Religion and Science: The Indispensable God-hypothesis

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

This is an article describing the Transcendent, yet Personal God of the Abrahamic Faiths in the present day scientific paradigm, the One God of Islam, Unitarian Christianity and Judaism.
If my articles are boring to you, it may be that you need to read more of them, as was suggested by John Cage, “If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.”

In the three great monotheistic religions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism, God is viewed as a supreme, transcendent being, beyond matter space and time, and yet the foundation of all that meets our senses that is described in terms of matter, space, and time. That is the Al Batin or the Hidden God of monotheism.  Furthermore, this God is not the god of deism, who created the world and then left it alone, or the god of pantheism, who is equated with all of existence. The Islamic and the Judeo-Christian God is a nanosecond-by-nanosecond participant in each event that takes place in every cubic nanometer of the universe.  He has full knowledge of all things.  God listens to every thought and participates in each action of his very special creation, a minute bit of organized matter called humanity that moves around on the surface of a tiny pebble in a vast universe.  The Holy Quran declares:

Allah’s is the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth; and to Allah are all affairs returned for final judgment. (Al Quran 57:6)

Whereas the nineteenth century physics was about to frame God out of physical understanding of the universe, the twentieth century physics has turned the tables in favor of Monotheism.

To the atheists design in the universe is apparent but not real. For the theists, enlightened in science, the converse is true, the self sufficiency of the universe based on the laws of nature is apparent and perceived only and is not real. God is the Law Giver and sustainer of the universe. Both positions may be argued to some degree from modern science. However, only theism can offer a holistic approach, not only explaining our universe, but also human morality and ethics, our history and personal experience.

When we approach science from this theistic perspective we find that our religion and science become one and our psyche finds unification.

If there is a ‘Personal God’ that hears human prayers then there has to be a way for the deity to influence the physical world without breaking the laws of nature and making the study of science futile.  Quantum physics may be the magical wand, whereby Personal God can influence our world, without breaking the laws of nature.  In His infinite wisdom, the Omniscient God provided for infinite means to maintain His divinity!

The article, the Indispensible God Hypothesis can be read online in the fall, 2008 volume, on page 22 of the PDF file: Muslim Sunrise Fall 2008.

The Quran: ‘Glory be to God, the Best of Creators!’

The Muslim Times’ has the best collection about the Quran and Religion & Science

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times:

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.  A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk. A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist.  Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people  stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace.  He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it.  No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100.

The details of the above legend may be off in minutiae but the theme is true.

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

We definitely take all the master pieces of Allah’s creation for granted. The title of this article is borrowed from a verse of the 23rd chapter of the Quran, the Arabic words are: فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ:

We created man from an essence of clay, then We placed him as a drop of fluid in a safe place, then We made that drop into a clinging form, and We made that form into a lump of flesh, and We made that lump into bones, and We clothed those bones with flesh, and later We made him into other forms. Glory be to God, the best of creators! (Al Quran 23:12-14)

These verses talk about the development of the fetus, in an age, in 7th century, when people hardly had any curiosity about the subject:

But, the miracle of the Quran does not only lie in accurate description of yet unknown natural phenomena, rather the whole claim of of Allah being the best of Creators, when we look at the complete creation of humans through guided evaluation.

As a physician, the more I see and read about different diseases, the more I marvel at the miracle of a healthy body with thousands if not millions of automated checks and balances to keep the human body functioning amazingly in a variety of situations and circumstances.

The complexity and organization that we come to see through the study of genetics and molecular biology in health and disease is really mind boggling. The conclusion is inescapable that Allah is the best of Creators.

But, like Joshua Bell was ignored, we ignore Allah’s creativity and providence in most moments of our unthinking lives. To rectify that as best as we can I am simply going to add a series of articles on the theme of God the Creator:

The Miracle of Water and the Miracle of the Quran

The anesthesia of familiarity: There should be a Creator of Our Universe

The Quranic Challenge to the Atheists: Make a Fly, if You Can

The Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner: A Quranic Commentary for the 21st Century

Ten Raised to Five Hundred Reasons for Our Gracious God

Our Highlights On Religion and Science: Science is Now the Best Tool to Arrive at True Religion

Muslim Sunrise Centennial Issue Beautifully Summarizes a Century of Work on Religion and Science for Islam

Reading the Quran with Sir David Attenborough

Al Quran: And We have made the heaven a roof, well-protected

Video: Richard Dawkins Tracking Back His Atheism

The Five Authors to read in Order to Comprehend the Bible and the Quran in Light of the Scientific Revolution

If there is freewill, so is Providence: Refuting the best of atheism through the latest science

Al Hakeem: The Wise, The Creator With A Purpose

A challenge for Dawkins: Where did carbon come from?

