Rise and Fall
The holy Quran had drawn the attention of the Muslims towards the practical and applied science and had stressed the importance of reflecting deep into the natural phenomena and ascertaining the different laws of nature so that they could reap both the material and spiritual benefits out of it and lead the dignified life of the Caliphs of the Almighty intellectually and politically. Drawing inspiration from the Word of the Almighty Allah, the Muslims applied their minds and gave rise to practical science and introduced new arts and sciences to the world. The modern-day scientific discoveries and inventions could not have been made possible but to these contributions of the early Muslim scientists. But they could not sustain their intellectual excellence in the wake of their political downfall in the medieval period, and they gradually disappeared from the scientific horizon. The abrupt disappearance of the Muslims from the realm of science lead to the birth of scepticism and materialism and the modern arts and sciences passed into the hands of the materialists who, with their whimsical interpretation of the facts of the universe, began to lead the humanity astray. As a result, varied materialistic philosophies took birth.
The decline of the Muslims in the material sciences lead to the bifurcation of the religion and the world, and consequently Islam shrank to a mere compilation of some spiritual phenomena. This had a negative impact on the society, and particularly the youth was afflicted by defeatism, scepticism and irreligiosity. They were, in turn, inspired by the extrinsic beauty of the West and its philosophies and they took pride in adopting the Western culture. In this way, the entire humanity passed in to the lap of the West, and even the Islamic world could not remain unaffected by this sparkling culture. And today this imposterous culture is ready to swallow the entire humanity including the Islamic world.
Thus, as a result of lacking behind in the realm of material sciences, the Islamic world is faced with twin losses both in religious and worldly affairs. The loss is in both the intellectual and material realms. Whereas, Islam never restrained the Muslims from progress in the material sciences. To the contrary, it vehemently called upon them to ponder deep into every object of the universe, to explore the different natural systems in force in them and to exploit the material benefits embedded in them. The Muslims ought to heed the Divine Call anew and seek their lost legacy afresh. This is the only way to come out of the present mess they are already into.
Reawakening of Islam and restoration of the Muslims to the caliphate of the earth demands the fusion of spiritualism and materialism and solving the problems and affairs of life in the light of the Quranic teachings. The people or a nation which dreams of progress in life bifurcating materialism from spiritualism, shall always fail in its endeavours. Further, it shall always fall prey to the machinations of the big powers. The present-day affairs of the world testify to this contention amply. Solving the problems of life amicably and eradicating the inequities in the society equitably, calls for setting up of a balance between spiritualism and materialism. This is the essence of Islam. It is, therefore, necessary for the learned Muslims to adopt a pragmatic approach and guide the masses vis-a-vis the modern materialistic thought and philosophies. In meeting this end, it is necessary to promote modern science in the Muslim society so that it doesnt consider the material world aloof from religion. The other way round might just land the masses in to revolting against religion. The present situation is before one and all to seek lessons from.
This pertains to the masses and the society. As far as the Muslim states and governments are concerned, they have to progress in the realm of science and technology for obtaining the twin purpose of attaining self-sufficiency in military and civilian fields and escaping the trap of the developed world as a nation can never defend it self which survives on the support of others.
In the same vein, it is necessary to equip Islam on the scholastic and intellectual plane. Or else, the materialistic and misleading philosophies cannot be countered effectively. As the philosophies of the present-day world base their argumentation on science, the knowledge of science is necessary to counter them. It is for these reasons the glorious Quran has called upon man to reflect upon the natural phenomena so that intellectual facts and signs of the Divine sustenance which could corroborate divinity and refute apostasy and materialism are brought to light . It is obligatory upon the Ulama, therefore, to excel in the field of science and perform this obligation in the light of the holy Quran so that apotasy and irreligiosity which is the biggest evils of the modern times stands refuted. This is the right response to the contemporary challenge. In this context, the Ulama carry on their shoulders a very great responsibility in recognising their standing and status in the society. They should discharge their divine obligations in order that the dark of apostasy ultimately give way to the dawn of divinity and Islam once again.
Renaissance and reawakening of the Ummah today demands steady progress both in the practical as well as intellectual fields. The material sciences enjoy perfect correlation with the divine religion and the caliphate of earth. This relation cannot be disregarded at any cost. May these lines have a positive impact on those leaders and well-wishers of the Ummah who could be prepared to take up the cause of Islam. Nothing but the conveyance of the Divine Message is upon us!
Rise and Fall of Muslims in the Realm of Science
The matchless and high tech progress of the modern times is all-comprehensive and covers all social activities. Every department of our individual and social life comes under its spell. The all-round development in various fields of industry and technology has squeezed the world into a global village and the various countries have attained the status of different localities of this village. Telephone, teleprinter, fax, radio, television and internet have knit the whole world in a single unit and these units can be viewed or heard or contacted individually by sitting in our drawing rooms. One would be elated thus to hold the whole world in his hand.
Effect of Fall of Muslims on Human Society
The incomparable advances in science and technology have helped in establishing innumerable industries of varied nature. Man has now forces like those of electricity, steam, solar and atomic energies in his hold. This has enabled him to establish his supremacy over land, water, heavens and space. In a way he may be said to have conquered the universe. Devoted application to studies in science and allied subjects by the intelligentsia of European and American countries have made their domination over the other educationally and economically backward countries of the world. Among the latter group are included the nations of the East and the Muslim world. The younger generation of these nations and countries were the most hit by this onslaught of the Western developed nations. Pessimism and suspicions took over these young men. They revolted against the religion. The materialistic achievements of the West have so enamoured their minds that they are blindly accepting the Western philosophies of life and despising their own rich and valuable traditions and fundamental beliefs. Obviously this has posed the gravest problem and is the greatest challenge of the times. There is need for finding the causes for the development of such a situation and means to reverse the situation. The adverse effects of such materialistic developments are particularly affecting the life in Muslim countries. Hence there should be a concerted effort in these countries to find the means to keep our younger generations away from the sway of these philosophies.
