MAGAZINE: EDITION MAY 2021
The Holy Qur'an

Three Principles Mentioned in the Holy Qur’an Are the Fundamental Basis of Science

Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), Second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

Translated by Professor Amtul Razzaq Carmichael for The Review of Religions Translation Team

The Review of Religions takes full responsibility for any errors in translation.

Address delivered on 25th June 1953 at the occasion of the inauguration of Fazle Umar Research Institute, Rabwah, [Pakistan]

After reciting the Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz, and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) stated:

About eight years ago, I laid the foundation of our research institute in Qadian. Although its work had started, after the events of 1947 [the partition of India], we did not have space for a research institute here. I encouraged a member of our community to raise 100,000 rupees to build such an institute here in Rabwah and I pledged to collect 100,000 rupees as well. I had not yet been able to invite the Community to raise these funds since the members are supporting several other projects, but this member has raised approximately 52,000 rupees with which we have erected this building. If the remaining funds are raised, then God willing, we will continue the work on a large scale and complete its construction. At present, five research scholars are working in this institute.

It is a fact that the Holy Qur’an is the divine scripture that has most emphasised that one reflect upon the universe. No other divine scripture has stressed the importance of studying the universe as explicitly as the Holy Qur’an. In this regard, the Holy Qur’an mentions three fundamental principles.

Firstly, Allah the Exalted states that everything in the universe exists as compounds; nothing exists as a single entity. All things have a sequence and order as in the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Exalted states,

وَمِن كُلِّ شَيۡءٍ خَلَقۡنَا زَوۡجَيۡنِ

‘And of everything have We created pairs’. [1]

Secondly, the Holy Qur’an states that this sequence and the ordered processes of all things are operating at all times, meaning the result is a continuous series of events. Allah the Exalted says:

 كُلَّ يَوۡمٍ هُوَ فِي شَأۡنٍ

[‘Every day He reveals Himself in a different state’. [2] ]

This means that all the time God Almighty is manifesting with a new glory and form.

In other words, everything in this universe is influenced by these manifestations and the formation of these compound entities does not stop at any point but rather continues to progress. New results are being produced all the time, so to speak. A and B combine to make C; then C combines with D to produce E. In this way a never-ending succession of events continues.

Thirdly, the Holy Qur’an states that it is your duty to discover the secrets of all these entities, their sequence and order and the results stemming from their ordered processes.

It is those who pursue such endeavours who are counted as intelligent in the sight of Allah the Exalted.

The Holy Qur’an says,

ٱلَّذِينَ …يَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلۡقِ ٱلسَّمٰوٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ

 رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقۡتَ هَٰذَا بٰطِلاً سُبۡحٰنَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ ٱلنَّارِ

‘Those who…ponder over the creation of the heavens and the earth, come to the conclusion, “Our Lord, Thou hast not created this universe in vain; nay, Holy art Thou; save us, then, from the punishment of the Fire.”’ [3]

The Holy Qur’an has promised that those people who deliberate over divine laws and seek to discover the wisdom embedded in the universe will certainly be granted an understanding of its secrets. A path of success will be opened to them so that they are able to understand its intricacies from the minutest particle in this world to the very existence of God Almighty. Allah the Exalted says:

وَٱلَّذِينَ جٰهَدُوْا فِيْنَا لَنَهۡدِيَنَّهُمۡ سُبُلَنَاۚ

[‘And as for those who strive in Our path – We will surely guide them in Our ways.’ [4] ]

And as for those who strive to use the proper method to study our creation and to reach us, we shall surely open the paths of success for them.

These are the three fundamental truths proclaimed by the Holy Qur’an and to which it draws the attention of Muslims. It is these very three principles that form the foundation of science. It would be astonishing if, despite these facts, Muslims disregarded the study of the universe.

In the world there are people with a variety of perspectives. Some people believe that religion should have nothing to do with the physical world. Indeed, they believe it necessary that a religious person be oblivious towards all worldly matters, such as Buddhists and certain Christian sects. Others see this physical world from a purely material point of view and consider this world to be their ultimate objective. And there are also some people who study the universe and have also invented new things, but not because their religion has directed them to do so. Their religions are absolutely silent on this topic. These people have invented this method on their own. But the Holy Qur’an not only directs Muslims to study the universe, it declares this to be an integral part of a Muslim’s faith and promises rewards and spiritual favors as a result of such endeavours. Now, if Muslims are negligent and indolent in this regard, then they will have clearly turned away from the teachings of the Holy Qur’an.