The Big Question – Is there a God? BBC Debate

The Muslim Times, Perhaps the Only Medium Presenting the Creator God of the Holy Quran

Book Review: The Final Blueprint for the 21st and 22nd Century

Image (1) Zafrulla-and-JFK-e1322703390893.png for post 26889
Sir Zafarullah Khan in a meeting with President John F Kennedy

Book “Islam and Human Rights’ by Sir Zafrulla Khan

Reviewed by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Sir Zafrulla was a polymath and the first Foreign Minister of Pakistan and took office in 1947. He also served as President of the UN General Assembly in 1962–63 and President of International Court of Justice from 1970 to 1973.

I am presenting his book and only his book and not any of his other ideas or books as a blueprint for the 21st and 22nd century.

Why am I doing that? Because I believe that human rights and their supremacy is going to win over national and theological interests of every country, nation, religion, sect or group.

In Ukrainian Russian war I see that human conscience has spoken in favor of dignity and sacredness of human life even if the Western media’s double standards has not yet fully acknowledged it for the Middle Eastern Muslim lives before.

In the ‘Me Too’ movement I see the supremacy of not only women rights but also all human rights. Voice and rights of a single grieved woman can bring down the most powerful!

In the recent developments by religious communities of policies against sexual abuse and harassments we see honor of each and every human child.

If I am such a believer in human and women rights why am I bringing up Islam?

Because I am a theist and not an atheist. I am a devout believer in God of Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, John the Baptist and Jesus, may peace be on them all.

In other words I believe in Personal God for personal life.  Yet I know that Islamism, Political Islam, Political Judaism or Zionism and their counter parts in Christianity are source of many an unrest and confusion in this century and crusades in the previous centuries.

I believe that the paradigm for future will be theistic without their respective political paradigms and agenda.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs.

So, I am staking my position based on the literal word of God, the final scripture, the holy Quran, combined human conscience in the aftermath of the World War II in developing Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a man of one of the highest statures, Sir Zafrulla Khan in correlating the word of God and human understanding and achievement that came to be in 1948.

Please do not take it as a sectarian debate within Islam, as I am rising above such petty differences and presenting a theistic paradigm that is common to all Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam and will add articles at the bottom of this post and in the comment section to bring the people of these faiths closer.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages. The UDHR is widely recognized as having inspired, and paved the way for, the adoption of more than seventy human rights treaties, applied today on a permanent basis at global and regional levels (all containing references to it in their preambles).

shah_zia
Dr. Zia H Shah, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times and author of this article

My main suggestion to the open minded readers is to read on and in the words of Sir Francis Bacon, “Read not to contradict … but to weigh and consider.”

Zafrulla Khan served concurrently as leader of Pakistan’s delegation to the UN (1947–54). From 1954 to 1961 he served as a member of the International Court of Justice at The Hague. He again represented Pakistan at the UN in 1961–64 and served as president of the UN General Assembly in 1962–63. Returning to the International Court of Justice in 1964, he served as the court’s president from 1970 to 1973.

He played an important role in the development of the 30 Articles of  the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He saw numerous parallels in the teachings of the holy Quran and these articles and wrote a book to demonstrate that to the world.

In his view Islam was about human rights and creating a compassionate and just society should be a constant goal of each Muslim.

In his booklet he discussed each Article in the light of various verses of the holy Quran.

He introduces the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the following words:

The Declaration of Human Rights does not, in the accepted juristic sense of the term, constitutes a “law”. It stands, nevertheless, as a shining milestone along the long, and often difficult and weary, path trodden by Man down the corridors of History, through centuries of suffering and tribulation, towards the goal of freedom, justice and equality. Man’s struggle for freedom, justice and equality has been waged in all ages and in many fields and theatres, with varying fortunes. Each of these battles, and the ground won in each, have, in turn, forwarded the cause of Man and have contributed towards the formulation and adoption of the Declaration, which is entitled to rank with the great historical documents and Charters directed towards the same objective.

He summarized the dark chapters of history and the hope for the future of humanity in the following words:

How is it that in the last half of the twentieth century, after having passed through the shattering and devastating experience of two world wars and in the shadow of a nuclear holocaust, despite all the effort that has so far been put forth to the contrary, man continues to be the victim of discrimination, intolerance and cruelty at the hands of his fellow man? One would have thought that man’s daily increasing knowledge of the working of the laws of nature and his growing mastery over the forces of nature, which has opened for every one of us the prospect of a richer, fuller and happier life, would have brought in their wake an era in which man could dispense with the weapons of greed, selfishness, exploitation and dominance which had so far been regarded, albeit utterly erroneously, as contributing towards the welfare and prosperity of those who were, from time to time, in a position to employ them. For, indeed, the truth is daily becoming more manifest, as experience in every field continues to furnish fresh confirmation, that the prosperity of all is promoted through mutual sharing and co-operation rather than through the exploitation and domination of some by others. It must be our constant endeavour to bring this  home to all in every corner of the globe.

In correlating the Articles to the Islamic teachings he says:

In studying the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from the Islamic point of view, we must remember that while Islam lays down broad values and standards which clearly endorse the spirit and purpose of the Declaration, it does not pronounce verbatim on all the specific provisions of the Declaration.

