[Social Robotics] [default] The Importance of Knowledge and Science in Islam

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[Social Robotics] [default] The Importance of Knowledge and Science in Islam

Sethu Vijayakumar

The Importance of Knowledge and Science in Islam

Islam gives a great motivation to people to expand scientific knowledge. According to the book of Quran, Prophet Muhammad had recited the first verse that said ‘Iqra' meaning ‘read.' It means that individuals should seek knowledge through reading and writing. The book also encourages the humankind to always contemplate, reflect as well as obtain knowledge that is likely to pull them closer to God and everything that He created. Repetition is applied a lot in the Quran in order to insist on particularly important concepts in the apprehension of those who harken. According to the book of Quran, Prophet Muhammad demanded an insight from all Muslims and convinced them to search for knowledge furthest they could arrive, as well as look for it at all times. "I would be a slave of a person who teaches me a letter," Abu Talib, the fourth Caliph once said. It shows how crucial knowledge is. The laws, demands, and traditions of the Muslim community were the components all rulers in the community insisted on to make their subordinates take up interest in the acquisition of knowledge. The objective of the current research is to discuss various aspects of the importance of knowledge and science in Islam.

The Concept of Knowledge in Islam

The Islamic theory of knowledge, a term that is denoted as ‘Ilm’ in Arabic, has a greater implication so that it means not only information about something, but rather the theories, actions and education, which gives it a unique meaning. Muslims championed for knowledge when the entire globe was penetrated with ignorance; they became knowledgeable in religion that had awakened their intellectual ability. Through the teachings of the Quran, they understood that knowledge was useful for the interests of an individual and the human race. Thus, Muslims tried to understand religion to such a degree that they outdid other countries in growth and abundance championing civilisation for ages.

Progress in the technology and science is one of the ways to achieve improvement in the Muslim community. Islam requires every Muslim to seek awareness in the widest sense of the globe. For instance, in the book of Quran, Prophet Muhammad said, "Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim." He also claimed, "For one who treads a path of knowledge, Allah will make the path to Paradise easy." Similarly, the book of Quran has some references to the awareness and its significance, for example, "Are those who know equal to those who do not know?" [39:9]

"Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge by degrees" [58:11]

"Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day are signs for those of understanding." [3:190]

Scientific awareness and the urge to seek knowledge within ourselves without biases and prejudices are related to the mystical lessons to be obtained from the current knowledge, as we come to know a lot about the reasons for accepting the existence of God. For example, if we come to think of the labour and the sustenance of life, it evolves to an apparent likelihood of God’s existence as a result of incidental mitigated quite remarkably.

Islam is a religion of logic. Thus, it is considered to have close relation to knowledge, as Allah put it; "Wisdom is the lost property of the believer."

This verse encourages every person to have the urge to enrich his or her awareness from all kinds of sources. Therefore, knowledge and Islam are interrelated. However, wisdom has provided great advancements in the modern world, and both are still inseparable. Certain scientific discoveries have enlightened some religious beliefs opening up an understanding of the scriptures that highlight the mythical nature of divination and the truthfulness of the studied religion.

The book of Quran emphasizes the study and reflection of the entire universe that surrounds the earth, but particularly the knowledge that provides humans with the capability to prosper from the world around. While still inspiring researchers, the book contains hints to certain topics that prove to be scientifically correct. We can claim that this is the contentment with God's account centuries ago:

"Allah will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth." [41:53]

Therefore, an Islamic believer has genuine and innocent motives to acquire knowledge, so that his or her faith results in positive outcomes. Knowledge strengthens written evidence for the existence of God and assists in acknowledgment of numerous inferences found in the Quran.

Based on different parts of the book, it is evident that the Quran empowers this sort of general reflection and additionally contains more exact information which has been identified with certainty by the modern science. It is this information that represents an attractive fascination for today's researchers, which means that science is critical in Islam.

Knowledge leads to bigger rewards. According to the Quran, a person who shows the way to better things is similar to the person who creates the things. It also claims that the moment a knowledgeable person dies, the person's award from Allah does not stop to exist, but rather it progresses as long as people profit from the kind of knowledge the individual left behind. Prophet Mohammad said that once a person dies, all deeds also come to an end, apart from the beneficial experience, his unending charity and the dutiful son who insists on praying for him.

A good comprehension of the Islam is provided by a trait that Prophet Mohammad considered as an honourable thing with which Allah would reward a believer. He also added that reading Quran, understanding its words and making others learn the words means that real awareness is shared among many wishing to gain the same knowledge, which is the best deed Allah would want us to do.

The Concept of Science in Islam

The Islamic science being exquisite in its technical meaning does not have the motivation it needs for innovation, but is particularly necessary for the preservation of the ancient awareness and was applied to go back to the Medieval Europe. The science evolved in the Middle Ages, and the Islam was the driving force behind the Muslim success. The science in medieval Islam was based on the unique human history or the new history of humankind. The science did not lead to the innovative science, but rather laid the basis for an empirical science contributing to scientific methods as well as their exploratory, qualitative and quantitative accessibility to scientific inquiries.

