Is science compatible with religion?

The following article was published by Windsor Star, on Feb. 28, 2014.

Amidst the recent debate between the scientist, Bill Nye and creationist, Ken Ham about evolution, it is once again being questioned whether science is compatible with religion.

I do not speak for all religions or even all Muslims but it is my belief as an Ahmadi Muslim, that there is no discord between science and religion.

In fact, the Holy Quran insists in some 750 verses that Muslims study, reflect, and use reason to comprehend the universe. Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad made it compulsory for every man and woman to gain education and urged Muslims to seek knowledge even if they had to travel to China.

It was these exhortations that led Muslims of early Islam to excel in all fields of science, mathematics, and medicine. Among them Ibn al-Haytham (965 AD) who pioneered the field of optics, Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (936 AD) who pioneered modern surgery with his introduction of many surgical tools, and Muhammad ibn Musa (780 AD) who made significant contributions to the field of algebra.

The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community, Hadhrat Ahmad, emphasized that by studying the marvels of nature through the looking glass of science, Muslims should have a greater appreciation for the beauty of the creation of God.

The phenomena of atoms, of life, and of the universe should enhance the reverence of that Deity.

He wrote, “The God of Islam is the same God Who is visible in the reflection of the laws of nature and is discernible in the book of nature. Islam has not presented a new God but has presented the same God Who is presented by the light of man’s heart, by the conscience of man, and by heaven and earth.”

It is this view that inspired Dr. Abdus Salam, a devout Ahmadi Muslim, to follow in the footsteps of the pioneering Muslim Scientists.

It was with this understanding that he carried his research, and it was this conviction that led him to become a highly respected physicist and Nobel Laureate (Physics Prize 1979) — the first Muslim to do so.

If religion is true, it should not fear science but should embrace it, because after all, as Abdus Salam famously said, “Scientific thought is the common heritage of mankind”.

Sinwan Basharat, Windsor



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