Geographical science and the Holy Qur'an: An experimental study of physical & agricultural geography in the Holy Qur'an

Shad, Tabasam Jamal (1997) Geographical science and the Holy Qur'an: An experimental study of physical & agricultural geography in the Holy Qur'an. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This study comprises, to the best of my knowledge, of the first attempt to examine the scientific geographical aspects of the Holy Qur'an. Many parallels can be drawn between the growth of modern scientific knowledge and the ideas of the Holy Qur'an. From a methodological point of view, both revere the role of the human understanding as a primary source of truth. From an empirical point of view both recognise the role of observation and experiment. The world of both is the world of our practical and spiritual engagement; a world that begins with the primitive ontology of actual life. This Qur'anic world begins with primary substances recognisable to the human subject: the earth, the sky, the sun, moon, stars, mountains, wind and clouds. The present thesis will organise its concerns within the following, equally fundamental, categories: rainfall, sedimentation and plant production. The essential primitiveness of the objects which populate the ontology of geographical science renders its subject matter easy to ordinary understanding. This ease is, of course, relative to the contingent nature of the human creature and the affairs of his practical existence, and it is just for that reason that these subjects are chosen. The presence of these primitive and practical objects in the Qur'an fuses the concerns of that holy book with those of the geographer. Yet, there is here a difficulty of reference: in what sense is the earth of the theologian the earth of the scientist? In what follows it will be suggested that a solution is possible to this puzzle; for it is not that the scientific content is inherently disguised or tacit or mystical in the Qur'an, it is that its apparent hiddenness is a result of lack of thinking, understanding and of translations skewed in favour of a religious interpretation. Thus, it is suggested that the science of the Qur'an is of a firmer and more explicit kind than that generally attributed to it. The Qur'an is a work of science and a work of theology, a dilemma which is itself overcome by a proper understanding of its verses. The research presented here supports the thesis that conventional translations of the Qur'an have tended to obscure the scientific content of the original. The scientific meaning of some passages has been lost in the process of translation, even where the science was most clearly present in the original Arabic text. It appears that religious translators have lacked the basic knowledge of geography which would have allowed them to indue the Qur'anic verses with their specific geographical sense. Such translations are to be faulted on the grounds that they underrate the scientific content of the Qur'an. What is true of geography is also true of medicine, and translations have also failed to do justice to the scientific medical content of the Qur'an. A medical translation of the Qur'an has been carried out by Dr. Mohammed Ali Albar (Human Development, As Revealed in the Holy Quran and Hadith: the Creation of Man between Medicine and the Quran) It can be shown, beyond doubt, that there is true science in the Holy Qur'an. Geographical knowledge present in the Holy Qur'an 1400 years ago is only now being rediscovered by modern science as this thesis attempts to prove. To be specific, it is according to the following plan that the relevant aspects of this study are approached. 1. Introduction 2. The Holy Qur'an and Scientific Investigation. 3. Rainfall. 4. Sedimentation. 5. Plant Production. 6. Conclusion and Proposals.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: John Mattock
Keywords: Religion
Date of Award: 1997
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1997-71573
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 May 2019 14:14
Last Modified: 10 May 2019 14:14
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/71573

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