Prayer Time

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The Qur’an does not present the universe as an adversary of mankind. It is presented, rather, as a friend and means of human endeavors on earth. Following are a few examples from the Qur’an which clearly stimulate research, discovery, development and improvement of the quality of life.


“And in the earth are tracts (diverse though) neighboring and gardens of vines and fields sown with corn and palm trees growing out of single roots or otherwise: watered with the same water yet some of them We make more excellent than others to eat. Behold, verily in these things are signs for those who understand!” [Qur’an,13:4]


“See you not that Allah sends down rain from the sky and leads it through springs in the earth? Then He causes to grow therewith produce of various colors: then it withers; you will see it grow yellow; then He makes it dry up and crumble away. Truly in this is a message of remembrance to persons of understanding.” [Qur’an, 39:21]


“It is Allah Who has subjected the sea to you that ships may sail through it by His command that you may seek of His bounty and that you may be grateful.” [Qur’an, 45:12]


“It is He who made the sea subject that you may eat thereof flesh that is fresh and tender and that you may extract therefrom ornaments to wear; and you see the ships therein that plough the waves that you may seek (thus) of the bounty of Allah and that you may be grateful.” [Qur’an, 16:14]

“And cattle He has created for you; from them you derive warmth and numerous benefits and of their (meat) you eat. And you have a sense of pride and beauty in them as you drive them home in the evening and as you lead them forth to pasture in the morning. And they carry their heavy loads to lands that you could not (otherwise) reach except with souls distressed: for your Lord is indeed Most Kind, Most Merciful. And (He has created) horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride and use for show; and He has created (other) things about which you have no knowledge.” [Qur’an,16:5-8]


It is noted that the above quotes deal with the fundamental resources: agricultural, water, fisheries and animal resources.

In a sweeping statement, the Qur’an indicates that everything on earth, and even in the heavens was created for the benefit of mankind: “It is He who has created for you all things that are on earth; moreover His design comprehended the heavens for He gave order and perfection to the seven firmaments; and of all things he has perfected knowledge.” [Qur’an, 2:29]


“And He has subjected to you as from Him all that is in the heavens and on earth: behold in that are signs indeed for those who reflect.” [Qur’an, 45:13]


The Qur’anic exhortations do not limit themselves to physical resources. They do encourage the study and understanding of natural laws such as the alternation of day and night, forecasting rainfall and astronomical phenomena.


“It is Allah Who alternates the night and the day: verily in these things is and instructive example for those who have vision!” [Qur’an, 24:44]


“Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day there are indeed signs for persons of understanding. Those who celebrate the praises of Allah standing, sitting and lying down on their sides and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth (with thought): ‘Our Lord! Not for naught have you created (all) this! Glory to thee! Give us salvation from the penalty of Hell fire.” [Qur’an, 3:190-191]


“See you not that Allah makes clouds move gently, then joins them together, then makes them into a heap? Then will you see rain issue forth from their midst. And He sends down from the sky mountain masses (of clouds) wherein is hail: He strikes therewith whom He pleases and He turns it away from whom He pleases. The vivid flash of His lightning well-nigh blinds the sight.” [ Qur’an, 24:43]


“And a sign for them is the night: We withdraw therefrom the day and behold they are plunged in darkness; And the sun runs its course for a period determined for it: that is the decree of the Exalted in Might the All-knowing. And the moon We have measured for it mansions (to traverse) till it returns like the old (and withered) lower part of date-stalk. It is not permitted for the sun to catch up to the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day: each (just) swims along in (its own) orbit (according to law).” [Qur’an, 36:37-40]


Role of Learning


The above Qur’anic exhortations necessitates a positive attitude toward learning and acquisition of knowledge. This is grounded in the Qur’an also. The very first word of the Qur’an revealed to Prophet Muhammad (P) was iqra’ , literally read: “Proclaim! (or read) in the name of your Lord and Cherisher Who created. [Qur’an, 96:1]


