In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said:, “Islam categorized the sciences into two: (a) the goals (aims or purpose behind those sciences), (b) the means (or paths) and that helps to reach those goals”.
Commentary: It is well known that one of the general fundamental principles is that [الوسائل لها أحكام المقاصد – the ruling that applies to ‘the pursued goals’ also applies to the ‘means’ that lead to those goals]. Therefore, the ‘means’ that are required to fulfil obligatory goals are also obligatory, the ‘means’ that are required to fulfil ‘recommended goals’ are also recommended and the ‘means’ that lead to ‘forbidden goals’ are also forbidden.
Then Imaam As-Sadi said: “[Al-Maqaasid – The Goals] are the sciences that serve the various divine laws (see footnote a); and the [Al-Wasaa’il- The Means] are the things that helps to attain those goals, such as the Arabic language and its various sciences, the sciences related to affairs of the universe whose fruitful outcome leads one to acquire knowledge and awareness about Allaah, the Oneness of Allaah and His Perfection, and acquaintance with the truthfulness of His Messengers”.
Commentary: The Maqaasid [Goals] are the sciences that serve the various divine laws, or it is the knowledge about which the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] stated, “Whoever Allaah wishes good for, He grants such a person understanding in the religion”. [Saheeh al-Bukhaari. Number 71]
The second category is [Ilmul Wasaa’il- knowledge related to those ‘means’ that help attain goals], and the author stated that the example of this knowledge is the Arabic language and its various sciences, and the knowledge related to affairs of the universe whose fruitful outcome leads a person to acquire knowledge about Allaah- acquaintance with Allaah’s Oneness, because it enters into general divine texts that urges a person to contemplate on Allaah’s absolute dominion in the entire universe and the things He has created. Allaah said:
أَفَلَا يَنظُرُونَ إِلَى ٱلۡإِبِلِ ڪَيۡفَ خُلِقَتۡ
وَإِلَى ٱلسَّمَآءِ ڪَيۡفَ رُفِعَتۡ
وَإِلَى ٱلۡجِبَالِ كَيۡفَ نُصِبَتۡ
وَإِلَى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ كَيۡفَ سُطِحَتۡ
Do they not look at the camels, how they are created? And at the heaven, how it is raised? And at the mountains, how they are rooted and fixed firm? And at the earth, how it is spread out? [Surah Al-Ghaashiyah. Aayaat 17-20]
وَفِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ ءَايَـٰتٌ۬ لِّلۡمُوقِنِينَ
وَفِىٓ أَنفُسِكُمۡۚ أَفَلَا تُبۡصِرُونَ
And on the earth are signs for those who have Faith with certainty, and also in your ownselves. Will you not then see? [Surah Adh-Dhaariyaat. Aayaat 20-21]
If a person has a righteous intention in his pursuit of the sciences related to the function of the universe, it would increase him (or her) in knowledge about Allaah’s (Lordship), the Greatness of Allaah and Allaah’s All-Encompassing Power. Therefore, this knowledge is a means – a great path – by way of which a person becomes acquaintance with Allaah’s (Lorship). If studying this science is confined within this approach, it will greatly benefit a person. (see footnote b) (Ref 1)
Footnote a: Islamic law is the final and seal of all the divine laws. All other divine laws have been abrogated after the advent of the seal of the Prophets Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him]. Allaah (The Most High) said:
وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۚ لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَٰكِن لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ
And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book (this Qur’an) in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it and Mohayminan alay (trustworthy in highness, a witness and judge over the old Scriptures). So judge between them by what Allah has revealed (in the Qur’an and Sunnah), and do not follow their vain desires, diverging away from the truth that has come to you. To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way. If Allah willed, He would have made you one nation, but that (He) may test you in what He has given you; so strive as in a race in good deeds. The return of you (all) is to Allah; then He will inform you about that in which you used to differ. [Surah Al-Maa’idah Ayah 48]
Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated regarding the above Ayah: The Qur’aan gathers all the (good, excellence) in the previous books (i.e. before they were distorted). The Qur’aan contain an increase in all that will lead to the pleasure of Allaah in this life and the next, and the (most beloved and honourable) manners. The Qur’aan gathers every truth found in the other books, and it commands and urges mankind towards it. The Qur’aan is a book that gives news about the earlier and later generations. It contains (perfect) judgements and (perfect) wisdom. Whatever the Qur’aan declares to be truth in the previous Books is to be accepted, and whatever it rejects has to be rejected because it would be something that has been distorted and substituted by those who received it etc. [Tayseer Al-Kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam al-Mannaan. Explanation of Surah Al-Maa’idah. Aayah 48]
Abu Hurairah [may Allaah be pleased with him] reported that Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “By the one in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, none from this nation of Jews and Christians hears of me, and then dies without having faith in my message, except that he will be an (eternal) inhabitant of Hellfire”. [Ṣaḥeeh Muslim. Hadeeth Number 153]
Footnote b: Understanding The Two Definitions of Science – Byu Shaikh Dr Amjad Rafiq [Abu Iyaadh (may Allaah preserve him): http://www.aboutatheism.net/articles/juvtbpd-understanding-the-two-definitions-of-science-and-scientific-enquiry.cfm
How to Approach The Modern Sciences
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 Qur’an and the (authentic) Sunnah, then indeed we do not accept their statements; (rather) we take [i.e. believe and affirm without any doubt] that which is conveyed in the Qur’an and (authentic) Sunnah, and we say, ‘An era will come in which the people will bear witness to the falsity of those statements of theirs- which they utter at present – that are in opposition to the Qur’an and (authentic) Sunnah and (bear witness) to the soundness of that which has been conveyed in the Qur’an and the (authentic) Sunnah. [An excerpt from the ‘Explanation of Bulooghul Maraam’ Vol 1. page 130. slightly paraphrased]
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 the 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]
Read: The Religion of Islam Embodies Beneficial Contemporary Sciences and Professions: https://salaficentre.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Quranic_Proofs_Pdf_final.pdf
[Ref 1: From 15mins 45secs to 18mins 29secs. https://www.al-badr.net/detail/3KwCnaB5tN paraphrased]