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ISLAM AND SCIENCE: CONTRADICTION OR CONCORDANCE

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Abstract:

Abstract.

Many question whether Islam and science can be compatible. In the first six hundred years of Islam, Muslims addressed all fields of knowledge available to them with unprecedented zeal and contributed immensely to the knowledge that became the precursor of the Renaissance in Europe. The Tatar invasion in the thirteenth century and the total destruction of Baghdad, the Muslim capital of knowledge and science, followed by the crusades, the ensuing hostility between East and West, and Western colonialism of Muslim countries led to a distrust of all knowledge emanating from the West. Such distrust closed the doors to ijtihad, a dynamic method in Islamic jurisprudence for addressing change, new demands, and new acquired knowledge, even though the Qur'an challenges Muslims to think, contemplate, understand, comprehend, and examine everything around them—tasks that bring humankind closer to God as they find methods to apply God's laws of justice and equity to the benefit of all humankind. Islam is the religion of yusr (ease) and not ‘usr (hardship). The creation of the world was for human benefit and use. Innovation for such beneficial use and application is a must.

Keywords: Islam and science; Islamic law and interpretations; Qur'an; Shari'ah (Islamic law); Sunnah; ijtihad (reason); mafsadah (harm); masahah (benefit); scientific knowledge; tradition

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00688.x

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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