The Quran contains the divine words  of Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammad
(SAS) through the angel Gabriel more than 1400 years ago. It has retained its originality
without any alteration addition or deletion. This divine Message is not a work of science
and is not expected to be so but its approach is rational and logical to the core. It strikes
against superstition and encourages scientific thinking to appreciate the existence of
Allah, the Supreme Being, who is the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. The Quran
consistently invites Mans power of observation, challenges his intellect and provokes his
capacity to think, reflect and rationalise about the existence of Allah. It may thus he
observed that in its approach the Quran stresses on the scientific methods of observation,
objectivity and rationality. The object of this paper, therefore, is to highlight the fact that
the Quran excites scientific thinking in Man, stimulates his quest for knowledge and
sharpens his capacity to think rationally and articulate logically.

Fundamentals of Scientific Method:

In order to appreciate clearly the Quranic role of exciting the scientific spirit and rational
thinking in Man we must understand the fundamentals of the scientific methods. One of
the basic objects of science is to describe the reality faithfully without distortion or
falsification. This can be  obtained through repeated observations of the phenomena in
nature or through experimentation in laboratories. An odd or single observation in nature
or isolated results obtained  through experiments cannot be considered adequate for
acceptability. These observed phenomena should be systematically classified in order to
understand their interrelationship. The raw facts of observation may apparently look
“disorganised aggregates or flux” (Encyclopedia Britannica-I 97 4-vol.1 6- 3) but they do
bear a causal relationship governed by certain principles or rules. The ultimate objective
of science is to bring out cogently, and coherently, this inter-relationship of the varied
aspects of the natural phenomena, and to explain the underlying principles and forces
2governing this relationship rationally and logically. These are expressed in terms of
scientific laws, principles and theories such as the Law of Gravity, Archimedes Principles
.Theory of Relativity, Quantum Theory etc. The fundamental forces indentified by the
scientists include the electroweak, strong nuclear and gravitational. These laws,
principles and theories are inductively  obtained based on specific observations. And
sometimes from these general theories the scientists can deductively account for specific
experimental results. However it may be  observed that despite  the validity of the
scientific methods in the discovery of truth “no single path to discovery exists in science
and no one clear cut description can be given that accounts for all the way in which
scientific truth is pursued” (New Encyclopaedia: 1981 – vol.23-p:222). Thus there can be
diverse ways to reach the truth but they must conform to the basics of scientific methods
if they pertain to the natural phenomena, not supernatural.

Limitations of Science and Scientific Method:

Further we must also be conscious of the limitations of science. It “may be most effective
in furnishing knowledge of the world we  live in, but it is not self sufficient
methodologically, not is it intrinsically capable of dealing with the whole of human
experiences”. (Colliers Encyclopaedia: 1 97  9-vol: p:5). The canvas of science is not
wide enough to accommodate the totality of nature and hence scientific explanations will
always leave something unexplained. The scientists do admit that they ‘are never sure
that they have included all the factors that  influence a particular part of the system”.
(Span:Feb-1959-p:25). Further they also realise the enormity of their task “of putting all
the puzzle pieces of land sea, air and life together into a coherent picture that reveals how
the Earth, despite all the shocks it has absorbed over the aeons, has been capable of
steadfastly harbouring living creatures for nearly all of its existence” (Span-Feb.59;:75).
Moreover science can never tell us the whole truth and scientists can never be sure that
they have reached the ultimate end of their discoveries. The expanding universe with its
new galaxies, increase in the number of elementary particles of atom, the emergence of
new moons in the planetary system testify  to the absence of finality in scientific
discoveries. The scientists are just “beginning to unravel the tenuous link between
3sunspots and earth’s complex weather machinery” (Dr.Siddarth in Science Express:
26.9.59). The scientists have therefore been able to obtain only a minute fraction of the
knowledge of the Earth and other components of the Universe. They are also aware: “that
newer facts may be discovered which without falsifying the earlier discoveries may lead
to generalisations; in turn, necessitating revolutionary changes in our “concepts” and our
“world view”. In physics, this happened twice in the beginning of this century; first with
the discovery of relativity of time and space and secondly with quantum theory. It could
happen again with our present constructs appearing as limiting cases of the newer
concepts – still more comprehensive still more embracing”, (Abdus Salam – 1955 -p 15).
We are being told now by the physicists that the building blocks of matter belong only to
three families or generations of fundamental particles unlike the earlier concept of 5 to 6
families as established by the atom smasher experiments. With this new discovery of
three fundamental particles Dr. Ricordan of the Standard Linear Accelerator Centre
claims that “it means somehow that the Universe is comprehensible, that it is not a total
mystery, that it can be grasped by the human mind. It puts a lid on the complexity of
nature at its most fundamental level”. (Associated Press of America-Times of India and
Indian Express 15 October 1959). This claim seems to be a little premature when the
physicists themselves admit that “to understand matter we need to look at its behaviour at
very high energies. The energies required  will never be accessible in the particle
accelerators – the laboratories to particle physics…. the biggest acceletor has an energy
about a trillion times lower than the energies at which GUT (General Unified Theory)
effects are significant”, (Shobhit mahajan – Cosmology (genda) – Times of India 16th
October, l9S9l. In medical sciences recent discoveries seem to change the 17th century
theory by Sir William Harvey regarding the  unidirectional flow of blood through the
veins by the two-way flow of blood”. (RL Thatte et al : Express science, 26.9.59. When
blood flows both ways – Rajendra Khatry).

