SCIENCE AND NATURE
There are numerous verses in the Qur’an that reference scientific phenomena, including discussions of astronomy, geography, biology, and other aspects of nature and the universe. The Qur’an includes, for instance, a detailed description of the different stages that the embryo goes through in the womb, as well as descriptions of the creation of the earth and of the interaction between fresh and salt water.
These repeated Qur’anic references to nature and injunctions to seek knowledge helped create a fruitful environment for science in Islamic history when during the “Golden Age of Islam” in the Middle Ages, Muslims were in the forefront of such fields as mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, and medicine. Unfortunately, the economic and political decline of the Muslim world in later centuries brought about a decline in scientific and technological endeavour until recent decades.
Today, many Muslims worldwide work in science-based professions such as medicine, dentistry, and various fields of engineering, and many are leaders in their fields.
There are hundreds of verses throughout the Qur’an that describe the wonders of creation and nature and call upon humankind to reflect on them as signs of the Creator. Humans are described as stewards over this earth, entrusted with its oversight. There are also numerous Qur’anic as well as prophetic injunctions to avoid waste, excess, and harm to other forms of creation. A prophetic saying forbids wasting water, even when washing in a river. Living a balanced, moderate lifestyle is an important Islamic principle advocated by most Muslim scholars that applies to all aspects of life, including care of the earth and all of creation.