The Islamic Origins of Modern
Fourteen centuries ago, God sent down the Qur'an as a guide to all humanity.
At the time the Arab society was in a state of complete degeneration, chaos and ignorance. They were a barbarous people who worshipped idols of their own making, believed warfare and bloodshed to be virtuous and were even capable of killing their own children. They had little interest in intellectual matters, let alone a scientific outlook to the natural world.
However, through Islam they learned humanity and civilization. Not only the Arabs but all the communities which accepted Islam escaped the darkness of the age of ignorance and were illuminated by the divine wisdom of the Qur'an. Amongst the faculties the Qur'an brought to humanity was scientific thinking.
The Scientific Paradigm Given in the Qur'an
The genesis of scientific thought is the sense of curiosity. Because people wonder how the universe and nature work, they investigate and become interested in science. But most people lack this curiosity. For them, the important things are not the secrets of the universe and nature but their own small worldly profits and pleasures. In communities where people who think in this way are in charge, science does not develop. Idleness and ignorance rule.
The Arab community before the Qur'an was of this type. But the verses of the Qur'an called upon them to think, to investigate and to use their minds, perhaps for the first time in their lives.
In one of the first revealed verses of the Qur'an, God drew the attention of the Arabs to the camel, a part of their everyday lives:
Have they not looked at the camel-how it was created?
And at the sky-how it was raised up?
And at the mountains-how they were embedded?
And at the earth-how it is spread out?
So remind them! You are only a reminder. (Qur'an, 88: 17-21)
In many other verses of the Qur'an, people are instructed to examine nature and learn from it because people can know God only by examining His creations. Because of this, in one verse of the Qur'an Muslims are defined as people who think about the creation of the heavens and the earth:
Those who remember God, standing, sitting and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth (saying): "Our Lord, You have not created this for nothing. Glory be to You! So safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire." (Qur'an, 3: 191)
An early manuscript of the Qur'an.