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Should science be limited? Some modern Islamic perspectives. By: De Young,

Gregg, Monist, 00269662, Apr96, Vol. 79, Issue 2


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"Are those who know equal to those who do not know?" (Qur'an xxxix.9).[ 1]
In the Hadith (reports of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammed) similar
sentiments are expressed; "The seeking of knowledge is obligatory upon
every Muslim".[ 2] These demands to attain knowledge have been deeply
inscribed on the hearts of pious Muslims everywhere. Nevertheless, there
have been discussions historically over whether every statement claiming to
be valid knowledge should be accepted under such injunctions. Knowledge of
nature is one such area of concern. Should the results of natural philosophy
or science be accepted uncritically as valid knowledge? This question is
especially acute in cases where the sciences appear to contradict the overt
content of the divine Qur'anic revelation, whose veracity cannot be
questioned. Some have argued that all knowledge is valid, while others have
claimed that some knowledge is not acceptable and should either be
reformulated in an appropriate way or be excluded from the repertoire of the
sincere Muslim.

Although these debates have been renewed in recent years, the problem is
not new. From the time the Islamic religion first came into contact with the
results of classical Greek natural philosophy, there arose discussion about the
relative merit of these two alternative forms of knowledge, each of which
claimed to be true. The monotheism of Islam led many scholars to argue that,
just as Allah is one, so all knowledge must be fundamentally one, despite
seeming contradictions.[ 3] Even today there is a widespread belief in the
Islamic community that there can be no ultimate contradictions between the
knowledge revealed in the Qur'an and the knowledge of Allah derived from
nature around us. This ideology has spawned several attempts to realize such
a unity. On the one hand, those who favor some sort of synthesis between
revelation and reason have often claimed that Allah is knowable through two
'Books': the revealed Qur'an and the "realms of nature and history". The
Qur'an "provides knowledge of the basic values and the unseen truths such
as those of eschatology which are necessary and sufficient for human
welfare."[ 4] The other book provides knowledge of demonstrable facts that
can be known simply through human rationality and do not need a divine
revelation. "Each Book should lead to and confirm the truths of the other."[ 5]
Thus there are attempts to show that results of contemporary science (and
sometimes also engineering) are contained or at least hinted at in the Qur'an,
such as the attempt by K. Moore to show that statements in the Qur'an are
consistent with the details of modern embryology and the claim by S. Waqar
Ahmad Husaini that "out of a total of about 6,226 verses [in the Qur'an],
more than 900 . . . pertain to water resources sciences and engineering."[ 6]
On the other hand, there are those who go beyond the mere claim of non-
contradiction between the results of modern science and the revelation
recorded in the Qur'an to argue that knowledge must be placed within an
Islamic interpretive framework before it can be truly acceptable to the
community of the faithful. Such approaches typically ignore the values
inherent in humanly generated knowledge or assume that such intellectual
products are essentially value-neutral. In a much sharper critique, other
modern writers have rejected the assumption of neutrality and have called
for a wholesale reconstruction of the systematic study of the natural world so
as to incorporate specifically Islamic values. These thinkers suggest the
development of an Islamic natural science which will be more consistent with
the values taught in Qur'anic revelation.

