Regarding Scientific Miracles in the Qur’an: Sheikh ‘Abdullah al-‘Awaaji

The follow was posed to sheikh ‘Abdullah al-‘Awaaji, a former professor of Tafsir at the Islamic University of al-Madinah:

س/ هل يوجد الإعجاز العلمي في القرآن الكريم (كما زعم بعض الناس)؟ أليس هذا يخالف فهم الصحابة للقرآن لأن العلوم والتكنولوجيا غير معروفة عندهم؟ ـ

Question: Are there scientific miracles in the Qur’an as some people claim? Doesn’t this go against the Sahabah’s understanding of the Qur’an since the physical sciences and technology weren’t known to them?

ج/ تفسير القرآن بغير علم محرم، لقوله تعالى ﴿قل إنما حرم ربي الفواحش ما ظهر منها وما بطن والإثم والبغي بغير الحق وأن تشركوا بالله ما لم ينزل به سلطانا وأن تقولوا على الله ما لا تعلمون﴾ وقوله ﴿ولاتقف ما ليس لك به علم إن السمع والبصر والفؤاد كل أولئك كان عنه مسئولا﴾ ـ

Response: Explaining the Qur’an without knowledge is forbidden according to Allah’s statement:

قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَالْإِثْمَ وَالْبَغْيَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَأَن تُشْرِكُوا بِاللَّـهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا وَأَن تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّـهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

Say, “My Lord has only forbidden immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed – and sin, and oppression without right, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allah that which you do not know.” [7:33]

and His statement:

وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۚ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَـٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا

And do not follow that of which you have no knowledge. Certainly the hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of those you will be questioned. [17:36]

وقد روي حديثان ضعيفان في الترهيب من القول في تفسير القرآن بلا علم: ١-حديثُ ابن عباس قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : “من قال في القرآن بغير علم، فليتبوأ مقعده من النار”. ٢-حديث جُنْدُب قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : “من قال في القرآن برأيه فأصاب فقد أخطأ”. ـ

And there are two weak hadith narrations that have been passed down which warn against explaining the Qur’an without knowledge:

1. The hadith of ibn ‘Abbaas that Allah’s Messenger said, “Let whoever speaks about the Qur’an without knowledge take his seat in the hellfire.”

2. The hadith of Jundub that Allah’s Messenger said, “Whoever speaks about the Qur’an with his personal opinions and happens to be correct, he is still wrong.”

فإن كان التفسير الجديد منضبطا بضوابط القبول فلا مانع منه. وأهم ضوابط قبول التفسير المعاصر: ومنه مايسمى التفسير أوالإعجاز العلمي: الأول: أن يكون القول المفسر به صحيحا في ذاته : ١-بأن تدل عليه اللغة؛ ٢-وأن لا يخالف مقطوعاً به في الشريعة. ٣-أن يراعي المعاني التي يهتم بها القرآن. ٤-أن لا يتعارض مع السياق .ـ الثاني: أن تحتمل الآية هذا القول الحادث إما مطابقة أو تضمنا أو لزوما أو مثالاً لمعنى عام .ـ الثالث: أن لا يبطل قول السلف، ويقبل ماكان مضيفا لا ناقضا ولا مبطلا لأقوالهم. مثاله: قوله سبحانه: (..وإن يسلبهم الذباب شيئا لا يستنقذوه منه ضعف الطالب والمطلوب). فالسلف متفقون على أن المسلوب:الصنم، والمسلوب منه: ما يضعه عليه أهل الجاهلية من طعام أو طيب أو غيره، وهو الذي سيقت الآية لأجل بيانه. لكن يقال: إنه اكتشف أن الذباب إذا ابتلع شيئًا من الطعام يتحول في جوفه إلى مواد لا يمكن استرجاعها؛ فهذا لو ذكر على أنه احتمال ثان فيقبل، لكن إذا رد لأجله إذا رد لأجله القول المأثور عن السلف فلا يقبل، ولا يمكن أن يخفي الله تعالى الفهم الصحيح لكتابه عن الأمة فلا ينكشف إلا في عصرنا. ـ الرابع: أن لايقتصر في معنى الآية على الاحتمال الجديد. وكل ذلك مع صحة المعنى المفسر به في ذلك العلم. والمؤسف أن التفسيرات الجديدة المتقيدة بهذه الضوابط قليلة.ـ

