Islam and Science

2754 Words Jan 16th, 2010 12 Pages
Ars Disputandi Volume 6 (2006) : 1566–5399

Roxanne D. Marcotte
  , 

Islam and Science
By Muzaffar Iqbal
(Ashgate Science and Religion Series), Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2002; xxii + 372 pp.; hb. £ 52.50, pb. £ 22.50; : 0–7546–0799–2/0–7546–0800–x.

Islam and Science presents an articulate and concise historical introduction to intellectual developments that have shaped Islamic civilization, both religious and scientific. The work attempts to ‘construct a coherent account of the larger religious and cultural background’ in which the Islamic scientific tradition came into existence and to explore the ‘vexingly complex’ issue of its decline. The main thesis is that scientific traditions ‘arose from the bosom
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Chapter ten criticizes ‘Islamization of modern science’ projects, a new genre of scientific exegesis of the Qur’an, for their ‘profanation of the religious texts,’ since the Qur’an cannot be interpreted ‘in the light of a knowledge that is always changing.’ The last chapter calls for a reconnection of Islam and science ‘through a central nexus which is the unitive function’ that was and should constitute the basis of any Islam/science discourse. [4] Written from an insider’s perspective, the work will undoubtedly fuel debates over the nature of the relationship between Islam and science, both the one that existed in the past and the one that should exist today. The author is not a philosopher, a historian or a sociologist of science, nor a historian of ideas, but a Muslim chemist and writer who is aware that his tentative conclusions ‘might not be shared by certain historians of science’ in Islam. A closer examination of the work may explain why this might be so. [5] A first methodological difficulty the work encounters is rooted in a conceptual confusion over what constitutes the ‘Islamic scientific tradition,’ since it includes: Islamic ‘religious
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