Modern Science Exists in the Qur'an

Perhaps one of the most influential examples of the search for unity between
the content of modern science and Islamic revelation is the widely-read
treatise of M. Bucaille, The Bible, the Qur'an and Science.[ 7] Bucaille's main
argument is that, since the results of modern science are consistent with the
revelation of the Qur'an, but not with the Bible, Islam must be considered the
better, more advanced, more perfect religion. This conclusion has come
under criticism among some Islamic scholars, however, for its implicit
assumptions. On the one hand, it seems to assert that the veracity and
validity of Qur'anic revelation need to be defended. To many pious Muslims,
this is an unacceptable position. Even if one reads Bucaille as an attempt at
Islamic apologetic, however, there are problematic assumptions. Since it
seems to argue that the results of modern science are saying the same thing
as the teachings of the eternally true revelation of Allah contained in the Qur
'an, modern science must itself be eternally true and valid. But it is widely
recognized that modern science is the product of a long and complex
historical process. What guarantee have we that this historical process has
reached a culmination? Moreover, if science continues to evolve, it seems
most probable that it will someday diverge again from its seeming congruity
with the teachings of the Qurtan. An even sharper critique arises from the
unexpressed assumption that there exists a standard of knowledge on a par
with, if not actually higher than, Allah's revealed truth to which that
revelation must be submitted for its validation. Thus, while this attempt to
claim unity (or at least non-contradiction) between modern science and
Islamic revelation does not require any sort of limitation on science or
scientific research, it remains unacceptable to the majority of modern
scientists, as well as to many Muslim thinkers, because of the implications of
its assumptions.[ 8] The first assumption, that science has reached its peak of
development, is unacceptable to science. The second assumption, that
religious dogma should, or even can, be judged by the tenets of modern
science, is rejected by many Muslim thinkers.

Scientific Knowledge Needs an Islamic Interpretation

In response to the unacceptable and often Positivistic analysis of Bucaille, the

Islamic intellectual community has adopted more radical alternatives, such as
Ismail al-Faruqi's call for an Islamization of all knowledge, including modern
scientific knowledge.[ 9] His argument grows out of a perception that Islamic
culture, which once led the Mediterranean world, is increasingly threatened
by secularized and individualistic Western values--a threat that is as much
cultural as it is political. Faruqi's plea for an Islamization of knowledge, then,
should be read in the context of his passionate desire to see the Islamic
community return to its place of cultural leadership.

His proposed solution is two-fold: to teach Muslims the basic tenets of

religious belief and to recast existing knowledge (including modern scientific
knowledge) into a form compatible with Islamic dogma. This is, in many ways,
the opposite of Bucaille's position. Whereas Bucaille advocated subjecting
Islamic revelation to the standards and demands of modern Western science,
Faruqi suggests that modern science, along with all other elements of the
Western intellectual tradition, must be scrutinized and reformulated so as to
become conformable to the clear teachings of Islamic revelation.

What will this new Islamized knowledge look like? Faruqi does not give many
specifics.[ 10] The results must, however, comply with the central tenets of
Islam. The first and central dogma here is that Allah is One, "metaphysically
and axiologically ultimate,"[ 11] the First Cause and Creator of all that exists.
The creation, reflecting this divine oneness, is a nexus of cause-and-effect
relations that mirror the cause-and-effect relation between Allah and his
creation. From the unity of creation follows the concept of the unity of
knowledge, since knowledge is derivable from the one creation whose cause-
and-effect relations are ultimately knowable by the human intellect. It is this
principle that has historically been interpreted to mean that there can be no
real contradiction between the results of reason and the truth of revelation.
Faruqi adds an important corollary here: No area of research can be declared
completed or closed, for there is always more to learn in every branch or
discipline of knowledge.[ 12] This corollary could be interpreted to mean that
Western science as a whole need not be rejected for if some of its conclusions
are incompatible with Islamic teaching, this need not be the last word on the
subject. With continued work, Faruqi seems to imply, all knowledge will
eventually approach more closely the revealed truth of the Qur'an.

To carry out this Islamization of existing disciplines, Faruqi proposes a work

plan. Initially, this will involve creation of anthologies of traditional Islamic
discussions of each topic in the modern disciplines, followed by analyses of
traditional Islamic thought (apparently by reformulating traditional
conceptions through applying the categories of Western thought) so that
these two traditions can be meaningfully juxtaposed to reveal their
similarities and differences. Based on this analysis and the vision of how
Islamic culture should progress, says Faruqi, we will be in a position to
develop a creative synthesis. Disappointingly, in his discussion of this
synthesis, Faruqi does not offer specific examples of how it might be effected
or what it might look like. His proposed work plan, though, begins with study
of modern disciplines, then proceeds to the collection of extracts from
traditional Islamic writings that parallel these topics in modern science. This
might imply that he takes Western categories to be in some way better or
more advantageous than traditional Islamic approaches, or perhaps it simply
indicates that the modern categories are better known, even in the Islamic
world, than the categories of traditional Islamic scholarship. This Islamized
knowledge will apparently be conceptually similar to modern knowledge, but
each concept will be placed in an interpretive framework consistent with
Islamic revelation and interpretation of that topic.

