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Is Islam in Conflict with Science?

Whoever follows a path in the pursuit of knowledge, Allah will make a path to Paradise easy for him."

By Sumayyah Meehan / 30 Mar 2013

{He gives wisdom to whom He wills, and whoever has been given wisdom has certainly been given much good. And none will remember except those of understanding.}(Quran 2: 269)

Upon waking up in the morning, most of us are creatures of habit.

Before you can even rub the sleep out of your eyes, you’ve got a plan to start your day.

A visit to the bathroom to freshen up and shower is a must. And then back to the bedroom to get dressed and ready for the day.

Last but not least, the kitchen provides all the fuel you need to get the day started off right.

By the time you leave the house and head to work, you’ve just encountered a string of scientific inventions that would not exist had it not been for Muslims.

Impact of Muslims on Humanity

Let’s start with your eyes. A 10th. century Muslim mathematician, astronomer and physicist named Ibn Al-Haitham was the first one to discover the way that the human eye worked with light entering it instead of exiting it as the ancient Greeks first believed. This discovery would fuel some of his inventions including the first pinhole camera.

Moving onto that refreshing shower, did you know that soap was also invented by Muslims? Ancient Egyptians were the first to create soap using vegetable oils, sodium hydroxide and lightly scented essential oils.

And your travel mug full of piping hot coffee? A Muslim shepherd named Khalid first discovered the coffee bean and boiled it to create the very first cup of coffee. (Muslim Heritage)

The Muslim world has had a substantial effect on the world we live in today and is responsible for thousands of inventions and scientific discoveries that have helped pave the way for the advancement of mankind.

One of the most common misconceptions purported by the enemies of Islam is that Muslims are held back from learning and not encouraged to seek knowledge. This is an especially inflammatory insult given the wealth of scientific knowledge and inventions that the Muslim world has produced. The reality is that all Muslims have a responsibility to seek knowledge and doing so is likened to having faith. Islam is not in conflict with science, but rather in accordance with it.

Seeking Knowledge

The very first command that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received was to read. God Almighty says in the Quran:

{Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists). He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood). Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught (the writing) by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.}(Quran 96: 1-5)

There is a very good reason why Muslims have made a great impact in the world of science and medicine. It is because God Almighty has placed a great importance on seeking knowledge in Islam. Both men and women, equally, have an obligation to seek knowledge during their lifetimes and must ensure that their children do the same. Education is one of the keys to unlocking the beauty of the Quran and the scientific signs revealed therein.

To seek knowledge is to draw nearer to our Creator. The educated person is much better equipped to understand the message of the Quran and respect the Architect of the universe and the existence of all living things.

Just imagine that you are up for a promotion at work. However, in order to attain it you must first take a training course to learn about a new concept or even a piece of machinery. Most of us would not hesitate to begin the course since the promotion would result in an increased salary as well as other benefits. The same holds true for seeking knowledge about Islam, the world and everything in it.

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)said:

"Whoever follows a path in the pursuit of knowledge, Allah will make a path to Paradise easy for him."(Abu Dawud)

The difference between an educated person and an uneducated one is like night and day. A person who is uneducated is more susceptible to falling victim to the vices of this world and becomes easy prey for Satan. The educated person is better equipped to steer clear of the circumstances that cause humans to go astray. Muslims are blessed since seeking knowledge is an integral part of faith.

For the Muslim, knowledge is like a strong steel of armor that protects from the wiles of the Satan and safeguards the faith.

Ways to Seek Knowledge

{And say: My Lord increase me in knowledge.}(Ta-Ha 20: 114)

There are innumerable ways to seek beneficial knowledge. A Muslim’s very first resources for seeking knowledge are the Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Seeking Islamic knowledge is of paramount importance for all Muslims, especially new converts.

The Quran and Sunnah are the best guidebooks for every aspect of Muslim life. Additional Islamic knowledge can be acquired through beneficial Islamic books and publications. Our Digital Age has also resulted in a wealth of Islamic knowledge online in the form of written, audio and video presentations of various aspects of faith.

Seeking worldly knowledge begins in schools. Muslims must educate their children while they are small and cultivate their learning just like a flourishing garden. Higher education can be achieved when our children reach adulthood and attend a college or university.

All Muslims, however, regardless of age can seek worldly knowledge through informative books and other educational materials. Learning never ends and all Muslims must devote their lives to seeking it. The beauty of God can be seen in His creation, understanding the world we live in draws us even closer to our Creator.


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