Category Archives: Islam and Science
Chemistry is a natural science which studies the structure of matter, chemical changes occurring under certain circumstances and the regularities that can be drawn from that.
Muslim scientists have deepened their knowledge in this domain as well. However, rather than learning about their fundamental contributions from scientific databases, their ideas are only to be found in fictional novels. This is due to many people’s incorrect image of the Arabs’ way of doing chemical research.
Chemistry versus Alchemistry
The term ‘alchemistry’ is generally used when talking about the kind of chemistry that was allegedly not yet practiced like we do today.
The ‘Ordinall of Chemistry’ states that chemistry as a science dates back from around the 17th and 18th centuries. Compared to today’s standards, chemistry would not be practiced in a scientific way before then. This means that the chemists of that time did not particularly look for a critical explanation of chemical symptoms. The pre-17th century science was thus called ‘alchemistry’.
Several scientists countered this worldwide opinion. Some facts show that the Muslim scientists did not only contribute to the so-called alchemy. Eric John Holmyard, a famous historian, chemist and Arabist, ascertained that the preposterous claims of scientists like Berthelot (a French chemist) were incorrect.
In ‘Makers of Chemistry’ he elaborates on the evolution of chemistry from the very beginning until modern times. In this work he states that Islamic chemistry is in fact a base for modern chemistry. He talks about several Muslim scientists, including the most acknowledged chemist: Jabir Ibn Hayyan (Geber).
Abu Musa Jabir Ibn Hayyan
Jabir, born around 721 and died around 815 in the village Tus (in today’s Iran), grew up in a family where chemistry was not unknown, as his father was a pharmacist. That would most likely be the cause of his interest in chemistry.
Jabir’s father was later executed due to that time’s political struggles, which forced him to flee to the city of Kufa. This city was then ruled by the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid.
Jabir was able to practice science at the highest level thanks to his connection with the Barmakids (influential Persian families that counselled the first Abbasid caliphs).
Jabir’s focus on experiments
Jabir Ibn Hayyan is without any doubt one of the greatest Muslim scientists. Holmyard legitimately names him ‘The Father of Chemistry’. According to Holmyard, one of the fundamental aspects Jabir brought forward was the development of the practical side of chemistry: performing experiments. Experimenting separates science as practiced by Muslims from the Ancient Greek tradition of speculation. Jabir emphasised the importance of experimenting as follows: ‘The most essential in chemistry is that you should perform practical work and conduct experiments, for he who performs not practical work nor makes experiments will never attain the least degree of mastery.’
Material contributions of Jabir
Jabir’s attention to precision led him to create scales that could weigh with an accuracy of 1/6 of a gram. To him, experimenting with matter meant that he could mix, heat, cool, grind, bake and stir various substances. The traditional image of an ‘alchemistic’ workplace looked a lot like what we would call a chemistry laboratory today.
In order to perform his experiments accurately, he designed different kinds of new vessels like the retort. His experiments with various chemical processes allowed him to trigger reactions like reduction (a reaction that involves the gaining of electrons), calcination (oxidation through heating, e.g. the burning of chalk) and perhaps the most important: distillation.
Using his homemade alembic he created a simple way to distill. An alembic is a simple construction of two bottles connected by a tube. One of the bottles is heated and causes the fluid inside to condensate and drip down through the tube. The alembic was later used to refine mineral oil into kerosene that could be used as lamp oil.
Chemical developments by Jabir
Ten centuries before John Dalton (a British physicist and chemist who became known through his atom theory and molecule theory), Jabir created the image of chemical bonds as a link between elements, in fact small particles invisible to the naked eye. All without losing grasp of their original characteristics.
Jabir also identified many new substances. It is often said he discovered strong acids such as sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid and nitric acid. These discoveries are proven to be of great significance to modern chemistry, becoming even essential to the chemical industry.
Last but not least: Jabir also laid the groundwork for what is known today as Mendeleev’s periodic table of elements. He tried to create a table to classify the chemical elements, just like Mendeleev. This was based on the Ancient Greek idea of classifying the elements further into groups of metals, non-metals and substances that can be distilled. In that way his table somehow resembled the modern periodic table of elements, in which non-metals and gases can be distinguished.
If all arteries, veins, and capillaries of the human circulatory system were laid, the total length would be almost 100,000 km. That’s more than twice the lenght of Ecuador.
We created man from the purest kind of clay; then made him a drop in a secure receptacle; then formed the drop into a clot and formed the clot into a lump and formed the lump into bones and clothed the bones in flesh; and then brought him into being as another creature. Blessed be Allah, the Best of Creators! (Surat al Muminun, 12-14)
(continued via Harun Yahya هارون يحيى
by : Shaykh Muhammad Mitwalli ash-Sha’rawi
For Muslims, the Holy Qur’an is an inexhaustible and hauntingly beautiful source of guidance, consolation and enlightenment. Above all, it is the very Word of God as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and protected for all time against falsification. Muslims’ absolute certainty on this point is often difficult for others to comprehend, however majestic and eloquent the text, even in translation.
(by the tightened sky, certainly you have different ideas) [Surat Az-Zariyat, verse: 7, 8].
Great and Almighty God swears by the tightened sky that those liars and ungrateful people for Gods’ signs, their speech is full of differences and contradictions and that all the false accusations they say on Allah, his prophet and Quran is such an illusion with no base….
In 1999, a group of scientists in Britain, Canada, USA and Germany have done a planned design for the universe to show the points of the galaxies on it. It was shown that the galaxies are spread and distributed on threads that look like the web. Therefore the scientists considered that the universe has a tightened texture.