Regarding the Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its relation to Islam he writes:

The Preamble of the Declaration recalls in general terms the values and purposes which the Declaration is designed to secure and the methods through which they might be secured.

The preceding sections have drawn attention to some of these values as being part of those that Islam seeks to inculcate and establish. These and some others will be considered in somewhat greater detail with reference to the specific articles of the Declaration. So far as the Preamble is concerned it should be enough to point out that Islam lays the duty of constantly promulgating Islamic values upon every individual Muslim. The generic word for these values is ma‘roof, meaning that which is good, equitable, desirable.

To read the book online: Islam and Human Rights

About the author of the book from Encyclopedia Britannica:

zafrullah-khan1
Muhammad Zafrulla Khan

“Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan was a Pakistani politician, diplomat, and international jurist, known particularly for his representation of Pakistan at the United Nations (UN).

The son of the leading attorney of his native city, Zafrulla Khan studied at Government College in Lahore and received his LL.B. from King’s College, London University, in 1914. He practiced law in Sialkot and Lahore, became a member of the Punjab Legislative Council in 1926, and was a delegate in 1930, 1931, and 1932 to the Round Table Conferences on Indian reforms in London. In 1931–32 he was president of the All-India Muslim League (later the Muslim League), and he sat on the British viceroy’s executive council as its Muslim member from 1935 to 1941. He led the Indian delegation to the League of Nations in 1939, and from 1941 to 1947 he served as a judge of the Federal Court of India.

Prior to the partition of India in 1947, Zafrulla Khan presented the Muslim League’s view of the future boundaries of Pakistan to Sir Cyril Radcliffe, the man designated to decide the boundaries between India and Pakistan. Upon the independence of Pakistan, Zafrulla Khan became the new country’s minister of foreign affairs and served concurrently as leader of Pakistan’s delegation to the UN (1947–54). From 1954 to 1961 he served as a member of the International Court of Justice at The Hague. He again represented Pakistan at the UN in 1961–64 and served as president of the UN General Assembly in 1962–63. Returning to the International Court of Justice in 1964, he served as the court’s president from 1970 to 1973.

He was knighted in 1935. He is the author of Islam: Its Meaning for Modern Man (1962) and wrote a translation of the Qur’an (1970).” [Encylopaedia Britannica]

Additional reading

A Slight Twist Makes David Attenborough a Great Teacher for God of the Abrahamic Faiths

A Nobel for Karen Armstrong will bring the Christians and the Muslims closer

Why Did Muhammad Fly to Jerusalem?

How can we build the Third Temple together?

A Gem, A Quranic Verse: Is the Ukrainian Blood Holier Than the Middle Eastern?

How can Hindus think like a Muslim or a Jew, despite the mention of 330 million gods?

If We give up Islamism and Jewish and Christian Sharia in State Affairs, What is Left is Human Rights and Coexistence

Bernie Sanders Hires First-Ever Muslim Presidential Campaign Manager

The Muslim Times’ Collection to Show, Islam or the Holy Quran are Not Anti-Semitic

Thirty Plus Quotes from the Poet of Love

Two Hundred Verses about Compassionate Living in the Quran

A Message of Compassion and Love from the Holy Bible

True Fasting: A Message of Compassion and Love from the Old Testament

Abou Ben Adhem, A Compassionate Man

‘Love Hormone,’ How it works in Hospitality?

‘Love Hormone’ Oxytocin May Enhance Feelings Of Spirituality

I am a Jew, a Catholic, a Christian and a Muslim; I am Zia H Shah

Kripkean Dogmatism: The Best Metaphor to Understand Religious and Political Debates

Urdu Video: Ghamidi Declaring Ahmadis to be Muslims, Categorically

Epigraph:

Muhammad is not the father of any one of you men; he is God’s Messenger and the seal of the prophets: God knows everything. Believers, remember God often and glorify Him morning and evening. (Al Quran 33:40-42)

Ghamidi: The Most Tolerant and Pluralistic Muslim Scholar of Our Times

Jāvēd Ahmed Ghāmidī (Urdu: جاوید احمد غامدی‎) (born April 7, 1952[3]) is a Pakistan Muslim theologian, Quran scholar, Islamic modernist, exegete and educationist. He is also the founding President of Al-Mawrid Institute of Islamic Sciences and its sister organisation Danish Sara.[4] He […]

The Muslim Times wants to share the key to the Quran from a Ghamidi versus Ahmadiyya Urdu debate

This debate should give us some basic insights about interpretation of the holy Quran, understanding of fundamental versus allegorical verses Written and collected by by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of […]

Ghamdi A Wonderful Teacher, But Only in Moderation

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times This video is in Urdu, so this post will make sense to only those who know both Urdu […]

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi about scope of religion and Shariah

Jāvēd Ahmad Ghāmidī (Urdu: جاوید احمد غامدی‎) (born 1951) is a Pakistani Muslim theologian, Quran scholar, Islamic modernist, exegete and educationist. He is also the founding President of Al-Mawrid Institute of Islamic Sciences and its sister organisation Danish Sara.[1] He became a […]

Urdu Video of Ghamidi: Why do many miss the truth?