Seyyed Hossein Nasr is another proponent of the assimilation of Western

science into the Islamic intellectual tradition. Like Faruqi, he calls for a
thorough understanding of both Western science and Islamic intellectual
history, arguing that "the Islamic world.... must master modern science,
criticize it in the light of Islamic teachings, create a paradigm drawn from
Islamic sources, and develop a new chapter in the history of Islamic science
based upon the earlier Islamic tradition whose history and philosophy must
be thoroughly resuscitated."[ 13] Although this sounds like a rejection of
modern science in favour of the science developed in the classical-Islamic
civilization, he goes on to explain that "the Islamic world must . . . criticize
the premises and conclusions of this [modern] science in the light of the
teachings of Islam, and . . . create an Islamic science which ideally would
integrate all that is positive in the modern sciences into the Islamic world-
view."[ 14]

To Nasr, the progressive abandonment of the gnostic and sapiential aspects

of traditional science in Western culture is the chief cause for divergence
between modern Western science and the more traditional "Islamic" natural
philosophy.[ 15] Thus his call for a continuation of historical Islamic science
implies that he favours the use of a framework characterized by gnostic and
esoteric principles for the reevaluation of modern science. This emphasis on
gnosis has led some Islamic scholars to criticize Nasr's views.[ 16] Others
have been unhappy with his implicit assertion that it is the framework of
interpretation, rather than the individual bits of knowledge, that must be
reformulated, since it implies that the results of science are fundamentally
neutral. It is only the non-gnostic and secularized interpretations of modern
science that need to be reformulated. But if the content of science itself is
basically neutral, there seems little reason why any part should be off-limits
to the investigator.

Although Faruqi does not explicitly discuss the question of whether specific
areas of science should be limited or excluded from consideration, we may
imagine two situations in which the failure of modern scientific results and
traditional Islamic thought to coincide might make such a call desirable. On
the one hand, aspects of traditional natural philosophy, as developed in
classical Arabic/Islamic culture, that do not meet the rigorous intellectual
demands of modern science might be set aside or treated as mere historical
curiosities. On the other hand, those specific propositions of modern science
that cannot be reconciled with the explicit teachings of Islamic revelation and
tradition might be excluded or regarded as ultimately untrue.[ 17] From the
literature on the Islamization of knowledge, however, the former seems to be
more often the situation that actually obtains.[ 18] It appears from Faruqi's
discussion that only what is common to both modern science and Islamic
dogma should be accepted and supported. However one chooses to read
these calls for synthesis, it seems clear that they do not call for a wide-
ranging rejection of modern Western science but only a creative re-
interpretation to bring its intellectual content into conformity with Islamic

The Ijmali Critique: Science Must Be Led by Islamic Values

Proponents of this view suggest that it is not sufficient to remove particular

ideas or blocks of information that conflict with specific propositions of
Islamic revelation in the Qur'an or even to re-interpret modern science in a
manner that does not contradict the teachings of Islam. Rather, it argues that
modern Western science, as a whole, must be abandoned and replaced (at
least within the Islamic community) by an Islamic natural science. That is,
this critique rejects the idea that science, as a human activity, is
fundamentally neutral and so can become acceptable when interpreted in
conformity with Islamic dogma or when generated within an Islamic polity.
The sciences themselves must become, at their very core, Islamic.