The history of the Muslims has instances of scientific and cultural cleverness. Knowledge of the states that existed before the Muslims have inherited them helped them to develop placing them in a precise moral framework. Through scholarships of the Muslims, they as well contributed to the enhancement and development of the global civilisation.

Muslims were making huge strides in the development of mathematics, physics, medicine, geography, literature, astronomy, historic documentation and architecture, while Europe and the rest of the Western world still lived in the dark. Some of the important procedures were disseminated to Medieval Europe from the Islamic religion. It included the Arabic numerals with the foundations of the zero necessary for the development of the mathematics and application of algebra. Muslims also developed unique instruments such as quadrants and the astrolabe including navigation maps. It was until people lost the connection with the religious beliefs so that the scientific knowledge and scientific success of the Muslim world stopped and crumbled into indistinctiveness.

In the modern world, the Islam religion does not reject any new inventions as long as they are helpful to the humankind. Muslims insist that all the new devices should be used in the name of God and for His purposes. All machines, devices and instruments created by people have either been applied or will be implemented for either a positive or negative purpose. Similarly, the way they are applied can affect a significant part of the world’s population.

Certain simple things like a television program can provide immorality or educative content, similarly to a glass that can either be filled with poison or nourishing water, which depends on the user’s decision, and the Muslims are required to make proper use of all the knowledge at their disposal while being restricted from inducing damage to themselves or people around. Failure to make proper use of these processes aimed at prosperity results in the ridicule of the Islamic teachings.

According to the Islamic teaching, a government is needed for the purpose of the promotion of education among its citizens. Education is a rightful commodity of every individual, and a moral obligation of every Muslim person is to receive an education that is not limited to just religious education but also to the world affairs. According to the Muslim doctrine, any individual who is already qualified should also advance themselves in the beneficial fields of knowledge. For instance, since every community requires a physician, it becomes mandatory for some individuals in the society to pursue understanding in the same area to meet the needs of the society.

There have never been any developed scientific facts that contravened the instructions of the Islam. Any new scientific discoveries obtained proof and raised the awareness of God's extraordinary creation. It shows that Islam will always encourage scientific ventures and learning of God's creations. Islam also encourages significant technological progress and permits people to take pleasure in the results of human activity.

To the Muslims, there exist no conflicts between religion and science, since religion originates from God and so do the creations and inventions of humans. However, the materialistic advancement in the technological and scientific development has provided people with an amplification of visible amenity but not the spiritual or mental comfort. Thus, the Islamic religion insists on including awareness into an equitable and balanced world system to promote both mental and physical improvement, which should be motivated and upheld.

As our insight into science reflected in the different fields extends, certain ideas must appear to be progressively inadmissible. For instance, the thought that was eagerly communicated by the late French champ of the Nobel Prize for a drug invention is that a living matter was self-made from basic concoction of components because of the conditions based on chance. At this point it is guaranteed that existing life forms advanced, resulting in the surprisingly complex being called man. Undoubtedly, the exploratory headways made in comprehending the incredible many-sided qualities of higher creatures give more grounded contentions for the opposite hypothesis, which suggests that the presence of a phenomenally precise association that manages the fantastic game plan of the life’s marvels requires the presence of a maker.

Jamaluddin was an impressive figure of the 1880-90's in Egypt who had an interest in the recovery of the Muslim world. He came up with a view of science alone and this is what made the countries in the West powerful and mighty. These countries are domineering over the Islamic states since they possess the power. Since this is being accepted and applied, there must be positivity about the science, which gives authority to the states. He also claimed that science originated from the Islamic world, and hence, the Islamic science is the cause of the Western countries possessing science and dominating over the Islamic world. Therefore, all that the Muslims have to do is to restore this science so that they could also achieve the glory that the Western world countries continue to enjoy.

It shows how important science is to the Islam world. The attitude that Jamaluddin has added to the minds of many generations that came after him provoked the idea to open up special centres to acquire modern science. These centres include the Istanbul University, Food I University in Cairo, the University of Punjab in Punjab and many others that were established due to the belief in science originated from the Islamic world. Currently, one day in a week, there are lecturers in media stations given by devoted Muslims that remind the Muslim community of the knowledge and intelligence that is, ‘Taffakur' or ‘Ta'akul' as well as observation, ‘Mashahida.' Every verse they recite is an attempt to remind the followers of the need to preserve science in the Muslim world.

The Importance of Knowledge and Science

Islam is the only religion that pays much attention to the education. Muslims have been seeking knowledge as a must-have thing to all Muslims and it is considered a sin if a person is ignorant or does not seek knowledge. According to Quran, Allah has provided such a desire to those individuals who are knowledgeable unlike those who are not. The duty of Prophet Muhammad was to raise awareness among all human beings of the knowledge that came directly from the Creator. The knowledge involved peculiarities of God, and how people having been moulded to God's likeness are supposed to please Him. It is the starting point in the significance of knowledge to a Muslim. To please Allah meant that an individual must seek knowledge that would guide the person to act in a way that does not offend Allah. Thus, those ignorant of seeking knowledge live their entire lives acting in a way that is opposite to the Quran teachings.

