Thursday, November 3, 2011

Al-Quran and General Science with given Challenge

Ever since the dawn of human life on this planet, Man has always tried to understand Nature, his own place in the scheme of Creation and the purpose of Life itself. In this quest for Truth, spanning many centuries and diverse civilizations, organized religion has shaped human life and, to a large extent, has determined the course of history. While some religions have been based on written text, claimed by their followers to be divinely inspired, others have relied solely on human experience.

Al-Qur’an, the main source of the Islamic faith, is a book believed by its followers, the Muslims, to be completely of Divine origin. Muslims also believe that it contains guidance for all humankind. Since the message of the Qur’an is believed to be for all times, it should be relevant to every age. But does the Qur’an pass this test?

In this booklet, I intend to give an objective analysis of the Muslim belief regarding the Divine origin of the Qur’an, particularly in the light of established scientific discoveries.

There was a time, in the history of world civilization, when ‘miracles’, or what were perceived to be miracles, took precedence over human reason and logic, Of course, the normal defination of ‘miracle’ is simply, anything that takes place out of the normal
course of life and for which humankind has no explanation.

However, we must be careful before accepting something as a miracle. In 1993, ‘The Times of India’, Mumbai, reported that ‘a saint’ by the name ‘Baba Pilot’ claimed to have stayed continuously submerged under water in a tank for three consecutive days and nights. However, when reporters wanted to examine the bottom of the tank of water in which he claimed to have performed his ‘miraculous feat’, he refused to let them do so. He argued by asking as to how one could examine the womb of a mother that gives birth to a child. Obviously the ‘saint’ had something to conceal! His claim was a gimmick simply to gain publicity. Surely, no modern person with even the slightest inkling towards rational thinking would accept such a ‘miracle’. If such false miracles are the tests of divinity, then we would have to accept all world famous magicians known for their ingenious magical tricks and illusions, as genuine God-men!

A book, claiming to be of Divine origin, is in effect, claiming to be a miracle. Such a claim should be easily verifiable in any age, according to the standards of that age. Muslims believe, that the Qur’an is the last and final revelation of God, the miracle of miracles, revealed as a mercy to mankind. Let us therefore investigate the veracity of this belief.

“Does man think that We cannot assemble his bones? Nay, We are able to put together in perfect order the very tips of his fingers.” [Al-Qur’an 75:3-4]

Unbelievers argue regarding resurrection taking place after bones of dead people have disintegrated in the earth and how each individual would be identified on the Day of Judgement. Almighty Allah answers that He can not only assemble our bones but can also reconstruct perfectly our very fingertips.

Why does the Qur’an, while speaking about determination of the identity of the individual, speak specifically about fingertips? In 1880, fingerprinting became the scientific method of identification, after research done by Sir Francis Golt. No two persons in the world can ever have exactly the same fingerprint pattern, not even identical twins. That is the reason why police forces worldwide use fingerprints to identify criminals.

Fourteen hundred years ago, who could have known the uniqueness of each human’s fingerprint? Surely it could have been none other than the Creator Himself!

It was thought that the sense of feeling and pain was dependent only on the brain. Recent discoveries however prove that there are pain receptors present in the skin, without which a person would not be able to feel pain.

When a doctor examines a patient suffering from burn injuries, he verifies the degree of burns by a pinprick. If the patient feels pain, the doctor is happy, because it indicates that the burns are superficial and the pain receptors are intact. On the other hand, if the patient does not feel any pain, it indicates that it is a deep burn and the pain receptors have been destroyed.

The Qur’an gives a clear indication of the existence of pain receptors in the following verse:

“Those who reject our signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire; as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste
the Penalty: acquiring the appearance of a leech.

Compare the readily available Qur’anic knowledge with Man’s struggle with scientific findings:

In 1677, Hamm and Leeuwenhoek were the first scientists to observe human sperm cells (spermatozoa) through a microscope. They thought that a sperm cell contained a miniature human being which grew in the uterus to form a newborn. This was known as the perforation theory. When scientists discovered that the ovum was bigger than the sperm, it was thought by scientists like De Graf and others that the foetus existed in a miniature form in the ovum. Later, in the 18th century, Maupertuis propagated the theory of biparental inheritance.

