By Kulsum Shaikh
Many argue over evolution versus religion, or science versus Islam in general. But the question is, why do we have to look at is as science “versus” Islam, or even the idea of science versus religion for that matter? There has been an increased trend of separating religion and science, stating that you can’t have both. This is actually a relatively new idea, because if we look at our scientific history, there actually were some prominent scientists that had the completely opposite stance. For example, most people know Isaac Newton for his three laws of motion, but very few know that over the thousands of papers he wrote, he wrote the most on religion. He was a strong arguer for the oneness of God, because he rejected the idea of the trinity, he had to keep quiet on his views so that he wouldn’t face penalties from the church and state. If a 17th century physicist whose work has helped classify the dynamics of the universe, whose laws of motion are the foundation for classical mechanics can strongly hold on to his faith, why can’t we modern day scientists? Why do we feel the need to separate faith from science?
As a science major myself, specifically a physics major, I feel that my iman has increased because of everything I have studied thus far. Sitting in classes like cell biology, I learned that the fastest motor in the world isn’t located in a Boeing plane’s engine, rather, in our human bodies in the form of ATP synthase, a machine in the cell that allows ATP, a high energy molecule to be created in our bodies, is out of this world. Without ATP, we would be dead. Or even the fact that the only liquid that is more dense than it’s solid form is water, is a miracle. If water wasn’t more dense than ice, ice wouldn’t float, and if ice couldn’t float, our oceans would freeze completely down to the core, resulting in all marine life being extinguished. And if that happened, we would again most likely be dead, since 70-80% of Earth’s oxygen comes from marine life. These are just a couple of marvelous scientific wonders. But the point to think on, is that they cannot just be “wonders” or “coincidences”. Something, some higher being had to have decided to make ice less dense than water, or handcrafted ATP synthase so that the motor would work fast enough to produce the energy required for our bodies to function. And that my friends, is our Rabb, the most Gracious, the most Merciful, Allah Subhana wa ta’ala.
Even from a scientific standpoint, there is no other explanation to these wonders besides the stated facts themselves. Water is more dense than ice. ATP synthase is a motor protein located in the body. Scientists can go deep down, to the core, trying to find answers to everything, but at the end of the day, the question always arises, “how did this get here, how did that happen?”, and even though we may have found answers to a lot of things, there are many things that we simply do not have the answer to. These things exceed our human scope of understanding, which makes complete sense, since humans are not the ones that created this world. For example, physicists have devised laws of physics for almost everything in the universe. We claim that we know how the universe operates. But when you get down to the quantum level, basically down to a system of particles, we do not have a concrete explanation for their behaviour. When I learned about quantum physics and special relativity in one of my upper level physics classes, it was basically a moment of truth for all of us physics majors. The professor had to bluntly tell us, that everything that we had studied up till now, all of the laws of physics and motion, electromagnetism, energy and momentum, none of them applied at the quantum level. At the particle level, there is a different type of explanation of matter, where particles and waves behave the same, therefore there is a wave-particle duality of energy and matter. I know, mind = blown.
Science and Islam indeed do go together. For this world that we live in, came from our Lord. Every chemical mechanism, every biological fact, every physical design, all came from Him. Allah didn’t just handcraft us, He handcrafted every minute detail. He is the best chemist, biologist, best physicist that their could ever be, because He created this system of a world that over 7 billion of us currently reside in. Allah says in Surah Al-Qiyamah, “Does man think that We cannot assemble his bones? Nay, We are able to put together in perfect order the very tips of his fingers” (Quran 75:3-4). Rather than trying to separate science from religion, we can look at our religion as a foundation for our scientific principles. Let’s give due credit to the Creator that created us.
Picture Reference: http://islam-science.net/evolution-and-islams-quantum-question-1804/