Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Islam and Science | Al-Risala April 1988

Ancient man was of the view that the events taking place around him were mysterious in origin, and could not be explained in any rational way. But modern man knows that there is a definite cause for whatever happens in the world. This change in thinking is reflected in a typical Indian family’s discussion of space flight, which was reported in The Times of India of April 20, 1984.

“Dad,” the youngest daughter asked, “Can I become the first spacewoman?” Her grandmother promptly assured her that she could, and that she would consult Pandit Girdhar Vyas to see what it said in her Kundali (horoscope). “Granny,” interjected the girl’s brother, “you should consult the Russian leaders, not an astrologer!”

In ancient time, ‘knowledge’ was simply a set of analogies compiled by astrologers, soothsayers and others of that ilk. In modern times, however, it is only those realities which are discovered and ex­plained by observation and experiment which can be properly said to constitute knowledge. The educated youth of today appreciates that it is scientists who have a specialized knowledge of space travel, and not fortune tellers, and that it is to them that he must turn if he wishes to have an accurate grasp of the subject.

Man’s entire way of thinking has been transformed in modern times and, in conveying the message of Islam in the modern world, this transformation must be taken fully into account. It would be extremely regrettable if Islam – a completely scientific religion– were presented to the world in unscientific terms by preachers who were not them­selves abreast of the latest developments in modern thinking. Their efforts to convince their more scientifically-minded contemporaries would be wasted, and any shortcomings in their method of presentation would be attributed to Islam itself. This kind of failure is something which must be sedulously guarded against by any would be Dayee.