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Islam and Science ( 10 Dec 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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The Meaning and Reality of Science


By Waheed Rizvi

(Translated from Urdu by New Age Islam Edit Desk)

The all encompassing knowledge acquired through senses, feelings, observations, curiosity, research and experiments is called science that is based on the natural phenomenon, laws of nature and values which are present in every particle and object and energy and flora and fauna, animals found above the earth and minerals, elements and their compounds existing in the universe created by God.

Moreover, the vast and organized system of life hidden in the special creation of God called man who is a universe in himself is also a part of that knowledge.

When man came into existence in the world and he opened his eyes on earth he found himself surrounded in a dangerous situation. There were terrifying dark forests, blood licking beasts, tall mountains, rivers and streams, oceans and their storms, the lightening in the clouds, floods and earthquakes ready to greet him. The weak creature called man would always suffer hardships. He could not understand why all this happened round him and what the remedy was.

Unaware of the law of cause and effect and ignorant of the knowledge of means to conquer the forces of nature, surrounded by the dangerous crowd of accidents and coincidences and deprived of the resources and means to defend himself, he considered himself helpless. But Nature had endowed man with the gift of understanding and intellect and the will through which man gradually acquired the knowledge to conquer the forces of nature and the secrets to the laws of cause and effect. He realized that he was not helpless but the objects of nature were made to operate according to the laws of nature. Therefore, the objects of nature should not be feared, rather the objects of nature will fear man. All the objects, energies and forces existing in the universe are at the service of man and man is their master.

The laws under which the objects and energies of the external universe are active are called the Laws of cause and effect but in the world of man they are called the Laws of consequences of deeds. That is, every action or deed of man, even the thoughts occurring in his mind has a definite consequence. In the Quran, God calls himself Ahsan ul Khaliqueen (the best of creators). This means that there are also creators other than God. And it is man who has this attribute. According to God, He has put a small part of his godly powers in man through which he creates. But man cannot create like God.

Man can create only by using the objects created by God under the laws, formulas and chemistry created by God. And he can do this only when he acquires the knowledge of nature. Whatever eyes see, ears hear and senses feel are presented before the mind and the conclusions mind draws is called knowledge or science. This is also the definition of science in the Quran. Those who draw conclusions through the observations of nature and through research and experiment are called scientists in the modern jargon.

Thousands of years ago, the knowledge man acquired through observations and experiments gave way to the invention of the wheel that brought about a revolutionary change in the human civilization. This is thanks to the wheels that the means of transportation are at the peak of advancement. All the industrial tools and machines, weapons of defence and agricultural and aviation tools, even clocks are indebted to the wheels. Apart from it, man is constantly acquiring more and more knowledge about the system of his body, all the living and non-living objects on earth and under the seas through his senses and is conquering the forces of the vast universe. Thus, man has become a scientist. Now he is travelling in the expansive universe and unveiling the secrets of the universe hitherto unknown to him.

The circle of his creative action widened one and half centuries ago and reached its peak till the Second World War in 1945. The discovery of the atomic energy and the invention of computer shortly before the World War II was a big achievement. The system of communication through satellites has turned the world into a village. All these achievements and successes are thanks to the knowledge and science that man has acquired by drawing conclusions on his observations and experiments. The human mind has been establishing newer theories with the help of his intellect and brain and has been making new inventions. God has also endowed man with the power of conceiving new ideas and concepts.

Thanks to this attribute, man conceived such ideas that materialized in future. The imaginary tools conceived in fiction like the Arabian Nights such as the Telescopic bowl, flying cot, speaking bird etc have become a reality in the form of the invention of television, radio, airplane, rocket etc. In a recent film, Star Trek, man is shown converted into energy and transported to a distant place where he is retransformed into his material form. The theory of transformation of matter into energy and vice versa was conceived by the great scientist Einstein in the last century and the film was based on this theory. The time is not perhaps far away when this theory will become a reality. Man has also been doing research on his own physical system, his thought process and the minute details of his body and has acquired the skills to do surgery of the thinnest veins of his heart through a tiny tool. The natural heart is replaced by an artificial heart. The clogging of blood is removed through bypass surgery. Many diseases are cured by organ transplant. Thus man is himself surprised by the achievements and advancements in the field of science. The cure of psychological disorders is found through psychoanalysis which is a branch of Psychology.

The purpose of man’s struggle in the field of knowledge has been to achieve progress and prosperity. He made his life more luxurious and comfortable through his own inventions and discoveries. The construction marvels of the modern world have come into existence thanks to the advance in engineering and architecture and new combinations of iron, cement, wood and chemicals. Moreover, agricultural and industrial progress has reached its peak due to these inventions and discoveries.

In the modern age, man has widened his curiosity and research. Intensive research is being carried out into the birth of man in Europe and America. Out of the shape given to the foetus in the womb given by the laws of God, males and females are determined. Experiments are being made so that changes can be effected in the foetus resulting in the birth of male r female baby of one’s choice. God has put in man the ability to acquire knowledge about the objects of nature and when he acquires that knowledge he can use the knowledge to make his own creations by following the laws of nature. That’s how man has effected similar changes in plants and animals. The creative laws of God are unchangeable but similar changes are possible through the command of these laws. Man is busy in acquiring this knowledge and has been reaping great success through his efforts.

In underdeveloped and developing countries, many people affected by accidents and diseases die due to the lack of appropriate medical facilities and doctors. That’s why rich people head towards Europe or the US for complex treatments and surgeries. But now man has found the solution to this problem through his curiosity, research and experiments. Now a doctor sitting in his chamber in Europe or the US can conduct an operation in any country with the help of robots and satellite communication system. This technology of joint system is being developed and made more coordinated through the knowledge acquired from research on nature and its forces and energies. Such an operation is called remote control surgery. The surgeon controlling such an operation will wear an electronic helmet and computerized gloves and can control the robot placed in the operation theatre and the movements of his arms will be correct to one millionth part.

 This writing is meant to express the fact that the knowledge of the phenomena of nature or science is not a separate department of life. It is a vast topic and reams can be written on it. Every object created by God is unique and every system of the universe is different in nature and characteristics. The knowledge about them is called science and every science is different in nature. In the nations of the world in general and among Muslims in particular, science is considered a different and separate department which is not correct.

The so called traditional ulema of different sects of Muslims term the study and application of science as Kufr (atheism). In numerous madrasas established by these sects, such sciences are not included in the school curricula. As a result, pupils graduating from these madrasas remain ignorant of the sciences. In other madrasas and colleges, though science education is imparted, it is formal and only theoretical. As a result, all the Muslim countries are lagging behind other nations in this field and science and technology is out of their reach. This is the reason they are dependent on developed nations of the world.

Source: Monthly Saut ul Haque, Karachi, October 2014