Tuesday, August 09, 2005

QUR’AN AND MODERN SCIENCE

Material prepared by: Shah Kirit bin Kakulal GovindjiE-Mail:
shah@saba.com.my
Hand phone: 019 – 555 7770

Bismillahir Rohmanir Rohim. In the name of Almighty God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Alhamdulillahi Robbil ‘Alamin. All praise is due to Him alone, The Lord, Cherisher and Sustainer of the Universe.

The Chairperson, Distinguished Guests, Learned Speakers, Brothers and Sisters, I welcome you with the universal greeting of Islam; Assalamu’alaikum Warohmatullahi Wabarokatuh; May Peace, Blessing and Mercy of Almighty God be with you.

First of all I will like to thank the organisors for this invitation. The subject for this evening is “Islam and Modern Science”. This subject is basically divided into two parts. Firstly we have to compare our Holy Scriptures against Modern Science. Next we need to analyze whether they are compatible or incompatible.

This topic is timely and relevant. Today many people are of the opinion that science and religion cannot get along. They believe one would only progress if they were to follow science and would stay backwards if they were to follow religion. Is this true? The famous physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Albert Einstein once said; “Science without Religion is misguided and Religion without Science is blind”.

The Holy Scripture in Islam is the Qur’an. We Muslims believe that the Qur’an is of completely divine origin, being the verbatim words of God sent as guidance for all humankind. The Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the last and final revelation of God sent through the last and final prophet of God, Muhammad pbuh 1400 years ago.

The Qur’an is not the book of ‘science’ but it is the book of ‘signs’. The Qur’an contains more than 6000 signs or ayats of which no less than 1000 of it touches on scientific facts.

We all know that science sometime takes a u-turn. Therefore I would only be speaking on established scientific facts and not on theories or hypothesis, as they are not based on proofs but assumptions.

Let us analyze how the universe was created. We all know about the ‘Big Bang’, where the universe was once joined together as one big primary nebula. Then there was a big bang or explosion that resulted the formation of galaxies. These then divided to form the stars, planets, moons, satellites and the earth we live in. Scientist estimates that there are about 250 billion galaxies in the universe and each galaxy contains 300 billion stars!

The Qur’an speaks about the ‘Big Bang’ in 21:30 “Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and earth was once joined together (as one unit of creation) before We clove them asunder”.

In 1929, Edwin Hubble with the aid of a giant telescope discovered that the galaxies were moving further and further from the earth. Later some other scientists discovered that the galaxies were also moving further from one another. This proved that the universe is not stable but it is steadily expanding. Stephen Hawkins in his book ‘A brief history of time’ mentioned: “The discovery that the universe was expanding was one of the greatest intellectual revolutions of the 20th century”.

1400 years ago, before man even learnt how to build a telescope, the Qur’an mentions in 51:47 “For it is We who created the universe, which is steadily expanding”. If the universe is expanding with time then it means if we go back in time, the universe would be shrinking to a point of zero matter. Thus the universe must have been created from nothing; no matter, no time and no space! This also proofs that the universe didn’t exist by itself but was created by a Creator God. The Qur’an also mentions this fact in 6:101 “Allah is the originator of heavens and earth”. Science does not reject the existence of God the Creator of the universe but it rejects the models of gods (demigods). Translated in Arabic, it will read “La ilaha Ilallah” which means, “There is no god but Allah!”

For a long time European philosophers and scientist believed in the Geocentric concept, i.e.: the earth is in the centre of the universe and every thing in the universe including our sun moved around it. In 1512, Nicholas Copernicus put forward his Heliocentric Theory of Planetary Movement, i.e.; the sun is motionless in the centre of our solar system and the planets moved around it.

Today we know as a fact that the sun is not motionless but it also moves in its orbit around the centre of our Milky Way galaxy at the speed of 150 miles per second (720 000 Km per hour). It takes about 200 million years for the sun to complete one orbit. The Qur’an mentions in 36:40 “It is not permitted for the sun to catch up with moon, nor can the night outstrip the day, each (just) swims along in its own orbit (according to law)”.

It was only a few decades ago that we discovered the sun too rotates around its axes, which takes about 25 days to complete one rotation. Even this fact is also mentioned in the Qur'an in 21:33 “It is He who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon, all swims along its rounded course”. The Arabic word used for ‘swim’ is ‘yasbahun’ which is derived from the word ‘sabaha’, which means ‘motion from a moving body’.

Previously mankind thought the earth was flat. They were afraid to sail too far lest they will reach the edge and fall. The first person to sail around the world was Sir Francis Drake in 1597. Only then people knew that the world was spherical.

1400 years ago, when the whole world thought that the earth was flat, the Qur’an gave the spherical description of the earth in several verses. In 31:29 “Allah merges night into day and He merges day into night”. Merging means that the night slowly and gradually changes into day and vice versa. This is only possible if the earth was spherical because if the earth was flat, there will be a sudden change from night to day.

Furthermore in 39:5 “He makes the night overlap the day and the day overlap the night”. The Arabic word used here is ‘kawara’ meaning to overlap or to coil, i.e. to coil a turban indicating the earth is spherical.