That being said, new explanations of the Qur’an which fulfill the conditions for acceptance are perfectly acceptable. The most important conditions for the acceptance of contemporary explanations – which includes what is known as “scientific tafsir” or “scientific miracles” – are as follows:

1. That the statement of the mufassir is correct in-and-of-itself. This entails:

a. this meaning is linguistically supported

b. that it is not something completely opposed to the sharee’ah

c. that it respects the messages which the Qur’an emphasizes

d. that is does not run against the context of the surrounding ayaat and passage.

2. That the ayah under discussion can plausibly carry the new meaning that is proposed, whether that be as a seamless match with the ayah, something implied by the ayah, a result of the ayah, or as one example of the ayah‘s general meaning.

3. That the proposed new explanation does not invalidate any of the explanations of the salaf. A new explanation that complements the understanding of the salaf can be accepted, but one that contradicts or invalidates one of their explanation would not be. Take, for example, Allah’s statement:

وَإِن يَسْلُبْهُمُ الذُّبَابُ شَيْئًا لَّا يَسْتَنقِذُوهُ مِنْهُ ۚ ضَعُفَ الطَّالِبُ وَالْمَطْلُوبُ

And if the fly should steal a tiny thing away from them, they could not recover it from him. Weak are the pursuer and pursued. [22:73]

The salaf unanimously agreed that the victim of the stealing here were idols and that the thing being stolen was the food, perfume, etc. that the people of pre-Islamic ignorance had placed before it, and this fits with the context of the ayah, for the surrounding context makes this meaning clear to see.

However, some say: it has been discovered that if a fly eats some food, that food in its stomach changes into a substance that cannot be removed.

Now if this were to be mentioned as a possible additional meaning, it could be accepted. However if the explanation of the salaf were to be rejected on account of this new discovery, then this explanation is not acceptable. It is not possible that Allah hid the correct understanding of His Book from the ummah to only be discovered in present times.

4. That they do not restrict the meaning of the ayah to this new interpretation.

All of these conditions must be in place, not to mention that the new meaning must also be scientifically accurate. Unfortunately, new explanations which abide by these conditions are very few indeed.

وللاستزادة راجع فضلا ً: كتاب الإعجاز العلمي إلى أين؟ مقالات تقويمية للإعجاز العلمي. للشيخ أد/ مساعد بن سليمان الطيار

https://ar.islamway.net/book/29956/ و

https://al-maktaba.org/book/32875

ومن توصياته: أن من يتكلم في الإعجاز العلمي من غير المتخصصين بالشريعة؛ يحتاجون إلى تعلم أصول التفسير. وإلى التوازن.ـ

For more information, please refer to the book “Scientific Miracles – Where Does it End?: An Evaluation of the Different Stances towards Scientific Miracles” by sheikh Musa’id ibn Sulayman al-Tayyar.

One of the pieces of advice from this book is that anyone who speaks about scientific miracles without having been trained in the sharee’ah must learn the foundations of how the Qur’an is explained and how to weigh different explanations.

وكتاب التفسير العلمي التجريبي للقرآن الكريم

https://ar.islamway.net/book/25828

See also “Experimental Science-Based Explanations of the Qur’an”.

And consider the following books as well:

وراجع فضلا

[As found on al-Ishtisharaat al-Quraniyyah Telegram page for January 3rd, 2021]

See also: Regarding New Explanations of the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

See also: The Types of Tafsir: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

One thought on “Regarding Scientific Miracles in the Qur’an: Sheikh ‘Abdullah al-‘Awaaji

  1. Pingback: Regarding New Explanations of the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool | Tulayhah

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