With the introduction of more sophisticated equipments and experiments new
facts will come to light and the existing fundamental concepts will continue to be
challenged. As for instance the fundamental principle of physical law that “if there are no
molecules there can be no reaction’ is being challenged by the experiments conducted by
4Dr. Jacques Benvineste and his colleagues at the University of Paris – France – (Times of
India, 14th March, 1959 – Delhi Edition). Sometimes even scientists are confronted with
bewildering transcendental experiences as it happened once with the late Prof. Feynman,
a Nobel Laureate and one of the most distinguished physicists of modern times. Mr.
Heinz Pagels once recounted the following story to Dr. Abdus Salam: “Feynman was in a
sensory deprivation tank and had an exosomatic experience – he felt that he came “out of
body” and saw the body lying before him. To test the reality of the experience he tried
moving his arm, and indeed he saw his arm on his body move. As he described this he
said he then became concerned that he might remain out of his body and decided to return
to it. After he concluded his story I asked him what he made of his unusual experience.
Feynman replied “I did not see laws of physics getting violated” (Salam – 1955 – P: 25).

The scientists are also conscious of the weakness of their experimental method,
Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle which deals with the existence of a conceptual
limitation of our knowledge affirms “that no physical measurements can tell you
simultaneously that there is an electron on the table – here and also that it is lying still.
Experiments can be made to discover precisely where the electron is; these same
experiments will then destroy any possibility of finding at the same time whether the
electron is moving and if so at what speed” (Abdus Salam – 195S – P:16). The limitations
of science and scientific methods expose the limitations of human knowledge and
intellect. Until now we recognize that light travels fastest. We cannot close the possibility
that in course of time we might discover something moving faster than light. If
experiments with superconductivity and cold fusion processes succeed then we might, in
the not too distant future, live in a totally transformed society  with a revolutionary
production and communication system. The physicists are currently working on to unify
the electroweak force with the force of gravity and the strong nuclear “as part of “Super
Symmetric String Theories” in ten dimensions”, (Abdus Salam – l988-p22). This may
eventually lead to a “theory of everything T.O.E.” There are however certain areas which
are beyond the realm of science such as the production of male sperm which is the source
of human life on this earth or of atoms with their immense latent energy, etc. Further
scientific advances may break the genetic code, send man in space, make satellites swirl
5round the planets of the solar system but science can never claim to have discovered the
totality of Iife-nature relationship in all its facets. Despite our phenomenal scientific
achievements our knowledge of the Universe: is hopelessly inadequate for a scientific
and rational explanation of its structure and behaviour.

A1-QuranTranscendenta1and Natural Phenomena:

The Quranic references relate both to  the transcendental and natural phenomena.
Transcendental phenomena have been referred to occasionally in order to assert the
supremacy of Allah and to testify to the Quranic claim that when Allah “ intends a thing,
His command is “13e” and it is done”, (Yasin-XXXVJ : 52). They also bear testimony to
be proclamation in the Quran that Allah is the Sustainer of life and will resurrect the dead
on the Day of Judgement. This has been accomplished through irrefutable transcendental
occurrences on the Earth established as historical facts. As for instance the birth of Christ
(0 WP) to Virgin Marry stands testimony to the fact that Allah has  the power to create
human life without the cohabitation of man and  woman (Al-i-Imran–the Family of
Imran-III:45-47). The story of the Companions of the Cae (Al-Kahaf-the Cave-XVIII:9-
22, and 25-26) unravels unmistakably that the dead shall be resurrected the same way as
the Companions of the Cave were brought back to life after being dead or having slept for
over 300 years in a mountain cave in the vicinity of the city of Ephesus, 40-50 miles
south of Symrna in western Turkey, (Abdullah Yousuf Ali: The Holy Quran commentary
No:2337 p:730-1946 USA edition, also refer to chapter 33 in Gibbon’s Decline and Fall
of the Roman Empire). However it is not  through these supernatural occurrences that
Allah attempts to convince the believers in his supremacy. Despite the supernatural
powers or miracles bestowed upon some prophets such as Moses and Christ, the haughty,
proud and arrogant non-believers like Pharaoh and early Roman Emperors refused to
believe in the Unity of Allah and His Supremacy. The Quran, therefore, invites Man to
observe repeatedly and minutely the natural phenomena, exercise his mind to appreciate
the manifestations of the supremacy of  Allah. The Quran argues that these natural
phenomena furnish incontrovertible evidence and definite proof of the Oneness of Allah
and His being the Creator of the Earth, the habitat of Man, and Heavens and all that exists
6in between them. The Quran encourages man to adopt rational and scientific thinking and
urges him on to an unceasing search for knowledge, on the mountains, in the seas, in he
say and on the earth. it also impresses  upon Man to observe  carefully, discern
meticulously and search relentlessly the bounties of AIlah for the benefit of mankind.

