According to the Qur’an, there are three distinct ways in which we can establish “certainty of knowledge” in any issue of human life. These are as follows:
1. ilm-ul-yaqin: certainty of knowledge by inference or reasoning.
2. ayn-ul-yaqin: certainty of knowledge by seeing and observing.
3. haqq-ul-yaqin: absolute knowledge, like this is a computer.
According to the Qur’an, these methods of establishing “certainty of knowledge” are universal because they apply to all the creations of our universe, which include plant and animal life. Hence, they do not limit certainty of knowledge to evidence only, like in modern science.
Abraham applied the above methods to do the following:
1. Reject all religions of his time. Firstly, because the idols and celestial bodies his parents worshipped did not have Godlike attributes of God, and secondly because they were blind followers of religion and tradition, which were based on conjecture.
2. Hence, as an alternative to religion and tradition, he used the “natural laws and forces of the different creations of the heavens and earth” (Qur’an 6:75) to establish the fact that there was a Designer and Creator of it, free of all dogmas and doctrines of religion. Therefore, in the Faith of Abraham, God, His Word (Books) and Prophets is an outcome or product of Reality, not religion.
3. Likewise, he used the “natural laws and forces of the different creations” to adopt the secular and scientific way of their way of life in keeping with the Reality of the universe in which he lived. This suited him fine because he was a rational person of pure natural beliefs (hanif).
Hence, it was in this way, Abraham found a way to eliminate the dichotomy of the secular and religious and all extremist and fundamentalist teachings and practices within and between them that made them separate and exclusive, thus reducing both Godless science and religion to reality.
Thus, in the context of the above, the role of the Qur’an is to establish Reality between the secular and the religious or that between science and religion according to revealed knowledge. To explain this, let’s take the dispute between Creationism and Evolution. The Qur’an settles this dispute as follows:
• Before the Big Bang took place, our physical universe existed as “smoke” (interstellar dust and gas) in the present Space (sky) it occupies today, (Al Qur’an 41:11). Therefore, there is no ways in which science can tell us what the state of our universe was before the Big Bang took place and how it happened.
• We know that the Big Bang took place because the Qur’an is very clear that the “universe is expanding” (Al Qur’an 51:47) and that one day it will recede and collapse (Al Qur’an 56:4-6, 75:6-12). If early Arabs had the telescope, they would have calculated that the Big Bang took place 13.77 billion years ago because they were good in the knowledge of algebra, geometry, calculus, etc.
• Likewise, we know from Qur’an that before the Big Bang took place, the heavens (the present seven firmaments) and earth in “smoke” form were one entity, and that God separated the “smoke” from the sky by compressing the “smoke” to cause the Big Bang (Al Qur’an 21:30).
• After the Big Bang, when our physical universe in the form of stars, planets, galaxies, clusters, etc, had cooled and settled, God chose our planet earth to settle us. Unfortunately, it was “void of shape and form”, without the mountains, seas, dry land, sunlight, etc, (Genesis 1:2).
• Hence, it was God Who created the mountains, seas, sunlight, dry land, etc, (Genesis 1:3-10, Qur’an 41:9-12, 21:30-33). Therefore, to state that the Big Bang took place by two atoms colliding at a very high speed and out of the Big Bang developed our Milky Way with all the stars, sun, moon, and the earth as it appears today, is not true. God had a hand, not only in giving shape and form to the earth, but also in creating every bit of it as we see it today. The only thing He did not do was change the core of the earth, which causes earthquakes, tsunamis, etc, because that would have been unscientific.
• In surah 41 verses 10, God states that He took 4 God days (4000 earth days as per surah 22 verse 47) to give shape and form to the earth and establish the sustenance of all the creatures He was going to create on the earth. The Bible states all this happened in 3 God days.
• Hence, like He created the earth (gave shape and form to it) and its vegetation in 4 God days, He took another 2000 earth days to “adorn the lower heavens with light” meaning with stars and moon, (Qur’an 41:11-12). According to Genesis 1:14, it was at this stage that God created the seasons on earth. Looks, very scientifically correct.
• God then went on to create all the creatures of the earth including humans in a Creative Evolution manner, from the lowest to the highest form, from the same clay and water He used for creating plants and animals. Hence, neither did the earth evolve with shape and form from the Big Bang nor did any plant, animal or human life originated from the origin of the previous species of creation.
• In surah 29 verse 20, God tells us that if we wish to know how long it took Him to create all animal and human life on this earth, we should travel the earth and find out exactly how God originated the creations, I suppose according to our knowledge of anthropology, geology, biology, etc.
• In surah 92 verse 3, God tells us that He created all life, plant animal and human in pairs, male and female.
• In surah 19 verse 94 and surah 72 verse 28, God tells us the He numbered all His creations.
Hence, in the context of the above, the Message of the Qur’an to theists, atheists, evolutionists and secularists is simple. If you are unable to relate to the realities of your universe and establish the exact balance between science, religion, culture, politics, etc, without creating any boundaries within and between them that make them separate and exclusive, you will not be “righteous enough” to inherit and rule the world.
AK Sayed (South Africa).