Ziauddin Sardar, a leading apologist for the Ijmali approach, presents one of
its fullest intellectual justifications.[ 19] His argument begins from the
observation that each historical civilization has created a science of nature
that is uniquely its own. This is also true of the study of nature during the first
flowering of Arabic/Islamic culture. This earlier Islamic science was founded
on an epistemology that "emphasizes the totality of experience and reality
and promotes not one but a number of diverse ways of studying nature".[ 20]
This is in contrast to the monolithic character of modern Western science.
Sardar concludes that Western science, with its dogma of neutrality, is
inherently destructive and a threat to the future of mankind. He sees the only
hope for the future to lie in a return to the pluralism of early Islamic science
with its foundation in Islamic morality. The key factor here is the 'world-view'
that is different for classical Islamic and modern Western cultures. Growing
out of these two 'world-views' are different sets of norms or values. These
values, since they underlie all human activity, permeate the science being
developed in each culture and give direction to the scientific enterprise.

The Goal of 'Islamic ' Science

Since differing world-views will produce differing sets of norms or values for
society, Sardar contrasts fifteen "values" that he sees to be inherent in the
"world-views" of Islamic culture and modern Western culture.[ 21] Among
these, Sardar points out that the Western scientific community has always
called for the absolute freedom of science, and has traditionally sought to
limit, if not throw off altogether, any attempt to restrain or control scientific
researches. The opposite approach will be true of Islamic science, he argues.
Management of science for the honor and glory of Allah and the development
of human society is essential. This will demand that "ethical and moral
constraints" be placed on the practice of science. The individualism of
Western science, in which the scientist "keeps his distance from social,
political and ideological concerns,"[ 22] is in contrast to the community
orientation of the scientist under Islamic science. "The pursuit of science,"
Sardar claims, "is a social obligation."[ 23] The community must support the
scientist in his search for knowledge, and the scientist must not ignore the
good of the community in his work. Thus there will be a continual limitation
on the practice of science itself. Science should be "a form of worship which
has a spiritual and social function."[ 24]

The Ijmali Critique: The Ethical Base of Science and Technology

Both the scientist and the community must continually make moral
judgements concerning the possible applications of new knowledge. Sardar
and his cohorts in the Ijmali movement, therefore, wish to reject the entire
exercise that is often called Western or modern science as inappropriate to
the inner values of the Islamic community, and to replace it with a human
activity whose norms or values are consistent with those found in the Qur'an.
And just what are those values? This was the key question investigated at a
seminar held in Stockholm under the auspices of the International Federation
of Institutes of Advanced Study (a think-tank of modern Islamic thought).
There, ten fundamental ethical principles were identified as central in dealing
with the natural sciences.[ 25]

The most basic of these is tawheed, unity. The term traditionally has been
used to indicate the absolute oneness of Allah, an essential element in
Islamic religious thought. The concept resonates far beyond theology,
though. Since Allah created the universe and mankind, his essential unity is
reflected in the underlying unity of the natural world, the unity of mankind,
and the unity that binds mankind together with the natural world. Thus, the
doctrine of the unity of Allah serves as the foundation, not just for theology,
but also for interpersonal ethics and for any consideration of man's relation to
his natural environment. Ultimately, then, it even serves as the foundation for
an Islamic natural science.

From the richness of this concept of divine unity comes naturally that of
khilafah, man's position as trustee of this natural world that has been created
by Allah. Following on the postulated unity between mankind and Allah's
creation, the natural world is not something completely external to human
life and activity. Allah destined both man and nature as part of a united
creation. Man was created to use and develop the creation, not for his selfish
self-gratification but as an agent responsible and accountable to Allah for his
actions. Khilafah (trusteeship), therefore, has direct implications for the
development of science and technology. Man should not set out to dominate
nature in that old Baconian sense which has long characterized Western
science. Instead, he must, for the sake of his unity with the world, respect
nature and use his talents to develop its potentialities. Any other goal is
illegitimate, and science arising from such misdirected efforts must be halted
or at least redirected.

The development of the creation is a form of ibadah, the worship and

contemplation of Allah and his works for which mankind was created. This
contemplation centers on the revelation of Allah in the Qur'an, of course, but
includes also the recognition of unity (tawheed) both in nature and between
man and nature, as well as the resulting consciousness of man's trusteeship
(khilafah). And the consciousness of this unity (tawheed) seen in nature leads
back again to knowledge of the unity of Allah.

