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A Scientific View Rooted within an Islamic Worldview

Children are the ones who usually ask the innocent, but difficult questions: "Why is the sky blue?", "How was the earth made? or "What are earthquakes?" Sometimes, in an attempt to answer our children's curious questions about the natural operations of the world, we may miss the mark.

When we only understand the scientific cause of an event, it may at times supplant the knowledge of our Prophet ﷺ, and sometimes adopting a scientific worldview may lead to a state of ghafla - heedlessness. This sort of disengaged reason allows us to look at the world from an autonomous viewpoint. By doing this, it may lead us to abandon the frameworks that help us to know where we stand and what meanings things have for us. It may render the child's inquiry independent of the ultimate goal - an understanding of what makes a good life (حَيَوٰةً طَيِّبَةً - Surah An-Nahl, verse 97).

The word science comes from the latin root scientia, meaning knowledge. But how do you really know that something is true? In 1620 CE, Sir Francis Bacon developed a method for philosophers to use in weighing the truthfulness of knowledge. To test potential truths or hypotheses, Bacon devised a method, which became the foundation of the scientific method. Hypothesis testing is a wonderful way to test and gain insights, it is a crucial part of the scientific process, it helps you to weigh what you have learned to potentially infer something about the true reality of what you questioned.

But, by only accumulating information, and thinking we can explain the cause of an event, we may remove the awe, wonder, and majesty of Allah ﷻ. This makes our analysis incomplete. A scientist does not take these natural operations for granted, Muslims of the ninth century were thinking deeply about the world around them, asking similar questions to understand their surroundings, and it was the creation of Allah ﷻ that motivated them.

If we start to divide science into what is rational and what is religious, this would be a serious mistake. We actually need to draw the circle closed - relating our understanding back to Allah ﷻ. Folding the subject into our understanding, letting it change the way we think and thus leading us to act in a way that is pleasing to Allah ﷻ. When scientific knowledge is viewed and rooted within an Islamic worldview, then this type of knowledge becomes beneficial for this life and the next. May Allah ﷻ protect our hearts and grant us knowledge that is beneficial. Ameen ya Rabb.

رَّبِّ زِدْنِى عِلْمًا

Rabi Zidni 'Ilma

[Qur'an 20:114]

Further Reading:

Qureshi, Omar. "Science Curriculum from an Islamic Worldview." In Curriculum Renewal for Islamic Education, edited by N. Memon, M. Alhashimi., and M. Abdalla, 113-124. (New York, NY: Routledge, 2021).