According to Islam, knowledge provides the basis for how we act. When Allah created human beings, He warned people from certain deeds due to the spiritual and physical harm arising from their gratification. It becomes a compulsory requirement to all Muslims to learn these attitudes of the Muslim religion to avoid committing sins intentionally. These aspects of the Muslim’s faith also help individuals in their activities such as trade, medicine and law.

The acquisition of knowledge is not a one-time event, but a life-time process. A great scholar once said; "Whoever seeks knowledge in one go, it will leave him at one go. Rather, knowledge can only be found through the passing of nights and days." Thus, patience is a requirement for a person who is eager to obtain knowledge since some knowledge is quite easy to search, and other take a long time to be understood. A person who tries to learn while still experiencing hardships is rewarded by Allah since the effort was great in terms of seeking knowledge. Prophet Muhammad said; "Whoever reads the Quran and stutters while reading, due to its difficulty, will receive a double reward."

Search for knowledge is considered a form of worship that an individual needs to keep being honest and not for bragging or competing with other people. Prophet Mohammad once said, "Whoever seeks that knowledge which is usually attempted to request the pleasure of Allah to gain some worldly benefit, he will not sense the scent of Paradise on the Day of Judgement." Knowledge may also not be significant if one does not enjoy its benefits.

In the field of science, there existed Muslim scientists who made great accomplishments in specific scientific fields. For instance, Ibn Sina (980-1037) was a great philosopher and physician. His outstanding contribution to the Book of Healing is a comprehensive scientific and philosophical encyclopaedia. He had published a book known as The Canon of Medicine, which was studied in many universities in Europe as an approved medical test till the 17th century.

Another figure was Ibn Rushd (1126-1198) was studied both in Europe and the Islamic world for several centuries. He is well recognised in the West for his analysis on Aristotle's philosophy. European universities used some of his books till the onset of the 19th century.

One of the leading academic figures known as Thabit Ibn Qurra managed to translate over a hundred works in astronomy, mathematics, natural science, medicine and mechanics at the beginning of the second century of the golden age.

At the onset of the golden age, which is the origin of the Islamic civilisation, the Islamic scholars had made huge strides in numerous scientific areas. The translation of books from other languages to Arabic and the publication of new books slowly primed the basis for the establishment of one of the great libraries of the age in Bayt-ul-Hekmat University that is denoted in Arabic as the house of wisdom.

Islamic believers had passion for learning new science and acquiring knowledge from people of other races they came across. For example, the Islam had captured some Chinese in the battle of Talas who taught them the art of paper making and were later released. Eventually, the Muslims built a paper mill in Samarkand in Baghdad. The ability to manufacture paper enabled the Muslims to spread education and science through recording on the paper what they had learned, which was done in combination with the Muslim art of paper binding; they turned these papers to books and the rise of libraries traversed the Islamic world, so that Muslims became the first inventors of libraries.

The fertile grounds helped the Muslim scholars to carry out researches and modernisation during the golden era. A renowned Muslim historian, astronomer, and a mathematician printed the first books on the arithmetic techniques in the onset of the 3rd century. A step by step procedure of solving equations also known as the algorithm was named after Al- Khwarizmi to tribute his contribution in arithmetic and mathematics.

By the tenth century, seventy libraries had been built in Cordoba, with the largest library holding up to six hundred thousand books including sixty thousand poems, treatises and compilations, which were printed every year in Al-Andalus. The library of Cairo had over a hundred thousand copies, while that of Tripoli recorded an astonishing number of three million copies, but unfortunately they were burnt down during a crusade, although the number of Islamic scientific works that remained was larger than the works of Latin and Greek scientists put together.

All these historical records prove that for the Islamic world, knowledge and science were of great significance before the civilisation of Europe and the West outshined them later at the beginning of the sixteenth century. The Islamic world is no longer recognised for its engagement in modern science, despite their great contributions to the civilisation. However, many of the Muslims have never ceased to seek more and more knowledge despite many of them being religious fanatics.

The Islamic world had acquired knowledge and science during the golden age, so that Islamic believers became military and politically wise, and widened their territories, but all leaders in the Islam world inclined to the religion when there was raised the concern about science and knowledge. Religion itself was a limiting factor and did not provide enough resources and expertise to facilitate the advancement of science. Max Weber, a nineteenth-century scholar, insisted that Islam did not possess the ‘idea system' discerned for keeping up a scientific culture based on modernisation, quantification, current knowledge and factual proof. Acceptance and adaptation to the progress limited in the past make it undesirable .

Since the dark ages, the Islam world had always championed the importance of knowledge and science until the thirteenth century when other states across Europe and the West outdid them in science. Still, the Islamic believers seek knowledge in other fields as a requirement established by the Quran and the teachings of Prophet Mohammad. A few of the Muslims have intentions to advance the Islamic world scientifically, but others are limited by their reliance on religious beliefs

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