The ala qah is transformed into mudghah which means ‘something that is chewed (having teeth marks)’ and also something that is tacky and small which can be put in the mouth like gum. Both these explanations are scientifically correct. Prof. Keith Moore took a piece of plaster seal and made it into the size and shape of the early stage of foetus and chewed it between the teeth to make it into a mudghah. He compared this with the photographs of the early stage of foetus. The teeth marks resembled the ‘somites’ which is the early formation of the spinal column.This mudghah is transformed into bones (izam). The bones are clothed with intact flesh or muscles (lahm). Then Allah makes it into another creature for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.” [Al-Qur’an 4:56]

Professor Tejatat Tejasen, Chairman of the Department of Anatomy at Chiang Mai University in Thailand, has spent a great amount of time on research of pain receptors. Initially he could not believe that the Qur’an mentioned this scientific fact 1,400 years ago. He later verified the translation of this particular Qur ‘anic verse. Professor Tejatat Tejasen was so impressed by the scientific accuracy of the Qur’anic verse, that at the 8th Saudi Medical Conference held in Riyadh on the Scientific Signs of Qur’an and Sunnah, he proudly proclaimed in public:

“There is no God but Allah and Muhammad (pbuh) is His Messenger.”

Literature and poetry have been instruments of human expression and creativity, in all cultures. The world also witnessed an age when literature and poetry occupied pride of position, similar to that now enjoyed by science and technology.

Even non-Muslim scholars agree that the Qur’an is Arabic literature par excellence — that it is the best Arabic literature on the face of the earth. The Qur’an challenges mankind to produce the likes of it:
  • “And if ye are in doubt as to what We have revealed from timetotimeto Our servant, then produce a Surah like thereunto; and call your witnesses or helpers (if there are any) besides Allah, if your (doubts) are true.
  • “But if ye cannot— and of a surety you cannot— then fear the Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones —which is prepared for those who reject Faith.” [Al-Qur’an] 2:23-24]1
  • The challenge of the Qur’an, is to produce a single Surab (chapter) like the Surabs it contains. The same challenge is repeated in the Qur’an several times. The challenge to produce a Surah, which, in beauty, eloquence, depth and meaning is at least somewhat similar to a Qur’anic Surab remains unmet to this day.
A modern rational man, however, would never accept a religious scripture which says, in the best possible poetic language, that the world is flat. This is because we live in an age, where human reason, logic and science are given primacy. Not many would accept the Qur’arfs extraordinarily beautiful language, as proof of its Divine origin. Any scripture claiming to be a divine revelation must also be acceptable on the strength of its own reason and logic.

According to the famous physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Albert Einstein, “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.” Let us therefore study the Qur’an, and analyze whether the Qur’an and Modern Science are compatible or incompatible?

The Qur’an is not a book of Science but a book of ‘Signs’, i.e. Aayaats. There are more than six thousand ‘Signs’ in the Qur’an of which more than a thousand deal with hard core Science.

We all know that many a limes Science takes a ‘U-turn’. In this book I have considered only established scientific facts and not hypotheses and theories based on mere assumptions and not backed by proof.

To attribute the presence of scientific facts in the Q ur’an to coincidence would be against common sense and a true scientific approach.

Indeed the scientific accuracy of the Qur’anic verses confirm the Qur’an’s open declaration.

“Soon will We show them Our Signs in the (furthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth
it is not enough that Thy Lord doth witness all things?” [Al-Qur’an 41:53]

The Qur’an invites all humans to reflect on the Creation of this universe in the verse:

“Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of Night and Day —there are indeed Signs for men of understanding .“ [Al-Qur’an 3:190]

The scientific evidences of the Qur’an clearly prove its Divine origin. No human could have produced a book, fourteen hundred years ago, that would contain such profound scientific facts.

The Qur’an, however, is not a book of Science but a book of ‘Signs’. These signs invite Man to realize the purpose of his existence on earth, and to live in harmony with Nature. The Qur’an is truly a message from Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. It contains the same Message of the Oneness of God, that was preached by all prophets, right from Adam, Moses, Jesus to Muhammad (peace be upon them).

Several detailed tomes have been written on the subject of Qur’an and modern science and further research in this field is on. Inshallah, this research will help mankind to come closer to the Word of the Almighty. This booklet contains only a few of the scientific facts present in the Qur’an. I cannot claim to have done full justice to the subject.

Tejatat Tejasen accepted Islam on the strength ofjust one scientific ‘sign’ mentioned in the Qu’ran. Some people may require ten signs while some may require hundred signs to be convinced about the Divine origin of the Qur’an. Some would be unwilling to accept the Truth even after being shown a thousand signs. The Qur’an condemns such a closed mentality in the verse:

“Deaf, dumb and blind, They will not return (To the path).” [Al-Qur’an 2:18]

The Qur’an contains a complete code of life for the individual and society. Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah), the Qur’anic way of life is far superior to the ‘isms’ that modern man has invented out of sheer ignorance. Who can give better guidance than the Creator Himself?

I pray that this humble effort is accepted by Allah, to whom I pray for mercy and guidance (Aameen).