Science and the Muslim Ummah


We have seen how Islam has strongly emphasized the need for acquisition of knowledge in its widest sense, and how the Muslims, following the teachings of Islam, created a brilliant civilization and were the leaders of human intellectual advancement for centuries.

We saw how the separation of religion from science in Muslim societies caused the Muslims to abandon their role of intellectual leadership of mankind. But now that the Muslim community is showing gradual reawakening, and enthusiasm has emerged in almost every corner of the Muslim world, the time seems most suitable for taking decisive steps towards bringing about a scientific renaissance. In this context, we call the attention of the honored reader to the following proposals:

  1. Like the scholars and scientists of the early centuries of the Islamic civilization, we should acquire the knowledge of all useful sciences from others. We can liberate scientific knowledge from its attending Western materialistic interpretations and rehabilitate it in the context of Islamic world‑outlook and ideology.

  2. The kind of alliance which existed between religious and natural sciences during the peak days of Islamic civilization should be re‑established, since, as has been pointed out, there is no separation between the ends of religion and science. Religion teaches that all creation is oriented towards God as stated in the Qur’anic verse:

يُسَبِّحُ لِلَّـهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ الْمَلِكِ الْقُدُّوسِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ

All that is in the heavens and the earth magnifies God, the Supreme, the All­ holy, the Almighty, the All‑wise. (62:1)

Modern science is engaged in an attempt to unravel a comprehensive unity in the laws of nature. The present day physicists are involved in an effort of reducing all apparently independent forces of nature to a single fundamental principle and have obtained some success in this field.

For the achievement of this goal, it seems inevitable that the latest scientific principles should be taught in theological centers, and, in the same way, religious sciences should be taught in universities on a com­paratively advanced level. This will be instrumental in familiarizing Muslim research scholars with the Islamic world‑outlook. Moreover, it would give the opportunity to theological schools to utilize latest scien­tific findings for interpretation and elucidation of the laws of the Shari ah.

  1. For the achievement of a comprehensive independence of the Islamic ummah, it is essential that all the Muslim countries take steps towards the training of specialists in all important scientific and indus­trial fields. Moreover, research centers should be established in all Muslim communities where the Muslim researchers can work without any anxieties or problems, and with all necessary facilities for research, so that they are not forced to take refuge in atheistic environments, and as a result compelled to put their expertise in the service of others.

  2. Scientific research should be thought of as a fundamentally essential and not an ancillary pursuit. The Muslims should think of it as an obligation

imposed upon them by the Qur’an so that they do not come to rely and be dependent on others.

Presently, the practice in most Muslim countries is to import the craft of assembly from Eastern and Western countries instead of making a serious attempt in fundamental scientific research. The present trend will never lead Muslim countries to scientific and technological self‑sufficiency. Imported technology should be accom­panied by indigenous research work.

  1. There should be cooperation between Muslim countries in the scientific and technological research. For this purpose, establishment of communication links between their universities can serve as a preli­minary ground. Moreover, joint research and development bodies (such as the Geneva‑based CERN organization) should be formed by the Muslim countries where Muslim scientists and research scholars can come together. There should be no nationalistic bias in this regard. Such centers were widely prevalent during the past ages of Islamic civilization.

All that has been done hitherto in this connection was more or less of a preliminary nature. Now it is time for a decisive step in this direction.


[^1]: Al‑Kulayni Thiqat al‑Islam Muhammad ibn Ya'qub, Usul al‑kafi, vol. I, p. 30. Also see the introduction' to Ibn Majah's Sunan; Bihar al‑anwar, vol. I, p. 177.

[^2]: Ibid, vol. I, p. 15.

[^3]: Ibid, vol. 1, p. 16.

[^4]: Ibid, vol. I, p. 39.

[^5]: Ibid, vol. I, p. 22.

[^6]: Ibid, vol. I, p. 22.

[^7]: Ibid, vol. I, p. 72.

[^8]: Mulla Sadra, Sharh Usul al‑kafi, p. 121.

[^9]: Ibid, p. 120.

[^10]: Ibid, p. 121.

[^11]: Ibid, p. 129.

[^12]: Murtada Mutahhari, Guftar‑e Mah, vol. I, p. 137.

[^13]: Al‑Ghazzali, Ihya ulum al‑din, vol. I, p. 39.

[^14]: Prophetic tradition; source: Munyat al‑Murid, p 12, Najaf A.H. 1370

[^15]: Ibid, vol. I, p. 14. Also see Muhajjat al‑bayda', vol. 1, p. 21, and Bihar al ­anwar, vol. I, p. 57.

[^16]: Shaykh Saduq, Amali, p. 19. Also see Safinat al‑bihar, vol. 2, p. 219.

[^17]: Al‑Nizam al‑tarbawi fi al‑Islam, p. 188.

[^18]: Mukhtar al‑ahadith al‑nabawiyyah wa al‑hikam al‑Muhammadiyyah, p. 70.

[^19]: Nahj al‑balaghah. Dublished by Dr. Subhi al‑Salih, p. 481.

[^20]: Ibn Majah, Sunan, No. 250; also see Misbah al‑shariah, chapter 60.

[^21]: Al‑Tirmidhi, Sunan, the chapter on da'wat, Ibn Majah, Sunan, intro­duction'.

[^22]: Nahj al‑balaghah, published by Dr. Subhi al‑Salih, p. 393.

[^23]: Abd al‑Wahid Amadi, Ghurar al‑hikam wa durar al‑kalim, p. 42.

[^24]: Although even in this case it may be said that the religious information of most of the Muslims is very scanty, and unfortunately most of the laws of Islam have, in practice, lost their social relevance.

[^25]: Tuhfat al‑uqul, p. 261; also see al‑Majlisi's Bihar al‑anwar, vol. LXXVIII, p. 80.

[^26]: Munyat al‑murid, p. 28, Najaf 1370.

[^27]: Mukhtar al‑ahadith al‑nabawiyyah wa al‑hikam al‑Muhammadiyyah, p. 99.

[^28]: Muniyat al‑murid, p. 53, Najaf 1370.

[^29]: A narration from the Holy Prophet (S) found in Nahj al‑Fasahah, p. 635, says:

((الناس كلهم عيال الله، فأحبهم إليه أنفعهم لعياله))

All human beings are the family of God, and the most beloved of men near God is one who is most beneficial to His family.

[^30]: In the thirteenth century A.D. it was Khwajah Nasir al‑Din al‑Tusi, who gathered scholars of various sciences in the city of Mardgheh. However, in the twentieth century, it is the Americans and Europeans who have gathered scientists from all over the world in their scientific and research institutions and furnished them with all kinds of facilities.

[^31]: See Abd al‑Razzaq Nawfal, Al‑Muslimun wa al‑ilm al‑hadith (“The Muslims and the Modern Science”), pp. 5, 93.

[^32]: Shaykh Mahmud Shaltut, Tafsir al‑Qur an al‑karim, chapter 11,11:14.