Allah The Supreme Central Authority of the Universe:

The Quran has put forth convincing arguments regarding the existence and Oneness of
Allah as the Central Authority to control the mechanism, function  and structure of the
Universe. The Quran stresses the point that “ if there were in the heavens and earth other
gods beside God there would have been confusion in both’ U (Al-Ambiya-The
Prophets,:22). This would have created a chaotic situation with none  to coordinate their
functions and activities. Each god would have been functioning tangentially and at cross
purposes with the other in his respective domain and spheres of activity. Thus the Quran
rightly points out that “(If there were many gods) behold each god would have taken
away what he had created and some would have lorded over others”, (Al-Momenoon-The
Muslims XXIII-9l). These gods would have been rival to each other jealously guarding
their respective domains of creation. This  pattern of development would be most
confusing and anarchical. The induction of  a Supreme Central ‘Authority is therefore
absolutely imperative in order to lend order, harmony and stability in the functioning of
the universe. This is most pragmatic and  we experience it in our administrative
functioning, economic planning and various other spheres of activities. It will amount to
intellectual dishonesty if we reject this forceful Quranic argument.

Manifestations of Allah’s Supremacy:

There are innumerable manifestations of the supreme controlling and creative powers of
Allah which cannot be matched by Man’s intellect and ingenuity.  The creation of the
solar system and of Man is of course the best illustrations. However the Quran invites
mankind to accept the validity of Allah’s supremacy on rational and scientific grounds.
One of the most incisive arguments advanced in this regard was that of Prophet Abraham
(OWP). King Nimrod, a proud, haughty and arrogant ruler of Babylonia (no name has
7been mentioned in the Quran) was a contemporary of Prophet Abraham (OWP). While
arguing with Nimrod, the latter pointed out that Allah had the power to give life and
death which the former claimed he also possessed. Prophet Abraham then challenged him
“to raise the Sun from the West since Allah makes it to rise from East”,  (Al-Baqra-Cow-
Il-2 5) Nimrod was nonplussed by this irrefutable argument. Even today Man cannot alter
ti course of the sun or of any other heavenly body despite the phenomenal achievements
of science and technology. In a similar strain the Quran validly argues that “If God were
to make the night perpetual or the day perpetual over you” (Al-Qasas story-XXVIII-7 1-
72) no power can alter it. This will happen only if the earth ceases to revolve and rotate.
Such an occurrence will be catastrophic for human civilization since Man cannot control
the earthly movements of rotation and resolution. Even a slight alteration and shift in the
rotationary and revolutionary movements of the Earth will throw human civilization out
of gear. But Allah does not wish to disturb the orderly movement of the solar system and
hence the Quran categorically states that “it is not permitted to the Sun to catch up with
the Moon nor can the night outstrip the day, each (Just) swims in its own orbit (according
to Law)” (Yasin, XXXVI:40). It may be observed that heavenly bodies have been
assigned specific roles. According to Quran Allah “makes the night for rest and
tranquility”, (Al-Anam-Cattle-VI:S6) and function of the day is to enlighten Man and
enable him to “seek bounty from his Lord” (Bani-Israil-Children of Israil -XVII:12) and
work for his sustenance. The functional cycle of the planet earth will be disturbed if the
Sun and the Moon fail to perform their allotted roles.

Quranic Stress on Scientific Observation and Logical Thinking:

One of the key scientific methods is to observe meticulously and record faithfully
without any distortion and falsification. The whole scientific discovery will crumble to
pieces if observations are not accurately recorded. Incorrect recordings may give totally
false results whose veracity will always be  suspect. It is this faculty of observation of
Man which has been constantly challenged in the Quran and he has been asked to record
the facts faithfully to reach the Truth. The earth and the vast space between the earth and
sky constitute the divine laboratory. The occurrences of the natural phenomena such as
the flight of birds, migratory movements of birds and fishes, wind movement, rainfall,
8mountain formation, volcanic eruption, wild growth of forests and flowers, oceanic
movements etc, are visible to the naked eye. Man has to exercise his intelligence to
realise their true significance. Allah did not create heaven and earth and all that exists in
between “merely in idle sport”  (Al-Dokhan-Smoke-XLVV:3). They constitute part of a
complex system with a definite structure and a distinct purpose and design as the Quran
points out: “Not without purpose did we create heaven and earth and all between, SWAD
– XXXVIll: 39). While spelling out  the purpose the Quran points out that the Earth has
been laid out as a carpet (Al-Hijr-XV:19) to serve as a habitat for Man – his resting place
(Al-Momin-The Believer-XL:64) and with spacious roads to move around (Nuh-LXXI:
l9-20). The Earth is also the focus of all human activity being the source for the
production of all types of beautiful and economically useful products (Qaf-L:7). Further
the Quran asserts that Allah has gifted the Earth with these products in due balance, as a
“means of subsistence for you and for those whose sustenance ye are not responsible”,
(Al-Hijr-XV:l9-20).

