Religion and the Scientist
...seated side by side, two gentlemen from two different world...
And there they were, on a flight from Cape Town to Durban, seated side by side, two gentlemen from two different worlds.......After the formalities were covered, the conversation continued........
Bob: I don't believe in God, but rather in science and technology, something tangible you see, but if you can prove to me scientifically that God does exist then I would consider such a thought.
Yunus: Okay, you being interested in technology, please answer this question......with regard to an advanced machine or electronic device, who would be the one to know the most about its mechanism or functioning?
Bob: Well, perhaps the person who has invented or manufactured such a machine.
Yunus: Can we agree that it is the maker or creator of the product who would know every-thing there is to know about the product.
Bob: I don't see why not, it sounds reasonable.
Yunus: Being knowledgeable in these matters, the next question I'd like to ask you is, Just how did the world or the universe come into existence?
Bob: According to recent scientific research, the whole universe was one gigantic mass, which scientists call the primary Nebula, they tell us that it was a cosmic explosion or a secondary explosion that gave rise to the sun, the stars, the planets and even the Earth we live on.
Yunus: Is this what you believe?
Bob: Yes of course, these are established facts based on scientific proofs. In fact, this idea was realised in 1973 and termed the 'BIG BANG' theory.
Yunus: I see, well I have a surprise for you....In the Holy Quraan, chapter 21, verse 30 says. "Do the disbelievers not see that the heavens and the earth were joined together, then I split them apart". Here we can see that the Holy Quraan is speaking about this 'BIG BANG' theory and let me tell you that the Holy Quraan was revealed over 1400 years ago.
Bob: I have heard about the Quraan, but can you refresh my memory.
Yunus: Sure, the Muslim believes the Quraan to be the word of God, pure and unadulterated which was revealed verbally to the Prophet _____ of Islam, Mohammed, Peace be upon him, through the agency of the Angel Gabriel. The Holy Quraan was completed over a period of 23 years, that is over the prophetic life of the Prophet _____________ of Islam.
Bob: Are you sure that the Quraan is over 14 centuries old and secondly, that the Quraan has not been changed.
Yunus: Absolutely, it is a historical fact that the Holy Quraan was completed in the seventh century and has remained unchanged ever since. Historians, whether friends or foes to Islam, testify to this.
Bob: Well then, perhaps it's a guess.
Yunus:.....What does science say about the shape of the Earth ?
Bob: Previously, Man thought that the Earth was flat, until Sir Frances Drake in 1607 finally proved it to be spherical. Today, the term Geoid is used to describe this spherical shape.
Yunus: Amazingly the Holy Quraan in chapter 31, verse 29 says, "Have you not seen how God merges the night into the day and merges the day into the night." The use of the word merges emphasizes a slow gradual change, and this is not possible if the earth is flat.
Bob: Go on.
Yunus: Further in chapter 39, verse 5, it says, "He coils the night upon the day and he coils the day upon the night." The word used in the original arabic text is "Kaw'wara" which means coils or winds, the significance of this verb is that you usually coil something around a rather spherical object. You say that this fact was discovered recently, well relatively recently, who could have mentioned this in the Holy Quraan over 1400 years ago ?
Bob: I'm not convinced.
Yunus: Fine, tell me where the light of the Moon comes from?
Bob: Centuries ago people thought that the Moon was a miniature version of the Sun and that both emitted their own light, but recently studies confirmed that the Moon reflected the Sun's light.
Yunus: The Holy Quraan in chapter 25, verse 61 mentions, "Blessed is the one who placed the constellations in the Heaven and placed therein a lamp and a Moon reflecting light." Here the Sun is referred to as a lamp for it has its own illumination, while the Moon is said to have reflected light or borrowed light, meaning not its own.
Bob: Its probably conjecture...guesswork.
Yunus: For the sake of a discussion I won't argue. Anyway, let us proceed....... When I was in school in the 80's, my teacher told me that the Sun remains stationary whilst the planets although rotating around their axes do revolve around the Sun as well.
