In 1633 Galileo was prosecuted by the Church for giving the theory that Earth is not the center of the universe. The Church and Christian scholars termed this theory as against the Christian doctrine of that time. What is the Islamic position on Modern Developments, science and technology, is a topic I explore in this blog.
Does Islam Discourage Scientific Research.
While scholars from other religions feel threatened with modern scientific research as most of the times this causes a direct conflict with their doctrines and books, Muslim scholars, however, in the light of Quran and Sunnah, have not only allowed scientific research but have also encouraged it. The Noble Quran is full of such verses in which Allah has asked and in some cases even dared humanity to make scientific observations and find any deviation in any of HIS creations.
67:3 – who has created seven skies, one over the other. You will see nothing out of proportion in the creation of the Rahman (the all-Merciful Allah). So, cast your eye again. Do you see any rifts?
67:4 – Then cast your eye again and again, and the eye will come back to you abased, in a state weariness.
Allah has nothing to hide and has made that very clear in multiple locations in the Holy Quran and Sunnah.
Discoveries Will Only Help Islam
In fact, Islamic scholars, in the light of Quran and Sunnah, believe that modern discoveries will only help Islam. Allah says that clearly in the following and similar verses in the Quran.
41:53 – We will show them our signs in the universe and within their own beings until it will become manifest to them that it is the truth. Is it not enough about your Lord that HE is witness to everything?
Mufti Muhammad Shafi mentions in Maariful Quran (English) on Page 666 Vol 7, in explanation of the above verse.
If one looks even nearer, at one’s own self, at each organ and limb, at the fine and fragile mechanisms and systems functioning inside him to provide ease and comfort, it simply leaves one wondering. And these fragile mechanisms and systems have been made so durable that they do not wear out even after seventy, eighty year’s of use. Look at the springs inside the joints. Had they been made of steel by humans, they would have been rendered unserviceable long ago. Look at the skin of the hands and then lines made thereon that last for the whole life, and yet do not wear out. If a person of even an ordinary intellect ponders over these matters, he is bound to believe that Creator and Sustainer of all these things is a Being who has limitless knowledge and Authority, and there simply cannot be anyone like HIM.
Also an example is of Verse 23:14 which gives a very clear depiction on how a child is created in the mother’s womb. It is only with modern tools that man can look deep within a mother’s womb and verify that this verse is in fact the truth. Based on this verse alone, anyone can vouch that Quran is truly the Word of God, since man wasn’t able to know about this process till only recently, while Allah told us about this through the Quran, which was revealed more than 1400 years ago. Isn’t this what Allah told us in 41:53 that (we will show them signs) within their own beings?
23:14 – Then we turned the sperm-drop into a clot, then we turned the clot into a fetus-lump, then We turned the fetus-lump into bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh; thereafter We developed it into another creature. So, glorious is Allah, the Best of the creators.
Therefore truth of Islam will flourish even more with the advancement of science and scientific knowledge, provided that its point of view remains scientific in the real sense of the word and is not based on here-say, myths and unproven theories.
There are a lot of Prophetic Traditions, in which Rasool Allah accepted and encouraged the usage of modern technology (which was modern at that time). e.g. the use of ‘Trenches’ for defending Madina in ‘Ghazwa Khanduq’. In the battle of ‘Taif’ a catapult was constructed and used as a Cannon and ‘Dababah’ which was the tank of that time was also used. All these technologies were new to the Arabs of that time, and were unknown to Rasool Allah as well. But the suggestion to adopt was not only given due consideration, but it was also put into practice.
Not only this, but our Prophet sent two Sahaba to the city of Jarash in Syria to learn the techniques of manufacturing Dababas (tank), Manjaniq (catapult) and Dhabur (similar to tank and used by Romans).
According to one narration the Prophet advised people to promote their business by increasing trade in clothes because a cloth-merchant always wishes that the people remain prosperous and free from worries.
A lot more examples are available but only few have been provided above.
Parameters for Research and Usage
However Islam does set some boundaries and parameters of research.
Researching on things which Allah had made haram is not allowed in Islam. e.g. Alcohol has been labeled haram, so it is not allowed to do research for the purpose of discovering and creation of new blends.
Research should be aimed for noble purpose, that is, something which will help or protect humanity.
These technologies must not be used to do something which is Haram. e.g. Internet is an exceptional modern technology. But if we adopt this tool for ‘Porn’ or ‘Spam’ or to spread hatred, then it will be termed as haram and its usage will be prohibited by Islamic scholars.
Therefore Islam not only allows but encourages pursuit of research and development of modern tools and technologies. However it does lay down some parameters for usages, more details for which can be obtained from authentic Islamic Scholars.
Islam and Modernism By Mufti Taqi Usmani. Click Here To Read the book.
Ma’ariful Quran by Mufti Muhammad Shafi.