Breaking News
Loading...
الأحد، 7 أبريل، 2013

SCIENCE IN THE ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION

الأحد, أبريل 07, 2013

SCIENCE IN THE ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION
"And He taught Adam all the names (of everything),"
 (Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow):31)
By: Dr. / Zaghloul El-Naggar
The word science (Latin scientia = knowledge, as distinguished from ignorance) is taken to mean a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study. However, the term has developed with time a much more restricted meaning, to define any of the various intellectual activities concerned with the study of the cosmos, its components and phenomena. This entails the methodological observation, identification, description, experimental investigation and theoretical explanation of the physical world and its observable events, at large or of a particular part of it. Consequently, the term science came to be equated with a knowledge or a system of knowledge covering a number of general truths in the universe and the operation of its empirical laws as obtained and tested through rational observation and/or experimentation followed by conclusion. These are generally included under the subtitle “Pure Sciences”, while their applications in the service of man are included under the name “Applied Sciences”. The scientific method is defined as the totality of principles, procedures and processes regarded as characteristic of, or necessary for, the systematic pursuit of cosmic knowledge. This involves the rational recognition and formulation of a problem, the systematic collection of data, through keen observation and/or careful experimentation, followed by the derivation of rational conclusions...

The understanding of the methodology necessary for both the formulation and testing of hypotheses and the establishment of rules for concept formation are also integral parts of the scientific method. Originally, the scientific method is an Islamic invention, despite the fact that the quest for cosmic knowledge did not part with man since his very early creation. It is virtually as old as the history of man on the planet earth. Despite the limitation of science to knowledge of the physical world and its phenomena, and the need for narrow specialization in that field of vastly ramifying spectra of information in an era of explosion of knowledge, science cannot be isolated from wisdom or separated from the authentic divine revelation, neither can humanities. Indeed, all branches of knowledge have to interact, and finally integrate in a comprehensive whole for the satisfaction of the human curiosity and rational thinking as well as for serving the main purpose of the human existence and the vicegerency of man on earth. Pure and applied sciences can interact with authentic divine revelations through the philosophy of sciences, while humanities can have its link through general philosophy. In this manner both revealed and acquired knowledge can be arranged in a triangular diagram, with pure and applied sciences at its base, and the divine revelation at its top. Above pure and applied sciences come the philosophy of sciences, then the humanities, the general philosophy and finally the authentic, purely divine, revealed knowledge. Every intellectual has to specialize in a narrow area of any of these five distinct levels, without depriving himself from a reasonable exposure to the major conclusions of each of the other levels. In this way, scientific knowledge can be placed in its right context as part of the totality of human knowledge, not as a sacred whole by itself. This process of the rational assessment of human knowledge - in general - and of its scientific part - in particular - is the only way out of the dilemma currently facing both Muslims and Non-Muslims alike, the formers by catching up with the recent advances in the area, and the letters by restraining such advances with proper moral, social and religious bindings.
In Islam, man started his existence with knowledge and commitment, not ignobly and disbelieving as claimed by most anthropologists. The very first knowledge man ever had was that granted to Adam (pbuh) by his Creator as explicitly described in the following Qur’anic verse: "And He taught Adam all the names (of everything)," (Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow):31) According to commentators, the divine expression “the names of (everything)” means the inner nature and qualities of every things deemed necessary for Adam and both his dependents and descendants to qualify for the office of vicegerency on earth. Stemming from this Qur’anic fact, all human civilizations past and present drew basically from that initial knowledge revealed by Allah to the father of the human race, for his guidance in this world and in the world to come. Whoever adhered to that divine guidance fulfilled his vicegerency on earth peacefully and successfully, and whoever deviated from it did injustice to himself as well as to others, even if he could achieve some material success. Consequently, it cannot be denied that our current knowledge is undoubtedly based on both that initial divine guidance and its repeated cycles of revelations throughout history as well as on past contributions of previous civilizations, of which the Islamic one was the most effective. This is simply because pre-Islamic civilizations [such as those of Ancient Egypt (5000 - 30 B.C.), of Mesopotamia (4000-550 B.C.), of Southern Arabia (2000 B.C. - 300 A.C.), of Northern Arabia (2000 B.C. - 636 A.C.) and of Persia (525 B.C. - 635 A.C.)] were mainly concerned with the administrative organization of the civil society, and hence did not concentrate much on the rational investigation of the universe. Similarly, the Ancient Chinese civilization ( 4500 B.C. - 700 A.C.) focused mainly on man-made social and moral values such as those tailored in Confucianism, Menciusism and Taoism which invited for the wrong concept of “the Re-integration of Existence”. Such movements invited for the mystification of the human intellect into the labyrinths of their secrets, and hence lacked rationalism in many aspects, particularly in their quest for knowledge about the universe. In a very similar experience, the Ancient Indian civilization (7 2500 - 1800 B.C.) under both Buddhism and Hinduism invited for a diverse body of religious, philosophical and cultural practices that revolved around the desire for liberation from earthly sufferings and evils. These practices evolved into a number of peculiar ideas such as the “Dharma” with its mystical contemplations and ascetic practices, the wrong call for the “Comprehensive Re-integration of Existence” in which everything should vanish, including the human common sense, the “Maya “ or the illusionary appearance of the world, the misconception of “Reincarnation”, etc. In the deviances of such man-made ideologies, the ancient Indian mind could not possibly rationalize its investigations of the universe, despite its recorded achievements in the area of mathematics. On the same level, the Ancient Greek civilization ( 1500 - 100 B.C.) - which was a natural extension for the Ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations - indulged deeply into a multitude of mythologies, philosophical arguments and theoretical conclusions regarding the universe, without much observational or experimentational deductions. Consequently, their culture was full of allegorical narrations fictitious stories, legendary tales, mythological assumptions and illusionary visions about numerous supernatural beings, (gods, demi-gods and legendary heroes of a particular people), that served as primordial types in a primitive view of the world. This idolatry, polytheistic, myth culture could not possibly nurture a scientific revival of any importance, despite the fact the Ancient Greeks had inherited the legacy of previous civilizations, from which they borrowed the systematic way of classifying knowledge, without being able to properly use it. This is simply because their myths normally pre-occupied any systematic thinking. As mentioned by Briffault, the astronomy and Mathematics of the Greek were a foreign importation, never thoroughly acclimatized in Greek culture. After the fall of the Ancient Greek empire, the Roman civilization, the Persian civilization (500 B.C. - 476 A.C.) dominated Western Europe, while the Persian one dominated the scene in the Eastern Hemisphere (525 B.C. - 635 A.C). The Persian civilization adopted the legacy of the Ancient Chinese, Indian, Central Asian and Greek civilizations, and hence borrowed a mixture of their mythologies and idolatry beliefs. This mixture of fictitious cultures emerged into a number of false ideologies such as the Magianism, Zoroastrianism, Menciusism, Sabianism, etc., which mystified any rational thinking about the universe, despite affluence and material nourishment, as well as certain advancements in arts, technologies and some branches of science, such as astronomy. In the contemporary Roman civilization, both science and philosophy were either ignored or relegated to a rather low status. The spirit of independent research was quite foreign to the Roman mind and hence, the scientific knowledge was almost completely lacking. Not only this, but the inherited legacy of Ancient Greece was distorted and highly corrupted for entertainment rather than enlightenment. This legacy was changed into a collection of more myths, legendary tales, magic and some informative statements, all mixed together without any rationalization or criticism, but still constituted the Roman culture, which was dominated by the military superiority and aggression. In the year 325 A.C., the Roman Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity, and made it the official religion of his empire, but his Christianity was a mixture of the teachings of Christ (pbuh) and the Greco-Roman polytheistic, idolatry beliefs. With the fall ofRome and the occupation of the Western Empire by tribes of Germanic savages, ancient learning in Europe has almost died out completely. However, in Eastern Europe, the Byzantine Empire tried to continue, as a European culture, but there was little original work done in the whole of Europe in the millennium following the fall ofRome (The new Encyclopedia Britannica). This phase is known in Europe under the expressive title “Dark and Middle Ages”. Even in Arabia, the land which had been blessed with repeated divine revelations and a multitude of Prophethood before the coming of Muhammad (pbuh) the people almost completely recanted as they were seriously affected by the surrounding deviations. Consequently, the Arabs sank into the darkness of various forms of polytheism and idolatry worship to the extent that one of them would build up a statue of soft dates as his god, and whenever he felt hungry he start feeding on it. Through contacts with nearby countries, the Persian beliefs also spread in small pockets, side by side with both Judaism and Christianity along the periphery of the Arabian Peninsula. Queer ideas about a universal struggle between superior and inferior powers, and between the forces