Bob: Is that what your Quraan says, that the Sun is stationary....Ha!
Yunus: No, the Holy Quraan does not say this. This is what I learned in school.
Bob: Today, science has advanced. We have come to know that the Sun does in fact revolve around its own axis. You see, the Sun if observed with the apppropriate scientific apparatus reveals to possess the "Black spots". Continuous observation shows that these black spots take 25 days to complete a revolution. Therefore we conclude that the Sun rotates and that it takes approximately 25 days to complete one full rotation around its axis.
Yunus: Well, this is nothing new to the muslim for it is revealed in the Holy Quraan in chapter 21, verse 33, "(God is) the One who created the night, the day, the Sun and the Moon, each one spinning around its own axis (travelling in an orbit)". Here it is evident that the Sun and the Moon both rotate and further the celestial law of orbital movement is made mention of. You tell me who could have mentioned these scientific facts in the Holy Quraan which you say was discovered recently by your scientists ? Before you answer that question, tell me......is there a difference between a star and a planet?
Bob: Yes, today we know that stars are heavenly bodies like the Sun in that they produce their own light, while planets on the other hand, do not produce their own light....like the earth on which we live.
Yunus: The Holy Quraan mentions scientific facts not only in the field of astronomy.
Bob: I'm listening.
Yunus: In several verses of the Holy Quraan the details of the water cycle is mentioned. It explains that the water from the earth and ground rises up and forms clouds .............. these clouds condense, there is lightning and rain falls from the clouds. This is evident from the following quotations ...........chapter 39, verse 21, "Have you not seen that Allah sent rain down from the sky and caused it to penetrate the ground, and come forth as springs.......", In chapter 23, verse 18, "We sent down water from the sky measure and lodged it in the ground and we certainly are able to withdraw it", and also in chapter 24, verse 43, "Have you not seen that God makes the clouds move gently, then joins them together, then makes them a heap. And you see rain drops falling from the midst of it ........"
Bob: According to my knowledge, the first coherent account of the water cycle was presented by Bernard Palissy in 1580.
Yunus: This is the exact distinction that the Holy Quraan makes between stars and planets. In chapter 86, verse 1-3, "By the sky and the night visitor, who will tell you what the night visitor is, the star of piercing brightness", which obviously refer to the stars. The planets are described as ornaments in chapter 37, verse 6, as it reads, "We have indeed adorned the lowest heaven with ornaments, the planets".
Bob: ............................... Hmmmmmm.........................It is no secret that the Arabs were advanced in the field of astronomy, and perhaps it was these learned astronomers that passed their findings to the Prophet _____________.
Yunus: I do agree that the Arabs were advanced in astronomy, but I'm afraid that you have the order or sequence of events incorrect.
Bob: What do you mean?!
Yunus: Let me remind you that the Holy Quraan was revealed centuries before the Arabs became advanced in this field of astronomy, so it was the Arabs who learnt about astronomy from the Quraan and most definitely not vice versa.
The Holy Quraan in chapter 30, verse 48 mentions that, "God is the one who sends forth the winds which raised up the clouds. He spreads them in the sky as he wills and breaks them into fragments. Then you see rain drops issuing from within them.....". While on the topic of Geography, I am sure you understand what is meant by the term "Folding".
Bob: Yes, you see.... the crust of the earth is relatively thin and mountain ranges due to the phenomenon of folding provides stability for the earth.
Yunus: The Holy Quraan in chapter 78, verse 6-7 gives us an indication of the very same phenomenon as it says, "Have we not made the earth an expanse and the mountains stakes".
Here the word "stakes" is synonymous with the word pegs as in holding the earth in place. Further the first part of this verse shows us that the earth is not flat for it is an expanse ..... meaning that you can walk and walk without falling off.