Role of Muslims in Development of Science
The West now holds the colours of science and technology flying aloft. Their rise in these fields is not all of the sudden. It is the result of a prolonged historical process contributed by many nations of the world, particularly the Muslims. When the past is reviewed with an unprejudiced mind, it becomes quite vivid and clear that in the Middle Ages it were the Muslims who sowed the seeds of modern applied sciences through empirical and experimental processes spread over centuries. It is on these foundations that the modern science of the West stands today. Before the dawn of Islam, the realms of Greek, Roman, Chaldean, Babylonian and Indian sciences were confined to a collection of mere hypotheses, theories and views based on imagination and conjecture. In their place it was the followers of Islam who laid the foundation of applied sciences particularly in the fields of algebra, arithmetic, physics, geography, medicine, botany, zoology, astronomy, chemistry et al. This fact is recognised even by many open-minded Western authorities in these sciences. Some of these testimonies are included in this resume.
Historic Role of the Glorious Quran
It is a fact that it is the Glorious Quran alone that inspired the Muslims to take up the scientific study of the universe. For fulfilling their obligations of the religion and Shariah, it urged the Muslims, in varied styles, to reflect upon the natural phenomena, fathom deep into the systems that are upholding the whole administration of this universe and evolve means and methods of seeking benefits from them. Some of such verses are as follows:
Say: Behold all that is in the heavens and on earth. (Quran, 10:10)
Say: Travel through the earth and see how God did originate creation; so will God produce a later creation. (Quran, 29:20)
Do they not look at the Camels; how they are made? - And at the Sky, how it is raised high? - And at the Mountains, how they are fixed firm? - And at the Earth, how it is spread? (Quran, 88:17-20)
Do they not look at the sky above them? How We have made it, and adorned it, and there are no flaws in it? (Quran, 50:6)
It is We Who have set out constellations in the heavens, and made them fair-seeming to (all) beholders. (Quran, 15:16)
....When they begin to bear fruit, feast your eyes with the fruit and the ripeness thereof. (Quran, 6:99)
Then let man look at his Food, (And how We provide it.) (Quran, 80:24)
Now let man but think from what he is created! He is created from a drop emitted.... (Quran, 86:5-6)
All these and many such verses clearly indicate that the Glorious Quran exhorts man to cast deep investigating looks at every object and every phenomenon of the nature and find out for himself the facts underlying them. Thus it has pointed out the very first principles of the experimental science namely observation and study. This renders the holy Book to be the instigator and pioneer of the experimental sciences. It must be noted that in all these verses the use of the word nazr involves all its various requisitions. It does not merely refer to casting looks cursory or otherwise. The lexicographers and exegetes of the holy Quran draw attention that it involves reflection, deep investigation and study and gaining insights.
Imam Jowhari has said that nazr means to reflect on something looking at it through eyes.1
According to Imam Raghib Asfahani it means to reflect and ponder.2
Allama Zamakhshari has written in the commentary on verse 99 of chapter 6 that this divine manifestation of sustenance has to be viewed with insight, reason and knowledge.3
Imam Ghazzali puts forth his views in this regard as follows:
Allah, the Almighty, created wisdom and perfected His Guidance through revelation. Then He advised the men endowed with this sagacity to look at His creations and reflect on their inherently endowed miracles and take lesson from them, as exhorted in the following verses: Say: Reflect on all things present in the earth and the heavens and We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe? There are many more verses that deal with this subject. There are many more verses that deal with this subject.4
Allama Qazveni is more explicit on this score while interpreting the verse: Do they not look at the sky above them? How We have made it and adorned it, and there are no flaws in it? He says that here look does not mean merely casting eyes on it which is a quality of the beasts. If anyone finds only blue colour in the sky and dust and smoke on the earth, he is fit to be grouped with the beasts, or he may not be fit enough to be included even with them. He would then be a thoughtless being as described in the verse: They have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle - nay more misguided for they are heedless (of warning). Here look refers to reflection on probabilities, words or things consistent with reason, contemplation, perception, feelings and thoughts and discussion on their mysteries so that the facts about His creations get revealed.5
Quranic Exhortation for Reflection and Proofs of Divine Sustenance
When the Glorious Quran has time and again exhorted to investigate the phenomena governing this entire universe and to discover the principles, facts and causes underlying them, a question arises as to what might be the reason and aim for such stress. The first of these purposes is that human research should alone be the vehicle of revealing the Divine Signs (i.e., divine arguments) inherent in the manifestations of Nature. This will provide an irrefutable and irrevocable basis for accepting the existence of One God. This will also be the most effective way of doing so. Divine arguments involve such characteristics as His Unity, Creativity, Sustenance and Divinity which come out as natural results of reflection, research and experimentation on the materials of the universe. These arguments and proofs will in themselves be a deterrent for polytheism, naturalism, heresy and all prevalent material philosophies. The divine guidance in this regard runs as follows:
Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alteration of the Night and the Day; in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which God sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds, and the clouds which they trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth;- (here) indeed are Signs for a people that are wise. (Quran, 2:164)
This is a very significant and comprehensive verse of the Glorious Quran wherein eight arguments are put forth to prove the existence of God and His Unity.6 The details are found at other places too. The purpose of such verses is to indicate the divinity and sustenance of the Creator of the Universe. This fact has been mentioned in the preceding verse to the above verse. It reads as follows:
And your God is One God: There is no God but He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. (Quran, 2: 163)
Subjugating Materials and Divine Blessings
