Friday, 27 May 2011

quran reading classes - quran reading on line

The Quran, Knowledge and Science

The Description of
Knowledge in the Quran and by the Prophet (saas)

There are plenty of
references to knowledge and the pursuit of knowledge
in the Quran. The general feeling they leave the
reader with is that the possessor of knowledge or
wisdom has been given a very powerful gift, and that
the pursuit of knowledge is something which should
be done actively by everyone. Here are a few verses
on the subject:

Read! In the name of your Lord who created -
Created the human from something which clings.
Read! And your Lord is Most Bountiful - He who
taught (the use of) the Pen, Taught the human
that which he knew not.

These five verses make
up the first passage revealed from the Quran to
mankind through the Prophet Muhammad (saas). It is
interesting that of all the things which Allah chose
to begin His revelation with is related to the
actions of reading and writing, especially the
latter. The ability to write and store information
is described by Professor Carl Sagan in his book
COSMOS: "Writing is perhaps the greatest of human
inventions, binding together people, citizens of
distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books
break the shackles of time, proof that humans can
work magic." [21]

[2:269] He
[Allah] grants wisdom to whom He pleases; and he
to whom wisdom is granted indeed receives a
benefit overflowing. But none will grasp the
Message except men of understanding.

High above all is Allah, the King, the Truth. Do
not be in haste with the Quran before its
revelation to you is completed, but say, "O my
Sustainer! Increase my knowledge."

[3:190-191] Verily in the creation of the
heavens and the earth, and the alternation of
night and day - there are indeed signs for men
of understanding; Men who remember Allah,
standing, sitting, and lying down on their
sides, and contemplate the creation of the
heavens and the earth (with the thought) "Our
Lord! Not for nothing have You created (all)
this. Glory to You! Give us salvation from the
suffering of the Fire."

These verses are a
clear demonstration that 'science' and 'religion'
were NOT meant to be fundamentally incompatible with
each other by Allah. In fact, verses [3:190-191]
strongly imply that "contemplating" the world around
us is an integral part of faith.

Say: Travel through the earth and see how Allah
originated creation; so will Allah produce the
second creation (of the Afterlife): for Allah
has power over all things.

There are also
references in the Quran describing the value (in the
sight of Allah) of a knowledgeable person as opposed
to an ignorant person. They are not equal:

...Say: Are those equal, those who know and
those who do not know? It is those who are
endued with understanding that remember (Allah's

...Allah will raise up to (suitable) ranks (and
degrees) those of you who believe and who have
been granted knowledge.

The first source of
Islam is the Quran - and we have seen some verses
above on the subject of knowledge. The second source
is the life of Prophet Muhammad (saas). Here are a
few of the Prophet's sayings on the subject of

"Upon a person
whom Allah desires good, He bestows the
knowledge of faith." - from the hadith
collections of Bukhari and Muslim

"A person who
follows a path for acquiring knowledge, Allah
will make easy the passage to Paradise for him."
- from the collection of Muslim

"A Muslim is
never satiated in his quest for good (knowledge)
till it ends in Paradise." - from the collection
of Tirmizi

The Relationship
Between the Quran and Modern Science

Modern scientific
theory today finds itself quite close to the Quran.
There are at least two reasons behind this
observation. The first is the lack of
inconsistencies between the Quran and observable
natural phenomena. Science has not been able to
produce theories or experiments that fundamentally
contradict the Quran. Had our science done so,
either our understanding of the Quran or of the
world would have been to blame: the Quran itself is
true for all times. The second reason for the
remarkable harmony between the Quran and science is
the presence in the Quran itself of very clear and
positive encouragement to contemplate and
investigate the world around us. As the verses
quoted above indicate, Allah has not forbidden man
to question, and in fact, it seems He wants us to do

Soon will We show them Our Signs in the
(farthest) horizons, and within themselves,
until it becomes manifest to them that it is the

The historical event
which this verse alludes to is the conquest of
Makkah. However, almost every verse in the Quran
carries a historical and a universal meaning, and
therefore one possible interpretation of this verse
is that it refers to the gradual discovery of
greater and greater natural "evidence" of the
Creator's involvement in our world. Two of the most
important and most fascinating goals of modern
science are to peer farther and farther out to the
edge of the universe, and to look deeper and deeper
into the structure of the human body. It is in these
two areas that we find the "signature" of Allah's
creative power at its strongest.

A Selection of Quranic
Verses which Comment on the Natural World

A. - On the ongoing
process of creation

...and He creates other things beyond your

...Allah creates what He wills...

These two verses,
among others, indicate that Allah has not 'finished'
creation; rather, it is an ongoing process. This is
very significant from a scientific point of view
because we are gradually beginning to observe and
understand certain natural phenomena which are still
in a process of formation. One prime example is our
observation of still- emerging galaxies from huge
clouds of nebulae. Another is the evolution of
species, with its associated evidence of strange and
exotic "intermediate" life forms turned into
fossils. These two examples are just the tip of the
iceberg; the following excerpt from the physicist
Paul Davies' book The Cosmic Blueprint underscores
the growing awareness of continuous creation:

"An increasing
number of scientists and writers have come to
realize that the ability of the physical world
to organize itself constitutes a fundamental,
and deeply mysterious, property of the universe.
The fact that nature has creative power, and is
able to produce a progressively richer variety
of complex forms and structures, challenges the
very foundation of contemporary science. 'The
greatest riddle of cosmology,' writes Karl
Popper, the well-known philosopher, 'may well
be...that the universe is, in a sense,
creative.'" [21]

B. - On pollution and
the wasting of natural resources

Rottenness (decay/corruption) has appeared on
land and sea because of what the hands of men
have earned, that (Allah) may give them a taste
of some of their deeds, in order that they may
turn back (from evil).

