Universality and Promotion of Science

This section of the book is devoted first to examining some of the systems of life adopted in our world nowadays. Following the examination we should be able to decide which system best accommodates our needs for development and better life styles.

This section of the book is devoted first to examining some of the systems of life adopted in our world nowadays. Following the examination we should be able to decide which system best accommodates our needs for development and better life styles.

should also help us determine those which hinder civilization and advancement, as well as those which give no priority to the values and ethics that underpin man's social, psychological and physical well-being.

For a universal system to succeed, we need to adopt the one that is able to meet and balance our needs for a better life and prevent any transgression that may result in the destruction and extinction of mankind.


If we take Buddhism into consideration as a proposed universal way of life, it is easily realized that true Buddhism means complete devotion to idol worshipping and spending one's time in complete seclusion and isolation from the surrounding world, which is full of injustice.

Man, according to Buddhism, is viewed as a source of evil. In order for him to acquire righteousness, he must abandon this world and live in complete isolation. Such a philosophy can never succeed in bringing about peace of mind for its followers.

In both Hinduism and Buddhism, the world is regarded as evil, and salvation is understood as its rejection, namely, as freedom from the world. Moreover, these religions make salvation a personal, individualistic affair, since they define it in terms of states of consciousness, which can be only personal. Interaction with the outside world is viewed as evil.

Whatever social order which has been developed by the Hindus in terms of a state, an empire, a civilization or a distinctive human community was done in deviation from their teachings. Today's India based its system of government on democracy, regardless of the Hindu parties that play a major role in Indian politics.

I think that such attitudes towards life cannot be accepted in a world like ours where great advances in technology have taken place and become an integral part of our lives. No doubt, many of these advances in industry have brought many unwanted side effects in both social and health-related areas of society.

A modern atheistic civilization, to the other extreme, gives man the full liberty to involve himself in all aspects with no limits or respect to either nature or people. That can be seen in the irresponsible practices in genetic engineering and the destruction of ecology

Purely material gains have blindfolded the eyes of the developers against the devastating moral, social and health problems that are posing unprecedented threats to humankind. The materialistic solutions that seldom succeed are always sought. Aids, cancer, poverty, illiteracy, smoking, drugs, alcohol and many other social problems have grown at escalating rates. Materialistic gains have become major goals at the expense of values and morals. However, seceding at the other extreme of rejecting any involvement in the worldly affairs goes against the true nature of man. The need is urgent for a system that is not manipulated by the narrow materialist interests of a careless greedy minority; and at the same time striking a balance between man's needs for advancement in science and technology.

The need is urgent for a system that is not manipulated by the narrow materialist interests of a careless greedy minority; and at the same time striking a balance between man's needs for advancement in science and technology.


As we will see in this sec- tion, the true unashamedly dis- criminatory nature of Judaism means that it cannot be nomi- nated as a universal system for all humankind to follow. Despite its nature or perhaps even be- cause of it- the Jewish lobby is very powerful and plays a very effective role in shaping US for- eign policy; especially those in Israel's interest.

O Children of Adam! Wear your good clothing at every masjid, but be not excessive. Indeed, He [i.e., Allah] likes not those who commit excess. Say, Who has forbiddenAllah's adornment, which He has produced for His servants and the lawful things of provision? Say, They are for those who believe during worldly life [but] exclusively for them on the Day of Resurrection. Thus do We explain in detail the verses for a people who know.

Any system of life that hinders advancement of humanity in sciences and technology that are of the benefit of humanity is not worthy of being chosen as a way of life. Islam stands tall in this regard, since it is the only religion that has opened the doors for great leaps in all fields of sciences.

Muslims do not succeed in science and technology when they distance themselves from the pure teachings of Islam. Colonialists and orientalists discovered that fact, and hence tried to distract Muslims away from the real source of development. Many historians have recognized this fact. Among them, Philip Hitti, who says while referring to AlKhawarzmi, a celebrated Muslim scholar in the field of mathematics:

One of the best scientific minds of Islam, Al-Khwarizmi, is undoubtedly the man who exercised the most influence on mathematical thought during the whole of the Middle Ages.

M. Charles, a French scientist, refers to the contribution of another Muslim mathematician, Al-Battani, by saying:

Al-Battani was the first to use in his works the expressions sine and cosine. He introduced it to geometric calculus and calls it extended shadow. It is what is called in modern trigonometry the tangent

Historians stress that modern sciences are indebted to the Muslims for great advances in many of the scientific fields. As Fauriel (1846) states: Contact between the two civilizations-- Christian and Muslim-- had been established by normal and well-founded routes.