While inviting Man to observe objectively and discerningly the Quran seeks
answers to many perceptive questions. As for instance the perfectly balanced and smooth
flight of birds is a remarkable phenomenon. The Quran thus asks “Do they not look at the
birds held poised in the midst of the air and sky? Nothing holds them up but the power of
God (Al-Nahal-the Bee-XVI:79). In a similar vein Allah asks the knowledgeable and the
wise to carefully observe as to who brings  in fresh and drinking water “in rain from the
cloud”, or “grow the tree which feeds the (Al- Waqia-The Even-LVI:6S -73). Man can of
course explain the process but fails to explain the totality of the phenomena. Even to this
date meteorologists have failed to offer  satisfactory explanation for the onset and
pulsatory character of the \4onsoon in the Indian Ocean. These probing questions hence
do lead us to accept the Quranic line that they are all part of an overall complex design.

It is a scientifically established fact that mountain  building process has a very
important role in maintaining “isostatic equilibrium or maintenance of the balance of the
earths crust as envisaged in the theory of isostasy (Monkhouse-1954-pp: 1 6-17). This is
clearly visualised in the Quran that “He has set up on the earth mountains standing firm
9lest it should shake with you, and rivers and roads that ye may guide yourselves” (Al-
Nahal-The Bee-XV1:15). This concept of the mountain balancing the earth is repeated in
Surah Luqman XXXI:1O “We have set on earth mountains standing firm lest it should
shake with them”. 1: is stressed in Surah Al-Ambiya The ProphetsXXI:31: “And we have
set on earth mountains standing firm lest it should shake them”. In the same surah it is
pointed that besides balancing the earth’s  crust the mountains also include “broad
highways’ for people to “pass through”. Thus the Quran emphasizes the linkage role of
the mountain passes and rivers that spring out of them rather than the barrier function, by
referring to those “broad highways” and  “flowing rivers”, Thunder XIII-32).They link
one region with the other thereby facilitating movement of people, ideas and the
intermixing of cultures and civilization. These mountain passes and rivers are therefore
significant in shaping the destiny of human civilization.

Of the various other natural phenomena the sky is frequently referred to in the
Quran as one of the marvels of Allah’s creations. Can any one deny the Quranic claim
that it is a flawless structure (Qaf: L:6),  raised without columns to support it (Al-Rad-
Thunder-XXI:32) and decorated with lights (Stars Sun and Moon) which are of great
value in human life? While the Moon has been called a “glow of light” in the Quran
which implies a reflected light, the Sun has been termed as a “glorious lamp” which is
self luminous and a source of light to others (Nuh, LXXI:16). Is it not a fact that since the
dawn of civilization stars have been treated, as indicated in the Quran, as sign posts to
guide men, birds and fishes in their movement from place to place (Al-Nahal-The Bee
XVI:l 6). The stars also “serve (as beacons)  for you that ye may guide yourselves with
their help through the dark spaces of land and sea” (Al-Anam-Cattle-VI, 97). As between
the Moon and the Sun, the former has been  assigned a limited role to assist in the
calculations of weeks (Phases of Moon) and months (the intervening period between two
new Moons), the Sun has been assigned a much wider role as a source of enlightenment
controlling the productive activities of man.

A direct relationship between wind system and rainfall regime is an established fact. This
wind-rain relationship has been explicitly stated in the Quran. it is pointed out in Surah-
Al-Baqra- Cow – 11:164 that ‘In the change  of winds and clouds which they trail like
10their slaves between the sky and earth; (here) indeed are signs for a people that are wise”,
and possess a sense of understanding. This interdependence is described again in (Al-
Furqan-The Criterion-XXV:4) “He it is Who sends the winds as heralds of glass tidings,
going before His mercy and We send down pure water f morn the sky”.

We are aware of the direct relationship between the global wind system and
global pattern of rainfall. Moreover these are causally related to the rotation and the
revolution of the earth. This planetary system of the wind movement and rainfall regime
is beyond human control and is very much part of the terrestrial system which has been
divinely set in motion. This premise cannot be challenged. Any one arguing against it
should either demonstrate by replicating or altering the system on global or macro-
regional pattern or even simulating it within a laboratory. We know the enormous cost of
seeding clouds for inducting rainfall and that  too it will be confined to an extremely
restricted area. Man can neither generate nor replicate the natural climatic conditions nor
can he control them except in  a very limited sense within  air conditioned or centrally
heated blocks.