of light and of darkness went hand in hand with distorted idolatry worship and beliefs in the Creator. From this quick survey, one can easily see how the world was before the coming of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), scientifically, intellectually, religiously and humanly. It was a world that had already lost the divine guidance, and hence sank in the darkness of misbelieve, ignorance and loss of identity. A world dominated by irrationality, arrogance and conceit, mythology, superstition, skepticism, magic and mischief, by decay of morals, degradation in thoughts and practices, lack of knowledge and of wisdom, and the spread of lots of injustices, transgressions and aggressions. It was a world crying for guidance, and the guidance was the revelation received by Muhammad (pbuh)., crying for a savior, and the savior was the revelation received by Muhammad himself (pbuh), whose mission has since been a turning point in the history of mankind.
Since receiving the very early verses of the divine revelation in the year 610 A.C., Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) started to invite vigorously to his message and the Muslim community expanded gradually to dominate the whole of the Arabian Peninsula within a period of about twenty years. A few decades later, Islam extended to more than half of the inhabited world, covering vast stretches in the three continents of Asia, Africa and Europe, where Islam became the chosen faith by millions of its inhabitants, and hence established the most impressive civilization in the history of mankind. The uniqueness of the Islamic civilization stems from the fact that it is based on a truly divine message, that has been kept intact since the early decades of the seventh century A.C. by a divine promise, when all forms of previous revelations have either been lost or distorted by human infiltrations. Enough to mention that Islam invited all human beings to the spiritually illuminating, eternal truth of Monotheism (Tawheed), while all other doctrines have deviated to mythic polytheism, idol-worshipping, agnosticism or disbelief. Again, while followers of other beliefs have confined themselves in a narrow circle revolving around one or the other of the main religious figures, whom they kept on exalting to the extreme sin of deification, Islam invites for the worship of none but Allah, the one Supreme Being (without parallels, partners or similitudes), who has sent a long chain of Prophets and Messengers, in whom every Muslim should believe, without the slightest discrimination, and should hold all their messages in full reverence. This momentous revelation of the eternal, divine truth opened a new chapter in the history of humanity as it was a remarkable spiritual, social and cultural revolution, based on deep belief in Allah, as the sole Supreme Being, Who Has created man for a definite purpose and a specified message to fulfill on earth, with full responsibility and accountability, and a definite call back for reckoning; belief in His angels, revealed books, Messengers, the Last Day, Resurrection, Judgment, Paradise and Hell and Eternity in Life to come. This process of Islamic revival was a remarkable spiritual and cultural movement, based on rationalism and respect of reason, love of useful knowledge and of wisdom, commitment to high levels of morality and deep belief in the unity of dignity of man (without discrimination), the unity at and respect for all divine revelations, Messengers and Prophets; and in the obligation towards the establishment of prosperity and divine justice on earth through knowledge, commitment and strive. Such a noble Islamic call came at a time when all previous as well as contemporary. Civilizations had already declined or became stagnant. Such stale cultures were generally characterized by the loss of reason or by exaggerating its capabilities to the level of theorization and extrapolation without direct or indirect observation, logical evidence or an acceptable criterion. Consequently, such cultures were flooded with many irrational thoughts and beliefs, false concepts, whimsical ideas, treacherous dogmas, devious intrigues, deceptive vagaries, capricious reactions and unacceptable freaks, despite its partial successes in a number of worldly matters. These deviations led to the accumulation of heaps of mythologies, magic, mysticism, superstitious and skeptic views which finally crystallized in a number of peculiar ideologies, queer dogmas and strange beliefs as outlined above. Such fallacies have been discredited in the light of the divine guidance received by the seal of Prophethood Muhammad (pbuh), whose message has indeed put an end to such deviations, and established the bases of the only religion acceptable to Allah, and the only way of life that can lead man on the right track for fulfilling the obligations of his vicegerency on earth. The simplicity, truthfulness and straightforwardness of the Islamic doctrine, were among many reasons for the rapid and peaceful spread of Islam (from China to Spain within less than one century), and paved the way for the establishment of the most unique civilization in human history. The Islamic civilization gave a special concern to useful knowledge and encouraged its proper pursuit, considering it to be-in itself- an act of worship. Enough to mention that the very first verses revealed from the Glorious Qur’an came down with the instruction to read and write and to honour the tools used for such activities ["Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists)."
(Surat Al-'Alaq (The Clot):1);