Epigraph: We will show them Our signs in the universe and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that this Quran is the truth. Is it not enough that […]

Natural disasters make people more religious

Epigraph

When trouble befalls man he cries out to Us, whether lying on his side, sitting, or standing, but as soon as We
relieve him of his trouble he goes on his way as if he had never cried out to Us to remove his trouble. In this way the deeds of such heedless people are made attractive to them. (Al Quran 10:12)

The Economic Journal

The Economic Journal is one of the founding journals of modern economics first published in 1891. The journal remains one of the top journals in the profession and provides a platform for high quality, innovative, and imaginative economic research, publishing papers in all fields of economics for a broad international readership.

READ MORE

Recommended

  1. Natural disasters make people more religious | OUPblogJeanet Sinding Bentzen, OUPBlog, 2019
  2. Acts of God? Religiosity and Natural Disasters Across Subnational World Districts*Sinding Bentzen et al., The Economic Journal, 2019
  1. American Religion: Contemporary TrendsMark Chaves, Princeton University Press, 2011
  2. American Religion: Contemporary TrendsMark Chaves, Oxford Academic Books, 2011

Philosophers once predicted that religion would die out as societies modernize. This has not happened. Today, more than four out of every five people on Earth believe in God. Religion seems to be serving a purpose that modernization does not replace.

New research finds that people become more religious when hit by natural disasters. They are more likely to rank themselves as a religious person, find comfort in God, and to state that God is important in their lives. This increase in average religiosity occurs on all continents, for people belonging to all major religions, income groups, and from all educational backgrounds.

Religiosity has increased nine times more in districts across the globe hit by earthquakes compared to those that were spared over the period 1991-2009. This is mainly because believers become more religious. It’s not that non-believers tend to take up religion in the aftermath of a natural disaster. They also generally do not go to church much more often. Rather, their existing personal beliefs intensify. Believers pass on some of this increased religious intensity through generations: Children of immigrants are more religious when their parents came from earthquake-prone areas.

Comparing religiosity across the globe is difficult. It’s difficult to compare the religiosity of a Muslim from Indonesia with the religiosity of an American Protestant. Instead, new research compares religiosity of the American Protestant only to other American Protestants and the Muslim Indonesian to other Muslim Indonesians. The main measures of religiosity used are based on surveys of more than 200,000 people across the globe. Sociologists have identified six particular questions that together span global religiosity: “How important is God in your life?”, “Are you a religious person?”, “How often do you attend religious services?”, “Do you find comfort in God?”, “Do you believe in God?”, and “Do you believe in life after death?”

The link between disasters and religiosity is also there for alternative measures of religiosity. In particular, google searches on religious terms, such as “God” or “Pray” increase with higher disaster risk. These measures may not be exact, which is not a problem for the methodology used. The methodology does not depend on exact measures of religiosity, but rather on a correct ranking of religiosity between societies.

The explanation for why religiosity increases in the face of disasters could be that people go to church for material aid, that people move in the face of disasters, or that disasters also affect development or other cultural values. However, it turns out that one main reason for the impact of disasters on religiosity is religious coping. The theory of religious coping states that people use religion as a means to cope with adversity and uncertainty. Empirical evidence suggests that people hit by various adverse life events, such as cancer, heart problems, death in close family, alcoholism, divorce, or injury are more religious than others.

Disasters provide a shock to adversity and uncertainty. Research shows that adversity and uncertainty can make people across the globe more religious. People do not necessarily think that God made the earth shake, but they might use their religion to deal with the situation. It is mainly Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Jews who use their religion to cope with the experiences after natural disasters. Buddhists seem to be less affected. There are not enough people from other religions or spiritual groups in the data to draw any conclusions for their particular experience with coping.

What types of disasters increase religious beliefs? According to the theory on religious coping, people mainly use religion to cope with large, negative, and unpredictable events. Using religion for coping is part of what is termed emotion-focused coping, in which people aim to reduce the emotional distress arising from a situation. When people face perceived negative, but predictable events, such as an approaching exam or a job interview, they are more likely to engage in problem-focused coping, where they aim to tackle directly the problem that is causing the stress. Likewise, religiosity increases more in response to unpredictable disasters, compared to predictable ones. Of the four main geophysical and meteorological disasters, earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions elevate peoples’ beliefs, while tropical storms do not. Indeed, meteorologists have a much easier time predicting storms than seismologists have in predicting earthquakes. Further, earthquakes in areas that are otherwise rarely hit increase religiosity more than earthquakes in areas that are often hit. In addition, larger earthquakes increase religiosity more than smaller earthquakes.

