Science Explains only a part of Truth

I have watched it for a long time that many Muslims feel threatened by some scientific theories or discoveries. The true believers should not feel such. Every bit of information is important about the truth. And the pursuit of knowledge is one of the most important duty of believers. Because knowledge and  wisdom bring one closer to God. And unless and until it is convincingly proven wrong, the believers should endeavor to know these as best as possible without harboring prejudice or arrogance that they know all that what lies there and they know all the secrets and truth about God’s mind and reality.

            Scientists are ones who are bringing only a part of the truth that are measurable and detectable through the senses or from its effects. This is only an aspect of truth about the reality. There are other ways of sensing the truth that is implanted in each one of us: the  intuitive and spiritual faculty. The capacity of that is immeasurably higher than the physical counterpart. Even scientist like Einstein acknowledged that the truth in deeper level can only be sensed not through scientific method but through the intuitive capacity of human beings. When he was asked why he believed in certain speculative theory about the Universe which was not proven yet, he simply indicated that it felt right, it felt complete and it felt beautiful. The ideas of metaphysics that lot of physicists now a days openly discuss are based on the vast unexplained phenomena that cannot  be explained by any scientific method.

However, that is not to say that the physical aspect is unimportant. The Quran repeatedly exhorts to take a serious note of the physical world and the events, both past and present, to decipher His signs and messages to enhance our faith through wisdom and understanding.

    Now considering the above, there should not be any reason to prematurely discard any theory parse on the religious ground. Doing so is a reflection of ones own limitation and perhaps fear or arrogance. For a believer, there should neither be fear nor arrogance, in the pursuit of truth. 

To say that an idea is absolutely contradictory to the ideas of a religion may contain our own ignorance.

    Theories are theories, many theories have been proven wrong as human knowledge advanced, and many have been corrected and refined over time. Darwin, Newton, or Einstein are mere scientists, they brought some aspects of truth only but not the whole truth. One should be appreciative of the part they brought through their incredible ingenuity and efforts,  that is possible only through God’s Mercy and Plan. The Plan we do not understand. And if we behave as though we do know the entire Plan and all the truth to reject the validity of some knowable aspects of a reality, then we are charting on to a wrong path.

That is not to say Darwin is correct about everything, but he might be correct in something, and we as human beings should pursue to study those ideas with all earnestness and eagerness. If we think that his ideas are all in contradiction with the ideas of God’s creation, we may be wrong. May be it is beyond our knowledge how to reconcile these two now. May be the  process of natural selection and evolution does take place up to a point and in a way that it does not contradict the idea of God’s creation and particularly creation of human beings. These ideas should be in the back drop of our mind before struggling to protect God’s truth. Because God  alone can protect His truth best. The believers must have the trust and the confidence that God’s Plan will make disappear all falsehood and false ideas with time as it did in the past.

            I feel, this confidence was lacking among the Vatican when they rejected the idea of Galileo. And God ultimately manifested the truth and proved Vatican wrong. This is precisely why religious fanaticism and arrogance are prohibited in Islam as these are responsible for distortion of truth and understanding of the fundamental principles of religion.

With this perspective, I am deeply interested to study Darwin’s ideas and observations  about the process of ‘natural selection’, mutation, even the ‘survival of the fittest’. However, I am also very much interested to know the unsettled issues related to this theory such as the “missing links”, etc. Neither this make me reject the entire idea nor do I agree with it entirely. I know human knowledge is limited, and it is more limited now than in the future, I believe, certainly my knowledge is significantly limited. But that does not hinder me to pursue to approach such ideas to acquire knowlege and understanding. And there may very well be lot of knowlege and understanding in Darwin's observation.


What may appear wrong today may disappear tomorrow with the progression of human knowledge. Or vise versa. I progress toward knowledge with this humility about my own capacity in particular and human capacity in general.


            The truth has different levels and different aspects as the Sufis say. It makes all the sense to me as well. And knowing an aspect at a level can also enhance our wisdom if we are sincere.


            Anyway, fanaticism is not an exclusive trait of the religious people only. Many scientists are arrogant about their ability to explain the nature completely, as if only they have the monopoly of understanding the truth. The most advanced theory about the universe is called the 'string theory'. Scientists now acknowledge that this theory will never be provable. However, the 'string theory' is widely accepted because it explains the working of the universe well. My question is why then the existence of God cannot be accepted widely as it is the best explanation of the existence of the universe in which billions of factors are precisely synchronizing with billions of other factors to render this reality? How irrational is it to think that these synchronizations are all meaningless endless coincidences !!!

            I mention this merely to point out that human arrogance and ignorance can exist in all spectrum of human kind: scientists as well as the religious fanatics.

            Let us proceed to endeavor to acquire knowledge as God commanded us to proceed with humility and faith to know God’s pattern in reality. Let us not our arrogance and ignorance become hindrance to the faculty of knowledge.


Ruby Amatulla

Minneapolis, MN

May 31, 2003