Maulana Wahiduddin Khan I Islam and Science
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan I Islam and Science
Many people are under the impression that religious truths cannot be proved scientifically. But inferring truths from things, as religion does, is the very reasoning which scientists employ in their everyday deductions. In ancient times water was just water. Then, in the 19th century, the microscope was invented. When water was looked at under a micro¬scope, it was discovered that water was not just water; it also contained countless live bacteria. In the same way man used to think that there were no more stars in the sky than those which can be seen with the naked eye.
Modern Theological science is a substantiation of religious dogmas with due regard for contemporary intellect; or a presenta¬tion of Islamic teachings according to modern rational methods. First of all, we must ascertain exactly what this contemporary intel¬lect is. Contemporary intellect is synonymous with scientific intel¬lect, or that intellect which emphasizes the importance of the essen¬tial nature of things. The scientific revolution has had a profound effect on human thought.
One of the consequences of the intellectual revolution based on monotheism was that man began to look at nature as a powerless creature, and that man had the right to investigate it and bring it to his service. The beginning of this tendency came from the Umayyad period (661-750) in Damascus. To ancient Greek philosophers alchemy was the name of a craze to turn silver into gold. KhaIid bin Yazid bin Muawiya is probably the first person who attempted to develop alchemy into physical science.
Robert Boyle (1627-1691), devoted himself entirely to the study of science, and, in time, became a scientist of repute in London. But his studies did not distance him from religion. They had the effect rather of bringing him closer to it, and, in his later years, he became a staunch and zealous protestant Christian. He did not marry and could, therefore, devote his entire life and earnings to the propagation of the Christian faith. “Robert Boyle believed in the existence of God.
If a tree is planted with its roots severed, it will look as green as any other plant to start with, but, on the very next day, its leaves will start drying up, and will goon drying up, for very soon the tree will die. This is exactly what has happened to atheism and disbelief in religion. In the beginning it looked as if atheism was flourishing, religion had become a thing of the past and the world had entered an age of irreligion. But this was a short¬-lived phenomenon, principally because it was rootless. And now religion has bounced back with renewed vigour.
It has generally been held, since the time of Charles Darwin (1809 -¬1882), that the present earth came into existence in the form of lifeless matter and that life began on it later through an evolutionary process. It is on this assumption that the theory of evolution has been based. It has thus been postulated that the emergence of life on earth dates back 570 million years. Since World War II this theory has come in for sharp criticism. Numerous researchers have demonstrated that, had life evolved gradually, the estimated period of 570 million years would have been grossly inadequate.
Charles Robert Darwin is famous for having given the concept of evolution to the world. He wrote two books on this subject: The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man. The Origin of Species is merely, an attempt to interpret the origin of species. Therefore, a more appropriate name for it would have been ‘The Interpretation of the Origin of Species.’ After the publication of Darwin’s book, the Christian church bitterly opposed his interpretation, as people had come to regard Darwinism as the negation of the existence of God. But that is not true.
Sir Fred Hoyle, a distinguished contemporary scientist, has written a 250-page book, The Intelligent Universe, in which he has shown that modern scientific studies of the universe have, surprisingly, contra¬dicted the trend of thought which dominated people’s minds in the 19th century. The universe had come to be considered a blind interplay of unconscious matter, but research conducted in various departments of science in the latter half of the 20th century explicitly demonstrates that the universe is not simply a material thing.