[7:31] O
Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at
every time and place of prayer; eat and drink,
but waste not by excess, for Allah does not love
those who waste.

The importance of
understanding the ecological consequences of our
actions as individuals or as a society was not fully
appreciated until this century. We now understand
that we cannot alter the face of the earth
indiscriminately without paying some penalty, which
may be disastrous. We also understand that caution
ought to be applied globally, not just locally but
truly "on land and sea". Ecological awareness does
not imply asceticism however. According to the
Quran, we are not forbidden to take pleasure in this
life, however we are forbidden from wasting
resources needlessly.

C. - On the dual
nature of iron

...And We sent down iron in which is mighty
harm, as well as many benefits for mankind...

Iron is one of two
metals found abundantly on the earth (aluminum being
the other). It was known to many ancient
civilizations, and is the most important metal we
use today. The general description of it in the
Quran was accurate in the time of the ancients, and
it is even more so today: iron is the basis for most
weapons of war and most of the everyday tools which
we work with.

D. - On the origin of
life in water

...And We made every living thing from water...

And Allah has created every animal from water...

Modern scientific
theory on the origin of life was not firmly
established up until the last two or three
centuries. Prior to that, the predominant theory on
the origin of life was based on a concept called
"spontaneous generation" where living creatures
literally popped out of inanimate matter
spontaneously and continuously. This view was
discredited with the work of many Renaissance
scientists including Harvey and Redi, and in the
1850's, Louis Pasteur's research on bacteriology
sealed the coffin on this theory. Starting with the
work of Huxley up to the present day, an alternative
theory has been proposed where life is understood to
have emerged from a long, increasingly complex chain
of chemical reactions. These reactions are believed
to have begun in the depths of the oceans because
the atmosphere was not sufficiently developed to
protect living organisms from ultraviolet radiation:

" is believed
that early forms of life developed in oceans or
pools...It has been suggested that the
colonization of land, about 425,000,000 years
ago, was possible only because enough ozone was
then produced to shield the surface from
ultraviolet light for the first time." [20]

This idea of life
originating in the oceans is strongly supported by
the two Quranic verses quoted above.

It is important to
note however that the Quran does NOT contain an
exclusive endorsement for evolution. While the
verses quoted above indicate beyond any doubt that
Allah created all living things from water, there
are many other verses that emphasize His Absolute
power over everything.

"...For He (Allah) has power over all things."

"...when He has decreed a matter, He only says
to it, 'Be', and it is."

E. - On the diversity
of mankind

And among His Signs is the creation of the
heavens and the earth, and the variations in
your languages and your colors; verily in that
are Signs for those who know.

[49:13] O
mankind! We created you from a male and female,
and made you into nations and tribes, that you
may know each other. Verily the most honored of
you in the sight of Allah is the one who is most
deeply conscious of Him...

The racial and
linguistic differences between humans are not meant
as reasons to discriminate. Allah simply describes
this diversity as a part of His creative power, and
He does not single out any race as being inherently
superior to the others. The emphasis in [49:13], in
fact, is to learn to communicate with one another.

F. - On the Water

Most of us are
familiar with the water cycle from our classes in
middle school, where we learned how a drop of
seawater evaporates, then becomes a drop of
rainwater, and then finally returns to the sea via
rivers or underground channels. The first person in
modern times to understand this process was Bernard
Palissy who described it correctly in 1580 [10].
Prior to him, most of the ancient Greek and Roman
scholars had various incomplete or incorrect
theories on the water cycle (Plato, for example,
believed that precipitation eventually descended
into the abyss called Tartarus and from there it fed
into the oceans [10]).

The Quran does not
give a complete description of the water cycle from
start to end, however there are a few precise
references to specific stages. Perhaps the most
fascinating of these references are the following
two verses on rain clouds:

[30:48] It
is Allah Who sends the winds, and then they
raise clouds: then He spreads them in the sky as
He wills and makes them dark, then you see the
drops issue from the midst of them...

Don't you see how Allah drives clouds with
force, then joins them together, then makes them
into a heap? - then you see the drops issue from
the midst of them. And He sends down from the
sky mountains (of clouds) wherein is hail: He
strikes therewith whom He pleases and He turns
it away from whom He pleases. The flash of His
lightning well-nigh snatches away the sight.

The two verses are
describing the stages in the formation of rain
clouds, which is in turn a stage in the water cycle.
A close examination of these two verses suggests
that they make reference to two different phenomena,
one of "spreading" the clouds and the other of
"joining" them together, two different processes by
which rain clouds might be formed.

Modern meteorology has
come to this very conclusion within the last two
centuries. [17,18,19]

There are two types of
clouds which can yield precipitation, and they are
classified by their shape: stratus (layer-type) and
cumulus (heap- type). The precipitative layer clouds
are further subdivided into stratus and nimbostratus
(nimbo meaning rain). The first verse above on rain
clouds ([30:48]) precisely sums up the formation of
layer rain clouds. It is known today that these
types of clouds are started under conditions of
gradual, rising winds:

then they [winds] raise clouds..." [30:48]

Next, the cloud takes
on its distinctive shape, that of a layer:

He spreads them..." [30:48]

If the conditions are
right (i.e. low enough temperature, high enough
humidity, etc.), the cloud droplets further condense
into (larger) rain droplets, and we observe this
effect from the ground as a darkening of the cloud

makes them dark..." [30:48]

Finally, drops of rain
fall from the cloud.

you see the drops issue from the midst of
them..." [30:48]


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