The miracle in this verse is related to astronomy as it talked about a scientific fact that wasn’t discovered except at the end of the 20th century which is the reality of the tightened universe texture.See More
In his objective study of the texts, Maurice Bucaille clears away many preconceived ideas about the Old Testament, the Gospels and the Qur’an. He tries, in this collection of Writings, to separate what belongs to Revelation from what is the product of error or human interpretation. His study sheds new light on the Holy Scriptures. At the end of a gripping account, he places the Believer before a point of cardinal importance: the continuity of a Revelation emanating from the same God, with modes of expression that differ in the course of time.
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Ever since the dawn of human life on this planet, Man has always sought to understand Nature, his own place in the scheme of Creation and the purpose of Life itself. In this quest for Truth, spanning many centuries and diverse civilizations, organized religion has shaped human life and determined to a large extent, the course of history. While some religions have been based on books, claimed by their adherents to be divinely inspired, others have relied solely on human experience and proof.
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This is mentioned in Surat az-Zukhruf as follows:
It is He Who sends down water in due measure from the sky by which We bring a dead land back to life.
That is how you too will be raised [from the dead]. (Qur’an, 43:11) Read the rest of this entry
Scientists discovered that in the deep of oceans there are deep waves which are different from surface waves. Allah Almighty makes the parable of deeds of atheists and disbelievers as a man who lives in the deep of the sea where he is covered by a layer of deep waves that is covered by a layer of surface waves which is covered by darkness, this likeningis to demonstrate how those atheists by their deeds are far from the light of Allah (following principles and orders of Islam).
If all the trees on earth were pens and all the sea, with seven more seas besides, was ink Allah’s words still would not run dry. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise. (Holy Quran, Surah Luqman, 31/27)
Eğer yeryüzündeki ağaçların tümü kalem ve deniz de -onun ardından yedi deniz daha eklenerek- (mürekkep) olsa, yine de Allah’ın kelimeleri (yazmakla) tükenmez. Şüphesiz Allah, üstün ve güçlüdür, hüküm ve hikmet sahibidir. (Lokman Suresi, 27)
As we know, these chromosomes contain all the characteristics which the new human being will have such as the color of the eyes, skin, hair, etc. Hence, many of the details in the human being’s make-up are determined in his chromosomes.
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Many Muslims wonder about the theory of biological evolution – the theory that living species on Earth today are descended from others in the past, and that the present diversity of living species we see is a result of descent with modifica…tion over the course of numerous generations.
Muslims also wonder about one of the main processes that evolutionary theory proposes to explain how evolution takes place – the process of natural selection. This is the idea that the individuals within a populations of living organism vary in their individual traits – they are not exactly alike – and that the organisms which are most successful at leaving descendants will pass on their unique traits to the next generation at the expense of the traits possessed by less successful organisms in the population, thereby contributing to a long-term gradual change in the suite of traits found within the population.
We as Muslims must ask: Read the rest of this entry
In the field of ‘Zoology’,
the Holy Qur’an says in Surah Anam, Ch. No. 6, Verse No 38, that… ‘We have created every living animal that lives on the earth and every bird that flies on the wings in the air, to live in communities like you’. Today science has discovered that even the animals and birds live in communities, like the human beings.
The Qur’an describes the flight of the bird in Surah Nahl, Ch. No. 16. Verse No 79… ‘Do you not look at the bird subjected in the midst in the air?’ None of them can hold them up except with the power of Allah (SWT)’. Read the rest of this entry
As Islaam spread northward into Syria, Egypt, and the Persian empire, it came face to face with the sciences of antiquity whose heritage had been preserved in centres which now became a part of the Islamic world. Alexandria had been a major centre of sciences and learning for centuries.
The Greek learning cultivated in Alexandria was opposed by the Byzantines who had burned its library long before the advent of Islaam. The tradition of Alexandrian learning did not die, however.
It was transferred to Antioch and from there farther east to such cities as Edessa by eastern Christians who stood in sharp opposition to Byzantium and wished to have their own independent centres of learning. Moreover, the Persian king, Shapur I, had established Jundishapur in Persia as a second great centre of learning matching Antioch. He even invited Indian physicians and mathematicians to teach in this major seat of learning, in addition to the Christian scholars who taught in Syriac as well as the Persians whose medium of instruction was Pahlavi. Read the rest of this entry
“All of the children of Adam (people) will decay except for the bone of coccyx (tailbone). From it he (man) was created and by it he will be reconstructed.” (Hadith from Bukhari, Nasai)
Modern day science discovered in 1931:
1) The tailbone (coccyx) is the last bone at the end of your spine.
2) It is the only part of the body that does not decompose and cannot be destroyed. It cannot be finished even by burning under high temperature.
3) The first things to form inside the fertilized egg are the “primitive streak” and “node” [around 15 days later] from which all of the body of the baby originates and cells begin to form. Both of these later turn into the “tailbone”.
4) The tailbone contains mothers cells for the body.
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Scientists confirm today that the phenomenon of night and day is one of the most complex natural phenomena, and that there were man…y myths which were woven about these phenomena. No human being, as far as we are aware, had any knowledge of how does the succession of night and day takes place and occurs. But the Glorious Quran tells us in numerous verses about the day-break and night-covering the earth. Quranic illustrated how the light of day clears the sun. If it was not for the day’s layer, the sun could have appeared like a small star.
Photos taken through satellite imagery systems illustrate that dawn appears in blue color, as if it pushes the night away and remove it. This reminds us with the verse of the Glorious Quran when Allah, the Almighty takes an oath by this phenomenon “the phenomenon of the manifestation of the day”: (By the day as it shows up (the Sun’s) glory,) [The Sun 91:3]. The meaning of the word is to clarify and make visible. We notice how the daylight when it breaks shows the sun in wonderful scene. Blessed be Allah the Best of creators!