Modern Science and The Quran
For many centuries, humankind was unable to study certain data contained in the verses of Quran because they did not possess sufficient scientific means. It is only today that numerous verses of Quran dealing with natural phenomena have become comprehensible. A reading of old commentaries on Quran, however knowledgeable their authors may have been in their day, bears solemn witness to a total inability to grasp the depth of meaning in such verses. I could even go so far as to say that, in the 20th century, with its compartmentalization of ever-increasing knowledge, it is still not easy for the average scientist to understand everything he reads in the Quran on such subjects, without having recourse to specialized research. Quran and Science and highly compatibale.
I should like to stress, that I use the word science to mean knowledge which has been soundly established. It does not include the theories which, for a time, help to explain a phenomenon or a series of phenomena, only to be abandoned later on in favour of other explanations. These newer explanations have become more plausible thanks to scientific progress. I only intend to deal with comparisons between statements in the Quran and scientific knowledge which are not likely to be subject to further discussion. Wherever I introduce scientific facts which are not yet 100% established, I will make it quite clear.
There are also some very rare examples of statements in the Quran which have not, as yet, been confirmed by modern science. I shall refer to these by pointing out that all the evidence available today leads scientists to regard them as being highly probable. An example of this is the statement in the Quran that life has an aquatic origin (“And I created every living thing out of water” Quran, 21:30).
These scientific considerations should not, however, make us forget that the Quran remains a religious book par excellence and that it cannot be expected to have a scientific purpose per se. In the Quran, whenever humans are invited to reflect upon the wonders of creation and the numerous natural phenomena, they can easily see that the obvious intention is to stress Divine Omnipotence. The fact that, in these reflections, we can find allusions to data connected with scientific knowledge is surely another of God’s gifts whose value must shine out in an age where scientifically based atheism seeks to gain control of society at the expense of the belief in God. But the Quran does not need unusual characteristics like this to make its supernatural nature felt. Scientific statements such as these are only one specific aspect of the Islamic revelation which the Bible does not share.
Throughout my research I have constantly tried to remain totally objective. I Believe I have succeeded in approaching the study of the Quran with the same objectivity that a doctor has when opening a file on a patient. In other words, only by carefully analyzing all the symptoms can one arrive at an accurate diagnosis. I must admit that it was certainly not faith in Islam that first guided my steps, but simply a desire to search for the truth. This is how I see it today. It was mainly the facts which, by the time I had finished my study, led me to see the Quran as the divinely-revealed text it really is.