Are the Scientists the Better Teachers for Several of the Attributes of God?

universe and man

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Charles Darwin did not make my list of heroes until after I was forty years old. Part of the reason was that I grew up in Pakistan and we had been a colony of the Great Britain for more than 150 years and no British was hero of any Pakistani when I was growing up.

Everyone has their set of heroes.  For mostly religious people, the more zealot they are, more likely their heroes  come from their own religious traditions to the exclusion of others. Worship of emperors is not in vogue any more, but, in religious circles, sometimes hero worship and especially the deference to their top leader, can push the human heroes to a divine or almost divine status, in one guise or the other.

Depending on our religion of inheritance or choosing, we may have our blind spots and may not be able to see if we have overdone our hero worship. But, none of us will ever allow divine status to a hero of other traditions. For example, non-Christians never see Jesus as divine or non-Hindus never see Krishna or Ram as  divine.

You get the point.

Before Charles Darwin the believers had a vague sense of God being the Creator of the universe or of all the life forms on our planet.  But, his elaboration of the details give many a believer a much better idea as to how God brought all the life forms around through natural means. So, the believers cannot say they haven’t learnt from Darwin, can they?

Sir David Attenborough has scores of beautiful documentaries, bringing the awe inspiring beauty of all forms of lives, on our planet earth to our television screens. He does not talk  about God or the Creator, in his documentaries, but the viewers are of course, free to add that as an after thought on their own. With that paradigm, I believe, one can learn more from him about God being the Creator, the Maker and the Fashioner of our nine million life forms, than months or years of sermons by any of the Muslim clerics or priests of other faiths. Here are two wonderful examples from David Attenborough:

I have learnt about the last verse of Sura Hashr, “He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise” (Al Quran 59:24/25), more from the non-Muslim scientists than the prophet Muhammad himself, may peace be on him, or any other Muslim scholar. We as Muslims need to start giving the credit where it is due.

Similarly, as regards Allah’s attribute of being the First, the Last, the Manifest and the Hidden, I owe more to those who are teaching laws of nature than those basking in theology and religion.

As an example among thousands of good books, videos and documentaries out there, here I link audio description of a recent book in the voice of the author: Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape The Universe:

There is no doubt that when it comes to my belief in God, who listens to our prayers and reveals Himself through dreams and revelations, I have only learnt from the holy Prophet Muhammad and saintly people in the Muslim history.

But, to pretend that I owe all my understanding of the Quran and attributes of God to them, would be sheer dishonesty and hypocrisy on my part and I want to set the record straight here and I believe by so doing I bring the Muslims and people of other faiths and of no faith at all, closer to each other in mutual acceptance and admiration.  It seems that they have been light years apart, basking in their own islands, in their self indulgent thoughts, about their knowledge of the reality and the truth.

As the Muslim readers broaden their horizons, there is so much of science, religion and metaphysics they can learn from the non-Muslims scholars in their respective fields and in the Muslim Times, here, we try to cover many of these materials.

Welcome aboard!

See our collection on Religion & Science.

10 replies

  1. So you allege;

    “I have learnt about the last verse of Sura Hashr, “He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise” (Al Quran 59:25), more from the non-Muslim scientists than the prophet Muhammad himself, may peace be on him”

    it is no wonder heretic sects like the ahmadis learn their deen from disbelievers rather than the Prophet (peace be upon him) as admitted by themselves!

    so why do you need mirza? just follow the scientists and leave mirza’s dogma

  2. You missed the next paragraph:

    “There is no doubt that when it comes to my belief in God, who listens to our prayers and reveals Himself through dreams and revelations, I have only learnt from the holy Prophet Muhammad and saintly people in the Muslim history.”

    Additionally, you seem to be ignoring a divine instruction in the holy Quran:

    Allah likes not the uttering of unseemly speech in public, except on the part of one who is being wronged. Indeed, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (Al Quran 4:149)

    Talk to me about the ideas in the article and you do not always have to stoke the sectarian divisions among the Muslims. That has been the major reason for the downfall of the Muslims. I am trying to gather them on issues of common interest, refuting Islamophobia, human rights, women rights, Islam and science.

    You may not have noticed, I seldom dwell on the beliefs that are not common among all Muslims.

  3. article states that “scientists the best teachers for several divine attributes.”

    you mention the verse “He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise” (Al Quran 59:25)

    how can scientists be best teachers for divine attributes? When according to the scientific enquiry, such attributes like Maker, Fashioner and Creator cannot be verified or falsified.

    Do you believe in God because of divine revelation or due to some scientists’ research?

    • For your information, the Holy Qur’an itself tells us to study the world around us to be able to appreciate Him and His Creation.

      So, why are you limiting the knowledge of knowing God to only the Qur’an?

      In fact, when a believer starts acquiring knowledge of the heavens and the earth, his/her faith increases in leaps and bounds. I have personally experienced this and will always defend acquiring knowledge of the world around us as well as within ourselves and other creatures as it hugely enhances my faith in the existence of Allah and that He has not made all this in vain…!

      Sometimes, even some atheists have become believers when they see the immense order and balance all around them in nature.

  4. I know the Quran directs us to study the world to appreciate God and submit to Him.

    “why are you limiting the knowledge of knowing God to only the Qur’an?”

    I am not limiting the knowledge of knowing God. That is just your assumption.

    The article states that scientists are the best teachers for several divine attributes. That is what i am refuting.

    It is the Quran which best teaches us about divine attributes.

    if scientists were indeed the best teachers of divine attributes, then we would of had many prophets who were exceptional scientists.

  5. A quote by the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad:

    The Holy Qur’an is not matchless merely on account of the beauty of its composition, but is matchless on account of all its excellences which it claims to comprise and that is the truth, for whatever proceeds from God Almighty is not unique only on account of one quality but on account of every one of its qualities. Those who do not accept the Holy Qur’an as comprehensive of unlimited eternal truths and insights, do not value the Qur’an as it should be valued. A necessary sign for the recognition of the holy and true Word of God is that it should be unique in all its qualities, for we observe that whatever proceeds from God Almighty is unique and matchless even if it is only a grain of barley, and human powers cannot match it. … For instance, if the wonders of a leaf of a tree are investigated for a thousand years, that period would come to an end, but the wonders of the leaf will not come to an end. … The verse, “Say, ‘If every ocean becomes ink for the words of my Lord, surely, the ocean would be exhausted before the words of my Lord were exhausted, even though We brought the like thereof as further help;’” (18:110) supports this, for the whole of creation is Words of God….. Thus this verse means that the qualities of creation are without limit and endless.
    Now when every created thing possesses unlimited and endless qualities and comprises numberless wonders then how could the Holy Qur’an, which is the Holy Word of God Almighty, be confined to the few meanings which may be set out in a commentary of forty or fifty or a thousand volumes, or could have been expounded by our lord and master the Holy Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be on him] in a limited period? To say so would almost amount to disbelief, if it is deliberately persisted in. It is true that whatever the Holy Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be on him] has set forth as the meaning of the Holy Qur’an is true and correct, but it is not true that the Holy Qur’an contains no more than the insights that have been set forth by the Holy Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be on him]. Such sayings of our opponents indicate that they do not believe in the unlimited greatness and qualities of the Holy Qur’an.
    [Karamat-us-Sadiqin, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 7, pp. 60-62]

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