In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said:
The greatest evils of knowledge and inconsistencies occurs as a result of acquainting oneself with the creation without its Creator, acquaintance with effects without the One who created those effects, acquaintance with causes without the one who created those causes and acquaintance with the paths without its sound goals. The deficiency in this type of acquaintance is numerous and its harm is great, for indeed many of the atheists and those deceived by them are skilled in the natural sciences, but they confine themselves to it and are blind regarding its association with its Creator and Causer. And with regards to that which is placed in these natural sciences of wonders and secrets, they see themselves as those who know the wonders of the natural sciences – which none knows besides them – and the secrets which Allāh has placed in nature, so it gives them higher status over others and thus they become afflicted with vanity and self-deception. They confine themselves to it, consider it as the final outcome, the purpose and the goal, and thus occurs great deviation, deficiency in knowledge and intellect. If they knew and affirmed belief in the true Creator and the One Who Controls all the affairs of the Universe- the One who attached the means and causes to His Qadaa Wal Qadr (see footnote a), know that the means and causes are an abode of His Perfect Wisdom – for indeed Allāh [The Most High] is All-Wise, He placed things in their rightful places, gave the subtle affairs and big affairs an amazing orderly system and a firm association; gave everything that is sought after and the goals a means or cause, and a path that will lead to it, and due to this results and outcomes are based on the strength or weakness of the means or causes, and the strength or weakness of the performer of the deed- and then they bound these means, paths and outcomes to Allāh’s Qadaa Wal Qadr, their knowledge would have been perfected and they would have acquired of certainty that which cannot be acquired by those who have not reached their level; but they are glad (and proud) with that which they know of those paths whose tangible worldly outcomes they know and became haughty by way of them, so the statement of Allāh [The Most High] apply to them:
[فلما جاءتهم رسلهم بالبينات فرحوا بما عندهم من العلم وحاق بهم ما كانوا به يستهزئون – Then when their Messengers came to them with clear proofs, they were glad (and proud) with that which they had of the knowledge (of worldly things): And that at which they used to mock, surrounded them (i.e. the punishment)]. [Surah Ghaafir. Aayah 83]
وجعلنا لهم سمعا وأبصارا وأفئدة فما أغنى عنهم سمعهم ولا أبصارهم ولا أفئدتهم من شيء إذ كانوا يجحدون بآيات الله وحاق بهم ما كانوا به يستهزئون
And indeed We had firmly established them with that wherewith We have not established you (O Quraish)! And We had assigned them the (faculties of) hearing (ears), seeing (eyes), and hearts, but their hearing (ears), seeing (eyes), and their hearts availed them nothing since they used to deny the Ayat (Allah’s Prophets and their Prophethood, proofs, evidences, verses, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah, and they were completely encircled by that which they used to mock at! [Surah Al-Ahqaaf. Aayah 26]
This is the greatest evil consequence of self-amazement and arrogance without exception, and the most perilous path through which many people become beguiled and deceived; therefore we ask Allāh to blessed us with sound knowledge that is supported by sound intellect, divine text and sound natural disposition – the beneficial knowledge which the servant knows in all its aspects, and the knowledge which links the subsidiary affairs to its (sound) fundamental principles, and its means, causes, effects and outcomes are ascribed to the One Who originated and created them. It is the knowledge whose possessor does not disassociate the creation from its Creator- neither disassociates its effects from the One Who made them effective, nor disassociates the wisdom, the secrets and the amazing orderly systems in the creation from the One Who Created and Perfected them, organised them in perfect order and brought them into existence prior to their non-existence. This is the knowledge that bears the fruits of certainty and through which tranquility is obtained, and through which happiness and success is attained. It bears the fruits of beautiful manners and righteous deeds, beneficial to the religious and worldly affairs.
As for the sciences of the deviants – as we mentioned – they are mutilated, amputated and stale. The end result of its usefulness is similar to the benefit of the physical industries as it is witnessed and clearly seen. Neither does it bear fruits of Eemaan nor honesty, neither mercy nor beautiful manners; rather its fruits are the opposite. Everyone with a great (sound) mind and (sound) high intelligence becomes extremely sorrowful that these are its goal and fruits, for indeed sound intellect understands things and fully comprehends them in all their aspects, then engages with the beneficial things, makes use of the good things and skills (or talents) which a servant is endowed with; combining between the affairs related to one’s wellbeing in this worldly life and the Hereafter, and that which benefits the body and the souls; sound examination of the principles (or precepts) and final outcomes, and linking matters that are related to each other, because anyone who is not attributed to these characteristics has deficiency in his intelligence accordingly, so how about his religion?