In this, commerce and pilgrimage played the principal role. Land and sea traffic between East and West was already flourishing well before the XIth century. It was through Spain, Sicily and the South of France, which were under direct Saracen rule that Islamic civilization entered into Europe.

By the middle of the IXth century, Muslim civilization had already prevailed in Spain. The Spaniards of that time regarded Arabic as the only medium for science and literature.

Its importance was such that the Ecclesiastical Authorities had been compelled to have the collection of canons used in Spanish churches translated into the Romance languages, (the predecessors of modern Spanish) for the two languages were in current use throughout the whole of Muslim Spain. Christian Spain recognized this superiority of the Muslims. In about 830, Alphonse the Great, King of the Austrians, had sent for two Saracen Muslim scholars to act as tutors for his son and heir.

After conducting a rigorous comparative research of the Bible and the Qur'an to the major discoveries of modern science, the French renowned scientist and member of the French Scientific Academy noticed the absence of any contradictions between the contents of the Qur'an and these discoveries.

Furthermore, he found that the Qur'an describes both phenomenal and unseen worlds in a completely accurate way: 'The Qur'an follows on from the two revelations that preceded it and is not only free from contradictions in its narrations, the signs of the various human manipulations to be found in the Gospels, but provides a quality all of its own for those who examine it objectively and in the light of science, i.e. its complete agreement with modern scientific data.

What is more, statements are to be found in it that are connected with science: and yet it is unthinkable that a man of Muhammad's time could have been the author of them. Modern scientific knowledge therefore allows us to understand certain verses of the Qur'an, which, until now, it has been impossible to interpret.


The scientific renown of the Muslims had spread far and wide, and attracted the intellectual elite of the Western World to Andalusia, Sicily and to the south of Italy. At the same time when the Muslim civilization was prospering during the Middle Ages, the Christian world was living in complete darkness. Philip Hitti remarked:

No other people made as important a contribution to human progress as did the Arabs, if we take this term to mean all those whose mother tongue was Arabic and not merely those living in the Arabian Peninsula. For centuries, Arabic was the language of learning, culture and intellectual progress for the whole of the civilized world, with the exception of the Far East. From the ninth to the twelfth century, there were more philosophical, medical, historical, religious, astronomical and geographical works written in Arabic than in any human language.

It was the Muslims' advances in science and diffusion of knowledge that ignited the beginning of our contemporary progress in science and technology. Al-Nadawi comments on this by writing:

Meanwhile, owing to the Islamic and Muslim scientific influences, the volcano of knowledge had burst in Europe. Its thinkers and scientists had broken the intellectual slavery. They boldly refuted the ecclesiastical theories, which were based on preposterous evidence, and proclaimed their own investigations. The papal authority70 reacted ruthlessly. It established the inquisitions to discover, and bring to book, the heretics lurking in towns, houses, cellars, caves and fields This institution performed its duty with such savage alacrity that a Christian theologian exclaimed that it was hardly possible for a man to be a Christian, and die in his bed. It is estimated that between 1481 and 1801 the Inquisition punished three hundred and forty thousand persons, nearly thirty-two thousands of whom were burnt alive, including the great scientist, Bruno, whose only crime was that he taught the plurality of the worlds.

Bruno was delivered to the secular authorities to be punished as mercifully as possible, and without the shedding of blood, which, in fact was the horrible formula for burning a prisoner at stake. Galileo, another scientist of no less worth, contrary to the scriptures, was tortured by the Inquisitions for maintaining that the earth moved around the sun

According to Draper in his book History of Conflict between Religion and Science, intellectual stagnation of the clergy and the atrocities perpetrated by the Inquisition led the enlightened sectors of the European society to revolt not only against the clergy and the church, but also against all the values and any type of truth that was not corrupted by the devious clergy.


The study of science, which Islam gave to the West, was to a large extent perfectly in accord with Allah's teachings. However, from the 14th century until today, Western societies have diverged from this Islamic scientific tradition.