The second purpose of this call for reflection is to attain the ability of capturing the materials of the universe. This has to be achieved by contemplating and reflecting into the exhibits of the world, studying their characteristics and material benefits. Through obtaining such benefits of these Divine Blessings, the human life has to be bettered every time on the one hand and on the other defensive forces and powers are to be mobilised so that the Divine Religion attains political and material supremacy in the world. These forces can be obtained by the fission of material objects. Some of these forces are steam, electricity, atomic energy, electromagnetic energy, laser beams etc. Through them man has established his supremacy and leadership in the universe. All these intrinsic material benefits are referred to as unseen bounties in the Glorious Quran:
Do you not see that God has subjected to your (use) all things in the heavens and on earth, and has made His bounties flow to you in exceeding measure (both) seen and unseen? (Quran, 31:20)
And He has subjected to you, as from Him, all that is in the heavens and on earth; behold, in that are Signs indeed for those who reflect. (Quran, 45:13)
But if you count the favours of God, never will ye be able to number them. (Quran, 15:34)
That all these material benefits have been referred as Divine Bounties indicates that they have to be utilised for benefiting mankind and never for suffocating them. If the knowledge of these material benefits were in the hands of godly people the whole humanity would have been benefited by them and would have escaped their harmful effects. But the pity is the warmongers and materialistic nations are using these forces only for destructive purposes and converting the world into Hell. This is another casualty the mankind has suffered due to the decline of Muslims in this field.
While the Divine Religion gets firmly established ideologically through the first of the purposes, the reformation of the human life is assured through the second one. This also helps in the progressive development of the culture. However it must be noted that there is no reservation of Muslims or non-Muslims as far as the second essential is concerned. Whichever nation takes to reflection on the created assets of the world gets duly benefited. This is so because the material and cultural benefits are divine bounties that would be bestowed as reward to whoever indulges in reflecting about the divine systems or making the divine symbols known through a critical and purposeful study of the objects and living beings.
It must have become clear that Islam does not preach asceticism. It actually presents a wholesome and perfect coherence of this world and the religious code of life. It advocates to adopt a realistic approach through striking a balance between nature and the Shariah or between materialism and spiritualism. As long as the Islamic society did not fall a victim to extremities in both these fields, it did not yield to any ideological unrest or chaos. Such a chaos is being found in Muslim societies everywhere these days since a wide gap has been created between the worldly affairs and the religion. Consequently our youth have fallen a prey to pessimism and are compelled to seek refuge in the materialism of Western countries. This is but natural, for whenever the society is made to part with materialism and only spiritualism is practised, it is magnetically drawn towards the former ideology. This is what happened with Christianity in the past. Similar fate is being faced by the Muslim community. There is, thus, immediate need for implementing the Islamic ideology and teachings completely. This will enable to restore the confidence of our youth in the efficacy of our faith. They can walk ahead in the field of science and technology and culture and community life by simultaneously adhering to religion and Shariah. It must be realised that Islam is not merely a code of religious and moral principles and guidelines. It has the inherent capacity to lead mankind in the ideological, cultural, social and philosophical aspects of life as well.
Similarities Between Nature and Shariah Similarities Between Nature and Shariah Similarities Between Nature and Shariah Similarities Between Nature and Shariah
The all-comprehensive teachings of Islam had helped the followers of Islam in the Middle Ages to lead the world through their enviable progress in both the fields without bifurcating the religion and the material world. They have left a legacy of knowledge and art. The Muslim philosophers and scientists of yore established a group, who by reflecting on the universe discovered new scientific facts and enriched the fields of science and technology. Then there was the group of religious scholars who struck similarities between nature and Shariah and expounded the facts of religion and Shariah and eliminated the gap between the two. Some of the great men belonging to the first group are Yakub Bin Ishaq Kindi, Jabir Bin Hayyan, Muhammed Bin Moosa Khwarizmi, Abu Nasr Farabi, Muhammed Bin Zakariyya Razi, Ibne Haisem, Ave Sena, Abu Rehan Alberuni, Ibne Nafees and Abul Qasim Azzuhravi etc. In the second group are included Imam Abul Hasan Ashari, Imam Abu Mansoor Maturidi, Imamul Harmain Juwaini, Imam Ghazzali, Imam Razi, Allama Ibne Rushd, Allama Qazweni, Imam Ibne Taimiyah, Imam Ibne Qayyim, Allama Taftazani, Qazi Abdur Rahman Aiji, Allama Shareef Jurjani etc. Many of these scholars worked in scholastic philosophy of Islam and have produced pioneering works. Imam Ghazzali, Imam Razi and Imam Ibne Taimiyah excel in this field and their contributions are everlasting.
It is essential to work for eradicating any absurdity or contradiction that may creep in between nature and Shariah or materialism and spiritualism. This will help in retrieving the Muslim youth on the path of Faith and to instill confidence in them. The holy Book also refers to such a need. Obviously these verses will imbibe fresh fervour and attachment to the religious tenets:
Allah created the heavens and the earth in true (proportions): Verily in that is a Sign for those who believe. (Quran, 29:44)
Say, the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in Truth, in order to strengthen those who believe, and as a Guide and Glad Tidings to Muslims. (Quran, 16:102)
And We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things, a Guide, a Mercy, and Glad Tidings to Muslims. (Quran, 16:89)
A Shortcoming of Muslim Scholars
Islam has played a historic role in the history of the religions by presenting a successful concept of the comprehensive blend of the religion and the world. The followers of Islam have equally performed a historic venture by adopting the above code in their practical life during the period of their rise. This paved the way for a wholesome coherence between nature and Shariah. During Muslim rule, religion and knowledge or religion and new discoveries never came into conflict. Such conflicts were unfortunately witnessed between the Church and science and they resulted in the growth of atheism and irreligiosity.