The exact shape of earth is mentioned in 79:30 “and He had made the earth egg shaped”. The Arabic word used here is ‘dahaha’ which comes from the root word ‘duhiya’ meaning ostrich egg. The earth is not perfectly spherical like a ball but it is little flat on the poles and slightly bulging in the centre. It is geospherical just like the shape of an ostrich egg.

Geologists tell us today that the radius of the earth is 3750 miles and the outer solid crust is very thin, ranging between 1 to 30 miles. The deeper layers are hot and fluid. The earth is just like an egg, which has a thin layer of solid shell on outside and inside is fluid. The earth spins around it axes at a speed of more than 1000 miles/hour. Imagine if we spin the egg at the speed of only 100 miles/hour, what will happen? The egg could not survive the pressure and it will explode. The earth too could not have survived if not for the fact that the mountains have been stabilizing the earth as well as acting as pegs which holds the earth crust together.

The Qur'an mentions about the mountains giving stability to earth in 21:31 “and We have set on the earth mountains standing firm, lest it should shake with them”. The Qur’an also mentions about the function of mountains as pegs in 78:6-7 “have We not made the earth as a wide expanse, and the mountains as pegs?”

The Qur’an says in 21:30 “We made from water every living thing”. Today with the help of advanced science equipments we come to know that cytoplasm, the basic substance in cell is made of 80% water. Research also has shown that most organisms contain 50% - 90% water. Every living thing needs water for its existence. Who could have known this fact 1400 years ago and that too in the desert of Arabia?

A group of Arab students collected all the verses in the Qur’an related to embryology, translated them into English and presented to Prof. (Dr) Keith Moore, who was the Professor of embryology and the Chairman of the Department of Anatomy in University of Toronto, Canada. Presently he is one of the highest authorities in the field of embryology. After carefully examining those verses, he said most of the verses from the Qur’an on embryology were in perfect conformity with modern discoveries in the field of embryology.

However there were few verses that he could not comment as science has not reach to that level. One such verse was from 96:1-2 “Proclaim! In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, who created man out of alaq”. The Arabic word ‘alaq’ means clot of congealed blood or something that clings or leech like substance. Prof Keith Moore at that time didn’t know whether the embryo at initial stage looks like a leech. He took a diagram of leech and studied the embryo under a very powerful microscope. He was astonished at the striking resemblance between the two.

In 1981 during the 7th Medical Conference in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Dr Moore said “it is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad from God or Allah, because almost all of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that Muhammad must have been a Messenger of God”.

The embryonic stages is accurately mentioned in the Qur’an in 23:14 “Then We made the sperm into ‘alaqah’ (a clot of congealed blood), then We made into ‘mudghah’ (foetus lump), this mudghah is transformed into ‘izam’ (bones) and cloth it with ‘lahm’ (flesh)”.

In this verse Allah states that the sperm is made into ‘alaqah’ (clot of congealed blood or something that clings or leech like substance). It is scientifically accepted that the embryo in initial stage looks like a leech, also looks like a clot of congealed blood and it also clings to the wall of uterus. Then it is made into mudghah (foetus lump) and transformed into ‘izam’ (bones) and clothed with ‘lahm’ (flesh or muscles). These stages are in perfect agreement with modern scientific discoveries!

The Qur’an says in 4:82 “Do they not consider the Qur’an (with care)? Had it been from other than God, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy.” For a scripture to claim that it is from a divine source there could not have been even a single discrepancy or contradiction in it. There are more than 1000 verses in the Qur’an that touches on science. About 80% of them have been proven to be correct and are in perfect agreement with modern science. The balance 20% cannot be proven to be correct or incorrect because modern science has not reached the level of the Qur’an!

There is not even a single verse of the Qur’an that goes against established scientific facts. On the contrary the Qur’an, which was revealed 1400 years ago contains profound scientific facts, that were yet to be discovered by humankind centuries later.

Any person who claims that he / she is logical, rational, scientific and honest will have no other choice but to admit that the Qur’an is the word of Almighty God! If the Qur’an is not the word of God, then you tell me who else could have written it 1400 years ago.

Some allege that Prophet Muhammad must have written the Qur’an with the help of other people. To disprove this allegation it is enough to say that it was impossible for any single human being at that time to have their own knowledge on all the scientific facts mentioned above.

Others may allege that the Qur’an have been copied from earlier scriptures. The point to note here is that there is not a single scripture of the past that mentions these scientific facts with such accuracy. On the contrary you will find many errors and contradictions in them.

There have also been claims that the Qur’an was written by Satan. Then why the Qur’an says in 4:119 “Whoever, forsaking God, takes Satan for a friend, has of a surety suffered a loss that is manifest”. In 24:21 “follow not Satan’s footsteps, if any will follow the footsteps of Satan, he will (but) command what is shameful and wrong”. If Satan were the author of Qur’an, why would the Satan condemn itself?

Tonight when you go home, you owe yourself at least to ponder on this truth; who else could be the author of the Qur’an if it was not Almighty God? The Qur’an says in 2:256 “truth stands out clear from falsehood” and in 17:81 “truth has arrived and falsehood perished; for falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish”.

We can go on and on but time does not permit me to do so. If you have any questions, do let me know and I will do my level best to answer them.

May Almighty God forgive me if I had done any mistakes. Everything good is from Almighty God and the shortcomings are mine alone. Thank you.

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