The life giving qualities of water have been systematically described in the Quran.
The value of water for the sustenance of human civilization has been adequately stressed.
As for instance the Quran points out that “\e (Allah) send down from the sky rain charged
with blessing and we produce there with gardens and grain for harvest and tall (and
stately) palm trees with shoots of fruit stalks, piled over one another, as sustenance for
God’s servants — and we give (new) life to land that is dead” (Qaf L 9-11) All types of
agricultural horticultural and pastoral activities are stimulated by water. The quality of
crops is invariably linked with the quality of water and Allah has produced fresh, sweet
water through rains in the form of flowing rivers, springs and ground water for human
consumption and for the production of crops. It is thus stressed in  the Quran that Allah
“sends down water from the sky from it we drink and of it grows vegetation on which ye
feed your cattle. And it is this fresh water which is utilized to produce ‘corn, olives, date’
palms, grapes and every kind  of fruit, verily in this is a sign for those who give thought”.
(Al-NahI (The Bee) XVI: 10-11). The Quran also conceives of provision for ground
11water which is stored through seepage of  fresh rain water for human and animal
consumption and for irrigating crops. The Quran thus points out that Allah sends “down
water from the sky according to (due) measure and We cause it to soak in the soil and We
certainly are able to drain it off (with case)”, (Al-Momenoon-The Believers) XXIII, 18.

While categorizing water into two broad types the Quran declares that Allah “has
let free the two bodies of flowing water, one palatable and sweet and the other salt and
bitter-yet He has made a barrier between them, a partition that is forbidden to be passed”
XXV Al-Furqan-The criterion)-ayat:53). The fresh and saline water are naturally
segregated with distinctive chemical, density and nutritional characteristics Again human
intervention tends to destroy  this natural barrier through excessive and wasteful use of
water. As for instance excess of irrigation has caused the fertile lands to become alkaline
and barren.   Similarly in areas adjacent to coastal belts in India misuse of ground water is
gradually leading to a replacement of fresh water by saline water. The Quran conceives
of an integrated ground and  surface water supply system and a segregated fresh and
saline water phenomenon.

It is thus obvious from the Quran that rain water is real blessing. It continues to be
the most vital single element for the sustenance of life on earth and for the progress and
prosperity of human civilization. This is abundantly testified by scientific experiments
and by the rise of the earliest civilizations in the river valleys. It is out of water that the
animal world has been created and it is through its medium that they can be sustained.
Water also possesses the unique quality of stimulating to life the dead plants and postures
which eloquently testify that in a similar way Allah has the capacity and power to revive
the dead. The Quran stresses this point that We give (new) life to land that is dead”, and
thereafter asserts in the same verse of Surah Qaf-L: 9-1 1 that ‘thus will be resurrection”.
The Quranic verses repeatedly invite us  to observe these phenomena. Can any one deny
the fact that absolutely dead parched lands blossom into lush green pastures and vales of
flower with the onset of rains? “Seest thou not that God sends down rain from the sky
and forthwith the earth becomes clothed with green’?” 1- Haj-The Pilgrimage:XXVI,63).
Is this not a scientific truth? Is Quran not logical and rational in its statements? is there
12any statement in the Quran regarding natural phenomena which  is not testified by
scientific findings. According to Dr. Salam there are seven hundred and fifty verses in the
Quran which exhort the believers to study nature, to reflect, to make the best use of
reason in their search for the ultimate”, (Salam 1988 -pp:5) Maurice Bucaille in his book:
“The Bible, the Quran and Science” points  Out that the “Quran while inviting us to
cultivate science, itself contains many observations on natural phenomena and includes
explanatory details which are seen to be in total agreement with modern scientific data”
(1981-p:1 25).

Quranic Challenges and Inspirations to Human Intellect and Quest for Knowledge:

Man as the Vice-Gerent of Allah on Earth has imbibed His creative and
innovative spirit. Man however, cannot create things out of nothing which Allah alone
can do. As for instance man can split the  atom but cannot produce an atom. Man’s
creative power is of a secondary nature which  is subservient to Allah. But he has been
invested with the urge to acquire knowledge right from the day Adam was created. By
virtue of this divine gift to Man he was elevated in rank above the angels: “And he taught
Adam the nature of all) things, then He placed them before the angels: tell Me the nature
of those if you are right… They said glory to Thee, of knowledge we have none save what
Thou has taught us…. He said to Adam el1 them their nature. When he had told them God
said did I riot tell you that I know the secrets of heaven and earth, and I know what ye
reveal what ye conceal (Al-Baqra-The Cow – II: 31-33). Allah has endowed Man with the
capacity to use his intellect,  reflect upon things and express his ideas by speech and in
writing. “He has created Man. He has taught him speech (And Intelligence)” (Ar-
Rahman- The Compassionate LV: 3-4). As regards the gift of writing the Quran proclaim
that “thy Lord is most bountiful, He who taught (the use of) the Pen (A l-Alaq-the clot –
XCVI : 3-4).