"Nun. {These letters (Nun, etc.) are one of the miracles of the Qur'an, and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings}. By the pen and by what they (angels) write (in the Records of men)."
(Surat Al-Qalam (The Pen):1);

"By the Tur (Mount), And by a Book Inscribed, In parchment unrolled."
(Surat At-Tur (The Mount): 1-3).

The Qur’an also honours both knowledge and the knowledgeable individuals ["Say: "Are those who know equal to those who know not?" It is only men of understanding who will remember (i.e. get a lesson from Allah's Signs and Verses)."
(Surat Az-Zumar (The Groups): 9);

 "O you who believe! When you are told to make room in the assemblies, (spread out and) make room. Allah will give you (ample) room (from His Mercy). And when you are told to rise up {for prayers, or Jihad (holy fighting in Allah's cause), or for any other good deed}, rise up. Allah will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge. And Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do." (Surat Al-Mujadilah (The Woman Who Disputes):11)   , considers wisdom one of the great gifts from Allah (Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow):269),

Instructs His final Messenger, and hence all human beings to ask Allah always for more knowledge "Then High above all be Allah, the True King. And be not in haste (O Muhammad (pbuh)) with the Qur'an before its revelation is completed to you, and say:" My Lord! Increase me in knowledge."
 (Surat Ta-Ha: 114),
And expresses the great bounties Allah has bestowed upon Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) by teaching him through the revelation, an essential amount of knowledge, he was never aware of "Allah has sent down to you the book (The Qur'an), and Al-Hikmah (Islamic laws, knowledge of legal and illegal things i.e. the Prophet's Sunnah-legal ways), and taught you that which you knew not. And Ever Great is the Grace of Allah unto you (O Muhammad (pbuh))."

(Surat An-Nisa' (The Woman):113).

The Qur’an emphasizes the fact that the great parables mentioned through a number of its verses can only be understood by learned people "And these similitudes We put forward for mankind; but none will understand them except those who have knowledge (of Allah and His Signs)."
(Surat Al-'Ankabut (The Spider):43),

And that such scholars, through their keen investigations of the vast, precise, orderly universe, can get to realize some of the superior qualities of The Creator, and hence enrich their beliefs [e.g. "Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding. Those who remember Allah (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying):"Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose, glory to You! (Exalted are You above all that they associate with You as partners). Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire. "
(Surat Al-Imran (The Family of Imran):190-191);

"It is He Who made the sun a shining thing and the moon as a light and measured out for it stages that you might know the number of years and the reckoning. Allah did not create this but in truth. He explains the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) in detail for people who have knowledge. Verily, in the alternation of the night and the day and in all that Allah has created in the heavens and the earth are Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) for those people who keep their duty to Allah, and fear Him much."
(Surat Yunus (Jonah): 5-6);

