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Understanding the Signs of Allah through Scientific Endeavours

The argument for why Muslims should continue to embrace scientific pursuits while remaining grounded in their faith. By doing so, they can continue to uncover the beauty and complexity of Allah's signs while contributing to the advancement of human knowledge for the greater good.

In Islam, the pursuit of knowledge is highly valued and encouraged. The Quran itself emphasizes the importance of seeking knowledge, and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stressed the significance of education and learning throughout his teachings. The quest for knowledge is not limited to religious matters but encompasses all areas of human understanding, including the sciences, which themselves support religious knowledge. Muslims firmly believe that acquiring knowledge is a means of drawing closer to Allah (God) and gaining a deeper understanding of His attributes and his relationship with his creation. In this article, we will explore the concept of "signs of Allah" and how they can be understood as part of the scientific endeavour.

Signs of Allah: Understanding the Concept

In Islamic theology, "signs of Allah" refer to the numerous manifestations of Allah’s existence, power, and wisdom throughout the universe. These signs are found in both the natural world, his book – the Quran, and within ourselves. The Quran frequently invites people to ponder over these signs as a means of recognizing the presence of a Creator and gaining a deeper understanding of His attributes.

Therefore, the signs of Allah are not limited to the Quran. They are observable through the wonders of nature, the intricacies of the human body, the laws of physics, and the vastness of the cosmos. Muslims believe that these signs are not random occurrences but rather deliberate creations of Allah, pointing towards His existence and wisdom.

How?

Allah says in the Quran, “The Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it: “Be! and it is.” (2:117), whether it is by his decree to come into existence instantaneously if he wants or whether it is determined over time like the universe was. Where it is determined to come into existence over time, then Allah uses the very same system he bought into being by his decree the creation to bring the new matter into existence or he develops a new system to bring it into existence. Of ‘course within his designs those systems have rules and it is those designs that point to him that are his signs. So one can ask, what system is there that we cannot undertake to understand to better reason with and know of his existence and power?

Allah has everything in a precise measure “Verily, all things have We created in proportion and measure” (54:49). This measure when understood helps us understand the system that is working, better, whether it be through statistical analysis or reason. If we can measure it, we can study it, and if we can study it, we can understand it and teach it, and of ‘course we can link it back to Allah. 

Allah further says “And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be inquired into (on the Day of Reckoning).” (17:36) 

So before pursuing any matter, gain knowledge so you make the right decision or gain the right way forward. In business this is known as minimizing your risks by understanding the landscape, before expending resources. The same logic can be applied to any other field. If you need to know how someone can recover from an illness, you undertake some form of study to understand how the body works and how you can help it repair. Allah says “Those who do not know say, "Why does Allah not speak to us or there come to us a sign?" Thus spoke those before them like their words. Their hearts resemble each other. We have shown clearly the signs to a people who are certain [in faith].” (2:118). Therefore, we can ascertain that indeed the signs are directly related to faith. In addition Allah says: “And it is not for any human being that Allah should speak to him except by revelation or from behind a partition or that He sends a messenger to reveal, by His permission, what He wills. Indeed, He is Most High and Wise.” (42:51). Since the religion has been completed and the final prophet has come and gone, it is through what we have of his revelations that can be used to determine if the science of his signs can establish our belief in his revelation and vice versa.

So what is the challenge that we face?

The challenge is 

  1. Not to follow assumptions 

Allah says “Most of them follow nothing but ˹inherited˺ assumptions. ˹And˺ surely assumptions can in no way replace the truth. Allah is indeed All-Knowing of what they do” 10:36. So clearly by underpinning Allah as the creator and understanding his signs by his systems that he created, we could better adhere to our faith as our faith would strengthen in face of ideological challenges and other challenges bought on by people who resort to knowledge, (or what is assumed of it) at its core, to disprove him and his religion.

  1. Ask the people of knowledge

By reinforcing knowledge of the signs that Allah has determined and blessed us with, with revelation, we can strengthen our people of the reminder who in turn can protect us in our worldly journey. They can protect us as they we about their lives whilst our social status changes within membership of our community, whether it be as a son, brother, parent, carer, neighbor, friend, associate, teacher, boss, etc. and when our social status changes we can be there for those we are relevant for.

Our prophet said: Allah is at the back of a servant so long as the servant is at the back of his brother, and he who treads the path in search of knowledge, Allah would make that path easy, leading to Paradise for him and those persons who assemble in the house among the houses of Allah (mosques) and recite the Book of Allah and they learn and teach the Quran (among themselves) there would descend upon them tranquillity and mercy would cover them and the angels would surround them and Allah mentions them in the presence of those near Him, and he who is slow-paced in doing good deeds, his (high) lineage does not make him go ahead. (Muslim 2699) https://sunnah.com/muslim:2699a

The Role of Scientific Endeavors

In Islam, the pursuit of knowledge, including scientific knowledge, is seen as an act of worship so long as it is to increase one’s relationship with Allah, contemplate on what exists, and to strengthen one’s own faith and actions in worship of Allah or that of their communities. The Quran encourages believers to use their intellect and reasoning abilities to reflect on the signs of Allah. This idea is beautifully encapsulated in the verse:

"Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding." (Quran 3:190)

Indeed, this verse encourages one to gain an understanding of faith first, prior to pursuing a path of scientific endeavour. By exploring the natural world and understanding its mechanisms through scientific endeavors, Muslims seek to unveil the mysteries of the signs of Allah. The scientific method, with its emphasis on observation, experimentation, and evidence-based reasoning, provides a structured approach to understanding the universe. With faith, It complements the Islamic belief in the signs of Allah, as it encourages Muslims to delve deeper into the natural order and unravel the complexities of creation.

Harmony between Science and Islam

Throughout history, Muslims have made significant contributions to various scientific disciplines, ranging from astronomy and mathematics to medicine and chemistry. Scholars like Al-Biruni, Ibn al-Haytham, Ibn Sina, and others played pivotal roles in advancing human knowledge during the Islamic Golden Age. They saw their scientific pursuits not as a contradiction to their faith but as a means of enhancing their understanding of the signs of Allah.

Islam does not view science and religion as incompatible. On the contrary, it encourages Muslims to embrace science as a tool to decipher the wonders of Allah's creation. The Quran itself emphasizes the need for observation and contemplation:

"Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alteration of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding. Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], 'Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.'" (Quran 3:190-191)

These verses highlight the importance of reflecting on the universe and understanding the underlying wisdom behind its existence.

Ethical and Responsible Pursuit of Knowledge

In the pursuit of knowledge, Islam emphasizes ethical conduct and responsible research. Scientists are encouraged to be honest in their observations, experiments, and reporting of results. Misrepresentation of data, plagiarism, and unethical practices are strictly forbidden.

Furthermore, Islam advocates the responsible use of knowledge. Technological advancements and scientific discoveries should be employed for the betterment of humanity and the environment within the guidelines of Islam, rather than for harm or destruction.

Conclusion

The pursuit of knowledge by Muslims encompasses a wide range of disciplines, including scientific endeavours. Understanding the signs of Allah through scientific exploration is not only compatible with Islamic beliefs but also encouraged. Muslims are called upon to use their intellect and reasoning to reflect on the wonders of creation and recognize the presence of a Creator.

The harmony between science and Islam is evident in the rich history of Muslim contributions to various scientific fields. The ethical and responsible pursuit of knowledge further reflects the values and principles upheld by Islam.

As the world progresses, Muslims should continue to embrace scientific pursuits while remaining grounded in their faith. By doing so, they can continue to uncover the beauty and complexity of Allah's signs while contributing to the advancement of human knowledge for the greater good.