Together with the power of speech and capacity to write man was also gifted with
an innate desire to acquire knowledge right from the inception of his creation. This is
reinforced by the Quranic proclamation that Allah “teacheth man that which he knew
not’, (Al-Alaq-the clot-XCVI:5). This divine gift in Man  to acquire knowledge of the
13unknown has been a motivating factor accounting for advance in science and technology
and progress of human civilization with the passage of time. It is this irresistible urge in
Man to acquire and improve upon existing knowledge which the Quran enkindles in him
and idealizes for him in a most persuasive and systematic way. Man is first reminded
forcefully and effectively of the bounties of Allah for the Mankind: “Hath created ‘man,
afforded him the power of speech, the Sun and the Moon run their appointed
courses…And the earth He hath prepared for the living therein are fruit and the date palm
with sheathed clusters, and grain with its husk, and fragrant herbs…. He hath made the
two seas to flow freely to meet each other. Between them however, is a barrier which
they cannot transgress… From each come forth pearls and corals… And His are the ships
towering up in the sea like hills (Ar-Rahman – The compassionate – 1-78). In order to
stress and bring home the point it has been repeatedly (31 times) asked in this Surah
“which then of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?” The  inference is clear that Man
cannot deny the favours Allah has bestowed on him. Man owes, both his existence and
survival on this planet to Allah. The ground is thus prepared to challenge human intellect,
ingenuity, innovativeness, and skill in order to motivate him to acquire more and improve
upon existing knowledge. This is best expressed in the following verses of Surah A1-
Ghashia “Do they not look at the camels how they are made, at the sky how it is raised
high and at the mountains how they are fixed firm and at the earth how it is spread out?
(A1-Ghashld – The Overwhelming-LXXXV1II-17-20). These verses urge Man to observe
faithfully, scrutinise closely, analyse critically for a realistic appraisal of the value of
these marvellous creations of Allah for the benefit of Mankind. They also inspire Man to
a relentless quest tor knowledge in order to unravel and understand the mysteries of the
Universe and exploit the earthly and heavenly resources that are placed at the disposal of
mankind for its benefit.

The Quran repeatedly stresses the point that Man has been endowed with diverse
natural resources: ‘Do they not look at the earth—how many noble things of all kinds we
have produced therein?” (Al-Shoara–The Poets – XXVI:7). These immense resources of
land, water, forests, animals are all gifts of Allah to the Mankind and He “has made his
bounties flow to you in exceeding measures (both seen and unseen)”, (Luqman –
14XXX1:20). These resources have been made available to Man so that he may enjoy their
fruits and feel both comfortable and grateful: “See the seed that you sow in the ground: Is
it ye the water which you drink Do you bring it down in rain from the cloud or do we’?…
See ye the fire which ye kindles. Is it ye who grow the tree which feeds the fire or do We
grow it? We have made it memorial of our handiwork and an article of comfort and
convenience”, – (Al-Waqia- The Event – LVI: 63-7 3). Allah has however made these
vitally important life supporting resources of food, water and energy subject to human
control. This has been highlighted in •a number of Surah (verses). In Surah Ibrahim  XIV:
33 only the Sun and the Moon have been subjected to man, but Surah l-Nahl – The Bee
XVI:l2 reveals the unbounded generosity of t1lah where it is proclaimed that all the
heavenly objects viz., the stars, the Sun, and the Moon besides the night and day are also
put under the control of Man. The generosity of Allah is at its zenith v. hen He declares
that ‘all that is in the heavens and earth”, (A1-Jathiyah-crouching -XLV: 1 3) is subjected
to the control of Man. In other words the terrestrial and space resources are all within his
reach. He has been warned however against their wasteful utilization. The Quran points
out clearly that “eat of their fruit in their season… but waste not by excess for God loveth
not wasters” (A1-Anam (Cattle)Vl:141).

In order to enjoy the full benefit of these diverse and bountiful resources Man has
to work real hard. To strike home this point has Quran cites the examples of honey bee
and Zul Quranain. As regards the honey-bee the Quran points out that “Thy Lord taught
bee “to build its cells in hills, on trees and  in men’s habitation. Then to eat of all the
produce (fruits, flowers etc) of the earth and find with skill the spacious paths of its Lord.
There issues from their body a drink of varying colours “wherein is healing for men.
Verily in this is a sign for those who give thought”,  (A I-Nahal The Bee-XVI: E$ -69).
This is indeed a classic example which most effectively makes the point that hard work
alone can produce quality wares. Imagine the immense medicinal qualities which are
possessed by the honey produced by the bees. We still do not know its full medicinal
potential. This can be obtained only through sustained research spread over a
considerable period of time. The Quran cities this example to make Man realise the value
15and significance of hard work if he wants to make the best use of the resources made
available to him.