 "Is not He (better than your gods) Who created the heavens and the earth, and sends down for you water (rain) from the sky, whereby We cause to grow wonderful gardens full of beauty and delight? It is not in your ability to cause the growth of their trees. Is there any ilah (god) with Allah? Nay, but they are a people who ascribe equals (to Him)! "Is not He (better than your gods) Who has made the earth as a fixed abode, and has placed rivers in its midst, and has placed firm mountains therein, and has set a barrier between the two seas (of salt and sweet water)? Is there any ilah (god) with Allah? Nay, but most of them know not! "Is not He (better than your gods) Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls on Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generations after generations? Is there any ilah (god) with Allah? Little is that you remember! "Is not He (better than your gods) Who guides you in the darkness of the land and the sea, and Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His Mercy (rain)? Is there any ilah (god) with Allah? High Exalted is Allah above all that they associate as partners (to Him)! "Is not He (better than your so-called gods) Who originates creation, and shall thereafter repeat it, and Who provides for you from the heaven and earth? Is there any ilah (god) with Allah? Say: "Bring forth your proofs, if you are truthful."
(Surat An-Naml (The Ants): 60-64);

"See they not how Allah originates the creation, then repeats it. Verily, that is easy for Allah. Say:" Travel in the land and see how (Allah) originated the creation, and then Allah will bring forth the creation of the Hereafter (i.e. resurrection after death). Verily, Allah is Able to do all things."
(Surat Al-'Ankabut (The Spider):19-20);

 "See you not that Allah sends down water (rain) from the sky, and We produce therewith fruits of various colours, and among the mountains are streaks white and red, of varying colours and (others) very black. And likewise of men and Ad-Dawabb {moving (living) creatures, beasts}, and cattle are of various colours. It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Mighty, Oft-Forgiving."
(Surat Fatir (The Originator of Creation, or The Angels):27-28);

"He has created the heavens and the earth with truth. He makes the night to go in the day and makes the day to go in the night. And He has subjected the sun and the moon. Each running (on a fixed course) for an appointed term. Verily, He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving."
(Surat (Az-Zumar (The Groups): 5); etc.].

The Qur’an exalts rational conclusions derived by knowledgeable scholars in all spheres of human activity, and even in the most serious one which is the belief in A Sole Supreme Being, as deduced from the systematic exploration of the universe "Allah bears witness that La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), and the angels, and those having knowledge (also give this witness); (He always) maintains His creation in Justice. La ilaha ila Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the All-Mighty, the All-Wise."
(Surat Al-Imran (The Family of Imran):18).

The Qur’an came down with definite instructions to human beings for the investigation of both their own bodies and the universe around themselves "Say: "Behold all that is in the heavens and the earth," but neither Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) nor warners benefit those who believe not."
(Surat Yunus (Jonah):101);

"Do they not look in the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all things that Allah has created; and that it may be that the end of their lives is near. In what massage after this will they then believe?"
(Surat Al-'A'raf (The Heights (or The Wall with Elevations):185);

"Say:" Travel in the land and see how (Allah) originated the creation, and then Allah will bring forth the creation of the Hereafter (i.e. resurrection after death). Verily, Allah is Able to do all things."
(Surat Al-'Ankabut (The Spider): 20);

 For drawing major conclusions there from. In numerous verses, this last divine revelation also blames those who do not look into the universe and ponder on the marvels of creation [e.g. "And how many a sign in the heavens and the earth they pass by, while they are averse therefrom."
(Surat Yusuf (Prophet Joseph):105);

"Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were joined together as one united piece, then We parted them? And We have made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe? And We have placed on the earth firm mountains, lest it should shake with them, and We placed therein broad highways for them to pass through, that they may be guided. And We have made the heaven a roof, safe and well guarded. Yet they turn away from its signs (i.e. sun, moon, winds, clouds, etc.)"  (Surat Al-Anbiya' (The Prophets): 30-32), etc.],and describes them as being more astray than their own cattle "And surely, We have created many of the jinn and mankind for Hell. They have hearts wherewith they understand not, and they have eyes wherewith they see not, and they have ears wherewith they hear not (the truth). They are like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless ones."
(Surat Al-'A'raf (The Heights (or The Wall with Elevations):179).

