In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said:
And through that which the atheists embellish their falsehood and sciences that are in opposition to the religion is that they adorn expressions for them, so they refer to them as revival, progress, advancement and the like, and terms by way of which they deceive those who have no insight. As for the truth which the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] brought, they call it rigid, narrowmindedness, chary and backward, as Allāh [The Most High] stated about their ancestors.
وكذلك جعلنا لكل نبي عدوا شياطين الإنس والجن يوحي بعضهم إلى بعض زخرف القول غرورا
And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies – Shayatin (devils) among mankind and jinns, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion (or by way of deception).
ولتصغى إليه أفئدة الذين لا يؤمنون بالآخرة وليرضوه وليقترفوا ما هم مقترفون
(And this is in order) that the hearts of those who disbelieve in the Hereafter may incline to such (deceit), and that they may remain pleased with it, and that they may commit what they are committing (all kinds of sins and evil deeds, etc.). [Surah Al-An-An’aam. Verses 112-113]
Allāh [The Most High] informed us that this is an abiding practice of the enemies of the Messengers during every era, that they adorn expressions to beautify their falsehood, uglify that which the Messengers came with, co-operate with one another upon that, fabricate lies against Allāh and deceive the one who do not possess knowledge, neither insight nor Eemaan. These people accept everything that was uttered by their ancestors – the beliers of the revelation and add an increase to this affair. And how many of those with weak insight have they trapped!
And that which the Messenger brought is neither incredulous nor backward; rather it is truth and light (pure guidance), a means to good (upright) life and guidance without which there will neither be uprightness for the hearts nor for the worldly existence (i.e. due to widespread corruption). There is no light except the light acquire from its light. It awakens the determinations and resolves to pursue every praiseworthy characteristic, sound progress and beneficial advancement. Indeed, one of the Major Fundamental Principles of the Islamic Legislation is the obligation of utilising the beneficial means – their goals and paths; an urge towards every righteous deed and affairs that bring about wellbeing, asking Allaah for help to accomplish it as well as striving. It is well-known that the one who establishes these two fundamental principles, makes an exerted effort in every beneficial matter and seeks help from the One Who alone has the right to be worshipped [i.e. Allāh], then indeed he will not cease to make continuous advancement and progress in rectifying the religion and those worldly matters that support the religious affairs, just as the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “Be eager for what benefits you and seek Allāh’s Aid”. There are many verses in the Book of Allāh and (ahaadeeth in) the Sunnah of Messenger that commands one to perform every beneficial deed and urges for sound beneficial progress for individuals, groups, society and governments. As for the material sciences that are devoid of the essence of the religion and its mercy, then indeed it is an advancement towards destruction and ruin- an advancement for the destruction of every beautiful trait and ascription to every evil trait. That which is witnessed and clearly seen is the greatest testimony to this. Indeed, it is impossible to accomplish sound progress, except when accompanied by sound religion, which is inseparable from truth, because falsehood will end in demise and decline, and its final result will be loss and destruction, even though it may have some type of authority. (1)
Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] also said: Industrialization and modern Inventions: Everyone has participated in it – the righteous, the wicked, the believer and the disbeliever. As for religion and [virtuous] manners, then indeed -in this era-, it has greatly declined. So, when this industrial advancement is devoid of (sound) religion and Eemaan, it became a great harm from two angles:
Firstly: It beguiled many people, who – due of their ignorance – think that worldly advancement is proof to show that its people are more worthy of achieving every good than others. They are clearly misguided, for indeed a person might be from the most skillful in affairs related to the material world, whilst he is one of the most ignorant people in affairs related to the deen, virtuous manners and the [other] beneficial affairs in this life and the next.
Secondly: When these inventions are devoid of Deen, its mercy and wisdom, it becomes a great disaster for humankind due to the wars that resulted from them, killing, destruction and other affairs related to it. Its regulators [or overseers] and scholars are unable to laydown – for humankind -a stable, just and good life, rather they have not ceased moving from one miserable state to another. This is inevitable and the continuous state of affairs shows that [to be the case]. Therefore all good is found in the sound religion and all evil is found in rejecting and willfully denying [Allaah, His Messengers, His Laws, Guidance, Commands, Prohibitions etc]. (2)
Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] also said:
Indeed, it is impossible to rectify the souls and acquire virtue solely through the worldly sciences. Experience and clearly witnessed circumstances are the greatest proofs regarding this affair, because despite its advancement and vastness it has been unable to nurture and rectify the souls [i.e. upon excellent traits, manners, dealings, characteristics, sound creed etc] which are the determinants of [sound] rectification and success. What the Religion of Islaam propagates is that which is entrusted with this rectification; it is what will guide the thoughts towards the truthful and authentic sources of knowledge, guide the actions of the people towards good and prevent them from evil. Islam is The Rectifier of the Creeds and Manners- the thing that cultivates the thoughts [upon righteousness], urges towards virtuousness and prevents from depravity.
The essence of that which the religion calls to – regarding belief in the Unseen, which includes belief in Allaah and that which He possesses of Names, Attributes and Actions of perfection; belief in Angels, belief in recompense for one’s good and bad deeds in this life and the next, which cannot be known except through the Messengers, is what acquaints a person with the fact that rectification – in reality – is not possible through other than sound belief and the religion of Islaam.