In other words, the natural outcome of worship (ibadah) is knowledge, or 'ilm.

The term 'ilm has been notoriously difficult to define precisely, much like
logos in Greek or ratio in Latin. It has, therefore, been one of the most
frequent topics of discussion among Islamic thinkers. Many classical Islamic
authors have proposed classifications of the sciences--a topic that gains
importance from the belief that all knowledge is fundamentally one, another
reflection of the unity of Allah, mankind, and the creation (tawheed). Al-
Ghazali (d. 1111), for example, categorized knowledge ('ilm) into two basic
types: ( 1) revealed, which serves as the basis for human ethics and morality,
and ( 2) non-revealed, which is developed through the practice of worship
(ibadah). Non-revealed knowledge consists of that which is necessary for the
protection and survival of the individual within society (fard-ayan), and that
which is needed for the preservation and continuation of the Islamic
community as a whole (fard-kifayah). Thus, al-Ghazali emphasizes that the
pursuit of knowledge must be for the benefit of both the individual and
society. Not all 'ilm is automatically a manifestation of true worship (ibadah),
since not all knowledge is useful to the individual Muslim or to Islamic society.
Only knowledge which is consistent with the unity between man and nature
will be acceptable. Any other knowledge, says al-Ghazali (and Sardar seems
to agree), is illegitimate and should be firmly rejected.[ 26]

How, then, is knowledge ('ilm) to be evaluated? When is knowledge

consistent with worship and when should it be rejected? It was in this context
that the Stockholm seminar proposed three pairs of contrasting values to
serve as a kind of yardstick for making such ethical judgements.[ 27] The first
juxtaposes haram and halal. Haram means literally that which is prohibited
by Allah. The term refers to that which is ultimately destructive of man and
his environment. This destructiveness is not merely that which is physically
detrimental, but includes that which undercuts the social and spiritual
dimensions of reality as well. Whatever breaks down man's consciousness of
unity (tawheed), or hinders the realization of his trusteeship (khilafah) and
worship (ibadah), is haram or blameworthy. On the other hand, halal refers to
all that is beneficial to man, society, and the natural environment. But how
does one evaluate benefit? It is easy to imagine situations where some
individuals receive desirable results while society at large or the environment
or both suffer degradation as a result of these actions.

Halal actions, therefore, must be undertaken in the context of and for the
promotion of adl, or social justice. Haram actions, on the other hand, lead to
zulm, tyranny or the breakdown of the unity (tawheed) that should exist
between man and nature, between man and his fellowman, and between
man and Allah. Thus, any development in science or technology that
promotes social justice (adl) is desirable and acceptable, while those that
lead to alienation and loss of social cohesion are to be rejected. These latter
activities destroy not only environmental resources, they also decrease
human and spiritual resources and generate waste. Such science is termed
wasteful (dhiya) and is to be firmly rejected. Science and technology that
promote the broader public interest (istislah) are acceptable and worthy of

In summary, the paradigm of Islamic science (and here we use the term in
the sense of world-view or guiding principle) developed within the Ijmali
critique centers on the religious and moral concepts of unity (tawheed),
trusteeship (khilafah), and worship (ibadah). Science developed within this
paradigm will take the form of knowledge ('ilm) that is approved by Allah
(halal), promoting both social justice (adl) and public welfare (istislah). This is
not what Sardar and other contemporary critics see happening in modern
science as developed in Western culture over the past three centuries. It is
for this reason that the Ijmali critique claims that modern science is
dangerous to the future of civilization and so must be rejected and replaced
by a more truly Islamic science of man and nature.[ 28]

Thus, to the extent that these authors claim that science should be limited, it
is scientific practice that is to be restricted on the basis of moral principles.
These moral principles are not unique to Islam, but are found in all
monotheistic religions, if not beyond. In response to the moral fragmentation
and decay so evident in modern Western society, despite its historic
association with Christianity, these Ijmali writers call for a return to an ethics
and emphasis on community which is still present in Islam, although
increasingly lost in the individualism of the post-Christian nations of Europe
and North America. In a very real sense they want to reclaim science for the
people, limiting science to the studies that will advance and improve the
human community, not contribute to its ultimate destruction.