The Illustrious Qur’an also condemns blind following, rigidity in holding inherited beliefs with fanaticism, dogmatism and begettism"O you who believe! Take care of your ownselves. If you follow the (right) guidance {and enjoin what is the right (Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbid what is wrong (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden)} no hurt can come to you from those who are in error. The return of you all is to Allah, then He will inform you about (all) that which you used to do." (Surat Al-Ma'idah (The Table Spread with Food):104); and judging by mere conjectures and whims [e.g." And they say: "There is nothing but our life of this world, we die and we live and nothing destroys us except Ad-Dahr (time). And they have no knowledge of it: they only conjecture."
(Surat Al-Jathiyah (The Kneeling): 24);

"Say: "Is there of your (Allah's so-called) partners one that guides to the truth?" Say: "It is Allah Who guides to the truth. Is then He Who guides to the truth more worthy to be followed, or he who finds not guidance (himself) unless he is guided? Then, what is the matter with you? How judge you?" And most of them follow nothing but conjecture. Certainly, conjecture can be of no avail against the truth. Surly, Allah is All-Aware of what they do."
(Surat Yunus (Jonah):35-36);

"Thamud (people also) belied the warning."
(Surat Al-Qamar (The Moon): 23), etc.}.

 Instead, the Qur’an asks for the establishment of judgments on the basis of both clear evidence and rational reasoning, and denies all form of arrogance and conceit
"See you not (O men) that Allah has subjected for you whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth, and has completed and perfected His Graces upon you, (both) apparent (i.e Islamic Monotheism, and the lawful pleasures of this world, including health, good looks, etc.) and hidden (i.e. One's Faith in Allah (of Islamic Monotheism) knowledge, wisdom, guidance for doing righteous deeds, and also the pleasures and delights of the Hereafter in Paradise, etc.)? Yet of mankind is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge or guidance or a Book giving light! And when it is said to them: "Follow that which Allah has sent down", they say: "Nay, we shall follow that which we found our fathers (following)." (Would they do so) even if Shaitan (Satan) invites them to the torment of the Fire?
(Surat Luqman: 20-21);
                    

"Verily, those who dispute about the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah, without any authority having come to them, there is nothing else in their breasts except pride (to accept you (Muhammad (pbuh)) as a Messenger of Allah and to obey you). They will never have it (i.e. Prophethood which Allah has bestowed upon you). So seek refuge in Allah (O Muhammad (pbuh) from the arrogants). Verily, it is He Who is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer. The creation of the heavens and the earth is indeed greater than the creation of mankind; yet, most of mankind know not.
 (Surat Ghafir (The Forgiver or The Beliver):56-57).

This final form of divine guidance holds man responsible for his senses and intellect" And follow not (O man i.e., say not, or do not or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge. Verily! The hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those one will be questioned (by Allah)."
(Surat Al-Isra (The Journey by Night):36) and invites him to investigate the observed, material universe and at the same time believe in the world of the unseen [" The creation of the heavens and the earth is indeed greater than the creation of mankind, yet most of mankind know not."
(Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow): 3);

"So I swear by whatsoever you see, And by whatsoever you see not," (Surat Al-Haqqah (The Inevitable): 38-39);

"Glory be to Him, Who has created all the pairs of that which the earth produces, as well as of their own (human) kind (male and female), and of that which they know not." (Surat Ya-Sin: 36)].

