Seeing and studying the material world from within the Qur’anic worldview
Currently, there is only one “science”–the collective, systematic activity of the study of the material world that arose in that fateful seventeenth century when Muslim education system imploded, and then choked to death. Historically speaking, we have records of other enterprises of science: Greek, Chinese, Islamic… the longest enterprise of science in any civilization was the one that emerged in the Islamic civilization in the ninth century. While teaching science to Muslims, teachers need to have a framework of teaching about the the material world. In addition to the Qurʾānic Worldview of the object of study (the material world), this framework needs to include broader areas of the enterprise of science, such as:
i. Philosophy of Science
ii. Sociology of Science
iii. Politics of Science
iv. Political Economy of Science
v. History of Science
vi. Applied Philosophy of Science
vii. Kalam (manṭiq, ilahiyyāt, ṭabiʿiyyāt)
viii. History and Philosophy of Science in Islam
Applying the Ten Foundational Principles, we can construct the general framework for teaching science.
Muslims experienced an explosion of knowledge through the translation movement. Between the 8th and the 10th centuries, a systematic effort brought almost the entire Greek science and philosophy into Arabic and while this effort brought useful knowledge, it also created a huge fissure in the Islamic intellectual thought. Aristotle had conceived the cosmos as eternal; matter always existed. This view of the cosmos was in stark contrast to the Qur’anic worldview. What happened during the 8th to the 11th centuries is a fascinating tale of assimilation, appropriation, rejection, filtration and reworking of ideas…
There is no place on earth where science is taught and practiced from any perspective other than the worldview embedded in the enterprise of science that arose in Europe in the 17th century. Scientific activity in Madinah is no different than what happens anywhere else in the world. This has huge consequences for teaching science to Muslims.