Monday, March 03, 2008

Fundamental Difference Between Islam and Science

(a.k.a. Validating Islam through Science)

In an era of unprecedented access to information we have seen a dramatic rise in scientific understanding. Diseases that were once fatal have been cured or treated, examinations into the molecular level of almost every living thing is common place, we can even send people into space and yet with all of this knowledge there is still a longing by the majority of the world for something more profound. The information we feed our intellects does not always satisfy our soul (I would dare to say never does) so the vast majority of people turn their attentions towards a higher power. It is through the recognition of this higher power and its guidance do we begin to reconcile our soul and intellect; offering an insight and understanding into the unknown and unseen, the world that touches our very existence as well as explanations of the world before us, the one we touch within the constraints of our senses.

Physical sciences seek justification within the context of scientific method, using empirical evidence to explain the world around us. “Science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge. This system uses observation and experimentation to describe and explain natural phenomena.” Thus it is through observation, experimentation and reproducible results (the key to scientific method) that people seek to rationalize the world around them. Theology, or the Science of Theology as some refer to it is “the systematic study of God and His divinity, the science concerning God ... the study and analysis and knowledge that treats of God and of God's attributes and relations to the universe, like creation, providence, salvation”

The fundamental difference can be seen not in the approach to the topics but the very nature of the topics themselves. One deals with the worldly while the other deals with the spiritual, but neither necessitates the cancellation or refutation of the other for each has its own space in our world. While physical sciences are based on tangible, measurable qualities, theology is based on the intangible, immeasurable quality of faith therefore it is to me irrational for one to use one to validate the other.

Scientists do not use religion, or more to the point do not use God to their work, why should we use science to try and prove God; the creator of all things, Allah (SWA) does not need to be validated through worldly science.

In the end we can see that in science they have faith (called theory) but seek to manifest this belief with statistical data produced from experimentation, but in theology (religion) there is faith, which seeks to manifest itself in spiritual peace and harmony, a sense of security in the life of the hereafter. While we can boast of the scientific miracles of the Qur’an we should never feel the need to justify Allah’s existence through science, his divine wisdom is most apparent in its spiritual nourishment. We can seek divine inspiration through the revelation of scientific understandings, and we can appreciate it was science that proved these inspiration, but science and theology should not be seen as contrary forces seeking to discredit each other, rather as two parts of the same coin, for all of this world, physical and spiritual is under the auspices of Allah (SAW).