Other disasters, such as wars and conflict, may potentially have similar effects on religiosity as natural disasters. After the September 11 attack, nine out of ten Americans reported that they coped with their distress by turning to their religion. Further, research finds that people that have been more exposed to conflict are more likely to participate in religious groups.

Featured image credit: Praying Hands by Couleur. Public Domain via Pixabay.

Jeanet Sinding Bentzen is an Associate Professor at the department of economics at the University of Copenhagen. Her research focuses broadly on identifying the deep determinants of economic development. Her recent research includes studies on the causes and consequences of religion for society. This research is part of the new and growing field called the ‘economics of religion’.

She is author of ‘Acts of God? Religiosity and Natural Disasters Across Subnational World Districts‘, published in The Economic Journal.

Reference

The Miracle of Water and the Miracle of the Quran

Epigraph:

Say, ‘Just think: if all your water were to sink deep in the earth who could give you flowing water in its place?’ (Al Quran 67:30)

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Allah sent some one hundred and twenty four thousand prophets to establish His Divinity. As, the human mind was being slowly polished under Divine guidance, even the top ranking prophets like Moses, had to show temporary, almost magical miracles, like turning staff into snake and make his hand shine and glow to plead his case. Eventually, the time was ripe in the 7th century that Allah decided to send His final scripture, the holy Quran, as the final message for the whole of mankind. The prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, who was the recipient of this final book, called it his biggest and everlasting miracle. Miracle indeed it is!

The Quran appeals to the study of nature and laws of nature that were to be understood centuries later as it pleads its case for Monotheism, not once, not twice, not three times, but almost in every Surah of the Quran.

Dr. Abdus Salam, who received Nobel Prize in physics in 1979, said the following in his Banquet speech:

The creation of Physics is the shared heritage of all mankind. East and West, North and South have equally participated in it. In the Holy Book of Islam, Allah says

“Thou seest not, in the creation of the All-merciful any imperfection, Return thy gaze, seest thou any fissure. Then Return thy gaze, again and again. Thy gaze, Comes back to thee dazzled, aweary.” (67:3-4)

This in effect is, the faith of all physicists; the deeper we seek, the more is our wonder excited, the more is the dazzlement for our gaze.

I am saying this, not only to remind those here tonight of this, but also for those in the Third World, who feel they have lost out in the pursuit of scientific knowledge, for lack of opportunity and resource.

Allah was declaring His creativity in the creation of the universe, as proof enough for his Divinity and Monotheism, in a pithy language in the above quoted verses of Surah Al Mulk, in Salam’s speech.

Going to the main theme of this article, which is water, there are at least 85 mentions in the Quran of water. The Quran calls water a great blessing and says, “And We send down from the sky water which is full of blessings, and We produce therewith gardens and grain harvests.” (Al Quran 50:9) The Quran also says that Allah created human kind from water (25:54), not only that, the Quran adds, all life forms were created from water (21:30 and 24:45).

Water is a part of the photosynthetic process that is energy supply for the whole of the plant kingdom and eventually indirectly for all the animals as well on our planet earth. In the past we knew it only in the form of a chemical equation. In a recent publication in Nature that is nicely covered by National Geographic, Kern and his team extracted the protein structure that splits water, to provide electrons for the whole process, known as Photosystem II, from bacteria to study how it behaves. By bombarding these structures with lasers and x-rays, they were able to take snapshots of the process at an atomic scale, as described in the journal Nature. These techniques revealed that water-splitting takes place in multiple steps, which had never been observed before.

Water has a very strange chemical property. The anomalous expansion of water is a strange and an abnormal property of water whereby it expands instead of contracting when the temperature goes from 4 degree centigrade to zero degree, and it becomes less dense. The density is maximum at 4C and decreases below that temperature. the less dense ice rises to the top in a frozen lake or sea and there is liquid water underneath for all the water life and fish to survive. The anomalous expansion of water helps preserve aquatic life during very cold weather.

Water has many other strange chemical properties that are examined in an article by Thomas David Parks, who was professor of chemistry in Illinois University in 1950s: Provident God of the Abrahamic Faiths: Plain Water will Tell you the Story.

Now, I go to Dr. Maurice Bucaille, who wrote a wonderful section on water cycle, in his epic making book, The Bible, the Quran, and Science. He writes:

When the verses of the Qur’an concerning the role of water in man’s existence are read in succession today. they all appear to us to express ideas that are quite obvious. The reason for this is simple: in our day and age, we all, to a lesser or greater extent, know about the water cycle in nature.

If however, we consider the various concepts the ancients had on this subject, it becomes clear that the data in the Qur’an do not embody the mythical concepts current at the time of the Revelation which had been developed more according to philosophical speculation than observed phenomena. Although it was empirically possible to acquire on a modest scale, the useful practical knowledge necessary for the improvement of the irrigation, the concepts held on the water cycle in general would hardly be acceptable today.