Again the role of hard work, intellectual ingenuity and technological innovation
has been emphatically stated in the case of Zul-Quranain, a noble monarch and a great
conqueror. 1-us kingdom extended over a vast  territory from west to east. During the
course of his conquest he reached the land of the marauding Mongol tribes of Gog and
Magog in the east. These tribes used to harass the people of the land of Bokhara. ,-\t the
request of the inhabitants of this land and with their cooperation he built a defensive wall
of wrought iron coated completely with molten lead to protect these oppressed people
from the aggression and brutality of these inhuman tribes – the Gog and Magog (Al-
Kahaf- Cave-XVlII 83-98). It may thus be noted that the Quran always stresses on hard
work, innovativeness and skilful operation to ensure optimum utilization of natural and
human resources for the safety, security and prosperity of mankind. It further directs that
the human endeavour should ever he spent to help a noble cause.

The bounties of A1lah are there for Man to use but their benefits may be
concealed. He has to constantly search for them and bring them to human use with
improved technology. P\s for instance from within the bodies of the cattle “We produce
milk for you to drink, there are in them besides numerous other benefits for you”, (AI-
Momenoon The Muslims – XXI1I:2l). These numerous other benefits have not been
spelled out. Man has to discover them through his persistent researches. Thus the Quran
constantly instructs man to look out  for the unknown. We should be unceasingly
searching for new resources even when we are out on the sea “for God has subjected the
sea to you, that ships may  sail through it by His command. That ye may seek of His
bounty and that ye may be grateful” ;i\ Kneeling-XLV:12). There is treasure trove in the
sea since ‘out of them come pearls and corals”  (Al-Nahal – The Bee – XVI: 14).

The Quran clearly visualizes strong linkages between these natural resources and
human life. A rationally conceived integrated picture emerges when we examine the
following verses of Surah Al-Naba-The Tidings – LXXVIII: 6-16. “Have We not made
the Earth as wide expanse, and the mountains as Pegs? and have We not created you in
16pairs? and made your sleep for rest? and made the night as covering? and made the day as
a means of subsistence? and (have We not built over you the seven firmaments? and
place therein a light of spendour? and do we not send down from the clouds water in
abundance that We may produce there with  corn, arid vegetables, and gardens of
luxurious growth (These terrestrial and space resources are subject to the control of Van
and are meant for human use. He has nonetheless been cautioned that the delicate balance
between man and his physiographic, biotic, aquatic and cosmic environment ought not to
be disturbed for Allah “hath raised the Heavens on high, and hath set the balance that in
using it ye should not transgress. So establish weight with justice and fell not short in the
balance”, (Al-Rahman-The Compassionate – LV: 7). These resources have to be used
intelligently in order to ensure this balance, as also to maximise the optimal utilization of
natural resources for the prosperity of mankind.

The Quran excites the spirit of adventure in Man in order to partake of these
immense and inexhaustible and unknown bounties of Allah on land, in air, water and
space. He must go out to reach and utilize them skillfully avoiding waste. It is this
relentless search “to know the unknown.” and quest to unravel the mysteries of the earth
and heaven that ushered in the Islamic age  of scientific discoveries and heralded the
expansion of Islam from China and Indonesia in the east to Spain in the west. It is this
insatiable urge for knowledge inspired by the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet (SAS)
that the “quest for knowledge (and Sciences) is obligatory on every Muslim, Man and
woman”, and that “Muslims ought to go even  to China in search of knowledge” that
inspired the scientific and technological revolution in the world of Islam and led to the
rise of a galaxy of scholars who contributed significantly to knowledge in varied spheres
of activity. These men of erudition laid the foundation for the scientific and industrial
revolution in Europe. This is corroborated by Biffault: “What we call science arose as a
result of new methods of experiments  observation, and measurement which were
introduced into Europe by the Arab’s… (Modern) science is the most momentous
contribution of the Islamic Civilisation” (Quoted by Dr. A.Salam …P.8). This view is
strongly reinforced by George Sarton, the eminent historian of science who points out
that “ the main, as well as the least obvious achievement of the Middle Ages was the
17creation of the Experimental  spirit and this was primarily due to Muslims down to the
12th Century” (George Sarton: History of  science quoted by Salam. p.8). Nearly one
hundred years after the birth of Islam i.e. from 750-11 00 A .11 the world of science,
according to George Sarton, was dominated by such Islamic luminaries as Jabir,
Khawrizmi, Razi, Masudi, 1bul Wafa, Al-Biruni, Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and Omar
Khayam. During the next 250 years (1100-1 350) the Muslim scholars such as Ibn Rushd
(A verroes), Nasiruddin Tusi, Nafis, Idrisi, Ibn Batuta, and Ibn Khaldun shared the
honours with European scholars (George-Sarton quoted by Salam). They gave new
dimensions to science, propounded new theories and developed new technologies. Lbn-
al-Haitham (Al/Hazen 965-1039 AD), made path breaking contributions in optics. He
‘enunciated that a ray of light, in passing through a medium, takes the path which is the
easier and quicker. We thus anticipated Ferrriat’s Principle of Least Time by many
centuries, Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and lbn Rushd (Averroes) were the precursors of modern
medicine, Jabir and Razi were the forefathers of modern experimental chemistry. The
equipments which Razi used in his chemistry laboratory are still by and large, with some
improvements, the same in standard chemistry labs. the world over (Abdul Salam).
Khwarizmi, an outstanding mathematician, was the founder of modern Algebra which
derives its name from his epoch making work: 1-lisab al-jabr wa’L Maquabla (the art of
bringing together unknowns to match known quantity (Early Islam PP:121-145). lbn
Khaldun was the greatest political thinker and historian which Islam has produced. His
prolegomena (Muqadamah) is a classic highlighting the principles governing the rise and
fall of societies and empires. he also anticipated in this work modern theories on the
growth and decay of cities.