The former idea is clarified in chapter 21, verse 31....."We placed the ground (mountains) standing firm so that it does not shake with them". Here we are told that mountains allow for the maintenance of the earths stability by preventing the earth's shape to change in such a way so as to cause it to move out of its orbit. Permit me to go on ........scientists pointed out recently that salt water and fresh water do not mix.......is that correct ?
Bob: That is correct.....this phenomenon is observed at various locations......for example the region where the Nile river meets with the Mediterranean sea and more especially in the Gulf stream where these two bodies of water flow together for thousands of kilometres.
Yunus: In chapter 25, verse 53 it reads, ....... "God is the one that has let free two seas, one is sweet and palatable and the other is salty and bitter. He placed an unseen barrier between them, a partition that is forbidden to pass". A similar message is given in chapter 55, verses 19 and 20, "He has loosed the two seas. They meet together. Between them there is an unseen barrier which they do not transgress........"
Bob: Maybe some Arabs whist diving or swimming made such an observation.
Yunus: Unlikely, what you fail to realize is that the Holy Quraan too testifies that it is an unseen barrier and therefore it could not and still cannot be observed.
Bob: I see..... according to Darwinism and the theory of evolution, it is claimed that all life began in the sea or oceans.........can you tell me what does your Quraan say about this.....if anything at all.
Yunus: Yes, but first tell me just why does this theory have such a conclusion.....that life began in the Oceans....
Bob: Well, one of the reasons is that the chemical make-up or composition of human and animal life shows that water is the chief constituent. In fact between 50 and 90 %.
Yunus: In chapter 21, verse 30, it also says.............."And We made every living thing from water. Will they still not believe". Can you imagine that in the deserts of Arabia, where there is obviously a scarcity of water, who would have guessed that not only man but every living thing is made from
Bob: I am aware that Cytoplasm, the main constituent of the cell is composed of approximately eighty percent water and that every living creature is of fifty or ninety percent water.
Yunus: Who could have mentioned these facts in the Quraan over 1400 years ago ?...there are over hundreds of facts in the Holy Quraan that modern science cannot find fault with today. On the topic of theories .......Can you explain to me just what is meant by the theory of drifting continents.
Bob: Sure, all our continents were at one time parts of one consolidated land mass, then following an explosion, they were scattered or rather pushed away all over the surface of the earth. Therefore if you look carefully at the world map, you would see for example that the East coast of South America would fit neatly against the West coast of Africa.
Yunus: A similar idea is reflected in the Holy Quraan in the chapter 79, verse 30, "and the earth He extended after that and then drew from it water and pastures". It says that the Earth passed through a stage when God had caused the land masses to drift apart.
Bob: Are you using scientific knowledge to prove the Quraan ?
Yunus: No, the Quraan is not a book of science but rather a book of signs. In fact, it has over 6000 signs (verses) out of which 1000 of these deal with scientific knowledge. I am not using science to prove something correct, you need a yardstick or knowledge that is absolute, something ultimate.....
Yunus: To the educated men like yourself, those that do not believe in God, science is generally your yardstick.....but to the Muslim, the Holy Quraan is our ultimate yardstick....the Quraan is also referred to as the "Furqaan" which is the arabic word meaning, the criterion between that which is right and that which is wrong. Therefore I am using your yardstick 'science' to prove to you what is said in the Holy Quraan. What your yardstick has said in relatively recent times ...... mine has said 14 centuries ago. Can we agree, therefore, that the Quraan is superior to science and that the Quraan is the ultimate yardstick.
Bob: Tell me more.
Yunus: The Quraan says in chapter 20, verse 53, "(God is the one) who sent down rain from the sky and with it brought forth a variety of plants in pairs". Here the Holy Quraan mentions a scientific fact which was discovered much later in history ..... that is .......the plant kingdom too has male and female types. This is also echoed in chapter 13, verse 3, "...........and of all fruits (God) placed on the earth two pairs ......."
Yunus: A branch of the field of Zoology has recently pointed out that there exists various social dynamics in the animal world. The Holy Quraan tells us the same, that the animals and birds live in communities in chapter 6, verse 38, "There is no animal on earth, no bird which flies on wings, that (does not belong to) communities like you .....".