The Qur’an directs man to the importance of precision and orderliness in the creation of the universe and in its investigation [e.g." Allah knows what every female bears, and by how much the wombs fall short (of their time or number) or exceed. Everything with Him is in (due) proportion." (Surat Ar-Ra'd (The Thunder): 8);

"Verily, We have created all things with Qadar (Divine Preordainments of all things before their creation, as written in the Book of Decrees Al-Lauh Al-Mahfooz)." (Surat Al-Qamar (The Moon):49);

"He to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and Who has begotten no son (children or offspring) and for Whom there is no partner in the dominion. He has created everything, and has measured it exactly according to its due measurements." (Surat Al-Furqan (The Criterion): 2);

"And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things." (Surat At-Talaq (The Divorce):3);

"And We sent down from the sky water (rain) in (due) measure, and We gave it lodging in the earth, and verily, We are Able to take it away." (Surat Al-Mu'minun (The Believers):18) etc.],

And hints to the importance of certain parameters such as volumes, massive and the innate natures of things, modes of creation and of annihilation, etc." Do they not look at the camels, how they are created? And at the heaven, how it is raised? And at the mountains, how they are rooted and fixed firm? And at the earth, how it is spread out?" (Surat Al-Ghashiyah (The Overwhelming):17-20);

"So set you (O Muhammad (pbuh)) your face towards the religion (of pure Islamic Monotheism) Hanif (worship none but Allah Alone).Allah's Fitrah (i.e. Allah's Islamic Monotheism) with which He has created mankind. No change let there be in Khalq-illah (i.e. the religion of Allah Islamic Monotheism): that is the straight religion, but most of men know not." (Surat Ar-Rum (The Romans):50);

"Have you not seen how your Lord spread the shadow. If He willed, He could have made it still then We have made the sun its guide (i.e. after the sunrise, it (the shadow) squeezes and vanishes at midnoon and then again appears in the afternoon with the decline of the sun, and had there been no sun light, there would have been no shadow). Then We withdraw it to Us a gradual concealed withdrawal." (Surat Al-Furqan (The Criterion): 45-46);

"Have they not looked at the heaven above them, how We have made it and adorned it, and there are no rifts in it?" (Surat Qaf: 6);

"It is He Who made the sun a shining thing and the moon as a light and measured out its (their) stages, that you might know the number of years and the reckoning. Allah did not create this but in truth. He explains the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) in detail for people who have knowledge." (SuratYunus (Jonah):5);

"And We created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, for mere play. We created them not except with truth (i.e. to examine and test those who are obedient and those who are disobedient and then reward the obedient ones and punish the disobedient ones), but most of them know not." (Surat Ad-Dukhan (The Smoke):38-39)]

This Glorious Book came to emphasize the particular importance of divine guidance in creation, and how such guidance gave every form its own particular nature and function ["[Musa (Moses) ] said: "Our Lord is He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright." (Surat Ta-Ha: 50);

"Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High, Who has created (everything), and then proportioned it; And Who has measured (preordainments for each and everything even to be blessed or wretched); then guided (i.e. showed mankind the right as well as wrong paths, and guided the animals to pasture); (Surat Al-A'la (The Most High): 1-3),

And established the perpetual cosmic laws that do not change or cease to function until the end of the world

"And a sign for them is the night, We withdraw therefrom the day, and behold, they are in darkness. And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term (appointed). That is the Decree of the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing. And the moon, We have measured for it mansions (to traverse) till it returns like the old dried curved date stalk. It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor does the night outstrip the day. They all float, each in an orbit." (Surat Ya-Sin: 37-40);

"He has created the heavens and the earth with truth. He makes the night to go in the day and makes the day to go in the night. And He has subjected the sun and the moon. Each running (on a fixed course) for an appointed term. Verily, He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving." (Surat Az-Zumar (The Groups): 5);

"Allah it is He Who has subjected to you the sea, that ships may sail through it by His Command, and that you may seek of His Bounty, and that you may be thankful.  And has subjected to you all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth; it is all as a favour and kindness from Him. Verily, in it are signs for a people who think deeply." (Surat Al-Jathiyah (The Kneeling): 12-13)].

This Noble Book also emphasizes that man is born with no prior knowledge, but with the necessary senses and faculties for acquiring such knowledge. Consequently, he is fully responsible about the ways and means in which he uses such faculties" And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers while you know nothing. And He gave you hearing, sight, and hearts that you might give thanks (to Allah)."

