With a little interest I viewed a video of a somewhat celebrated atheist discussing his visit to a Muslim school in the UK.
During his trip, he claims to have noticed students quoting verses from the Qur'an which, he says, were scientifically inaccurate.
The verses which spoke of two bodies of water that don't mix were clearly misunderstood, and thus misinterpreted.
Therefore they were obviously 'scientifically incorrect' to the atheist since he didn't understand them properly in the first place.
Be that as the case may be, it is important to understand that the Muslim does not use science to qualify the Qur'an.
Rather it is the Qur'an that is held as the gold standard and is used to qualify the world around him: astronomy, biology, chemistry, even finance and economics.
Using science to qualify scripture is by origin a European-American practice where, as the New World was discovered, great effort was made to separate religion from state.
Emigrants from the Old World had seen it all: women being burnt alive accused of witchcraft and blasphemy, the Church imposing their Earth-centric view of the universe on everyone, and the persecution of people like Galileo for daring to prove a different solar system.
It was no secret that science and Christianity were at odds. But that was Europe.
In the Muslim world there was no conflict between science and religion. Neither the books of Islam nor the teachings of its scholars contradicted invention and technology.
As more and more discoveries in science came to light, Qur'anic evidence seemed to support and strengthen them.
The Muslim experience with science was one of perfect harmony, and diametrically opposed to that of Christendom's.
This congruence, which unlike Europe could find no divide between science and religion, is one reason why there are substantially fewer atheists among educated intellectuals in the Muslim world than there are in Christian nations.
Yusuf Khan resides in the Washington DC area and writes for the Examiner. He speaks frequently at various Islamic centers.
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