However during the present times the Muslim scholars are repeating a similar mistake giving rise to a situation akin to the one that had arisen because of the conflict between the Christian clergy and the new innovations. One of the chief causes for the present allergy of Muslim youth towards their own faith and close affinity to Western sciences is the negative attitude of our religious scholars. They are not only completely unconcerned but are sceptic too with the modern sciences.
Had the Muslim scholars continued to put in complete faith in the effectiveness of their everlasting religion and its comprehensiveness, had they acted with open mind and farsighted views, treading the path of their predecessors, had they explained the limits of the religion and material advancements, it would have been of great help to the Muslim rulers in developing science and technology in their states. Simultaneously this would have moulded the minds of the Muslim youth to adhere to their own faith, without turning away from it and they would not have wandered in the valleys of Western ideologies.
Fall of Muslim Rule and its Consequences
Certain historic causes have contributed to the backwardness of the present Muslim society in the field of science and technology. The greatest factor in this respect is the fact that in the Middle Ages, due to the fall of Muslim rule, the Muslim society had ceased taking interest in scientific studies and developments. This was a great handicap for the whole of Muslim world. This casted a negative spell on the development of Muslim society as such.
It must be realised that the handicap suffered by the Muslims was not confined only to worldly matters. It had its impact on the religious, Shariah, ideological and philosophical aspects as well. From the worldly point, any nation which suffers backwardness in material sciences, goes down culturally, politically and militarily. It is proficiency in these sciences that guarantees the strength, supremacy and pomp and pride of a country today. As far as the religious and Shariah matters are concerned, there is need to harmonize nature with Shariah in the light of the modern sciences so that a balance is assured in the Muslim society. Such a move is all the more essential to keep in control the followers of Islam in general and younger generation in particular ideologically. Otherwise there is a possibility of creating ideological disruption in the society. The society is always hit by negative attitudes whenever the material world is kept separated from the religion. This may result in differentiated disliking of the religion. Islam which claims to be a natural religion looks beyond barriers and hence offers conclusive advice regarding both these aspects thereby ensuring comprehensive and definite instructions in both fields.
The all-round degradation that the Muslim countries underwent during the Middle Ages hit at the Muslim world badly to the extent that the Muslim society was reduced to backwardness and became a victim to pessimism and ideological chaos. The most tragic aspect of this episode is that even the religious scholars lost their erudition and they could not lead the nation in the light of the Book of Allah. They confined themselves to a limited version comprising specific rules of the religion and Shariah and overlooked all cultural and comprehensive teachings as if they were not found at all in the Glorious Book of Allah.
Islam as presented today has been confined to include prayers and morals and certain aspects of life, although being a perfect religion, Islam has a comprehensive cultural system. It offers instructions in all social and cultural affairs of life as it leads the Muslims in Shariah and moral affairs. The Holy Book claims this fact and there cannot be a second opinion about it. That Islam is a perfect religion is a proven fact:
This day I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. (Quran, 5:4)
Imam Shafaii, the famous jurist, had claimed rightly that whenever any Muslim faces any difficulty or problem, he can certainly find its solution in the Book of Allah.
These matters need not be related to religion and Shariah only. In fact, they cover all theoretical, ideological, social, cultural and national problems as well. Thus the Book of Allah has commandments pertaining to every problem and affair. This is so because a Muslim is bound by the divine commandments only:
The Command rests with none but Allah: He declares the Truth, and He is the best of judges. (Quran, 6:57)
The Command is for none but God. He hath commanded that ye worship none but Him: that is the right religion. (Quran, 12:40)
Vicegerency of Earth and Material Sciences
The most significant and basic cause for this backwardness of Muslim society is related to the fact that the followers of Islam have neglected completely the knowledge on which, from the Quranic point of view, the vicegerency of the earth rests. It is the science of material objects which is referred in the holy Book as science of names. Unless this science is sought, the religion and Shariah cannot be firmly established. This science acts as a body guard for religion and Shariah. It is for this reason that this knowledge was delegated immediately after the creation of the first man namely Prophet Adam (Pbuh). Its learning was suggested to precede even Shariah. It was further said that supremacy was awarded to Adam over angels because of this knowledge. And this knowledge was nothing but the knowledge of the nature of all material things.
And He taught Adam the nature of all things. (Quran, 2:31)
The commentators of the Glorious Quran have explained that reference to names of all things involves the nomenclature of all creatures and material objects, their characteristics and properties and their utility from the point of religious and worldly benefits.8 These are the very materials and their physical properties that constitute the subject matter of the modern sciences. The subject of the modern sciences pertains to a study of geological objects, heavenly bodies, animal kingdom and plants panorama. It means the scope of modern sciences is not beyond the creations of Allah.
A pertinent question arises as to why and for what purpose did the Creator impart this knowledge to the first man? A simple and direct answer asserts that since Prophet Adam was descended on the earth in the capacity of His Vicegerent, it was very essential that such a creation should be posted with the knowledge of everything that would be present on and in this earth. Otherwise he may land in trouble or face danger. Hence the Omniscient God taught His first vicegerent the names of all things along with their characteristics and functions right in the beginning alone, so that he can utilize these materials rightly. There is also an indication in this incident that the peoples who would keep track of this knowledge of the things and their physical properties would dominate the earth as His vicegerents and their supremacy over other people would be of the same order as was that of Prophet Adam over the angels. It also means that whichever nation is deficient in this knowledge will have to look for its existence to those who are proficient in it.9 This is evident from the present situation of the world. There is no need of citations.