Therefore, even if the worldly sciences rectify [some] affairs based upon that which [some] people know in detail, it will still not be equal [in perfection, excellence etc] to the knowledge of the Messengers [in the least]. It will neither reach that which is reached through the knowledge of the Messengers nor can it influence the souls in the manner in which the knowledge of the Messengers has done; for indeed the souls do not voluntarily submit except through belief in Allaah, belief in His Angels, belief in His Books, belief in His Messengers and belief in the hereafter. And without this, voluntary submission is impossible, as is well known regarding human nature. (3)
Saudi King Abdul Azeez [rahimahullaah] said: Indeed, the progress and advancement of the Muslims is among those affairs we [pursue]–we call to it by the will of Allaah. [However] there cannot be advancement for the Muslims without a return to their religion, adherence to their sound creed and holding onto the Rope of Allaah [i.e. the Qur’aan and the Sunnah]. The path towards this is clear and facilitated for the one who wants to follow it, and that is to single out Allaah in worship – to be free from shirk and bidah- and act on that which the religion has commanded us, for indeed there is no benefit in speech if not [accompanied] by action. (4)
How to Approach the Contemporary Worldly Sciences
Shaikh Saaleh Aala Ash-Shaikh [may allaah preserve him] said: The Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said: Verily, the creation of each of you is brought together in his mother’s womb for forty days as a drop [of water, semen], then he is a clot for a similar period, then a morsel for a similar period…. [An-Nawawi’s Forty Hadeeth. Hadeeth 4]
It is well known that during that era, the Sahaabah did not know these stages (of development of the human being in the womb) through experimental knowledge, vision [i.e. by way X-rays or ultrasound that enables the human to see something in the womb) or other than that; rather it was simply (a statement of the Prophet) which they (believed and affirmed). They were scholars by way of the revelation sent down to the Prophet and not by way of experimentation (examination). [Sharh Al-Arba’een. Hadeeth 4]
Imaam Muhammad Bin Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: We do not say, “We do not give consideration to anything stated by the people in the subject matter regarding medicine, astronomy and the celestial bodies”, however, we do not accept everything they say. If what they say opposes the Book and the (authentic) Sunnah, then indeed we do not accept their statements. We take [i.e. believe and affirm without any doubt] that which is conveyed in the Book and the Sunnah], and we say, “An era will come in which the people will bear witness to the falsity of those statements of theirs – at present – that are in opposition to the Book and Sunnah and (bear witness) to the soundness of that which has been conveyed in the Book and the Sunnah. [An excerpt from the ‘Explanation of Bulooghul Maraam’ Vol 1. page 130. Shared by Ustaadh abu Tasneem (Mushaf Al-Banghaalee- may Allaah preserve him)]
Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: Indeed, that which is stated by the astronomers about the celestial bodies, their sizes and the distance between them, and that which is said about the earth [i.e. by the geologists etc] is categorized into three affairs: [a] That which is backed by the sound knowledge-based proofs [i.e. the Sharee’ah], therefore it is accepted. [b] That which the knowledge-based proofs [i.e. the sharee’ah] declares to be false, therefore it is rejected. [c] That which there is no proof to either accept or reject it, therefore it is unproven until a person from the people of knowledge [i.e. upright scholars of Ahlus Sunnah] examines it [i.e. examines what it indicates based on the Book and Sunnah] to show whether it should be accepted or rejected. As for accepting it without [sound] investigation and observation, but merely accepting it by blindly following them [i.e. the astronomers, geologists etc], then this is impermissible because of the numerous mistakes that occur as a result of that and speaking -without knowledge – about Allaah and that which He has created [i.e. the entire universe and all that is within it]. [An Excerpts from ‘Al-Adillah An-Naqliyyah Wal-Hissiyyah Alaa Imkaanis Su’ood Ilal Kawaakib Wa Alaa Jarayaan Ash-Shams Wal-Qamar Wa Sukoon Al-Ard’ page 74. slightly paraphrased]
Therefore, we return to those honest investigators – those students of sound Aqeedah who are well acquainted with both the statements of the upright scholars and the contemporary worldly sciences, such as the likes of Dr. Shaikh Abu Iyaadh Amjad Rafiq [may Allaah preserve him, increase him in beneficial knowledge and righteous deeds. And likewise preserve all the students and Ahlus Sunnah Aameen].
Read: Understanding the Two Definitions of ‘Science’ in Operation – By Shaikh Dr. Abu Iyaadh:
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Ad-Dalaa’il Al-Qur’aaniyyah Fee Annal Uloom Wal-A’maal An-Naafi’ah Al-Asriyyah Daakhilatun Fid Deen Al-Islaamiy. page 32]
[Ref 2: Al-Adilladul Qawaati Wal Baraaheen Fee Ibtaal Usool Al-Mulhideen. pages 45-46]
[Ref 3: Al-Adillah Al-Qawaati Wal-Baraaheen Fee Ibtaal Usool Al-Mulhideen. pages 49-50]
[Ref 4: Haqeeqah Manhaj Al-Mamlakah Al-Arabiyyah As-Su’oodiyyah page 33]