A General Overview of the Relationship between Islam and Science
03 Sep 2011 04:50 GMT
 
The relationship between Islam and science has varied over time. Most Muslims consider that natural science and all other scientific pursuits are related to Tawhid. This term is used to refer to a concept that is at the center of Islam: the Oneness of God. Muslims do not consider the workings of the Universe and of Nature as something separate from God, but as something that is intimately linked to the relationship between God and Humanity. It is because of this that the Science is considered a noble pursuit within Islam.

The Qur'an considers that the study of nature is a path that enlightens Man by pointing him toward God. This is why Science has always occupied an exalted place in Islamic society, especially during the Golden Age of Islam, before the fall of the great Muslim Caliphates. Muslim scientists can be credited with pioneering the basis of all modern science, the scientific method. The contributions of great Muslim thinkers like Alhazen paved the way for the scientific advances that followed in the West. Most historians will agree that the knowledge that was preserved and that originated in the Islamic world of the Golden Age of Islam is the basis for all modern science.

In modern times, Muslim philosophers have attempted to integrate the pursuit of scientific knowledge within Islam; however, there is much dissent on many controversial details about certain scientific advances and concepts. Even so, it is generally agreed by most Muslim scholars that the pursuit of knowledge of the physical world and scientific experimentation in them are not opposed to core Islamic values. Islam in itself has its own core beliefs about how the world works which are detailed in the Qur'an, a message for Mankind that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Meanwhile, the scientific method does not accept dogma, but states that knowledge must be gained through experimentation and through a specific method. While these two concepts would seem to be opposed, it is important to understand the Muslim viewpoint of the physical world. Muslims believe that there is no possibility of the paranormal or the supernatural in this life. This is due to the fact that Muslims believe that God, in His perfection, would not allow His own laws to be broken. Because of this, Islam has always rejected the supernatural and superstition – especially in a historical period in which most of the world still adhered to the supernatural as a reasonable explanation of nature's phenomena.

Religion in itself has several elements that are opposed to Science; Islam is no exception. However, the unique viewpoints of Islam in regards to Man's freedom to explore and learn about Nature and the World have always made Islam a religion that welcomes and rewards scientific knowledge.



-- Al Arabiya Digital


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