(Surat An-Nahl (The Bees): 78);

"And follow not (o man i.e., say not, or do not or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge. Verily! The hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those one will be questioned (by Allah)."

(Surat Al-Isra' (The Journey by Night):36).

These are only glimpses of the divine guidance in the Glorious Qur’an for man to seek knowledge, and the same is found in many of the sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Stemming from such guidance, the Islamic civilization gave a special concern to knowledge and encouraged its proper pursuit, and hence, scientific research and endeavor flourished and a large number of Muslim scientists emerged from within communities that almost knew nothing before about the investigation of the physical world, beyond their daily needs. Muslim scholars, ‘believing that wisdom is the missing fact, for which every true believer should seek, and once found should be cherished and preserved (as instructed by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)) and that knowledge is the legacy of humanity at large. They eagerly started to collect it from whatever sources they could find, they then judged such knowledge according to the Islamic standards and rejected whatever could not stand that judgment. Consequently, the available heritage of previous civilizations in Greek, Syriac, Pahlavi, Sanskrit, etc. was collected, translated into Arabic and critically reviewed. As a result, Arabic became the most important scientific language of the world for many centuries, so much so that it was imperative upon science medical and engineering students in the West to study the Arabic language to be able to read the treasured legacy of the Islamic civilization, and this went on until the early 18th century A.C. The achievements of Muslim scholars went far beyond translation and preservation of ancient learning. They critically reviewed and developed legacies of previous civilizations, added substantially to it and innovated in practically every sphere of human knowledge. This was particularly so in the area of pure and applied sciences, which are indeed deeply indebted to such Early Muslims’ contributions. The scientific method itself was an Islamic innovation, and so was the whole system of education from elementary schooling to universities. Not only this, but numerous theories that are considered basic to science were invented during the dominance of the Islamic civilization. These include, amongst others, the theories of gravity and of surface tension in liquids, the laws of both optics and geometrical optics, the invention of the Arabic numerals and of the very concept of the zero (vital to the advancement of mathematics), the whole sciences of Algebra, Algorithm (Algorism, after the name of the ancient Muslim scientist Al-Khuwarizmi), Trigonometry, spherical Trigonometry, Spherical Graphics, etc. Technical innovations by the Early Muslims include rockets, artillery and gun powder; the telescope, the microscope, the alidade, the telemeter, the celestial mirror; the oscillatory properties of suspended bodies (represented by the isochronous movement of the pendulum) and its uses for measuring the time and in the construction of balances; sundials, sand glasses and many other accurate devices for the measuring of time (such as candle-, water-, mercury — and mechanical clocks); the use of the magnetic needle for measuring bearings and defining the magnetic directions; the complete development of the quadrant, the astrolabe; the use of immersion hydrometers for determining the densities of liquids (with the appreciation of their variation with change in temperature), as well as for use in geodesy, leveling equipments and in devices destined for the measurement of time; sophisticated apparatas for chemical research, very many surgical instruments, the construction of meticulous astronomical tables, navigational charts and maps, etc. Many of such crucial scientific systems, technical innovations and sophisticated instruments have made it possible of the later Westerner voyages of discovery and technical supremacy. From the above quick survey, it becomes obvious that the Early Muslims contributions to science and technology need a much larger work than the present paper. In this area alone, Muslims excelled in astronomy, mathematics, chemistry, physics, geography, geology, biology, surgery, medicine, pharmaceutical medicine, industrial chemistry, architecture and architectural engineering, mining and metallurgical industries, agriculture, mechanical contrivances, etc. Such massive contributions will definitely need volumes to cover. Consequently, I shall just restrict myself here to a few examples from the two areas of Astronomy and Earth Sciences, and how these two branches of scientific knowledge can be taught in the context of the great Islamic heritage.

0 التعليقات:

إرسال تعليق

يتم التشغيل بواسطة Blogger.
 
Toggle Footer