The Divine Signs
Since the holy Qur’an is a book of guidance for mankind for all the times, its convincing arguments for worshiping Him appeal and affect the minds belonging to any period. Its discursive and logical arguments appeal the common man while the modern inquisitive minds are convinced by its scientific and scholarly approach. Both these types of arguments are referred as AYAATH or SIGNS in the holy Book. These are the Natural Signs that lead man into seeking insight deep into the matter and material objects, so that he can unravel the secrets of Nature through continuous and untiring research and experimentation.
From this point of view the natural phenomena and their complete systems serve as milestones in the realm of knowledge. It is for this purpose alone that at innumerable places, the Qur’an wants man to reflect on and about the Earth, the Heavens, the Moon, the stars, the rivers, the mountains, plants, minerals, animals and everything that reiterates the creativity of the creator and arrive at the fundamentals through logical and scientific viewpoints. In fact at many places man has been urged forcefully not to deviate or run away from such scientific results that do declare loudly the existence of a Being Who is all-powerful, creative and administrative. The following references from the holy Qur’an are quite convincing:
On the earth are Signs (proofs for the natural phenomena) for those of assured Faith, as also in your own selves: will you not then see? (Zariat: 20-21)
Verily, in the alternation of the Night and the Day, and in all that Allah has created, in the heavens and the earth, are Signs for those who fear Him. (Yunus: 6)
And in the creation of yourselves and the fact that animals are scattered (through the earth) are Signs (physical and biological proofs) for those of assured Faith. (Jathiya: 4)
Here the word Ayaath has been used. It is the plural of Ayah. It refers to all such natural signs and symbols that are so distributed that whenever the material objects and their controlling systems become the subject matter of research and study, they spring up as logical manifestations of the creativity and providential powers of sustenance of the One and Only God. Thus the Universe is an Open Book wherein the Most Exalted Creator has imprinted His Signs.
Three Basic Units of Divine Faith
Speaking rationally and from the Shariah point of view, guidance refers to the details involved in the righteous living on the divine principles. These details are based on three fundamental units. They are Unity of God, Prophethood and the Day of Resurrection. These units constitute the essence of Islamic faith. They may as well be described to constitute the fundamentals of the teachings of all Prophets. These three units are the pillars on which the edifice of worshiping the One God rests. Unless these are justified the process of worshiping does not start at all. For this purpose the Qur’an takes up the course of rational, logical and scientific reasoning.
Because the holy Qur’an is an eternal Book of Guidance, the scientific and intellectual arguments presented therein hold good for the evolutionary needs of every epoch. This will help in convincing every sceptical mind about the Unity of God, the Prophethood and the Resurrection Day. The holy Qur’an is thus equipped fully to meet all future challenges with regard to developing sciences or creative problems. Then can only the Book be Guidance to the entire humanity and for all times. It thus has a full description of even such natural sciences and problems that have gained unparallel importance in the modern times. There is no room for any confrontation or contradiction between the laws of nature and divine laws as laid down in the holy Qur’an. In fact there is complete coordination and consistency between them. The holy Qur’an argues about all natural phenomena and convinces the human mind. This undoubtedly is a characteristic proof of it being a complete code of life for the entire humanity and all times. Such logical and scientific diction is lacking in religious scriptures other than the holy Qur’an.
Coordination between Natural and Divine Laws
Almighty Allah has divined two types of laws in the universe. One — the religious and divine laws and the other, the natural and physical laws. The holy Qur’an is actually the book of religious and divine laws but it discusses the universe and the laws associated with its existence and governance too. However the planning is such that it is left to the man himself to work on the natural and physical laws which eventually substantiates the divine laws. One must not forget that much on the similar lines as the divine laws for guiding the human life He has drawn a natural system for controlling the universe and for which the principle and rules have already been set. This fact has been revealed in the holy Book at several places. For example,
It is He Who created all things, and ordered them in due proportions. (Furqan: 2)
Verily, all things have We created in proportion and measure. (Qamar: 49)
He rules (all) affairs from the heavens to the earth. (Sajda: 5)
As and when the man utilises his instinctive research capabilities to explore the universe, he comes across such astounding facts that speak themselves for the high workmanship of the Creator thus proving convincingly the validity of the Divine Laws. And so a complete coordination and harmony is established between the physical and divine laws. One should note here that science only unravels the secrets of the nature or the divine secrets. It does not create anything on its own. The creator of this universe is one who has made it according to a definite plan. Whenever the natural laws are expounded they confirm the main and fundamental principles laid down in the Book. The holy Qur’an says:
Say: ‘It (Qur’an) has been sent down by Him Who knows the mystery (that is) in the heavens and the earth!’ (Furqan: 6)
Should they not prostrate before Allah (worship), who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth? (Naml: 25)
Confirmation of Qur’anic Claims
The relationship between the holy Qur’an and Science rests on the facts that are revealed through modern research and experimentation. It is established that such confirmation is found aplenty in the natural phenomena. Based on this alone, the holy Book exhorts repeatedly to study, reflect and exploit nature, matter and the theories that control all physical, chemical and biological processes. Through such study the unity, creativity, divinity and the cherishing capacities of Almighty Allah have been established. For example:
Among His Signs (proofs of the natural phenomena) is this, He created you from dust, and then behold, ye are men scattered (far and wide)! (Rum: 20)
And among His Signs (cherishing symbols) is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and in your colours: verily in that are Signs for those who know. (Rum: 22)
And among His Signs (power and strength) is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the living creatures that He has scattered through them.... (Shura: 29)
Howsoever one reflects on this material universe and its wonderful working system, everywhere would one discover the presence of an all-powerful mind. Whether he studies the heavenly bodies or dissects an atom or observes human bodies and their colour differences or reviews the biological systems or examines the minerals or explores the space, he will simply be enthralled by the craftsmanship and artistic control of the Almighty God over them. In every physical, chemical, biological, geological and celestial system, he will find an unparallel orderly arrangement, superb industry, technical perfection and artistry. Any system governing the functioning of these systems is flawless absolutely. It points to an expert engineer, administrator and technician.