This was equally true in the field  of technology and has been eloquently
highlighted by Al-Hassan and R.Hill in their book “Islamic Technology (I96). They point
out that “Muslim operations in agriculture, irrigation, hydraulic engineering, and
manufacture were an integral part of every day life in the southern half of the (Spanish)
Peninsula, and …. Muslim ideas in these fields and in others, passed from Spain into Italy
and northern Europe. Similarly the gun power, cannon and paper making technologies
were also transferred from the world of  Islam to Europe. In the 10th Century AD
18Samarqand was the premier centre for the manufacture of paper when Europe was not
even familiar with its technology.

Conclusion:

In conclusion it may be observed that Quran, though not a work of science,
inculcates the spirit of science. It indeed enjoins upon Man to believe in the unseen Allah
but has consistently asked him to do so not  on the basis of miracles or transcendent
phenomena but on very rational grounds supported by cogent arguments. Faithful
observation, classification, experimentation, sincere search for truth and logical
presentation of facts observed and results  obtained represent the fundamentals of the
scientific method. The Quran impresses upon Man to discerningly  observe, critically
analyse, meticulously weigh, sift, sort out  and classify the facts observed. Thereafter
reflect upon them for a proper understanding of the scenario  logically presented in the
Quran for the acceptance of the supremacy of Allah. The one scientific method, which
though equally crucial, and which is not mentioned in the Quran is ‘experimentation”.
There is presumably no need and scope for experimentation when the earth itself
constitutes the principal laboratory where the phenomena can be repeatedly observed and
verified. The planetary wind system and the associated patterns of global rainfall are
easily discernible. The effect of rainfall on parched dry lands are clearly observable. The
impact of sun, moon and the associated phenomena is global in scale and is felt by one
and all. They cannot be replicated nor can they be simulated even in biosphere II
established recently in Arizona, U.S.A. Hence the phenomena which can be freely
observed in nature need not be subjected to  laboratory testing since they may lose their
genuine character in the process. It is, therefore, clear that Quran emphasizes unbiased
observation and objectivity in order to appreciate and understand the supreme creative
power of Allah and that His creations are for the good of humanity.

The sayings of Prophet Muhammad (SAS) enthusing Muslims to acquire
knowledge from all available sources reinforced by the Quranic verses inspired the rise of
such a distinguished array of Islamic Scholars who explored new frontiers of knowledge
and laid the foundation for the phenomenal progress  in science and technology in
19Western Europe since the 15th Century. The spectacular achievements of science have
further depended the mysteries of the Universe including that of the planetary systems for
the more we know the more we realise how little we know about them. This realisation
sharply focuses on the limitations of human intellect and scientific methods. It makes us
acutely conscious of the fact that Allah is a infinite source of knowledge which would not
exhaust ‘even if all the tree on earth were pens and all oceans were ink) with seven
oceans behind it to add to its supply’ (Luqman – XXXI : 27). This consciousness will
always excite human curiosity and will  motivate him to achieve greater heights
particularly when the Quranic Verses  raise before Man the vision of acquiring
“knowledge of the unknown” and of commanding the inexhaustible resources of the earth
and space for the benefit of mankind.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1.  The Holy Quran
(Test, Translation and
Commentary)

: Abdullah Yousuf Ali (1946) Mc Gregor &
Wener (Inc) USA
2.  Murice Bucaille: (1981)  : The Bible, The Quran and Science
Seghers Paris (France)

3.

Collier’s Encyclopaedia  : Vol – pp: 501 – 51S (1979)

4.  Funk and Wagnal’s New
Encyclopaedia (1981)

: Vol.23, pp: 213 – 222

5.  Encyclopaedia Brittanica (1974)

: Vol. VIII: p: 985
Vol.XVI : pp: 376 – 386

6.  M.Abdus Salam (1986)

: Islam and Science

7.  M.Abdus Salam (1986)

: Future of Science in Islam.

M.Abdus Salam (1988)

: Future of Science in Islam.
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