The debacle of the present Muslim society is due to this very negligent attitude of the Muslims towards the study of these sciences. This knowledge was and is a guarantor of progress and welfare in both the worlds. If Muslims persist to despise and move away from these sciences they would continue to sail in the ocean of pessimism and helplessness. The all-round development in the ideological, religious, cultural, political, social, national and international levels is directly linked with these sciences. If any nation delinks itself from it, it loses the right to be His vicegerent on this planet earth.
For reinstating the Muslims on the throne and for bringing back the youth on the stage, it is imminent and pertinent that the study and practice of these sciences is made compulsory among the Muslims. This would be re-establishing the relationship with the science revealed to Prophet Adam first and a step towards regaining the lost splendour and magnificence.
It is to the credit of established guidance of the Glorious Quran that in the Middle Ages, Muslims reached the pinnacle of progress in the fields of sciences and offered priceless gifts to the scientific development in different branches. The researches carried by the Muslim scientists in the Middle Ages paved the way for modern sciences. In fact there was none to compete with them in these fields during a long era of six centuries between the eighth and the thirteenth centuries AD. For most of this period Europe was passing through Dark Ages. The European nations awoke slowly from their slumber due to the din of the phenomenal achievements of the Muslim scientific workers. The period from the Fourteenth to Sixteenth centuries mark the revival of knowledge in these countries. This period is rightly termed as Renaissance. After this epoch-making development, Europe marched in the fields of science and technology taking very long strides while the Muslim nations were pushed down at the same pace. The fall of Spain in 1492 AD was the last straw that broke the backbone of all scientific developments in the Muslim world. The seizure that took over the intellectual development in the Muslim world after this sequel is a tragic historic fact.
It is also a historical fact that the Muslim Ummah did perform remarkable scientific feats after getting the light from the Quranic guidance. The research centres, observatories and educational centres established at Baghdad, Sicily, Cordoba and other places bear a testimony to the phenomenal work turned out in the field of physical and biological sciences as well as the lofty literature produced in the field of mathematics, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, medicine, botany, chemistry and physics. They even tested experimentally the earlier theories and the laws proposed by Greek scientists and classified the factual and practical from conjectural and theoretical ones. They were influenced in all these works only by Quranic thought and practices which stress the use of experimental and investigative methodology cited in Quranic verses referred to earlier.
In the direction of scientific development the Muslim Ummah introduced a new and fresh style of thinking process on the lines proposed in the Glorious Quran and the experimental science is a gift from them to the mankind. As they themselves adopted this form of studies, science developed under the patronage of the religion and Shariah in such a way that there was no derision for them even from the Muslim Ulama and clergy. These scholars had an aversion towards the purely philosophical approach as in scholastic philosophy and were mere verbal jugglaries. On the other hand the findings of experimental sciences were found to be in consonance with the Quranic preachings.
No Clash Between Nature and Shariah No Clash Between Nature and Shariah No Clash Between Nature and Shariah No Clash Between Nature and Shariah
Our earlier scholars and particularly Imam Ghazzali, Imam Razi and Imam Ibne Taimiyah have guided the Muslim Ummah to the right track by indicating the coherence between nature and Shariah. Fatawa (verdicts) and the works in this regard of Ibne Taimiyah are quite exhaustive and instructive. One of the valuable maxim he advocated indicates that there cannot be any conflict between absolute reasoning and divine revelation. It means that reality cannot be established on the basis of reasoning and experimentation which contradicts religion and Shariah. The only exceptions are such materials wherein there is doubt or anguish.10
On this count the activity of establishing coherence between nature and Shariah should consistently take place in every era so that the divine religion keeps up its predominance and the Muslims do not suffer from inferiority complex. However in the present era, such of the scholars who are wedded to ancient systems of philosophy oppose such a coherence due to their lack of understanding and state that modern sciences have nothing to do with either Islam or Quran. Naturally they had a negative impact on the youth. Actually such a move causes confusion in thinking and a new kind of scepticism takes birth. There is immediate need to give away such negative approach and adopt a positive method.
It is heartening that due credit has been extended to the pioneering works of these Muslim scholars and scientists by many great thinkers, literators and writers belonging to Western and Eastern countries. Phillip K Hitti, in his History of the Arabs pays homage thus:
Between the middle of the eighth and the beginning of the thirteenth centuries, as we have noted before, the Arabic-speaking peoples were the main bearers of the torch of culture and civilization throughout the world. Moreover they were the medium through which ancient science and philosophy were recovered, supplemented and transmitted in such a way as to make possible the renaissance of Western Europe. In all this, Arabic Spain had a large share.
Between the middle of the eighth and the beginning of the thirteenth centuries, as we have noted before, the Arabic-speaking peoples were the main bearers of the torch of culture and civilization throughout the world. Moreover they were the medium through which ancient science and philosophy were recovered, supplemented and transmitted in such a way as to make possible the renaissance of Western Europe. In all this, Arabic Spain had a large share.11
At another place he writes:
In only a few decades Arab scholars assimilated what had taken the Greeks centuries to develop.
In only a few decades Arab scholars assimilated what had taken the Greeks centuries to develop.12
The Encyclopaedia Britannica has affirmed the supremacy and excellence of Arabs in scientific fields as follows:
During the almost 1,000 years that science was dormant in Europe, the Arabs, who by the 9th century had extended their sphere of influence as far as Spain, became the custodians of science and dominated biology, as they did other disciplines.
