Islam and Science

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Islam and Science
The 6th century Islamic empire inherited the scientific tradition of late antiquity. They preserved it, elaborated it, and finally, passed it to Europe (Science: The Islamic Legacy 3). At this early date, the Islamic dynasty of the Umayyads showed a great interest in science. The Dark Ages for Europeans were centuries of philosophical and scientific discovery and development for Muslim scholars. The Arabs at the time assimilated the ancient wisdom of Persia and the classical heritage of Greece, as well as adapting their own ways of thinking (Hitti 363). The Islamic ability to reconcile monotheism and science prooves to be a first time in human thought that theology, philosophy, and science were coordinated in a unified whole. Thus, their contribution was "one of the first magnitude, considering its effect upon scientific and philosophic thought and upon the theology of later times" (Hitti 580). One of the reasons for such development of science is probably due to God's commandment to explore the laws of nature. The idea is to admire all creations for its complexity and to cherish the creator for His ingenuity. Possibly holding to this belief, Islam's contributions to science had covered many roots of thought including mathematics, astronomy, medicine and philosophy. A common misconception today is that religion and science cannot coincide because they contradict each other. In the case of Islam, however, this statement has been disproven by verses in the Qur'an, hadeeth (prophetic tradition), and scientific discoveries by prominent Muslim philosophers. On the contrary, one of the traditions left by Prophet Muhammad teaches Muslims "to seek knowledge, though it be in China," or not at arm's length (Science in the Golden Age 8). Muslims are encouraged to use intelligence and observations to draw conclusions. Islamic civilizations, in fact, were the "inheritors of the scientific tradition of late antiquity. They preserved it, elaborated it, and, finally, passed it on to Europe" (Science: The Islamic Legacy 3). Much of Europe's scientific resurrection can be attributed to the translations of over 400 Arab authors in the subjects of ophthalmology, surgery, pharmaceuticals, child care, and public health (Tschanz 31). The fusion of both Eastern and Western ideas caused Islamic civilizations to thrive in all aspects of life, specifically science and technology.

There are many instances in which the Qur'an accurately portrays scientific details not available at the time of its revelation. One fallacy against the advancement of science through religion is that discrepancies between verses in the ancient manuscripts of the Qur'an and the modern ones could have been edited out, but when compared, both texts are identical. Some argue that Prophet Muhammad is the founder of Islam and is responsible for authoring the Qur'an, but "the compatibility between the statements in the Qur'an and firmly established data of modern science with regard to subjects on which nobody at the time of Muhammad—not even the Prophet himself—could have had access to the knowledge we posses today" (Bucaille 3-5). Parallels between modern science and verses in the Qur'an exist even in the origins of the universe. Modern cosmology specifies that the universe originated from a hot, high density gas, or more simply put, smoke. Scientists now observe new stars forming from the same smoke. The Qur'an states that "He [God] turned to the heaven when it was smoke…" (Qur'an 41:11). The Big Bang Theory is also supported by the Qur'an in that God asks "have not those who disbelieved known that the heavens and the earth were one connected entity, then We separated them?" (Qur'an 21:30). Dr. Alfred Kroner, one of the world's most prominent geologists, expressed that without knowledge of nuclear physics 1400 years ago, one could not figure out that the earth and the heavens had the same origin on his own, especially since...
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