The Qur’an also praises those who combine faith with knowledge: “…Allah will raise up to (suitable) ranks (and degrees) those of you who believe and who have been granted knowledge: and Allah is well-acquainted with all you do.” [Qur’an, 58:11]


A distinction and preference is given to those who are endowed with Knowledge


“…Say: Are those equal who know and those who do not know? It is those who are endowed with understanding that receive admonition. [Qur’an, 39:9]


Knowledge in itself is neither a threat to faith nor is it inconsistent with piety and fear of Allah. In fact, unbiased and correct knowledge leads to piety.


“Indeed those who are endowed with knowledge fear Allah” [Qur’an, 35:28]


Generally speaking, the Qur’an considers it a sin not to use senses and reason as legitimate means of searching for truth and admonishes those who make claims that are not based on knowledge, and those who blindly imitate their ancestors.


“For the worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are the deaf and the dumb, those who understand not.” [Qur’an, 8:22]


“Those who give partners to Allah will say: If Allah had wished we should not given partners to Him, nor would our father, nor should we have had any taboos. So did their ancestors argue falsely until they tasted of Our wrath. Say: Have you any (certain) knowledge? If so produce it before Us. You follow nothing but conjecture, you do nothing but lie.” [Qur’an, 6:148]


“Many are the Jinns and mankind We have made for Hell. They have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not and ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle, nay more misguided; for they are heedless (of warning).” [Qur’an, 7:179]


The attitude toward learning is reiterated in numerous sayings of Prophet Muhammad


“Seeking knowledge is a mandatory duty on every Muslim.”

“Whoever pursues a way in search for knowledge, Allah will make an easy way for him/her to paradise.”

“The priority of a scholar over a worshipper (without understanding) is like the superiority of the moon over other stars.”

“Scholars are the heirs of prophets.”


The Experimental Method


One aspect of learning encouraged in the Qur’an is the experimental approach. A few examples may illustrate this. Explaining how Allah inspired the honey bees, the Qur’an states: “Then eat of all the produce (of the earth) and find with skill the spacious paths of your Lord: there issues from within their bellies a drink of varying colors wherein is healing for people: verily in this is a sign for those who give thought.” [Qur’an,16:69]


The mention of healing connected with honey is an open invitation to examine the medicinal or healing properties of honey. Similarly, in drawing our attention to study the properties of metals, we read: “We sent aforetime our apostles with clear signs and sent down with them the Book and the balance (of right and wrong) that people may stand forth in justice. and We sent down iron in which is (material for) mighty war, as well as many benefits for mankind, that Allah may test who it is that will help His cause and help Its messengers though unseen, for Allah is full of strength, exalted in Might (and able to enforce His will).” [Qur’an, 57:25]


In a clear and amazing reference to embryonic development of the human, we read: “We did create the human from a quintessence (of clay). Then We placed him/her as (a drop of) sperm in a place of rest firmly fixed; then We made the sperm into (something that) clings (or clot); the of that clot We made a (fetus) into (a chewed-like) lump; then We made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then We developed out of it another creature; so blessed be Allah the Best to create!” [Qur’an,23:12-14]


The above quotes from the Qur’an lay down the foundations of the experimental approach and the replacement of conjecture with truth based on firm knowledge, factors which were crucial and decisive in bringing about scientific development. This call stands in contrast to the philosophical speculations and conjecture.


“Conjecture is not substitute for truth.” [Qur’an, 53:28]


It follows that the common notion that Roger Bacon was the father of the experimental method is not accurate. Born in 1214 (CE) Bacon came nearly six centuries after the Qur’an clearly called for this approach to learning. According to Rob Briffault, Roger Bacon was one of the apostles of Muslim science to Europe.


The above analysis of the Islamic worldview makes it possible to understand the place and role of ethics in Islam, one manifestation of which is in the sphere of business.


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