So glory be to Allah in when you reach evening and when you arise in the morning. Praise belongs to Him throughout Heaven and Earth, and during the night and when you are at your noon hour. He brings the living from the dead and brings forth the dead from the living, and He revives the earth after its death. Thus shall you all be brought forth. Among His signs is that He created you from dust; then you are spread out as human beings. Among His signs is that He created spouses for you from among yourselves so that you console yourselves with them. He has planted love and compassion between you; in that are signs for people who reflect. Among His signs are the creation of the Heaven and Earth and diversity in your tongues and colors. In that are signs for those who know. Among His signs are your sleeping at night and by day, and your pursuit of His bounty. In that are signs for any folk who listen. Among His signs is how He shows you lightening for both fear and anticipation. He sends water down from the sky so He may revive the earth with it following its death. In that are signs for folk who use their reason. Among His sings is that the Heaven and Earth hold firm at His command. Then whenever He calls you forth, out of the earth, you shall all come forth. All those who in the Heavens and Earth belong to Him; all are subservient to Him. He is the One who starts out the creation; then He shall repeat it again. It is simple for Him to do. For Him is the Supreme Example in Heaven and Earth; He is All Powerful, All Wise. (Al-Rum 30:17-27)
Every system whether religious or secular has its worldview. The term “worldview” is taken from the German expression Weltanschauung (image of the world) as was introduced by the famous philosopher Emmanuel Kant (d. 1804). Worldview denotes “a set of implicit or explicit beliefs or assumptions about the origin of the universe and the nature of human life.” These beliefs or assumptions affect people’s life and behavior. Recently there is a debate going on concerning the Intelligent Design versus the current theory of evolution.
Some people think that evolution is the scientific way to understand this universe and any other belief about the origin of this world and especially human species is mythological and unscientific.
Serious students of this subject, however, know that the current theory of evolution itself is based on a certain worldview. This worldview is known as “materialism.” Materialism is a philosophy that argues that matter is all that there is. It denies God’s existence or does not give much attention to God. According to materialists, the universe is self-existent. They assume that everything in the universe, including the life within it, is the product of blind, purposeless forces of physics and chemistry. Materialism denies the existence of the human soul too. According to this view, we are nothing but highly organized molecules, and our ideas, feelings, and emotions are simply chemical reactions inside our brain cells. The real issue is not whether some organisms have a common ancestor or not. The real issue is whether life is created by God or evolved by itself.
Whatever worldview people have, it affects their thought and action. Islam also has its worldview. The Qur’an continuously draws our attention to the fact that this universe is created by a Powerful and Knowledgeable Creator (al-Zukhruf 43:9). There are many places in the Qur’an where Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala points towards the creation as “ayat.” As there are Ayat (signs) in the Book of God, the Qur’an, so there are also signs in the Book of Nature. The ayat of the Qur’an are called “wahy matluww,” while the ayat in the universe are called “wahy mashhud.” If we carefully study the “signs of God” in His Book and carefully investigate and analyze the nature we should reach the same conclusion. In this way, Islamic position is that there is no inherent contradiction between religion and science. Authentic religion and proper scientific inquiries work with each other without any problem and difficulty. The difficulties come only when religion is mixed up with mythology or when science transgresses its limits and boundaries.
The ayat from Surah al-Rum (30:17-27) give us a beautiful panorama of divine signs in this world. They are given to create a worldview. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is calling us: 1. To glorify and praise Him (tasbih, hamd), 2. To reflect on His creation (tafakkur), 3. To learn from observation and research (‘ilm), 4. To listen to His words (sam’), 5. And to use our reason (‘aql). There are seven important points given in these verses:
1. Allah is the Creator. He creates out of nothing. He gives life and He takes away life. All praise belongs to Him in the Heaven and on Earth. All praise is for him in the morning, evening, noon time and at night.
2. Allah created human beings from dust. He gave them beautiful shape and form and scattered them all over this earth. Allah created us as a special creation. This is our honor. He, however, created us from dust and this means that we must not be arrogant. Dust also indicates the elements of the earth and so in our bodies we have the same substance as plants and animals. Our physiology resembles other creatures; but our nature is special and unique.
3. Allah created males and females with a proper proportion in nature and in human species. He made them suitable for each other. He created spouses and he also put love and mercy in the hearts of the spouses for each other. They have physical attraction and they have spiritual links and thus they work with each other and take care of their children and other family members. Thus family is also the creation of Allah.
4. Human beings are many and diverse. Same type of mouth, tongue and jaws, but they have different voices and in different lands and cultures speak different languages and dialects. The varieties of colors are immense. No two people have the same color even within the same family. Those who know this principle of variety learn how to live in peace, harmony and justice with each other. It is not knowledge but the ignorance of this diversity that creates prejudices and divisions among peoples.
5. God has also given us day and night for work and for rest. It is a sign of God that we go to work and earn for ourselves, for our families but we are also able to take rest. In this are signs for those who hear. Those who hear the word of God they know the proper ways of work and the proper ways of rest and relaxation.
6. Allah also tells us that thunder and lightening should remind us about Allah’s power and majesty. They have an element of fear but they also have a lot of advantages for us. With proper use of our intellect and reason we can take full advantage of these natural resources.
7. Finally we are reminded that we are not here forever. We shall die and Allah will resurrect us on the Day of Judgment. With one Call we shall all come out. Thus we must remain conscious of Him and His guidance in this life so that we can find eternal bliss and salvation in the Hereafter.
This is the Islamic worldview and this should affect our thought and action. This worldview is reasonable, logical and scientific. There is no myth in this worldview; it is simple and clear. This worldview is comprehensive and universal. It covers all the basic aspects of human life: individual, family, economic and social. It answers all questions about where the life came from, where it will go and what is the purpose of life. This view makes human beings both humble and dignified. It satisfies the heart and mind. It provides guidance and helps human beings to live morally and decently. It broadens the horizons of human beings and gives them the sense of belonging to each other. It fosters love, harmony and peace; it removes egotism and selfishness as well as racialism and rivalry.
I pray to God to help us with this worldview and adopt it fully in our thoughts and actions. Ameen.