The change of framework
In conclusion, science has now retreated from its lofty position of making quasi- religious claims, providing truths and being the source for knowledge. It was a position that seemed and often claimed to imply atheism. Science now acknowledges its limits and so religion cannot seek to be derived from scientific understandings. Instead we are faced with the challenge to put science back in a religious framework, this time an Islamic one. To do so seems a gigantic task. In its broadest sense it means that all of modern knowledge would have to be re-interpreted. But this isn’t the case since most of modern science fits in to an Islamic framework.
All that needs to be done is to set out the elements of the Islamic framework for knowledge by reconsidering the present, generally accepted framework.
God’s laws of Nature
The idea that reality is governed by laws and order in all areas, that they do not contradict each other and that they can be understood by humans is, as mentioned earlier, the result of a now largely abandoned, God-centred world view. In this, God decrees and upholds these laws and is able to break them if He chooses. In His mercy He makes the physics of reality understandable to us and hence bestows on us such material benefits as we can gain through our new control over nature. It might be wisely remarked that the most incomprehensible thing about reality is that it can be comprehended. This order in reality is a basic belief necessary to a scientific approach. It is not in itself an obvious belief but the more we know about reality the more it seems justified.
To be scientific one has to take a very rigorous approach to reasoning. This involves reducing the idea of causes between events to the most fundamental. To be rational means to be asking of every observation the question ‘Why?’ or ‘How?’ In being rational we search for the truth. We can think of asking about the past causes, or future causes, or ever deeper and more fundamental descriptions of reality. In being rational we are already accepting that there is some ultimate order to reality. It is a basic teaching of Islam that the ultimate truth and source of all order is Allah. In this sense being Muslim requires the assertion that we can always ask why until we would be attempting to describe Allah in answering the question, which is asking the impossible because Allah is not like any thing in His creation. A Muslim must therefore be ‘super-rational’, accepting the application of reason to enquire ever deeper and seeing that by doing so one must conclude the existence of Allah. This argument will be presented more fully in the next section. For now it simply illustrates that by using scientific reasoning we are assuming the unlimited scope for asking the questions ‘Why?’ and ‘How?’. It is only through arbitrarily limiting the scope for these questions that we would be able to assert that the theories of modern science are absolute and universal truths and that hence God has no role. For example the assertion was made that Newton’s laws of motion were a universal truth. This limited the scope of asking “how?” because the answer would be “It just is!”
Oneness of God
Science aims successfully to eliminate all but one cause in describing reality. This method embodies the idea, which now seems trivial, that whatever we can suppose rules the universe, it is one. There cannot be more than one God. Otherwise we would have found evidence of conflicting influences on the way reality is. Occasionally one cause and occasionally another would be the reason for a particular observation. This has not been found to be the case and the assumption holds good. We don’t find the laws of nature changing in the way that criminal laws in modern states differ from one government to the next. The laws of nature are unchanging for billions of years over the vast extent of known existence they are always the same. - There is in this sense only one governor.
We see from this that scientific rational analysis makes assumptions that are consistent with Islamic articles of faith. So the reasoning element of science’s framework fits within the Islamic framework.
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