Yunus: If I tell you that the Holy Quraan tells us of ants talking to one another, you will probably laugh, but the branch of Zoology that I am telling you about, has found the animal or insect which closely resembles the dynamics of the human, is the ant ....... for apart from an extremely 'advanced' system of communication (as is mentioned in the Holy Quraan, chapter 27, verse 18), They ..... the ants bury the dead and can have what can be said to be an equivalent of a market place.
Bob: Perhaps your Prophet _____________ was a very observant man who made notes of them.
Yunus: First I would like to inform you that history years witness that the Prophet _____________ of Islam was an illiterate man in that he had no formal schooling and therefore could not read nor write. In fact at that time a great majority of Arabs were illiterate with only a negligible number who were literate. Nonetheless, it is also mentioned that it is the female bee that collects honey ........ Do you think that anybody could be so observant as to pick this up? You have just reminded me about something even more significant; in chapter 16, verse 69, it reads, "...... from their (bees) bodies comes a liquor of different colours wherein is a remedy for men." Today the medical scientist tell us that there are antiseptic qualities and applications of honey. Furthermore, I believe that it is used in the treatment of various allergies.
Bob: No wonder the Russian soldiers used to apply honey on their wounds. Yes, and as a result, the wounds left very little scar tissue.
Yunus: In chapter 16, verse 66, the Holy Quraan described blood circulation with regard to the production of milk in the cow ....... a thousand years before William Harvey made it famous to the western world. Let us examine the above mentioned reference, "Verily, in cattle too is a lesson for you, we give to you to drink of what is in their bodies, coming from a conjugation between the contents of the intestine and the blood, a milk, pure and pleasant for those who drink it."
Bob: Tell me ...... what does the Quraan say about human beings?
Yunus: This question calls for a dissertation, for the Quraan deals with humans from before the time of conception until after death. .....But will you accept a brief exposition on some of the human embryo logical data or proofs presented in the Quraan?
Bob: Please go on. This is interesting.
Yunus: We know that after fertilization, the egg or ovum descends from the fallopian tube to lodge itself inside the uterus for gestation. This is described in chapter 22, verse 5, ".... We cause whom we will to rest in the womb for an appointed term......". As you know, there are structures or elongations from the egg which develops to draw nourishment from the uterus which is necessary for growth. These structural formations make the egg or rather the zygote seem to be literally clinging to the uterus ....... this, doubtedly, is a scientific discovery of modern times for the western world.
Did you know this appearance of clinging is described five times in the Holy Quraan. For example, in chapter 96, verses 1 & 2, "Read, in the name of your Lord who fashioned man from something which clings". Similar ideas are found in chapter 22, verse 5 - chapter 23, verse 14 and chapters 40 & 75. Furthermore, foetal growth is described in great detail in chapter 23, verse 14, with regard to the development of the skeleton. "Then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; Then made that clot into a lump (foetus); then We made out of that lump Bones and clothed the bones with flesh ............" ........ the verse goes on further in this manner of description.
Also with regard to the order or sequence of the senses, the Holy Quraan in chapter 32, verse 9 says, "......... He gave you (the faculties of) hearing and of sight........". Today, medical cience cannot argue with this sequence development of the senses in the foetus for it confirms that the development of hearing is completed by five months of pregnancy and that the eye is split open by the seventh month of pregnancy.
These facts and more have been brought to light by the western world as late as 1940. Furthermore, Professor Keith More, an embryologist at the university of Toronto in Canada, was asked to make a comparative study of the Embryo logical data in the Holy Quraan with that of modern scientific knowledge and he responded as follows, "The 1300 year old Quraan contains messages so accurate about embryonic development that muslims can reasonably believe them to be from God."
Bob: If this is true then how come it has not been recorded in the media?