The above discussion has made it crystal clear that there is neither any conflict nor controversy between the holy Book and the modern sciences. All scientific researches, discoveries and inventions that are purely technical and logical, all confirm the Qur’anic versions. The conflict, if any, is only between religion and heresy. There is no contradiction whatsoever between Qur’anic deliberations and natural laws, facts and systems. It is the interpretation of these facts and working systems from purely materialistic viewpoint that is objectionable since it curbs the realities. The scientific discoveries only strengthen the Qur’anic claims. They confirm, expound and expand the arguments, statements and urgings of the holy Book. In fact they point out the systematic planning of the Master Craftsman Who inspires and induces man to take up the study himself so that the study itself can assert the claims of the Creator. This verse points to the same fact:
We shall show them Our Signs in the universe and in their own selves until it becomes manifest to them that this (Qur’an) is the truth. Is it not sufficient in regard to your Lord that He is a witness over all things? (Fussilat: 53)
The Significance of Nature’s Study
In conclusion it can be well said that there is great significance of the study of nature and universe. It is only through systematic argumentation that the laws of nature can assert the Unity of God, Prophethood and the Day of Resurrection. Then only can the heretics be made to realise their folly and rectify themselves fully convinced. The divine arguments about this aspect are:
... this is only a Reminder and a plain Qur’an, that it may give warning to him who is living (wise) and that the Word may be justified against the disbelievers. (Yasin: 69-70)
Blessed be He Who sent down the Criterion (of right and wrong i.e., this Qur’an) to His slave Muhammed that it may be an admonition to all creatures. (Furqan: 1)
... Say (O Muhammed!) ‘This Qur’an has been revealed to me by inspiration, that I may warn therewith you and whomsoever it may reach.’ (An'am: 19)
On this basis alone it has been claimed that the holy Qur’an has, in principle, a clear description about everything that distinguishes Truth from Falsehood and which serves as an indication of all such scientific achievements that man can encounter in future.
And we have sent down to you the Book (Qur’an) as an exposition of everything and a Guidance and a Mercy and Glad Tidings for those who have surrendered (to Allah as Muslims). (Nahl: 89)
It is hence ordained that those who avoid the study of nature or run away from the binding laws of nature that control, propagate and allow the material world to grow, should be condemned. They will not be granted any excuse for their carelessness and negligence.
And how many Signs (of His Cherishing Capacities) in the heavens and the earth do they pass by? Yet they turn (their faces) away from them! (Yusuf: 105)
Do they not look in the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all things that Allah has created and that it may be that the end of their lives is near. In what Message after this will they then believe? (Araf: 185)
Need for Compiling the Argumentative System of the Qur’an
The significance of the study of nature and universe in detail can be ascertained from the fact that according to Imam Ghazzali, the famous master and scholar of Islamic jurisprudence, there are 763 verses in the holy Book wherein the attention of the reader has been drawn convincingly towards this aspect.1
This particular branch constitutes one of the five main topics of the holy Book. It must also be noted that the words Ayah and Ayaath have been used 382 times in the holy Book. A majority of these verses are those that remind human beings to study and reflect on this universe and the systems prevailing in it. Man has been advised to utilise knowledge, science, wisdom, mediation, discriminating capacities, observation and inquisitiveness while making this study.
Thus the compilation of the argumentative system of the holy Qur’an becomes imperative. This is the need of the hour. This will certainly help to bring out the modern man from the snares of modernism and waywardness.
The Marvel of Islam and the Duties of Ulema
As can be seen Islam is a perfect code of life. It has such a complete and comprehensive constitution for the whole life that the functioning becomes harmonious on both religious and scientific planes. In fact, it proves that the source of both of these studies is one and the same, and they corroborate each other and so the society can progress in real sense provided both are allowed to function hand in hand. It was the Church that had bifurcated them. Humanity has suffered enormously from such bifurcation. It has helped humanity to land in the lap of heresy and materialism. Such a grave mistake must never be repeated. There is need for presenting a consolidated system and code of life by correlating the sciences and the Divine Laws in the light of the Qur’anic wisdom. And such a service can be rendered by our Ulema confidently. They must come forward and deliver the goods so that humanity is saved from falling into the pits of heresy, discontent, disharmony and annihilation.