Belief in a religion is invariably treated as a matter of faith without the need for substantiation, while science is supposed to be a rational knowledge based on supernatural findings, observed facts and logical analysis. Since technological developments can be experimented upon and proved, they are called scientific but religion is considered a blind ideology as it cannot be proved. The author of the book, P.A. Wahid'scontention is ?When scientific knowledge is put to practical purposes, technology is born. In the same way, when the holy messages are put to practice, then religion is born.? He laments that, ?the present-day science education tends to detract from spirituality and religion? and advocates that ?science should be taught in an Islamic perspective upholding its basic principles, particularly the existence of God and tawhid. Science should be taught as a system of knowledge, created by Allah, about the universe, its diverse components, mechanisms and controls from subatomic level to galaxies and beyond.?
To substantiate his statement, Wahid quotes Albert Einstein who had once observed: ?Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.? He adds mere ?sanctification or purification of science? is not enough because what is needed is bringing ?together of Quran and science? because beliefs ?without a strong base in science and religion will certainly lend to confusion, distortion of facts and weakening of eeman (belief in Islam).?
The author addresses the creation of physical universe and the biological species (excepting man) by proposing theories of programmed evolution. The Quranic revelations about the creation of man, the divine mechanism of creation, life-after, divine governance of the universe, etc. are explained through the analogy of computerised set-up. The phenomena of life and death, genetic programming and concept of the soul are scientifically defined by the author who believes ?life is an intangible entity that can be understood only in conjunction with the Quran.?
He raises the question on evolution as to where exactly on earth God sent down Adam and Eve before providing the answer himself, ?although we cannot accurately trace the location, the out-of-Africa-theory of human origin is acceptable because it proposes only one location for origin of man, which agrees with the Quran. Secondly the geographical regions adjoining Africa are the cradle of ancient human civilisations. It was these areas that saw the advent of Prophet,? hence, such deductions would justify the assumption that it could be ?Africa where God sent the first human couple.?
Talking of Heaven and Hell, the author says, ?The Quranic statements about eternal life in Heaven or Hell imply that the re-created universe, unlike the previous one, will have to be a permanent system without end? These divine messages also throw light on the nature of the nafs (microbio-programme, the software or the so-called soul) of a human being. The nafs once created is indestructible and has eternal existence.? He concedes that being born to Muslim parents does not assure a berth in Heaven but living ?according to Allah'sinstructions? will help man. Further according to him, only after the judgement and award of Heaven, that the success of one'searthly life can be confirmed. He adds, ?We all have equal opportunities to qualify for admission to Heaven. It is we who determine our own destiny. And the Quran and Sunnah? traditions of Prophet Mohammed?guide us to that most covetable, inconceivable and unfathomable destination.?
The author is convinced that the evolution of science and technology takes place only as a result ?of programmed release of knowledge by God to the scientist selected by him for the purpose. Therefore what Prophet is to the religion Islam, scientist is to science. To put it differently, none will get information about the hitherto unknown phenomenon unless God wills it.? The Quran-science dialogue is believed to eventually lead to the development of a holistic knowledge of the universe including the divine purpose of human creation covering the past, the present and the future. ?It will constitute the totality of the revealed knowledge.?
On reading the book one gets the feeling that the book is written with the conviction that the source of knowledge (both true science and the Quran) is Allah and that religion-scientific dialogue leads to ?a stimulating integration? of true science and the Quran resulting in the evolution of a holistic knowledge of the universe including the divine purpose of human creation. The concept of Islamic science as propagated by the author, who is a soil scientist specialising in radioisotope-aided research on trees, makes it seem that only Islam is the rational, the divine and the universal religion, while others are either unimportant or absent?a biased interpretation to say the least.
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