Common Misconceptions About Islam, Muslims and The Quran

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Misconception: Religion and science/reason/knowledge are not compatible

Background: It is commonly thought that religion in general, including Islam, is simply not compatible with science/reason/knowledge.

The Quran repeatedly emphasises the importance of seeking knowledge, verifying information, use of logic/reason, evidence, consultation, reflection/thinking, study of biology/creation/archaeology/history/sciences. Some of the many examples are shown below.

The Quran clearly states signs of the truth it promotes exist in the whole universe, thus surely all of it is worthy of study:

We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves, until it becomes clear to them that this is the truth. Is it not sufficient as regards your Lord that He is a witness over all things? [41:53]

Say: Travel in the earth and see how He originated the creation, then God creates the latter creation; surely God has power over all things. [29:20]

Many ways of life have passed away before your time. Go, then, about the earth and behold what happened in the end to those who gave the lie to the truth. [3:137]

In the creation of heavens and Earth, and the alternation between night and day, are signs for those with understanding.
Those who remember God while standing, and sitting, and on their sides, and they ponder over the creation of the heavens and the Earth: “Our Lord you did not create this without purpose...”

[3:190-191]
 

Promotes logical thinking and reasoning:

And it is such that We showed Abraham the kingdom of heavens and Earth, so that he will be of those who have certainty. When the night covered him, he saw a planet, and he said: "This is my Lord." But when it disappeared he said: "I do not like those that disappear." So when he saw the moon rising, he said: "This is my Lord." But when it disappeared he said: "If my Lord will not guide me, then I will be amongst the misguided!" So when he saw the sun rising, he said: "This is my Lord, this is biggest." But when it disappeared he said: "My people, I am innocent of all that you associate with God." [6:75-79]

“And by God , I will scheme against your statues after you have gone away and given your backs.”
So he broke them into pieces except for the biggest of them, so that they may turn to him.
They said: “Who has done this to our gods? He is surely one of the wicked.”
They said: “We heard a young man mentioning them. He was called Abraham.”
They said: “Bring him before the eyes of the people so that they may be witness.”
They said: “Did you do this to our gods Abraham?”
He said: “It was the biggest one of them here who did it, so ask them, if they do speak!”
So they turned and said to themselves: “It is indeed ourselves who have been wicked!”
Then they reverted to their old ideas: “You know that they do not speak!”
He said: “Do you serve besides God that which does not benefit you at all nor harm you?”
“I am fed-up of you and to what you serve besides God! Do you not comprehend?”

[21:57-67]

He cites an example for Us, while forgetting his own creation! He says: "Who can resurrect the bones while they are dust?"
Say, "The One who made them in the first place will resurrect them. He is fully aware of every creation."

[36:78-79]

If there were gods in them (heaven and earth) except for God, then they would have been ruined... [21:22]

God has not taken a son, nor is there with Him any god. If it were so, then every god would have taken what He created and they would have tried to overtake each other. God be glorified against what they describe! [23:91]

Did the news come to you of the person who debated with Abraham regarding his Lord, while God had given him a kingship? Abraham said: “My Lord is the One who gives life and death,” he said: “I bring life and death.” Abraham said: “God brings the sun from the east, so you bring it from the west.” The one who disbelieved was confounded! And God does not guide the wicked people. [2:258]

In the story of Joseph, he was accused of molesting a female when it was really the other way around, and it was proven with evidence by way of reasoning:

He said: “She is the one who seduced me from myself,” and a witness from her family gave testimony: “If his shirt was torn from the front, then she is truthful, and he is the liar.”
“And if his shirt is torn from behind (i.e. as he tried to get away from her), then she is lying, and he is truthful.”