Yunus: But it was ....... check the archives ......for example ....... the citizen, a Canadian Newspaper dated 22 November 1984, under the heading "Ancient Holy Book 1300 years ahead of its time". Or the times of India, New Delhi ...... dated 10 December 1984 under the caption "Koran scores over modern sciences."
Bob: This is really fascinating......don't stop..........continue....
Yunus: At this point I am reminded of a very powerful verse of the Holy Quraan which appears in chapter 41, verse 53, "Soon shall 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......".
Yunus: The holy Quraan even speaks about diabetics.
Bob: What do you mean?
Yunus: You see, certain foodstuffs are declared unfit for human consumption and are therefore prohibited.
Bob: While we are on the topic of food ....... tell me why is it that a muslim is very particular about the words Halaal and Haraam ...... What do they mean?
Yunus: That which is permissible is termed Halaal and that which is not permissible is termed Haraam and it is the Quraan which draws the distinction between the two.
Bob: Can you give me an example ?
Yunus: Yes, Islam has prohibited blood of any type. You will agree that a chemical analysis of blood shows that it contains an abundance of uric acid, a chemical substance which can be injurious to human health.
Bob: You're right about the toxic nature of uric acid, in the human being it is excreted as a waste product....... in fact we are told that 98% of the bodies uric acid is extracted from the blood by the kidneys and removed through urination.
Yunus: Now I think that you'll appreciate the special prescribed method of animal slaughter in Islam.
Bob: What do you mean ?
Yunus: You see.....the wielder of the knife, whilst taking the name of the Almighty, makes an incision through the jugular veins, leaving all other veins of the neck intact.
Bob: I see.....this causes the death of the animal by a total loss of blood from the body, rather than an injury to any vital organ.
Yunus: Yes, were the organs, example the heart, the liver, or the brain crippled or damaged, the animal could die immediately and its blood would congeal in its veins and would eventually permeate (spread throughout) the flesh. This implies that the animal flesh would be permeated and contaminated with uric acid and therefore very poisonous ...... only today did our dietitians realise such a thing.
Bob: Again, while on the topic of food........ Why do Muslims condemn the eating of pork or ham or any foods related to pigs or swine.
Yunus: Actually, apart from the Quraan prohibiting the consumption of pig flesh, ......in fact the Bible too in Leviticus chapter 11, verse 8, .....regarding swine it says, "of their flesh (of the swine) shall you not eat, and of their carcase you shall not touch; they are unclean to you." Further, did you know that a pig cannot be slaughtered at the neck for it does not have a neck ..........that is according to its natural anatomy. A Muslim reasons that if the pig was to be slaughtered and fit for human consumption the creator would have provided it with a neck. Nonetheless, ........all that aside, I am sure you are well informed about the harmful effects of the consumption of pork, in any form, be it pork chops ...... ham ...... bacon.......
Bob: The medical sciences find that there is a risk for various diseases as the pig is found to be a host for many parasites and potential diseases.
Yunus: Yes, even apart from that ....as we talked about uric acid content in the blood.....it is important to note that the pig's biochemistry excretes only 2% of its total uric acid content...... the remaining 98% remains as an integral part of the body. This explains the high rate of Rheumatism found in those who consume pork.
Bob: Let's fasten our seatbelts ......I think we are going to land shortly .... I guess its true - time does fly when you're having fun. I've never heard these arguments before and I'd like to hear more.......just what is the basic theme of the Holy Quraan anyway ?
Yunus: The basic theme is of salvation, in this life and in the life hereafter..... it does not fall into the category of any known arts or sciences of the world, but since it addresses itself to mankind, it touches on almost all the disciplines which concern Him. Thus the Quraan surprisingly encompassed truths which were to be discovered and confirmed much later as our discussion has shown.
Yunus: This reminds me of the wise words of Sir Francis, who said, "It is a little knowledge of science that makes you an Atheist, and it is an in-depth study of science that makes you a believer in God Almighty".
Thereafter nobody said a word ........they each sat back and looked forward waiting for touch down.........