By Maulana Yaqub Qasmi, Fazil-E-Deoband / Translated by Dr Ayyub Patel (First Published in 1993)

INTRODUCTION

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has revealed the religion of Islam as a source of guidance for the whole of mankind for all places and all times. The HOLY QURAN and the Noble sayings of Sayyidina Muhammed (ﷺ) (The AHADEETH­ E-NABAWIYYA) are two torches which illuminate the Straight Path (the Siraat-e-Mustaqeem) for the mankind. Verily, the Quran is a book full of guidance and an ailment for the diseased hearts. It is not a textbook on Medicine, Astronomy, Mathematics, Physics or Chemistry. Nor was it revealed to explain in detail these various branches of knowledge.

The Holy Quran is an ocean of knowledge. It enlightens the ways for universal research and encourages its law-abiding fellows to discover the beauties and wonders of the world thereby giving mankind universal control. When a person ponders into the unprecedented signs of the universe while accepting the call of the Quran, his nature compels him to submit to the one and only Creator and thus out of true emotion he screams:

In every atom, there is the Noor of the Sustainer

Certainly, there is a supreme creator for all things. (Poetic couplet)

It is impossible for the human eye to see Almighty Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) while remaining in this world. However, the people with Imaan and Yaqeen do experience the Noor and manifestation of Allah and thereby gain an increase in their faith. For the non-Muslim, the Quran details the amazing and magnificent creations of Allah together with His explicit inward and outward "signs". Doing so it invites him to the Belief in the Oneness of Allah.

"Soon will We show them our signs in the (furthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the truth." (Quran 41:53).

It is the wonderful miracle of the Quran that it provides guidance to people of all ages at one and the same time. It addresses the Bedouin of the bygone camel era and at the same time addresses the modem day intellectual of the sputnik age. In this manner, it shall continue until the day of judgment.

The Sun and the Moon are two out of the innumerous "signs" of the Almighty Allah (سبحانه و تعالى). They have been created for the well-being of mankind. Both have been ordained predetermined orbits by which the night & day and months & years comes into existence.

"We have made the night and the day as two (of OUR) signs: the sign of the night have we made dark while the sign of the day we have made light, that ye may seek bounty from your Lord and that ye may know the number and count of the years." (Quran 17:12).

Among the various commands of Shari'ah, there are some which are associated with the Sun. e.g. times of Salaat depend upon sunset sunrise and midday, crops and vegetation are linked with the seasons, and the Fasting is dependent upon Subh-e-sadiq and sunset. Similarly, the stay in Arafat during Hajj together with the other Arkaan of Hajj are linked with particular days which are dependent upon sunset and sunrise. Besides these, there are other commands which are associated with the lunar months. e.g. Commencing and ending Ramadan, Eid-ul-Adhaa, Qurbani, The days of Hajj are all dependent on the determination of the lunar month. In addition, the Zakat of wealth, gold and silver also depends on the lunar year. The Iddat after Talaaq (specific period after divorce) or death of the husband, age of puberty etc. are likewise determined by the lunar calendar.

In Islam, the start of a particular month is dependent on the sighting of the crescent moon (by the naked eye="RU'Y AH"). This is the simple, practical and straight forward way for all times because it is possible to sight the crescent moon from anywhere on the globe, be it the desert or an urban city.

The lunar year is shorter than the solar year by eleven days. This is why the lunar months circulate throughout all seasons of the solar year. Inevitably, this results in occasions such as Ramadan, Eidain and Hajj falling in winter as well as summer. Another benefit of the lunar year is that when Zakat on wealth, Gold and Silver is based on it, an extra year’s due will be given to the poor and the needy every 33 solar years thus providing additional help.

ISLAM AND SCIENCE

There is absolutely no contradiction between Islam and science, especially Astronomy. In actual fact science is of service to Islam, verifying many of its realities and mysteries.      ·

Modem day progress of the West .and all its impact upon society is greatly indebted to those Muslim philosophers and scientists who utilised their God-given talents and opened the doors of the different branches of knowledge. Whilst accepting the scientific advance of the west, we are not ready in the least to forget and forgo our inherited contribution. An article of this size is not the proper place to explain in detail this contribution; "For this ocean, a big ship is required". It is great pity to find a large group amongst us who ignorant of their own past achievements have fallen under the influence of the West and are engrossed in mental and intellectual anarchy.

The house that once illumined the whole world

 Alas! has within it no lamp today. (Poetic couplet)

Here I give you a few examples of Muslim contributions to science. In the 8th century (Christian Era=C.E.), Abu Ishaaq ibne Jundub was the first astronomer in history to invent an ASTROLABE (before the invention of SEXTANT) to observe the altitudes of celestial bodies above the horizon and so determine the observer's position on earth. Muhammed ibne Ahmed Al-Bairuni, another astronomer of the 8th century (C.E.) calculated the circumference of the earth for the first time. Using modern day computer technology, this figure was found to be erroneous by only 0.3% which is insignificant bearing in mind the difference in the instrumentations.