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18 Jun 2024

The Harmony of Quran and Science

The Harmony of Quran and Science

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Dr Musharraf Hussain is an Islamic scholar, CEO of Karimia Institute, and senior trustee of Muslim Hands. Formerly he was the chairman of the Christian Muslim forum (2008-2010), vice chair of the Association of Muslim Schools (2000-2003). He trained and worked as a research scientist before becoming a fulltime Imam and teacher. He has authored over 30 books.

The Harmony of Quran and Science

As a trained scientist I know that science attempts to explain, investigate and find out how the natural world works.

Science deals with mechanisms, the how of, and the processes of physical and living things. The Quran deals with the meaning and purpose of life.

Science is the how. The Quran exceeds this and tells us why. For example, science can tell us about how the seed grows and what it needs, and the Quran tells us who designed it and why.

The Quran asserts scientific truths regarding the creation that is natural, and since the creator is speaking about his creation, he knows it well.

Physics and revelation 

Physics keeps discovering the complexities of the universe: for example, the atom, or the subatomic particles like the boson discovered a few years ago. Since Allah is the creator of the Universe, it is not possible to fully understand the creation without reference to Him.

In Surat Yunus, the Quran asks why people are surprised that Allah sent the revelation to a human being. Then it abruptly introduces Allah as the Creator of the universe; the sun and the moon, the two heavenly bodies that establish a daily cycle of night and day on Earth, all for a clear purpose.

“Allah is your Lord, Who created the Heavens and Earth in six days then established Himself on the throne, overseeing the running of the entire universe. No one can intercede without His permission: Such is Allah, your Lord, so worship Him. Will you not then pay attention? To Him, you will all return. Allah’s promise is true. He initiates the process of creation and then restores it to its original state to reward fairly those who believed and did righteous deeds. He gave the sun its radiant glow and the moon reflects light, and Who precisely determined its phases, so that you might calculate the passing years and keep time” (Yunus:3-6).

Notice how the sun has a ‘radiant glow’ and the moon ‘reflects light.’ This is now a scientific fact that the sun produces light whilst the moon is a reflector.

Who could have possibly known this in Arabia in the seventh century?

The harmony of Science and the Quran

The Muslim view is that Science is not a worldview that replaces Allah. Neither does science replace the Quran. Muslims see modern science as enabling an accurate view of Allah’s creation.

For example, in the Quran, Allah asserted “we are the expander of the universe”. Science has now revealed the vastness of the Universe, the billions of stars and galaxies, and its amazing and mind-boggling size. This view of science enlarges the limits of faith and elevates one’s understanding of how great Allah is.

The study of nature leads to philosophical questions that are beyond the scope of Science.

The key question is not how the universe came into existence, but what is the relationship between this and the Creator? These things help one avoid a faulty rejection of all science, aggressive secularism, and a wrong view of the conflict between Science and religion.

Take this example from Surat Al-Waqiah.

We created you so why don’t you admit this? Have you not seen the semen you discharge? Did you create it yourselves or did We? We have decreed that death will end your worldly life, nothing can stop Us from changing you and recreating you a new… Have you not seen what you sow? Do you make it grow or are We the ones who grow it? … Have you not seen the water that you drink? Do you send down the water from rain clouds or are We the ones who send it? If We wanted, We could make it bitter. So, why do you not thank Allah? Have you seen the fire you burn? Did you make the wood or are We the ones who made it? … So glorify the name of your Almighty Lord… Why is it that when the dying person takes the last breath you cannot return it? You watch helplessly? We are closer to the dying person than you, though you cannot see. Why do you think you don’t need Us? If you are truthful, why can’t you bring back the ebbing life? (Al-Waqiah:57- 87).

Muslim scholars regard science as a tool to understand the mechanics of creation.

People, worship your Lord Who created you and those before you, so that you may be pious, mindful. Who spread out the Earth for you, made the sky a roof and sent down rain by which He produces fruits, your sustenance? So do not deliberately make rivals equal with Allah” (Al-Baqara:21-23).

Notice how directly Allah is drawing our attention to the beauty of creation and its benefits, and therefore humans should worship him.

The understanding of nature leads to recognising the mystery of Allah’s creative power. Understanding science leads us closer to Allah.

The difference between Science and revelation is that science is often tentative, whilst revelation is absolute. The elaborate order in nature is being revealed by science, it shows that things evolve in a systematic way, and are designed, and organised. So, there must be an amazing designer, architect, fashioner, engineer, innovator, maker and creator.

That’s Allah!

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