And among the signs of the deviants in relation to religion and intelligence is that they are deceived by their opinions and absurd intellects, and their mockery of the intellects of the most excellent human beings and the most virtuous of them amongst the Prophets, their followers and the people guidance. So, through this their arrogance is known- their excessive behaviour and rejection of that which can never be rejected and their wilful denial of the virtue of those who came before them to reject the truth. They hinder the servants of Allaah from the religion and path ordained by Allāh, and they speak about the realities mentioned by the Messengers in a manner other than its true reality. And they say:, “This is an ancient intellect (or mind); an outdated opinion, the tales of the ancients”, just as the Messengers were opposed by their enemies with these filthy and nefarious statements. Indeed, many of the children and the youth who neither possess insight nor mature intellects have been deceived by them. Do they not know that the intellects can neither be complete nor purified except by divine revelation and the Qur’aan, and cannot be beneficial intellect until it is nourished with the guidance and certainty which the Messenger brought?
Allāh [The Most High] said: [إن في ذلك لآيات لأولي النهى – Verily, in this are proofs and signs for men of understanding]. [Surah Taha. Aayah 54] [لآيات لأولي الألباب – There are indeed signs for men of understanding]. [Surah Aal Imran. Aayah 190]
They are the people of decent intellect, rightly guided views and purified manners. Can one find sound intellects that can be anywhere closer to the (perfect, unmatched, unblemished, upright) intellect of the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] without whom the intellects and views cannot be illuminated except through his intellect? The perfection of the intellects are based on how much they have obtain from his intelligence, what he deems to be correct, and his guidance and perfect path which is free from error, so they nourish themselves with its light, guidance and the perfect course it leads to. Allāh [The Most High] said: [والنجم إذا هوى ما ضل صاحبكم وما غوى وما ينطق عن الهوى إن هو إلا وحي يوحى – By the star when it goes down, (or vanishes). Your companion (Muhammad ) has neither gone astray nor has erred. Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. It is only an Inspiration that is inspired]. [Surah An-Najm Aayah 1-4]
This is a description of the Prophet, that he has perfect knowledge and guidance, upright path that leads to the perfect course and perfect protection from error in his statements and deeds. And due to this, one knows that everything that opposes his guidance, his upright path that leads to the perfect course and his guidance to that course, then it is tantamount to misguidance, deviation, foolishness and destruction. Indeed, the state of affairs is the greatest testimony to that. Has anyone acquired an atom’s weight of good – internally and externally- and from the great beneficial fruitful outcomes, except through him and his teachings? Has anyone been guided except by fulfilling his command and keeping away from what he has forbidden? Has anything – from the religious and worldly affairs – become upright and has no corruption, except by way of following what he has left behind, and following him in the fundamentals and subsidiary branches of the religion, its paths and goals? There is no good, guidance, mercy, righteousness, rectification of the outward deeds and inner self except that he has guided the creation to it and to its eitiquettes, and there is no evil, except that he has warned against it.
Allāh [The Most High] said: [اليوم أكملت لكم دينكم وأتممت عليكم نعمتي ورضيت لكم الإسلام دينا – This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion]. [Surah Al-Maa’idah. Aayah 3]
And part of its perfection is that it guides to that which is most just (or upright) in affairs of creed, manners and deeds. Creeds, manners and deeds are perfected by way of it and it is not beset by deficiency from any angle. And part of its perfection is that indeed it is perfectly upright and suitable for every era and place, and prevents all social and personal problems. And part of its perfection is that the tangible (sound) intellectual realities and what is truthfully witnessed based on experience are included in it and safeguarded under it. And part of its perfection is that it has clarified and explained the correct position regarding the varying opinions and the contradictory statements about which people hold difference of opinion; distinguished what is upright from what is corrupt, what is just from what is unjust, and what is truth from what is falsehood. And part of its perfection is that the intellects are perfected by way of it, the views are illuminated and through its guidance that which rectifies the religious and worldly affairs are obtained – every good related to religion and worldly affairs, hidden or apparent, is from its outcomes and fruitful results; completed as a favour upon the believers and brought about various types of good for all the creation. All Praise and Thanks be to Allāh, Who blessed the servants by way of it, made it a guidance and mercy in the affairs of wellbeing of this life and the Hereafter. [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. pages 37-40]
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:
Footnote a: Qadaa Wal Qadr: Detail Discussion on Belief in Qadaa wal Qadr By Shaikh, Dr Abu Iyaadh, Shaikh Abu Khadeejah and Ustaadh Taqweem Aslam [may Allaah preserve them and all the other Salafi teachers]