The study of science, which Islam gave to the West, was to a large extent perfectly in accord with Allah's teachings. However, from the 14th century until today, Western societies have diverged from this Islamic scientific tradition. Islam requires that people take over the responsibility of developing science that benefits all people with no harm to others; while respecting nature. Islam also emphasizes a very important principle that science cannot be turned into god, because of a very simple reason, which is that, our knowledge is relative and conjectural, and therefore our sciences are also relative and conjunctural. Muhamed Qutb writes:

The god of science has, however, turned out to be extremely fickle, ever changing and constantly shifting positions, upholding one thing as a fact and reality today and rejecting it the other day as false and spurious. Consequently its worshippers are doomed to a perpetual state of restlessness and anxiety, for how can they find rest and peace of mind under such a capricious god? That the modern West is afflicted with this uncertainty and restlessness is born out by the large number of psychological and nervous disorders that are so common in modern societies today.

He also adds: Yet another result of this defection of modern science is that the world we live in has become devoid of all meaning and purpose, with no higher order or power to guide it. Tension and conflict between different forces have become the order of the day. As a result everything in this world is changing.

This misuse of science has affected all spheres of life--the political, economical, educational, healthy, even the presumably scientific world of facts. All these factors urge man to look for a system in which he may find satisfaction, peace, tranquility, and freedom from contradictions.

An example of such misguided science is the prejudice against blacks for a larger part of the USA. The rise of pseudoscientific racism and the popularity of social-engineering ideas among Latin American white elites militated against the social acceptance of the black population. The positivist followers of the French philosopher Auguste Comte thought Africans were far from ready for the stage of technical modernity, and neglected them. Adherents of social Darwinism considered the African dimension of the pluralistic society a sign of fundamental weakness because they assumed the natural superiority of the white race.


Why is Islam the only religion that can meet the needs of humanity and integrate and interact with the universe in a harmonious way? It is simply because all other religions and dogmas have never adopted a true monotheistic way of life. They emphasized the personification of god through nature. They also assumed that contradiction was a principle characteristic of knowledge.

Why is it so that Islam is the only system of life that can integrate man's needs for advancement and discovery of the universe around him? The features that distinguish Islam from other beliefs led Gibb (a well-known orientalist) to write:

The kind of society that a community builds for itself depends fundamentally upon its belief as to the nature and purpose of the universe and the place of the human soul within it. This is a familiar enough doctrine and is reiterated from Christian pulpits week after week. But Islam possibly is the ONLY religion, which has constantly aimed to build up a society on this principle. The prime instrument was law (Shreia'h).

Why is Islam the only religion that can meet the needs of humanity and integrate and interact with the universe in a harmonious way? It is simply because all other religions and dogmas have never adopted a true monotheistic way of life.

They emphasized the personification of god through nature. They also assumed that contradiction was a principle characteristic of knowledge. Therefore, during a period of more than 1000 years, when Christianity, for example, took control of peoples' minds, this era did not produce any natural sciences. Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.

their polytheism76, which was imposed by religious authorities, and until they were exposed to the Muslim scientific revolution. Neither Hinduism, Buddhism nor Christianity could elevate their followers to engage in scientific thinking. Nevertheless, as soon as they became Muslims and worshipped the Almighty God alone, they became scientists and great thinkers side by side with the Muslim Arabs of that era. Examples from history as presented above are great witnesses. Muslims were able to acquire the qualities needed for scientific thinking and advancement for two main reasons: firstly, the Glorious Qur'an and the Noble traditions of Prophet Muhammad urged the people to contemplate and study their own nature as well as themselves and the universe around them.

  • Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Forgiving. (The Qur'an 35:28)
  • Say, Are those who know equal to those who do not know? Only they will remember [who are] people of understanding. (The Qur'an 39:9)
  • Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge by degrees. And Allah is acquainted with what you do. (The Qur'an 58:11)
  • Then, do they not reflect upon the Qur'an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction. (The Qur'an 4:82)
  • Do those who disbelieve not see that the heavens and earth were a joined entity, then We separated them, and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe? (The Qur'an 21:30)

We will show them Our Signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. But is it not sufficient concerning your Lord that He is over all things a Witness?

(The Qur'an 41: 53)

Many of these signs have been thoroughly discussed in the Qur'an and later on discovered by scientists as they progress in their knowledge and their scientific techniques in research development. The following excerpt refers to a single sign that scientist found great details in the Qur'an. Or (the unbelievers' state) is like the darkness in a deep sea. It is covered by waves, above which are waves, above which are clouds. Darknesses, one above another. If a man stretches out his hand, he cannot see it....

(Qu'ran, 24:40)

This verse mentions the darkness found in deep seas and oceans, where if a man stretches out his hand, he cannot see it. The darkness in deep seas and oceans is found around a depth of 200 meters and below.