Thus it would have been easy to imagine that underground water could have come from the infiltration of precipitations in the soil. In ancient times however, this idea, held by Vitruvius Polio Marcus in Rome, 1st century B.C., was cited as an exception.  For many centuries therefore (and the Qur’anic Revelation is situated during this period) man held totally inaccurate views on the water cycle. Two specialists on this subject, G. Gastany and B. Blavoux, in their entry in the Universalis Encyclopedia (Encyclopedia Universalis) under the heading Hydrogeology (Hydrogéologie), give an edifying history of this problem.

“In the Seventh century B.C., Thales of Miletus held the theory whereby the waters of the oceans, under the effect of winds, were thrust towards the interior of the continents; so the water fell upon the earth and penetrated into the soil. Plato shared these views and thought that the return of the waters to the oceans was via a great abyss, the ‘Tartarus’. This theory had many supporters until the Eighteenth century, one of whom was Descartes. Aristotle imagined that the water vapour from the soil condensed in cool mountain caverns and formed underground lakes that fed springs. He was followed by Seneca (1st Century A.D.) and many others, until 1877, among them O. Volger . . . The first clear formulation of the water cycle must be attributed to Bernard Palissy in 1580. he claimed that underground water came from rainwater infiltrating into the soil. This theory was confirmed by E. Mariotte and P. Perrault in the Seventeenth century.

In this day and age when humanity is looking for water and life on planet mars, the last verse of Surah Mulk, which was mentioned as an epigraph, becomes even more poignant: “Say, ‘Just think: if all your water were to sink deep in the earth who could give you flowing water in its place?'” (Al Quran 67:30) For additional details, I refer you to another of my articles on this theme: The holy Quran and the Water Stores of Our Planet.

In a long passage of Surah Al Waqiah, as Allah talks about His Providence and Creativity in creation of different things, there is a special mention and challenge about water: “Reflect on the water which you drink? Is it you who send it down from the clouds, or do We? If We so pleased, We could make it bitter. Why, then, are you not grateful?” (Al Quran 56:67-69)

Water is not the only miracle of Allah’s creativity, rather: Everything is a Miracle According to the Holy Quran and Albert Einstein.

In keeping with the Quranic verdict in our age of science, we should stop hoping for miracles like those of Moses and enjoy and celebrate the Quranic study in the light of modern science: How science polishes our understanding of the Quran.

We, in the Muslim Times, have hundreds, if not thousands of articles on the theme of Religion and Science.

The Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner: A Quranic Commentary for the 21st Century

Epigraph:

He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise. (Al Quran 59:24)

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

In 1913, the chemist Lawrence Joseph Henderson wrote The Fitness of the Environment, one of the first books to explore fine tuning in the universe. Henderson discusses the importance of water and the environment to living things, pointing out that life depends entirely on earth’s very specific environmental conditions, especially the prevalence and properties of water.[6]

In 1961, physicist Robert H. Dicke claimed that certain forces in physics, such as gravity and electromagnetism, must be perfectly fine-tuned for life to exist in the universe.[7][8] Fred Hoyle also argued for a fine-tuned universe in his 1984 book The Intelligent Universe. “The list of anthropic properties, apparent accidents of a non-biological nature without which carbon-based and hence human life could not exist, is large and impressive”, Hoyle wrote.[9]

We will get back to the biophylic universe after talking about the holy Quran and how it has become the biggest argument against atheism in our times, in age of information, in the 21st century.

Almost each Surah of the holy Quran, with the exception of the last few Surahs, starting with the opening verse of the Surah Fatihah, “All praise belongs to Allah the Creator and the Sustainer of all the worlds,” talks about God the Creator.

In the next Surah, which is Al Baqarah, we read:

Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of night and day, and in the ships which sail in the sea with that which profits men, and in the water which Allah sends down from the sky and quickens therewith the earth after its death and scatters therein all kinds of beasts, and in the change of the winds, and the clouds pressed into service between the heaven and the earth — are indeed Signs for the people who understand. (Al Quran 2:164)

In the third Surah of the Quran, we read:

And to Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; and Allah has power over all things.

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 while 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 3:189-191)

In case a casual reader misses the point of the above few verses, due to the subtlety of the language, Allah links all his creations as the main reason for man’s gratitude and submission in a very powerful manner:

We have created you. Why, then, do you not accept the truth?

What think ye of the sperm-drop that you emit?

Is it you who have created it or are We the Creator?

We have ordained death for all of you; and We cannot be prevented

From bringing in your place others like you, and from developing you into a form which at present you know not.

And you have certainly known the first creation. Why, then, do you not reflect?

Do you see what you sow?

Is it you who grow it or are We the Grower?

If We so pleased, We could reduce it all to broken pieces, then you would keep lamenting:

‘We are ruined!

‘Nay, we are deprived of everything.’

Do you see the water which you drink?

Is it you who send it down from the clouds, or are We the Sender?

If We so pleased, We could make it bitter. Why, then, are you not grateful?

Do you see the fire which you kindle?