[12:26-27]

As is quite common in The Quran, it also gives us examples in this life to reflect upon:

...You sometimes see the earth dry and barren, but no sooner do We send down rain upon it than it begins to stir and swell, putting forth every kind of radiant bloom.
That is because God is the truth, and He gives life to the dead, and He is capable of all things.
[22:5-6]

And Abraham said: ""My Lord, show me how you resurrect the dead." He said, "Do you not already acknowledge?" He said, "I do, but to assure my heart. Said He: "Take, then, four birds and teach them to obey thee; then place them separately on every hill [around thee]; then summon them: they will come flying to thee. And know that God is Almighty, Wise. [2:260]
 

Rejects following of tradition/culture/ancestors blindly:

And if they commit evil acts, they say: “We found our fathers doing such, and God ordered us to it.” Say: “God does not order evil! Do you say about God what you do not know?” [7:28]

If they are told, "Follow what God has sent down," they say, "No, we will follow what we found our fathers doing!" What if their fathers did not reason much and were not guided? The example of those who are unappreciative is like the one who repeats what he has heard of calls and shouts; deaf, dumb, and blind; they do not reason.
[2:170-171]

And do not follow what you have no knowledge of; surely the hearing, the sight and the heart, all of these, shall be questioned about that. [17:36]


Recommends group consultation:

Those who listen to what is said, then follow the best of it; those are the ones God has guided, and are the men of understanding. [39:18]

...and consult with them upon the conduct of affairs... [3:159]

O you who believe! when it is said to you, Make room in (your) assemblies, then make ample room, God will give you ample, and when it is said: Rise up, then rise up. God will exalt those of you who believe, and those who are given knowledge, in high degrees; and God is Aware of what you do. [58:11]

And those who have responded to their Lord, and they establish the bond, and their affairs are conducted by mutual consultation among themselves, and from Our provisions to them they give. [42:38]


Promotes thinking/reflection/reasoning:

Surely, the worst creatures in the sight of God are the deaf and dumb who do not reason. [8:22]

And they said: “If we had listened or understood, we would not be among the dwellers of the blazing Fire!” [67:10]

...Relate the stories, perhaps they will think. [7:176]

...It is such that We clarify the revelations to a people who think. [10:24]

With proofs and scriptures. And We sent down to you the Reminder to reveal to the people what was sent to them, and perhaps they will think. [16:44]

Do they not reflect upon themselves? God did not create the heavens and the Earth and what is between them except by truth and an appointed term. But most of the people are in denial regarding their meeting with their Lord. [30:8]

And He committed in your service all that is in the heavens and in the Earth; all from Him. In that are signs for a people who reflect. [45:13]

...Say: “Are those who know equal to those who do not know?” Only those who possess understanding will remember. [39:9]

“He has misled mountain loads of you: could you not, then, use your reason?” [36:62]

"Do you not then reflect?" [6:50]

 

Strongly disapproves of conjecture/guesswork, and promotes examination of evidence:

You who believe! If a troublemaker comes to you with a report, verify it, lest you harm a people in ignorance, then be sorry for what you have done. [49:6]

They said, "There is nothing but this worldly life; we die and we live and nothing destroys us except the passing of time!" They have no knowledge about this; they only conjecture/guess. [45:24]

If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of God. They follow only conjecture; they only guess. [6:116]

...And conjecture/guesswork is no substitute for the truth. [53:28]

...Say: Bring your proof if you are truthful. [2:111]

Or have they taken gods besides Him? Say: “Bring your proof. This is a reminder of those with me and a reminder of those before me.” But, most of them do not know the truth, so they turn away. [21:24]
 

Esteems knowledge, education and learning:

And do not follow what you have no knowledge of; surely the hearing, the sight and the heart, all of these, shall be questioned about that. [17:36]

And say: "My Lord increase me in knowledge." [20:114]

"Will they not ponder over the Quran?" [4:82]

And it is not advisable for the believers to mobilize in their entirety. For every battalion that marches out, let a group remain to study the system, and warn their people when they return to them, perhaps they will be aware. [9:122]

And from the people, and the animals, and the livestock, are various colours. As such, only the knowledgeable among God’s servants reverence Him. God is Noble, Forgiving. [35:28]

But those of them who are firm in knowledge, as well as the believers, they believe in what was sent down to you and what was sent down before you... [4:162]

Those who are blessed with knowledge will recognize the truth from your Lord, then believe in it, and their hearts will readily accept it. Most assuredly, GOD guides the believers in the right path. [22:54]

In fact, it is a clear revelation in the chests of those who have been given knowledge... [29:49]

...“Be devotees for what you have been taught of the Scripture, and for what you studied.” [3:79]

In the early period of Islam and The Quran, it is well documented in history that Muslims were the leaders in science/mathematics/agriculture/astronomy/medicine, thus there is a proven example from history that science and Islam were able to work together in a productive manner. It is only recently this can be said to have changed.


 

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