During the almost 1,000 years that science was dormant in Europe, the Arabs, who by the 9th century had extended their sphere of influence as far as Spain, became the custodians of science and dominated biology, as they did other disciplines.13
Famous Arab scholar Jurji Zaidan has paid tributes to the works of the Muslims in medicine. He writes:
The Muslims have consolidated the works of the Greeks, Persians, Indians and Chaldeans in medicine and have themselves contributed much to these sciences. For example, they have, more often, studied critically the works of Galen and Hippocrates, discovered their errors and have corrected their faulty views. They have even translated and edited many of their works with such acumen that they have become original works. They have even introduced the art of writing commentaries, glossaries and addenda on the works of the ancients. The supplementaries added by Ibne Jaljal to Materia Medica by Dioscorides contains the description of certain drugs which were not known to the predecessors.14 by Dioscorides contains the description of certain drugs which were not known to the predecessors.14
The Egyptian scholar Ahmed Ameen has referred to the innovations of the Muslims thus:
The Arabs became proficient in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, astronomy, mechanics and other allied subjects. They have been profited from the works in these subjects by the Indians and the Greeks. They even conducted such of the experiments which were not known to the Greeks. Many unprejudiced orientalists have acknowledged the innovations made by them. These were not known to either the Greeks or the Indians.
The Arabs became proficient in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, astronomy, mechanics and other allied subjects. They have been profited from the works in these subjects by the Indians and the Greeks. They even conducted such of the experiments which were not known to the Greeks. Many unprejudiced orientalists have acknowledged the innovations made by them. These were not known to either the Greeks or the Indians.15
The renowned Western philosopher Muhammed Asad (Ex Leopold Wais) has spoken high of the ingenuity of the Arabs as:
What the Arabs have done to the revival of the ancient Greek sciences is beyond expectation. Using their ingenuity, they have produced an entirely new and fresh field of knowledge. They have invented new methods and improved the old ones. They introduced these methods to the West through different sources. It is no exaggeration or twisting of the facts if it is claimed that the new era of enlightenment in which we live today has not dawned in Christian Europe but in Islamic centres of learning like Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo and Cordoba.16
That it is the Arab Muslims who introduced the modern experimental science to the world must have become clear through the above discussion. And equally so the fact that the scripture indicating this path of experimentation is none other than the Glorious Quran. It must be noted here that the advancements in the field of science do affect the community and the society. The point to consider at this stage is what sort of benefits does Islam aspire to attain through these advancements of modern sciences. What are its aims and purposes? The aims are many. A few of them are given below:
1. Creation of scientific temper and thought among the members of the society, thereby putting an end to nature worship and blind faith.
2. Revelation of the Signs of Allahs sustenance hidden in the universe and establishment of the veracity of Islamic faith and teachings through them.
3. Refutation of all erroneous philosophies and materialistic concepts so that the existence of divinity and divine power gets confirmed.
4. Fulfilment of the purpose of vicegerency on earth. It means that the bounties of God be made known to one and all and at the same time the Muslim society should attain the power so that it can obtain political and military supremacy. And thus giving material excellence, it can put an end to oppression and aggression and establish justice and equitability.
5. Establishment of coherence between religion and nature so that a balanced Muslim society is established. This will enable the youth to get their faith revived and strengthened through purification of their beliefs and thoughts.
6. Spiritualism and materialism should merge together on healthy grounds so that a theist society is established which should be free from all extremities and must be a model of ideal culture.
Had this process continued in Islamic states from the Middle Ages to the present times without any break, then the Muslim community would have benefited through the fruits and acquisitions of all these scientific developments. There would not have been any ideological erosion and the religion and the material world would not have been segregated.
The Western countries are put in an advantageous position through their dazzling progress. The developing nations are so enamoured by the former countries that they succumb to their superiority. Bugged by inferiority complex they take pride in adopting the civilization and following the traditions of these developed nations.
The whole world is so enchanted by the Western ascendancy in the field of science and technology that it has taken them as its uncontested leader. Treading their path is taken as a matter of pride and prestige. Among these followers are also included such of the Muslims and the Muslim youth who are educated in the Western sciences and have moved away from Islamic environment and are alien to Islamic thought and values. They consider that success and salvation for them lie in adopting to the Western form of living alone. All these people repose faith in materialistic philosophies like scepticism, agnosticism, rationalism, atheism, profiteering, hedonism, libertinism, permissiveness, evolution theory etc. and doubt the religious beliefs and principles. Even if these people live in Muslim houses and environment, their minds are westernised to the extent that the West haunts their behaviour, thinking and living. This is also a form of apostasy. It can well be termed as mental apostasy. All modern materialistic philosophies are lilting the humanity to sound sleep and from the point of the other world they are suffocating or killing them.
Imposterous Culture and its Vanity
The present culture of the West is characterised by atheistic philosophy as it is devoid of spiritualism. It is only a new incarnation of Greek materialism. It is enchantingly deceptive although it has a bright mask of material benefits, luxuries and pleasures. Behind this mask, are such characteristics that are marked with selfishness, sensuality, deception, terrorism, war-mongering, killing, plundering and cannibalism. The reality is that the present Western society has completely given up the belief in God and the Resurrection Day and is wandering into the valleys of materialism! According to Muhammed Asad, the prayer halls of materialism are its huge factories, cinema houses, chemical laboratories, clubs and power houses. And its guides and leaders are the bank men, engineers, film directors, industrialists and pilots.17
The Western nations are so enchanted by the charms of pleasures in life and sensuality that they strive continuously to devise newer and newer forms of pleasures and enjoyment. Their aim is to satisfy their physical and carnal appetites. They do not have any lofty aim of life. They are thus wedded to hedonism only.