Is it you who produce the tree for it, or are We the Producer?

We have made it a reminder and a benefit for the wayfarers.

So glorify the name of thy Lord, the Great. (Al Quran 56:57-74)

In the past centuries the Muslim commentators read these verses in light of human knowledge at that time. Now, with our current state of knowledge of cosmology and physics, any discussion between theists and agnostics or atheists, will lead inevitably to biophylic universe.

We simply have no way to argue that Allah is the Creator, the Maker, and the Fashioner of the universe, without mastering the argument of biophylic universe: Ten Raised to Five Hundred Reasons for Our Gracious God.

Physicist Paul Davies has said, “There is now broad agreement among physicists and cosmologists that the Universe is in several respects ‘fine-tuned’ for life.” However, he continued, “the conclusion is not so much that the Universe is fine-tuned for life; rather it is fine-tuned for the building blocks and environments that life requires.”[12] He has also said that “‘anthropic‘ reasoning fails to distinguish between minimally biophilic universes, in which life is permitted, but only marginally possible, and optimally biophilic universes, in which life flourishes because biogenesis occurs frequently”.[13] Among scientists who find the evidence persuasive, a variety of natural explanations have been proposed, such as the existence of multiple universes introducing a survivorship bias under the anthropic principle.[1]

The premise of the fine-tuned universe assertion is that a small change in several of the physical constants would make the universe radically different. As Stephen Hawking has noted, “The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. … The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.”[5]

If, for example, the strong nuclear force were 2% stronger than it is (i.e. if the coupling constant representing its strength were 2% larger) while the other constants were left unchanged, diprotons would be stable; according to Davies, hydrogen would fuse into them instead of deuterium and helium.[14] This would drastically alter the physics of stars, and presumably preclude the existence of life similar to what we observe on Earth. The diproton’s existence would short-circuit the slow fusion of hydrogen into deuterium. Hydrogen would fuse so easily that it is likely that all the universe’s hydrogen would be consumed in the first few minutes after the Big Bang.[14] This “diproton argument” is disputed by other physicists, who calculate that as long as the increase in strength is less than 50%, stellar fusion could occur despite the existence of stable diprotons.[15]

The precise formulation of the idea is made difficult by the fact that we do not yet know how many independent physical constants there are. The standard model of particle physics has 25 freely adjustable parameters and general relativity has one more, the cosmological constant, which is known to be nonzero but profoundly small in value. But because physicists have not developed an empirically successful theory of quantum gravity, there is no known way to combine quantum mechanics, on which the standard model depends, and general relativity. Without knowledge of this more complete theory suspected to underlie the standard model, it is impossible to definitively count the number of truly independent physical constants. In some candidate theories, the number of independent physical constants may be as small as one. For example, the cosmological constant may be a fundamental constant, but attempts have also been made to calculate it from other constants, and according to the author of one such calculation, “the small value of the cosmological constant is telling us that a remarkably precise and totally unexpected relation exists among all the parameters of the Standard Model of particle physics, the bare cosmological constant and unknown physics.”[16]

Martin Rees formulates the fine-tuning of the universe in terms of the following six dimensionless physical constants.[2][17]

  • N, the ratio of the electromagnetic force to the gravitational force between a pair of protons, is approximately 1036. According to Rees, if it were significantly smaller, only a small and short-lived universe could exist.[17]
  • Epsilon (ε), a measure of the nuclear efficiency of fusion from hydrogen to helium, is 0.007: when four nucleons fuse into helium, 0.007 (0.7%) of their mass is converted to energy. The value of ε is in part determined by the strength of the strong nuclear force.[18] If ε were 0.006, a proton could not bond to a neutron, and only hydrogen could exist, and complex chemistry would be impossible. According to Rees, if it were above 0.008, no hydrogen would exist, as all the hydrogen would have been fused shortly after the Big Bang. Other physicists disagree, calculating that substantial hydrogen remains as long as the strong force coupling constant increases by less than about 50%.[15][17]
  • Omega (Ω), commonly known as the density parameter, is the relative importance of gravity and expansion energy in the universe. It is the ratio of the mass density of the universe to the “critical density” and is approximately 1. If gravity were too strong compared with dark energy and the initial metric expansion, the universe would have collapsed before life could have evolved. If gravity were too weak, no stars would have formed.[17][19]
  • Lambda (Λ), commonly known as the cosmological constant, describes the ratio of the density of dark energy to the critical energy density of the universe, given certain reasonable assumptions such as that dark energy density is a constant. In terms of Planck units, and as a natural dimensionless value, Λ is on the order of 10−122.[20] This is so small that it has no significant effect on cosmic structures that are smaller than a billion light-years across. A slightly larger value of the cosmological constant would have caused space to expand rapidly enough that stars and other astronomical structures would not be able to form.[17][21]
  • Q, the ratio of the gravitational energy required to pull a large galaxy apart to the energy equivalent of its mass, is around 10−5. If it is too small, no stars can form. If it is too large, no stars can survive because the universe is too violent, according to Rees.[17]
  • D, the number of spatial dimensions in spacetime, is 3. Rees claims that life could not exist if there were 2 or 4 spatial dimensions.[17] Rees argues this does not preclude the existence of ten-dimensional strings.[2]

