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The prayer of two prophets

In verse 129 of Suratul Baqara we read the following prayer, which was made by Prophet Ibraheem and his son, Prophet Ismaeel, when they were building the Ka'ba:
رَبَّنَا وَابْعَثْ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًا مِنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آَيَاتِكَ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
Our Lord, please raise up among them a prophet who recites Your verses upon them, who teaches them the Book, and teaches them wisdom, and who purifies them. Truly You are the Mightiest, the Most Wise.
A few pages later we read the following:
فَلَا تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِي وَلِأُتِمَّ نِعْمَتِي عَلَيْكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ (150) كَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِيكُمْ رَسُولًا مِنْكُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آَيَاتِنَا وَيُزَكِّيكُمْ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمْ مَا لَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْلَمُونَ (151) فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِي وَلَا تَكْفُرُونِ (152)
150. So don't fear them, and fear Me, that I may perfect My favor on you, and that you may be guided.

151. Just as We have sent you a prophet of your own who recites upon you Our verses, who purifies you, who teaches you the Book and wisdom, and who teaches you what you did not know before.

152. So remember Me, and I will remember you, and be thankful toward Me and never ungrateful.
If you read the Arabic, you will see that verse 129 and verse 151 mirror each other's wording (it's apparent in the English translation too). This is Allah's way of telling us that the sending of Prophet Muhammad is Allah's answer to Prophet Ibraheem and his son's prayer.

This little Quranic story can be considered Islam's 'back story'; the two prophets who built the Ka'ba made a prayer to Allah, Allah's answer, which came about 2500 years later, was Prophet Muhammad, a descendant of the two prophets, and today all of us Muslims are living the consequences of this story.

Imam Ghazzali on rejecting science

The 20th century scholar Said Hawwa mentions in his book, Allah Jalla Jalaluhu:
ولقد قال الإمام الغزالي في كتابه (تهافت الفلاسفة) حاملاً على علماء الدين، المنكرين للحقائق العلمية، كمعرفة وقت الكسوف والخسوف وغيرها: (ومن ظن أن المناظرة في إبطال هذا من الدين، فقد جنى على الدين وضعف أمره؛ فإن هذه الأمور تقوم عليها براهين هندسية وحسابية لا تبقى معها ريبة، فمن يطلع عليها ويتحقق من أدلتها، ثم يقال له: إن هذا على خلاف الشرع، لم يسترب فيه، وإنما يستريب في الشرع، وضرر الشرع ممن ينصره لا بطريقه، أكثر من ضرره ممن يطعن فيه، وهو كما قيل: عدو عاقل خير من صديق جاهل).

Imam Ghazzali says in his book Tahafutul Falasifa (The Incoherence of the Philosophers), talking to the scholars of religion, those who deny scientific truths such as the knowledge of solar and lunar eclipse schedules and other facts:

"And anyone who thinks that it is a religious duty to debate and refute these scientific facts has committed a crime against religion and has weakened it, because these facts are based on geometrical and computational evidence in which there is no doubt; when someone acquires knowledge of these scientific facts and checks the validity of the evidence behind them, if he is told: these facts are in contradiction with religion, he is not going to doubt his scientific facts but rather he will doubt the religion [QuranClub's emphasis]. The damage done to religion by those who try to support it in misguided ways is larger than the damage done by those who slander it, it is as they say: a wise enemy is better than an ignorant friend."

When religion isn't shy of science

Said Hawwa, the 20th century Islamic scholar who was mentioned in our previous post, writes in his book Allah Jalla Jalaluhu:
في كل ظاهرة جوانب لا تُعدّ ولا تحصى تدل على الله.

إننا نقول هذا، لأن بعض الناس يتوهمون أن التفكير في الكون، ودراسة ظواهره بعمق، وترتيب المقدمات على النتائج، والوصول إلى الحقائق، ونبذ الأوهام، والقضاء على الخرافة، والتمسك بالقانون الذي أوصلت إليه التجربة: كل هذه المعاني مما لا يتفق مع الفكر الديني.

ولئن وجد هذا عند ديانات خاطئة، ومذاهب باطلة، فلا يصح هذا في الدين الحق، ولن يوجد أبداً. لأن الحق لا يتعارض مع الحق. فإذا كان الدين حقاً، فلابد أن يكون كل أصل فيه، وكل فرع من فروعه، منسجماً انسجاماً تاماً مع الحقيقة التي قام عليها البرهان؛ وإلا فأن نصاً واحداً من نصوص الدين، يُثبَتُ تناقضه مع الحقيقة القاطعة، كافٍ لأن يزعزع الثقة في الدين كله.

من كتاب "الله جل جلاله" لسعيد حوى.

In every phenomenon in this universe there are an uncountable and incalculable number of features that give evidence of God's existence.

We say this because some people have the illusion that thinking of the universe, studying its phenomena in depth, formulating laws upon our findings, reaching scientific truths, dispelling myths, abolishing superstition, and holding fast to the laws that experiments prove, are all activities that are in disagreement with religious thinking.

And if [anti-scientific thinking and attitude] is found in false religions and invalid doctrines, it should not be found in a true religion, because truth does not contradict truth. Thus if a religion is true, then all of its roots need to be true, and all of its branches, in complete harmony with the truths that conclusive evidence support. Because if not, if even one line of text in the religion's texts is found to contradict a proven truth of the world, it is going to be enough to shake our trust in the entire religion [QuranClub's emphasis].

Said Hawwa on the human need for God

Syrian Islamic scholar Said Hawwa
Some people think it is God's duty to come to them and compel them to believe in Him. They think if God doesn't show up on their doorstep, they don't need to acknowledge His existence.

On this attitude the great 20th century Syrian scholar Said Hawwa (pictured) writes:
ترى هل الله هو الذي يحتاج إلينا كي نؤمن به، أم نحن الذين نحتاج أن نؤمن من أجل أنفسنا؟ والجواب { إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَغَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ } (العنكبوت: 6) وإذن فلنحرر أنفسنا من أجل أن نكون أهلاً لرؤية آيات الله. سعيد حوى في كتابه الله جل جلاله
Tell me, is it God who needs us to believe in Him, or is it we who need to believe for our own sake? And the answer is: "Indeed God is totally needless of the inhabitants of the worlds" [Quran, 29:6]. Therefore let's free ourselves so that we may be in the company of those who see His signs. -Said Hawwa in his book, Allah Jalla Jalaluhu.
Said Hawwa goes on to say that belief in God comes out of thought and reflection, as demonstrated in the Quran by the story of prophet Ibraheem's finding of God. It is not God's fault that people refuse to dedicate time to think about where they came from, and what the purpose of their existence is.
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