Some Signs of Imposterous Mischief
The Western culture is a fire which has engulfed the whole world. It is driving humanity towards the valley of death enchantingly. Some of the Holy Traditions speak about the paradise and hell of Antichrist (Dajjal). According to them his paradise will really be the hell and his hell will actually be the paradise. This statement can virtually be applied to the imposterous culture and civilization prevalent in the Western countries. It has several other signs of being impostorous. One obvious sign refers to his denial of God. This is quite evident and can be viewed by naked eyes also. Another sign has been quoted as that Dajjal will be one-eyed and that one eye will be swollen like a grape and will be devoid of light. If one casts a look at the existing impostorous culture one finds that it views every thing with only one eye and always keeps the other shut. Particularly in matters concerning religion and spiritualism, it comes out in a very learned but cunning manner using all rhetoric at its command to deny them. Persons very readily are duped and laugh at the religious and moral values heartily. Although the holy Traditions refer Dajjal as a person or an individual, probably this is only an allegory. However many of the signs describing him prove truly applicable to the Western culture closely knitted to technology. Only God knows the reality. Some of the Traditions connected with the problem are given below:
The Holy Prophet (Pbuh) said: None of the prophets has passed who has not scared his followers from Dajjal. But I will tell you his one particular sign which has not been referred to by anyone. He will be one-eyed and Allah is certainly not one-eyed.18
The Holy Apostle said: Kaaf Fa Ra, i.e., faithlessness will be found inscribed between the eyes of 18
The Holy Apostle said: Kaaf Fa Ra, i.e., faithlessness will be found inscribed between the eyes of
The Holy Apostle said: Kaaf Fa Ra, i.e., faithlessness will be found inscribed between the eyes of Dajjal.19
The Apostle of Allah said: Antichrist will be one-eyed of the left eye and this eye will be swollen like a grape and will be devoid of light.20
The Prophet said:
The Prophet said: Dajjal will be one-eyed of the left eye and will have thick hair. Paradise and hell will be with him. But his hell (in reality) will be paradise and his paradise (actually) will be hell.21
The great Prophet said: Both water and fire will be with
The great Prophet said: Both water and fire will be with Dajjal. But his Fire (in reality) will be cold water and his water will be fire. Do not get affected (killed) by it.22
Greatest Striving of the Times
This is the imposterous mischief that has appeared before the world in all its dreadful and frightful form because the followers of Islam have left the arena of science and technology. It is ready like a python to pounce and swallow the whole mankind.
If the Muslim Ummah does not rise to the occasion and prepare itself to check its onslaught and try to crush it, then it will sweep over the whole world and in its strides will carry even the Muslim world.
For checking its onslaught, work has to be carried at two fronts. The first of these two is academic and logical in nature. The second is the lead the Islamic world has to take in the field of science and technology. However one factor is very essential. The Muslim Ummah has to take up the study of science and technology seriously and devotedly and must attain enviable proficiency in them. Otherwise it is not quite possible to fight atheism and materialism. This is all the more important because the only language the modern nations charmed by science and philosophy understand is that of science. Hence in accordance with the holy Tradition, Speak with people in the language which they understand, the modern man has to be addressed in his own language and using his own logic, he has to be convinced of the existence of God and conquered through rhetoric and arguments. This is the greatest striving (Jihad) of the present times. On this count alone Almighty Allah has provided rational and richly argumentative proofs in His Book so that they should fulfil their guiding role with respect to the demands of every era. Now it becomes obligatory on the followers of Islam that they take stock of the whole situation and very expertly prepare a programme in detail to meet this greatest challenge of the times.
Purposeful Striving is Essential for Islamic Renaissance
The panacea for all ills the Muslim Ummah is suffering today is Jihad (powerful and purposeful striving). All our problems and troubles can be solved by taking to striving. This striving should be in the fields of acquiring knowledge, producing arguments utilising reasoning, science and industry and in culture and civilisation. Every field of activity must be covered by Jihad and everyone has to work with the spirit of striving. This will ensure all round and all-time progress in every field for the Ummah. This will enable the Ummah to eliminate all the evils that have crept in modern sciences and arts and modern civilisation and culture. This will also help them to confront with all vehemence and power the onslaughts of the impostorous culture. The Ummah does not lack in anything. If they mind and take to heart they can create a revolution and make the colours of the religion of Allah to flutter high. Such a move can reform all ideological, philosophical, cultural and social aspects of human life thereby assuring a peaceful and harmonious life for all.
Without this striving spirit and activity the revival of the Ummah is not possible. This is an effort demanding persistent action and continuous striving. If need be, all resources have to be utilised without a second thought. Otherwise the revival of the religion and Ummah cannot be caused and achieved.
Allah created man in the capacity of His Vicegerent on the earth. For the express purpose of vicegerency He blessed man with science of names and nature of materials. Without seeking this science, no nation can dream of attaining the vicegerency. It will fail in all its aims. This is the Divine lesson which God had taught man on the very first day of creation by imparting this knowledge and had also pointed towards its significance and importance.
Vicegerency of the earth covers two areas of human life, namely the spiritual and the mundane. The two have to be integrally covered if the demands of vicegerency are to be completely met. Otherwise if a nation attains only material ascendancy without any approach to spiritualism, it becomes a tool in the hands of the devil. This is what exactly is happening in the West. On the other hand if one musters and masters only the spiritual vicegerency without any hold on the material one, then it cannot confront the devils. So for keeping a hold on the devils and to establish the supremacy of spiritualism, one has to equip oneself with material powers too.
