you would get a number equal to all the stars in the universe.

•         The surface of the earth at the equator moves at a speed of roughly 1,000 miles per hour.

•         The earth is moving about our sun at 67,000 miles per hour.

•         Our solar Earth and all--whirls around the center of our galaxy at 490,000 miles per hour.

•         The galaxies in our neighborhood are also rushing at a speed of nearly 2.3 million miles per hour towards a structure called the Great Attractor.

•         For a typical human of 70 kg, there are almost 7x1027 atoms (that's a 7 followed by 27 zeros!) Another way of saying this is "seven billion billion billion." Of this, almost 2/3 is hydrogen, 1/4 is oxygen, and about 1/10 is carbon. These three atoms add up to 99% of the total.

Importance of acquiring knowledge

وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۚ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَـٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا – And never concern yourself with anything of which you have no knowledge: verily, [your] hearing and sight and heart - all of them - will be called to account for it [on Judgment Day]! (17:36)

وَلِيَعْلَمَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكَ فَيُؤْمِنُوا بِهِ فَتُخْبِتَ لَهُ قُلُوبُهُمْ        – And so that they who are endowed    with knowledge might know that this [divine writ] is the truth from your Sustainer, and that they aught to believe in it, and that their hearts might humbly submit unto Him. (22:54)

إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَالْفُلْكِ الَّتِي تَجْرِي فِي الْبَحْرِ بِمَا يَنفَعُ النَّاسَ وَمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّـهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مِن مَّاءٍ فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا وَبَثَّ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ دَابَّةٍ وَتَصْرِيفِ الرِّيَاحِ وَالسَّحَابِ الْمُسَخَّرِ بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ  – 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 humankind: 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)

هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ الشَّمْسَ ضِيَاءً وَالْقَمَرَ نُورًا وَقَدَّرَهُ مَنَازِلَ لِتَعْلَمُوا عَدَدَ السِّنِينَ وَالْحِسَابَ ۚ مَا خَلَقَ اللَّـهُ ذَٰلِكَ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ ۚ يُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ ﴿٥﴾ إِنَّ فِي اخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَمَا خَلَقَ اللَّـهُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَّقُونَ  – He it is who has made the sun a radiant light and the moon a reflected light, and has  determined for it phases so that you might know how to compute the years and to measure [time]. None of this has God created without truth. Clearly does He spell out these messages unto people of knowledge: for, verily, in the alternating of night and day, and in all that God has created in the heavens and on earth there are messages indeed for people who are conscious of Him [Muttaqi]! (10:5-6)

Quran’s miraculous description of Earth 1400 years ago

(43:10): الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ مَهْدًا  - He it is who has made the earth a cradle for you. (مَهْد) Mahd means cradle that is in motion.

Regarding earth’s motion, the Quran says in verse (31:10):

خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ بِغَيْرِ عَمَدٍ تَرَوْنَهَا ۖ وَأَلْقَىٰ فِي الْأَرْضِ رَوَاسِيَ أَن تَمِيدَ بِكُمْ

If you want to estimate His powers and the wisdom behind all His flawless planning, just have a look at the universe and observe how wonderfully He has placed huge celestial bodies in the outer space without any visible columns (by invisible gravitational pull). Furthermore, he has set huge mountains on earth, in spite of which it continues to rotate at its speed and you abide therein with comfort.

Another verse (16:15) says:

وَأَلْقَىٰ فِي الْأَرْضِ رَوَاسِيَ أَن تَمِيدَ بِكُمْ وَأَنْهَارًا وَسُبُلًا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

Allah has formed the earth in such a way that you may sit on it firmly while it revolves. He has also created mountains and rivers and land tracks so that you may reach your destination.

إِنَّ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ لَآيَاتٍ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ  ; وَفِي خَلْقِكُمْ وَمَا يَبُثُّ مِن دَابَّةٍ آيَاتٌ لِّقَوْمٍ يُوقِنُونَ  ﴿٤﴾ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّـهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مِن رِّزْقٍ فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا وَتَصْرِيفِ الرِّيَاحِ آيَاتٌ لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ – Behold, in the heavens as well as on earth there are indeed messages for all who believe. And in your own nature, and in all the animals which He scatters [over the earth] there are messages for people who are endowed with inner certainty. And in the succession of night and day, and in the means of subsistence which God sends down from the skies, giving life thereby to the earth after it had been lifeless, and in the change of the winds: [in all this] there are messages for people who use their reason. (45:3-5)

إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآيَاتٍ لِّأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ ; الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّـهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَـٰذَا بَاطِلًا سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ   – Verily, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the succession of night and day, there are indeed messages for all who are endowed with insight, [and] who remember God when they stand, and when they sit, and when they lie down to sleep, and [thus] reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: "O our Sustainer! Thou hast not created [aught of] this without meaning and purpose. Limitless art Thou in Thy glory! Keep us safe, then, from suffering through fire! (3:190-191)

Growing in Knowledge

فَتَعَالَى اللَّـهُ الْمَلِكُ الْحَقُّ ۗ وَلَا تَعْجَلْ بِالْقُرْآنِ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يُقْضَىٰ إِلَيْكَ وَحْيُهُ ۖ وَقُل رَّبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا – God is sublimely exalted. The Ultimate Sovereign, the Ultimate Truth and do not approach the Qur'an in haste, ere it has been revealed unto thee in full, but say: "O my Sustainer, cause me to grow in knowledge!” (20:114)

Dr. Mohammad Iqbal in his lecture “Knowledge and Religious Experience” says: The search for rational foundations in Islam may be regarded to have begun with the Prophet himself. His constant prayer was: Allahumma arinal ashya'a kama hiya: “God! Grant me knowledge of the ultimate nature of things!”

Iqbal further says: “The spirit of the Quran sees in the humble bee a recipient of Divine inspiration and constantly calls upon the reader to observe the perpetual change of the winds, the alternation of day and night, the clouds, the starry heavens and the planets swimming through infinite space! ….. [The Quran] regards hearing and sight as the most valuable Divine gifts and declares them to be accountable to God for their activity in this world.”

سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الْآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ ۗ أَوَلَمْ يَكْفِ بِرَبِّكَ أَنَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ – In time We shall make them fully understand Our messages [through what they perceive] in the utmost horizons [of the universe] and within them­selves, so that it will become clear unto them that this [revelation] is indeed the truth. [Still,] is it not enough [for them to know] that thy Sustainer is witness unto everything? (41:53)

إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُواْ مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ – Verily, God does not change nation's condition unless they change their inner selves (13:11)

Conclusion

It is our sacred duty to acquire knowledge of the Universe. According to the above verse (13:11), no external change can occur in a nation’s condition unless there is, first, a change in its inner self, in its inner personality, in its psychology, in its mentality and disposition.  Therefore, our metal energy, our emotional energy, our psychological energy, and our spiritual (divine) energy – which have become misaligned and unbalanced – all these need to be realigned, restored, and balanced in our inner selves first, before our large-scale suffering, our common misery, our pathetic condition in the world could transform us into a universal brotherhood of holistic and consilience community.


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