These discussions of modern Western science display an increasing amount

of Islamic fervor as the critiques become progressively sharper. This is
probably not a mere accidental correlation. Such attacks do really appear to
be part and parcel of the new militant Islam that has arisen to challenge the
West in the last two decades. At least these writers present their views with a
passion and fervor that is quite foreign to the cool and rationalistic style of
modern Western scientific discourse.

These critiques differ from the more typically religious attacks found in non-
scientific circles both in the Islamic and Christian traditions. Rarely do these
writers reject scientific activity merely because some scientific results are
seen to be in contradiction to the content of revealed propositional truths.

Sardar, for example, focuses his critique on the Western "faith in rationality"
(a value he identifies with Western science) in contrast to "faith in revelation"
(which typifies Islamic science).[ 29] This contrast clearly indicates that
Sardar sees it necessary to limit the development of what, to many
Westerners, is "neutral" science. The rejection of faith in rationality should not
be read as a rejection of the value of rationality, however, but only of an over-
riding faith in human rationality as the constructor and final arbiter of all
truth. The condemnation of a faith in rationality does not mean that the
Muslim scientist is either irrational or non-rational, since Islamic revelation is
considered, among Muslim scholars, to be eminently rational, in that it does
not contradict or transcend human rationality. Thus the pious Muslim judges
the results of his reasoning against the absolute source of logical verities,
namely the Qur'an. The primary difference, then, between the two
approaches seems to be that the modern Western scientist emphasizes the
autonomy of human reason while the pious Muslim finds that concept
repugnant. For the Muslim, the validity of human rationality depends upon
the ultimate rationality of Allah, just as the human creature depends upon
Allah for its existence.

These are not, in other words, anti-intellectual reactionaries. Rather, these

authors, in many cases, have come out of the Islamic intellectual tradition,
have received advanced training (either intellectual or scientific or both) in
Western institutions, and many still hold senior academic appointments in
these Western universities. Their long association with the Western
intellectual tradition has also left its mark on them. There are numerous
instances when (if the explicit Islamic viewpoint is ignored), the Ijmali critique
sounds very much like Theodore Roszak, Alvin Toeffler, Fritjof Capra or J. R.
Ravetz. On the other hand, their views should not be dismissed as merely the
standard Western criticism of the neutrality viewpoint superficially cloaked in
the terminology of Islamic revivalism.

But, at the same time, these critiques should be recognized as fairly limited
in terms of real influence both within the scientific community and within the
Islamic intellectual arena. This literature of criticism is primarily presented in
English, apparently intended for a Western or Westernized audience (since
English seems to be one of the major languages of scientific communication).
Although similar ideas can be found in the vernacular languages of the
Islamic community, they are fewer than those in English and heavily
outnumbered by the more stridently fundamentalistic and anti-intellectual
rejection of all knowledge not explicitly derived from divine revelation.

Sardar develops his version of the Ijmali critique using the concept of
"paradigm" drawn from the early work of Thomas Kuhn. There is one reality of
which scientists attempt to give an account, but depending on the paradigm
from which the scientist starts, the accounts may differ dramatically. In an
analogous way, when one looks at science from different world-view
positions, one sees something quite different. If one begins with the
presupposition that science should be autonomous, the Ijmali critique seems
to be placing illegitimate restrictions on the practice of science. On the other
hand, if one begins with the assumption that all human activity is a sort of
worship of Allah and thus should promote the welfare of the creation of Allah,
what appeared to be restrictions now seem to be the essential parameters of
correct human actions, and the attempts by an independent Western science
to go beyond these moral bounds produce a distortion of the created order
and yield a form of knowledge that is deviant and destructive. The Ijmali
critique, therefore, is not an attack on Western science merely because it is
Western, but because it is an expression of an outlook and approach to the
world that is not acceptable to the pious Muslim.