Today the material part of the vicegerency is enjoyed by the West and only its spiritual part is left with the followers of Islam. Unless the two are brought together, the vicegerency of the earth is not completed. This very process of perfection of vicegerency is the revival of Islam. Hence the whole Muslim world has to be amalgamated into a single unit and must strive for perfecting this vicegerency. This is the main aim and the desired goal of Islam. This is the Islamic philosophy of culture and society. For this purpose alone Allah set the crown of vicegerency on Prophet Adam through blessing him with this science of nature of things. Hence the Muslims must re-establish their contact with these sciences to regain their lost pomp and pride. Otherwise they will have to lead the life in utter shame, misery and submission.
It must be clear that what has to be imbibed from the West is only the knowledge about experimental sciences, industry and technology and never their ideologies and philosophies. Actually the experimental sciences are the Islamic sciences which the Muslims had introduced in the Middle Ages. They were the product of Quranic urging for reflection on His Manifestations in the universe. Their unique feature is that there is not a speck of atheism or irreligiosity in them. What are branded as atheism and irreligiosity or materialistic ideals and philosophies are nothing but interpretations and explanations of the experimental sciences from materialistic point of view. Hence we have to reject the materialistic ideas, ideals and views keeping our contact in tact with the experimental sciences. And this task can be accomplished by us alone. Since the materialists hold a sway over the sciences, they are free to interpret them in any way they like. When these sciences are interpreted in terms of spiritualism, the influence and charm of materialism can be dispelled. This is the aim of Quranic teachings. For this purpose alone the Glorious Quran has stressed the development of the experimental sciences. It wants that all the divine testimonies and proofs that lie spread as Open Signs in the various systems of the universe come to the knowledge of one and all. It also wants that through conquering the manifestations and forces of nature, the divine bounties are also made known and utilised by mankind for their advantage. These bounties are responsible for the development of industry and technology. The ground is set. It is time for the Muslims to enter the arena and take up the task of perfecting the vicegerency through mastering the technological and industrial arts and crafts and simultaneously interpreting the outcomes in the light of theistic philosophies. Then will an era of real peace and prosperity dawn on the world.
It is, therefore, obligatory on the part of the Ulama to promote science in the Muslim society on the one hand, and on the other, to guide the humanity on the intellectual plane in the matters arising in the wake of development of science in the light of the Glorious Book and the holy Sunnah. This would establish the marvellous nature of the Divine Religion. This is the need of the hour. We shall overlook its importance only to our own peril.
1.Ibne Manzoor, Lisanul Arab, Dar Sadir, Beirut, Vol. 5, P. 215.
2. Raghib Asfahani, Al-Mufradat Fi Gharibil Quran, Beirut, P. 519.
3. Zamakhshari, Tafseer Kashshaaf, Tehran, Vol. 2, P. 40.
4. Imam Ghazzali, Al-Hikmat Fi Makhlookhatillah, Beirut, 1978, P. 14.
5. Zakariyya Bin Mohammed Al-Qazweni, Ajaibul Makhlookhat, Maktaba Umaviah, P. 8.
6. Imam Razi, Tafseer Kabir, Darul Fikr, Beirut, 1993, Vol. 4, P. 197.
7. Ahmed Mohammed Shakir, edr. Al-Risala, Egypt, 1979, P. 20. Vide also Jalaluddin Suyuti, Al-Itqan Fi Uloomil Quran, Egypt, 1978, Vol. 2, P. 160.
8. Summary from Tafseer Ibne Jareer, Vol. 1, P. 170; Tafseer Ibne Kaseer, Vol. 1, P. 73; Tafseer Kashshaf, Vol. 1, P. 272; Tafseer Kabeer, Vol. 2, P. 193; Jassas Razi, Ahkamul Quran, Vol. 1, P. 31; Tafseerul Manar, Vol. 1, P. 262.
9. This discussion is the summary of Islam Ki Nashate Saniya by the author which has been published by Majlise Nashriyate Islam, Karachi, Pakistan.
10. Ibne Taimiyah, Muwafaqatu Sahihil Manqool Li-Sarihil Maqool, Beirut, 1985, Vol. 1, P. 126. Vide also Fatawa Ibne Taimiyah, Riyadh, Vol. 6, P. 557.
11. Phillip K. Hitti, History of the Arabs, X Edition, London, 1977, P. 557.
12. Ibid., P. 307.
13. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1983, Vol. 2, P. 1018.
14. Jurji Zaidan, Taarikhut Tamaddunil Islami, Beirut, Vol. 2, P. 202.
15. Ahmed Ameen, Zuhrul Islam, V Edition, Beirut, 1969, V. 2, P. 198.
16. Mohammed Asad, Islam at the Cross Road (Arabic Translation), VIII Edition, Beirut, 1974, P. 43.
17. Ibid., Pp. 47-48.
18. Kitabul Fitan in Sahih Bukhari, Istanbul, 1981, Vol. 8, P. 102.
19. Kitabul Fitan in Sahih Muslim, Riyadh, 1980, Vol. 4, P. 2248.
20. Ibid., P. 2247.
21. Ibid., P. 2249.
22. Ibid., Vol. 4, P. 2249; Sahih Bukhari Vol. 8, P. 103.
Order for the Complete Book Now!Book Now! Order for the Complete Book Now!Book Now!
Copyright FURQANIA ACADEMY TRUST. All rights reserved.