Those who truly study the universe work extremely hard. I have read the biographies of many scientists. They tend to be immersed in their work for up to 12 hours a day and then make great discoveries. But Muslims generally consider even five or six hours of work to be a lot. I have observed that for this reason people are reluctant to submit reports of their work or keep a work log. If those who work in the fields of preaching or research adopted the habit of keeping a work log, they would have a better assessment of how much work they should have done compared to how much they actually have done. Lazy people often make the excuse as to whether they should spend their time working or keeping a work log; writing reports and keeping a work log are a waste of time. The truth is that these excuses are just a way of deceiving themselves. Only those who work diligently can commit themselves to keeping a work log, whereas those who do not work hesitate to keep a record of it.

We are in a great race against the world. Our research institute is insignificant, both in terms of resources and manpower, compared to the laboratories and research institutes of the world. But always remember that the true achievement is to imbue a spirit of fulfilling one’s responsibility, and this spirit is produced through hard work and sacrifice. When we realise that we are up against a powerful enemy, it will naturally motivate us to increase our efforts. We do not compete with the world based on our wealth; compared to the rest of the world, we have no money.

Napoleon stated that the word impossible was not in his dictionary. In other words, Napoleon thought that no task was impossible. Indeed, he might think a task difficult but then would accomplish it with courage and resolve. There have many people in this world who have managed to succeed through sheer determination despite their lack of resources.

At the time of the advent of the Promised Messiah (as), Muslims were in a state of ignorance and stagnation, and to bring them to vitality and dynamism seemed an impossibility. Nonetheless, the Promised Messiah (as) gave the Muslims a ray of hope and inspired them. European writers used to call India’s Muslim leaders before the advent of the Promised Messiah (as), such as Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and Ameer Ali, etc. – apologists. But they acknowledge that Promised Messiah (as) did not take up an apologetic stance for Islam, but instead mounted an assertive assault. Recently, a famous Western scholar described the Ahmadiyya Community in the same way. He writes that there comes a point where an historian can no longer foresee how future events will unfold. In regard to the future of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, he writes that some horses appear weak at the start of a race but at times end up winning.

In truth, all the changes happening in the world of religion today and the way in which the Muslims have been revived is owing to the teachings of the Promised Messiah (as). Now, ninety-nine percent of Muslims have accepted the concept of the death of Prophet Jesus (as), and have started to uphold the honour of all the prophets. Similarly, ninety-nine percent of the people have accepted that there is no abrogation in the Holy Qur’an, even though for the past 1,200 years, Muslim scholars have generally believed that certain verses of the Holy Qur’an have been abrogated. The Promised Messiah (as) has beautifully explained the wisdom of those very verses of the Holy Qur’an which had been thought to be abrogated. In this way, the Promised Messiah (as) uprooted the concept of abrogation in the Holy Qur’an from its very foundations. The Promised Messiah (as) transformed all of those concepts which had been considered not only problematic, but contradictory by Muslims and the rest of the world. Thus, the grace of God Almighty can make the seemingly impossible a reality.

When we had to relocate from Qadian, a large number of even our own Community members were worried as to how we would re-establish ourselves once again. But see how, with the grace of Allah the Exalted, now our budget is larger than before and our Community is making progress despite opposition. Our financial situation is better than before, though our chanda [financial contributions] could be doubled if more attention was paid towards improving the moral training of the members of our Community.

In my opinion, a research scholar should never consider anything to be impossible. In expanding the scope of his scholarly research, he should not be willing to concede that he cannot create a new world (of course, this creation would be in the metaphorical sense). It is true that those matters which God Almighty has declared impossible are in any case impossible, but it is not true that those matters which people have declared at one time or another to be impossible are indeed impossible.

With the recent invention of the atomic bomb, scientists who used to claim that the world could never come to an end started to accept that this invention proves that the world may end. For a period of four or five months, they believed that the world could end due to a chain reaction. [5] In any case there is incredibly vast scope for a researcher.