At this depth, there is almost no light (see the figure below). Below a depth of 1000 meters there is no light at all. Human beings are not able to dive more than forty meters without the aid of submarines or special equipment. Human beings cannot survive unaided in the deep dark part of the oceans, such as at a depth of 200 meters and deeper.

Scientists have recently discovered this darkness by means of special equipment and submarines that have enabled them to dive into the depths of oceans

We can also understand from the following sentences in the previous verse, "...in a deep sea. It is covered by waves, above which are waves, above which are clouds....", that the deep waters of seas and oceans are covered by waves, and above these waves are other waves. It is clear that the second set of waves is the surface waves that we see, because the verse mentions that above the second waves there are clouds. But, what about the first waves? Scientists have recently discovered that there are internal waves, which "occur on density interfaces between layers of different densities."

The internal waves cover the deep waters of seas and oceans because the deep waters have a higher density than the waters above them. Internal waves act like surface waves. They can also break, just like surface waves. The human eye cannot see internal waves, but they can be detected by studying temperature or salinity changes at a given location.

As a matter of fact, this verse that talks about how the universe was created has the very information by which two physicists were awarded the 1973 Nobel Prize. However, these scientific facts had already been revealed to Prophet Mohammed more than 1400 years ago.Secondly, Tawheed (the worship of Allah alone) is the essence on which Islam is built. It rejects all types of myths and superstitions, since they are the greatest enemies of science. Tawheed refers all aspects of causality to Allah. Therefore, scholars should be able to investigate and discover these relationships, know them, and then put them to the use of humanity.

After the long and bitter struggle between science and other religions, Islam came to bring harmony between the religion of Allah and science in this century of science. In this regard, the Muslim World League has established a commission that is specialized in investigating the scientifically proven facts as described in the Qur'an and Sunnah (teachings of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).

In summary, other ways of life (Christianity, Buddhism, Capitalism, Communism and Hinduism) have never come to a unified understanding of Allah, man or nature. Thus their views of science have been fallacious. The unity of Islam allows a proper scientific perspective, which promotes advancement and development in the fields of science and technology. Such understanding of reality and the relation between the human being and nature in addition to the role Muslims should play in science is clearly illustrated in this quote from Dr. Mahathir Mohammed's speech at the Oxford Islamic Forum: In this modern world Muslims have a real mission. They must bring back the spiritual values to a world that is fast becoming Godless and thoroughly materialistic, so arrogant that it thinks it knows all the answers to everything; a world which will develop the ultimate means of destruction and place it on the hands of irresponsible and insane individuals; a world tittering in the brink of a man-made Apocalypse.

Presently, people want to create a world according to their wishes. They forget that for all their brilliance, they can hardly answer the "why" questions. They cannot answer why it works the way it does, why the universe operates in the way it does, why matter acts in the way it does, why oxygen and hydrogen form water,etc. Our scientific endeavor may provide different mechanisms to achieve adequate observation of and descriptive laws of the universe. Adequate explanatory ability will remain most of the time beyond the reach of purely human science. If any answers would emerge, they would only be conjectural. The 21st Century is insignificant to the Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It is just a period in time, which will see many changes to which Muslims will be part of, regardless of their stand towards them. It is better if they faced it with their eyes wide open and with a clear vision of what they want to do and the role they wish to play. And if they chose to play a constructive role while retaining their faith, the spiritual values and brotherhood, they would be able to contribute positively to the development of humankind. I think it is appropriate to conclude this chapter with the words of the great historian of sciences, V. Robinson, in describing the situation of Muslim Spain during the DarkAges in Europe. It is a reminder regarding the function of Islam as a genuine drive for guiding and benefiting science which its aim should be for the benefit of humanity: shone with public lamps; Europe was dirty, Cordova built a thousand baths; Europe was covered with vermin, Cordova changed its garments daily; Europe lay in mud, Cordova's streets were paved; Europe's palaces had smoke-holes in the ceiling, Cordova's arabesques were exquisite; Europe's nobility could not sign its name, Cordova's children went to school; Europe's monks could not read the baptismal service, Cordova's teachers created a library of Alexandrian dimensions.

This conclusion leads to the fourth principle towards which the universality of Islam points -- that it provides the best solutions to the problems facing humankind rather than creating new ones.

today faces numerous critical problems, from individual problems such as, alcoholism and sexual diseases, to social problems such as, the dire conditions of the elderly, abuse of children and women, and pervasive global problems like wars of aggression.