[1.] Quotations from the Qur'an are taken from Mohammed Marmaduke
Pickthal, The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: New American Library,
[no date]).

[2.] Maulana Mohammed Ali, A Manual of Hadith (Lahore, Pakistan:

Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishart Islam, [no date]), p. 39. Another oft-quoted hadith
enjoins Muslims to "Seek knowledge, even in China." Seyyed Hossein Nasr,
Science and Civilization in Islam (New York: New American Library, 1968), p.

[3.] If there does exist a contradiction, it is often claimed that it lies between
the values of modern science and the values of Islam, rather than between
the actual knowledge or content of modern science and the revealed truth of
the Qur'an. See, for example, M. Husain Sadar, "Science and Islam: Is there a
Conflict?" in Ziauddin Sardar (ed.), The Touch of Midas: Science, Values and
Environment in Islam and the West (Manchester, England: Manchester
University Press, 1984), pp. 15-25 and Mahmood Abu Saud, "Science and
Islamic Resurgence," The Muslim Scientist, IX (1980), pp. 1-9. For a concise
statement of Islamic values relevant to science, see M. Ali Kettani, "Science
and Technology in Islam: The Underlying Value System," in Sardar, Touch of
Midas, pp. 66-67. An attempt to elaborate the contrast between the values
inherent in modern Western science and Islam is found in Ziauddin Sardar,
Arguments for Islamic Science (Aligarh, India: Centre for Studies on Science,
1985), pp. 42-45. This work has been reprinted in Ziauddin Sardar,
Explorations in Islamic Science (London: Mansell, 1989).

[4.] S. Waqar Husaini, Islamic Science and Public Policies: Lessons from
History of Science (Aligarh, India: Centre for Studies on Science, 1986), p. 17.

[5.] S. Waqar Husaini, Islamic Science, p. 18.

[6.] Keith L. Moore, "Highlights of Human Embryology in the Quran and

Hadith," Proceedings of the Seventh Saudi Medical Meeting (Riyadh, 1982),
pp. 51-58. See also S. Waqar Husaini, Islamic Science, p. 17 and S. Haq, "The
Quran and Modern Cosmologies," Science and Technology in the Islamic
World, I (1983), pp. 47-52. A similar approach is found in the five small
volumes of Halak Nurbaki, Verses from the Glorious Koran and the Facts of
Modern Science (Ankara, Turkey: Turkish Foundation for Religion, 1985). For a
critique of Husaini's approach, see M. Zaki Kirmani, "Imitative-innovative
Assimilation: A Critique of Waqar A. Husaini's Scheme of Contemporary
Islamic S & T Rebirth," MAAS Journal of Islamic Science, III (1987), pp. 41-70.

[7.] Maurice Bucaille, The Bible, the Quran and Science (Indianapolis, IN:
American Trust Publications, 1978).

[8.] The most extensive critique of Bucaille's approach has been made by
Ziauddin Sardar, Explorations, pp. 30-37. See also the comments of Ismail R.
al-Faruqi, "Science and Traditional Values in Islamic Society," Zygon, 11
(1967), pp. 238-39.

[9.] See, for example, Ismail R. al-Faruqi, Islamization of Knowledge: General

Principles and Workplan (Aligarth, India: Centre for Studies on Science, 1985).
Faruqi's emphasis is educational, as is also the case with Abdullah Omar
Nesseef, "The Role of Faith and Islamic Ethics in the Teaching of Natural and
Applied Sciences," Islamic Quarterly, XXVII (1982), pp. 131-37. See also
Hamid Ahmad Khan, "How to Identify 'Islamic Science'," in R. Ahmad and S. N.
Ahmad (eds.), Quest for New Science (Aligarh, India: Centre for Studies on
Science, 1984), pp. 191-201, and M. Abdus Sami and Muslim Sajjad, Planning
Curricula for Natural Sciences: The Islamic Perspective (Islamabad, Pakistan:
Institute of Policy Studies, 1983).