At a certain point in time, the world may declare something impossible but then it becomes possible. So nature continues to widen its scope. For instance, scientists used to think that the universe was 3,000 light-years wide, but after the [Second World] War, it became 6,000 light years and now it is thought to be equal to 36,000 light years. [6]

Presently there are two opinions held by researchers: some say that the known world is expanding; as we gain more knowledge, the size of the known world expands. Another group believes that in reality we have not even made a proper estimate of it yet. All of our estimates are inadequate and deficient.

The Holy Qur’an says:

إِلٰى رَبِّكَ مُنْتَهٰىهَآ

[‘The ultimate knowledge of it rests with thy Lord.’ [7] ]

In other words, it is God Alone Who holds the answers to all difficulties and eventually everything leads to God. Accordingly, we have unlimited sources of exploration and research, but we barely have any resources. There are five thousand people working on the atomic bomb project, but we have only five people working here. There is no comparison between their abundant resources and our means. Their research budget exceeds two billion to which our budget cannot even be compared. It is obvious that when resources are scarce and the manpower is limited, the effort should proportionally increase. A less determined person, when faced with the enormity of the task, says that it is too hard and that he cannot do it; so gives he up, making up all sorts of false excuses. On the other hand, a hardworking individual does not get overwhelmed by the enormity of the task; rather, he pledges to spend more time and effort in order to complete it.

Consider, if this fact is presented clearly to the world that on the one hand there is a person who becomes overwhelmed when given too much work and gives up, whilst the other, when confronted with an extreme workload, strives harder and with greater resolve, then who would the world judge to be better of the two?

The successes of the companions (ra) was the result of special divine succour. In the worldly realm, there are many people who have achieved the seemingly impossible, such as Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Taimur, Babur and Hitler. Apart from these, there are others who have done monumental things through sacrifice and determination.

I read about an incident that took place during Turkey’s most recent war where a colonel was climbing up the hill with his soldiers to conquer a fort. During this mission, he was hit by a bullet and wounded. His soldiers, out of their love for him, rushed to help. But the Colonel insisted that they not attend to him but instead finish their goal of conquering the fort. He added that if they were successful then he should be buried in the fort, otherwise, his body should be left for the dogs to eat. The colonel’s zeal so affected his soldiers that they fought with the utmost bravery and conquered the fort.

Thus, nothing is impossible in this world. The only thing that is impossible is that which our God has deemed to be impossible. But as I have said, the Holy Qur’an has itself instructed us to explore the mysteries of the universe and has promised that those who pursue this objective with the true spirit will certainly be granted success.

Hence, on this occasion of the inauguration of this institute, I urge that you instil the spirit of the Holy Qur’an within yourselves. Adopt the habit working harder and longer, and then many tasks that appear impossible to the world will become possible for you. There is no barrier that can block your progress in this universe. The succour of God will open the doors for you to progress in whichever avenue you wish to explore. This is no secular task; this is truly a religious duty. This is in accordance with the directive of the Holy Qur’an, and those researchers who truly work with this spirit will be helpful to our community, financially and morally. The example of their hard work will positively influence the character of everyone else, especially those involved in preaching activities. The secret of our success is that if we put our trust in Allah the Exalted, and work harder and longer with determination, then the succour of God Almighty will come to our aid. May Allah the Exalted enable us to do so, Ameen.

Al-Furqan, July 1953.

Anwar al-‘Ulum, Vol.23, pp. 469-476


ENDNOTES

[1] The Holy Qur’an, 51:50.

[2] The Holy Qur’an, 55: 30.

[3] The full verse is ‘Those who remember Allah while standing, siting, and lying on their sides, and ponder over the creation of the heavens and the earth: “Our Lord, Thou hast not created this in vain; nay, Holy art Thou; save us, then, from the punishment of the Fire.’ The Holy Qur’an, 3:192.

[4] The Holy Qur’an, 29:70.

[5] There was a period of time when the scientists working on the atomic bomb project thought that the bombs high temperatures would start a self-propagating chain of nuclear reactions capable of vaporising the planet. However, further calculations proved this theory impossible and thus the project continued. For full details see https://www.inside-science.org/manhatten-project-legacy/atmosphere-on-fire.

[6] This speech was delivered in 1953. The current estimate is that the radius of the universe is 46.5 billion light years.

[7] The Holy Qur’an, 79:45.

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