I will conclude this article with the verse with which I began as an epigraph:

He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise. (Al Quran 59:24)

Commentary of the Quranic verse about human soul

Promoted post: We are all living in the Womb of God-the-Mother, 13.8 billion Years Pregnancy

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Scientific revolution of the last few centuries has demystified the moon, as man landed there more than 50 years ago. Science has moved the seat of thinking and emotions from the heart in the popular literature to the brain. Several human organs are now being transplanted, from one human to another, with the notable exception of brain.

This article demonstrates the truth of a prophecy of the Holy Quran that the humans have been given, but a little knowledge, about soul or consciousness.  The prophecy continues to be true after centuries of research in biology and computer sciences and will be true forever.  This article brings contemporary scholarship and research to the commentary of the well known verse of the Holy Quran, about soul:

And they ask thee concerning the soul. Say, ‘The soul is by the command of my Lord; and of the knowledge thereof you have been given but a little.’ (Al Surah Al-Isra’ 17:85)

The dialogue below, between two leading authorities working on human consciousness, and the collection of articles are an ample proof, how little we know about human soul, human consciousness and even parts of it like, thoughts, intuitions, emotions and passions.

First a few details about the biography of the two experts in the dialogue.

Daniel Clement Dennett III (born March 28, 1942) is an American philosopher, writer, and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mindphilosophy of science, and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science.[8]

As of 2017, he is the co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies and the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University in Massachusetts. Dennett is a member of the editorial board for The Rutherford Journal[9] and a co-founder of The Clergy Project.[10]

A vocal atheist and secularist, Dennett is referred to as one of the “Four Horsemen of New Atheism“, along with Richard DawkinsSam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens.

Keith Ward FBA (born 1938) is an English philosopher, and theologian. He is a fellow of the British Academy and a priest of the Church of England. He was a canon of Christ Church, Oxford, until 2003. Comparative theology and the relationship between science and religion are two of his main topics of interest.

One of Ward’s main focuses is the dialogue between religious traditions, an interest which led him to be joint president of the World Congress of Faiths (WCF) from 1992 to 2001. His work also explores concepts of God and the idea of revelation. He has also written on his opinion of a relationship between science and religion.[4] As an advocate of theistic evolution, he regards evolution and Christianity as essentially compatible, a belief he has described in his book God, Chance and Necessity and which is in contrast to his Oxford colleague Richard Dawkins, a vocal and prominent atheist.

Ward has said that Dawkins’ conclusion that there is no God or any purpose in the universe is “naive” and not based on science but on a hatred of religion. Dawkins’ strong anti-religious views originate, according to Ward, from earlier encounters with “certain forms of religion which are anti-intellectual and anti-scientific … and also emotionally pressuring.”[5]

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Allah the Creator, the Maker and the Fashioner: Kingdom Of Plants

Epigraph:

Do they not observe the earth, and how many pairs of excellent species have We caused to grow in it? There truly is a sign in this, though most of them do not believe: your Lord alone is the Almighty, the Merciful. (Al Quran 26:7-9/8-10)

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Sir David Attenborough has scores of beautiful documentaries, bringing the awe inspiring beauty of all forms of lives, on our planet earth to our television screens. He does not talk  about God or the Creator, in his documentaries, but the viewers are of course, free to add that as an after thought on their own. With that paradigm, I believe, one can learn more from him about God being the Creator, the Maker and the Fashioner of our nine million life forms, than months or years of sermons by any of the Muslim clerics or priests of other faiths.

This documentary is made in Kew Gardens in London. Kew is London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage site offering unique landscapes, vistas and iconic architecture from every stage of the Gardens’ history. Our collection of living plants is the largest and most diverse in the world, growing out in the landscape and within our glasshouses and nurseries.

I do believe that biological evolution is true and is the mechanism by which we have come about on the planet earth, but, I also believe that the complexities, diversity and success of 9 million life forms on our planet earth, also demand giving up black and white thinking and assessing the whole reality on multiple axes. When I do that it reminds me of a verse of the holy Quran:

He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise” (Al Quran 59:24/25)

Suggested Reading

Plant Kingdom: A Proof of Allah’s Divinity According to the Quran
The anesthesia of familiarity: There should be a Creator of Our Universe
Ten Raised to Five Hundred Reasons for Our Gracious God
A Cordial invitation to Sir David Attenborough to be a Theist

Is There Meaning to Life? | William Lane Craig, Rebecca Goldstein, Jordan Peterson – Toronto 2018

Epigraph:

And I have not created the elite and the masses but that they may worship Me. (Al Quran 51:56)

Say, ‘My Prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the worlds. (Al Quran 6:162)

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