[10.] Some specific suggestions have been offered by other scholars. S.

Waqar Husaini, Teaching Islamic Sciences and Engineering (Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia: [no publisher indicated], 1985) describes his attempts to create
"Islamic" courses in hydrological science and engineering. See also the
suggestions by the contributors to A. O. Nasseef and 1. R. al-Faruqi (eds.),
The Social and Natural Sciences (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: King Abdulaziz
University, 1981).

[11.] Faruqi, Islamization of Knowledge, p. 22.

[12.] Faruqi, Islamization of Knowledge, p. 28.

[13.] Seyyed Hossein Nasr, "Islam and the Problem of Modern Science," in
Ziauddin Sardar (ed.), An Early Crescent: The Future of Knowledge and the
Environment (London: Mansell, 1989), p. 132. Nasr has devoted great efforts
to the history of science in Islamic culture. In addition to his Science and
Civilization in Islam, see his Islamic Science: An Illustrated History (London:
World of Islam Festival Trust, 1976); Encounter of Man and Nature (London:
Allen & Unwin, 1978); and S. H. Nasr, W. C. Chittick, and P. Zirrnics (eds.) An
Annotated Bibliography of Islamic Science (Teheran, Iran: Cultural Studies and
Research Institute). Vol. I (1975), vol. 2 (1979), vol. 3 (1991). A supplement to
vol. 3, E. Kheirandish (ed.) was published in 1995.

[14.] Nasr, "Islam and the Problem of Modern Science," p. 133.

[15.] Seyyed Hossein Nasr, "Islamic Science, Western Science: Common
Heritage, Divergent Destinies," in Ziauddin Sardar (ed.), The Revenge of
Athena: Science, Exploitation and the Third World (London: Mansell, 1988), p.

[16.] Sardar, Explorations, pp. 43-45; Munawar Ahmad Anees, "Laying the
Foundation of Islamic Science," Inquiry (Nov. 1985), 39-40.

[17.] Such an approach was suggested, for example, by Zaghloul R. El-Najjar,

"The Limitations of Science and the Technology of Science from the Islamic
Perspective," American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, 111 (1986), 59-76.
This approach, like that of Faruqi, tends to see science as an intellectual
discipline, not a complex social activity in which ideas are interacting with
culture on multiple levels of activity.

[18.] Cf. S. Waqar Ahmad Husaini, "Humanistic-Social Sciences Studies in

Higher Education; Islamic and International Perspectives," in Nasseef and al-
Faruqi (eds.) Social and Natural Sciences, p. 163: "The first and most
important task is to begin the integration of Islamic ideology with the
humanities and social sciences.... A second task is the integration of Islamic
humanities-social sciences with science and technology."

[19.] Ziauddin Sardar, Arguments for Islamic Science (Aligarh, India: Centre
for Studies on Science, 1985), pp. 42-45. This work has been reprinted in
Ziauddin Sardar, Explorations in Islamic Science (London: Mansell, 1989).

[20.] Sardar, Arguments, p. 19. See also Munawar Ahmad Anees, "Islamic
Values and Western Science: A Case Study of Reproductive Biology," in
Sardar, Touch of Midas (cited in n.3, above), pp. 91-120.

[21.] Sardar, Arguments, pp. 43-45.

[22.] Sardar, Arguments, p. 42.

[23.] Sardar, Arguments, p. 42.

[24.] Sardar, Arguments, p. 40.

[25.] Sardar, Touch of Midas, pp. 7-8.

[26.] Sardar, Explorations, p. 65.

[27.] Sardar, Explorations, pp. 65-66.

[28.] Sardar, Arguments, pp. 39ff. See also Ziauddin Sarder, "Why Islam
Needs Islamic Science," New Scientist, XCIV (1982), 25-28.

[29.] Sardar, Arguments, p. 40.


By Gregg De Young Science Department The American University in Cairo

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