By Shakeel Ashraf
remember once I posted a news item about new findings on the Big Bang theory related to the creation of the universe, when a brother promptly responded, “ Kun, fa yakoon... Allah says be and it is...” I appreciate him for rightly attributing the grand creation of the universe to the Divine Decree. In verse 117 of Surah Baqra Allah says, “He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth: when He decrees a thing, He merely says, "Be," and there it is.
Believing that Allah is the Creator of everything is an integral part of true faith. Does this belief discourage the exploration of Divine creation? Definitely not, but unfortunately it is probably happening with us, today. Muslims are nowhere in scientific research, explorations and expeditions.
In verse 164 of Surah Baqra Allah says,
“Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, and the ships which sail through the sea with that which is of use to mankind, and the water (rain) which Allah sends down from the sky and makes the earth alive therewith after its death, and the moving (living) creatures of all kinds that He has scattered therein, and in the veering of winds and clouds which are held between the sky and the earth, are indeed Ayat (proofs, evidence, signs, etc.) for people of understanding”. 23
Bakhabar : January 2014
According to the above verse, all the phenomenon of nature are signs of Allah for people of understanding. Who are the people of understanding? On one side the followers of scientism don’t accept the existence of the Creator and on the other side those who worship the Creator are so complacent that they don’t bother to explore and expedite His grand creation and as a result are the loser on this earth. The callous attitude of Muslims towards science and technology has made them weightless in the affairs of the world.
In Islam, nature is not seen as a separate entity, but rather as an integral part of Islam’s holistic outlook on Allah, humanity, and the world. This link implies a sacred aspect to the pursuit of scientific knowledge by Muslims, as nature itself is viewed in the Qur'an as a compilation of signs pointing to the Divine. It was with this understanding that the pursuit of science was respected in Islamic civilizations, specifically during the eighth to sixteenth centuries, prior to the colonization of the Muslim world.
They were Muslims who opened the doors of scientific studies to the world. It was the intellectual explosion created at the time of Caliphs Harun and Mamun that propelled science into the forefront of knowledge and made Islamic civilization the beacon of learning for five hundred years. History remembers it as the golden age of Islam. It was the period of Abbasid caliphate, begin-
ning in mid 8th century and lasting up to 1258, when Mangole destroyed Baghdad and its house of wisdom. It is said that intellectual stagnation of the Muslim Ummah started after the destruction of Baghdad. What had made this era the golden age, and what ultimately caused its destruction? It was not the fabulous wealth of the empire or the fairy tales of the Arabian Nights that made it golden; it was the strength of its ideas and its contributions to human thought. And what could be the reason of destruction other than the wrath of Allah? Probably Allah didn’t like the obsessions of the Abbasid regimen of rationalists where ink of a scholar was declared holier than the blood of a martyr.
I am aware that my level of studies and understanding hasn’t reached the threshold where I can have a clear perception of such intricate issues. Nevertheless, this is the issue, which, since I reached maturity, has always been there in my consciousness. So much so, that, I have been wandering to understand the reason behind the zero contribution of Muslim community to pure and applied sciences in the recent history. A sweeping majority of people cite a very simple reason, “Muslims don’t put any effort in this direction”. That is perfectly true. However, the question is, why don’t they put the effort? Is it not their necessity? If the saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention”, is true, then what keeps them away from this realization? I am not convinced with the popular arguments like Muslims are oppressed,
Published on Jan 1, 2014
BaKhabar is the monthly magazine of Bihar Anjuman, a network of those who care for Bihar, India and Muslims. Website: http://bakhabar.bihara...