The qur'an, science, and the (related) contemporary muslim discourse

Zygon 43 (2):411-431 (2008)
Abstract
We discuss the special place of the Qur'an in the Muslim discourse in general and on science in particular. The Qur'an has an unparalleled influence on the Muslim mind, and understanding the Islamic treatise on science and religion must start from this realization. We explore the concept of science in the Islamic culture and to what extent it can be related to the Qur'an. Reviewing various Islamic discourses on science, we show how a simplistic understanding of the plan to adopt modern science within an Islamic revival program has been corrupted in the form of the theory of "scientific miraculousness of the Qur'an." We assess and dismiss this theory but use it to show how a serious misunderstanding of the nature of modern science and a narrow view of the Qur'an has led to that embarrassingly popular yet misguided theory. We conclude by promoting a multiplicity of readings of the Qur'an and show that this allows for an enlightenment of one's interpretation of Qur'anic verses, using various tools at one's disposal, including scientific knowledge. We uphold Averroes's principle of "no possible conflict," which can be used to persuade the Muslim public of a given idea not by proving that it can be found in the Qur'an but rather by showing that at least some readings of it are fully consistent with the given scientific theory.
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