By Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
In 1995 I finished my training to be a Pulmonologist and Critical Care Specialist from the Buffalo University. Since 1996 I have been practicing as a Pulmonologist in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Binghamton NY.
One year into my employment the then CEO of the Hospital called me and said that he could not justify my salary unless I became a Sleep Specialist as well. I was supposed to take time off and get some training in Sleep Disorders. The Hospital was going to be generous and keep paying my salary while I studied.
I did not have a choice. Nevertheless, I liked time off to study, as that is what I had been doing all my life.
Little did I know that my new specialty will open new doors for me, especially of the understanding of the Quran and help me become a specific addressee of at least two of the verses of the holy scripture.
I later learnt about the two verses of the Holy Quran about studying the science of sleep:
Allah takes away the souls of human beings at the time of their death; and of those also that are not yet dead, during their sleep. And then He retains those against which He has decreed death, and sends back the others till an appointed term. In that surely are Signs for a people who reflect. (Al Quran 39:42)
And among His Signs is your sleep by night and day, and your seeking of His bounty. In that surely are Signs for a people who hear. (Al Quran 30:23)
I was flattered.
Over time I had insight to write about intuitions, dreams and revelations and even theology of Theism based on dreams. I am very grateful to All Knowing for giving me these insights:
Neurobiology of Dreams and Revelation
Al Aleem: The Bestower of true dreams
True Nature of Divine Revelations
The Quran is not just complimenting the sleep researchers but all scientists as long as their study leads to a belief in the Creator and the Most Merciful God of Abraham and a firm understanding of our accountability in Afterlife:
In the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of the night and the day there are indeed Signs for men of understanding; Those who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying on their sides, and ponder over the creation of the heavens and the earth: Our Lord, You have not created this in vain; Nay, Holy are You; save us, then, from the punishment of the Fire. (Al Quran 3:190-191)
The Holy Quran promotes scholarship and curiosity in general and does not require blind faith:
It is those of His servants who have knowledge who stand in true awe of God. God is All Mighty, Most Forgiving. (Al Quran 35:28)
Over the years I also started looking into meditation as a possible treatment for insomnia and many other problems: Prayer and Meditation: Taming Your Mind, How to Use Meditation for Anxiety and Stress Relief and A Scientist Explains How Meditation And Prayer Rewire Your Brain.
There are countless verses of the Quran promoting study of science and research and this should be satisfying to all scientists and researchers and help them build their self esteem: Cataloging 750 verses of the Holy Quran inspiring believers to study nature.
Over time the Most Loving and the Most Gracious opened new doors for me for the study of the Quran and I have started a commentary of the Holy Book online:
This is my journey to the Quran and I hope and pray that it inspires and serves you in your journey. The two journeys of any two humans are never the same, but all roads lead to the God of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad, may peace be on them all. This is not to exclude the God of Buddha, Confucius and Krishna.
My final thought today, to make sure that all stories conclude with the Ultimate, the First, the Last, the Manifest and the Hidden: A Slight Twist Makes David Attenborough a Great Teacher for God of the Abrahamic Faiths.