Mohammad (S) – The Greatest Scientist

The above title is insufficient to describe this article and the intent of the author behind it, the title should have been “Mohammad SAWS – The Greatest Scientist the world has even known in the past, present or future”. Some readers might think that the author is too exaggerative about the title but what we are going to describe will eventually clarify this point.

Some critics might think that how this could be possible when Mohammad SAWS was an illiterate, how did he know science and when did he become the greatest scientist? Well, the answer to this question is very simple, it lies in the Arabic Text “Nabbiyyal-ummiyy” which is used in the Quran and generally translated as the illiterate or unlettered prophet, so let us analyse:

The word Ummi is derived from the root letters (ا م م). The first set of derivatives of these alphabets conveys the meanings of:

  • mother (Chapter 7: Verse 150),
  • mother (of cities) (Chapter 6: Verse 92),
  • original (Chapter 13: Verse 39),
  • capital (of a town) (Chapter 28: Verse 59) and
  • basis (Chapter 3: Verse 7).

The second set communicates the meanings of:

  • community (Chapter 2: Verse 128) and
  • species (Chapter 6: Verse 38).

The third set conveys the sense of:

  • leader (Chapter 2: Verse 124),
  • open or leading road (Chapter 15: Verse 79),
  • guide (Chapter 36: Verse 12) and
  • limit (Chapter 75: Verse 5).

One of the derivatives of the fourth set is ‘ummiyuun’ normally translated as the unlettered. As recorded by the Quran quoted below:

These ummiyyuun were those who did not follow any religious book, their religion was hearsay based on guess work (Chapter 2: Verse 78).

Opposed to this there was another group of people who were addressed by prophet Muhammed (PBH);

they were those who were given a book i.e. the Jews and the Christians (Chapter 3: Verse 20),

who used to say that there was no responsibility on them regarding the ummiyyuun (Chapter 3: Verse 75),

It is clear from the above that Ummiyyuun were a people who were not following any Divine book before the Holy Quran was revealed. Prophet Muhammed (SAWS) was:

  • raised as a messenger from this group of ummiyyuun (Chapter 62: Verse 2) and
  • called Nabbiyyal-ummiyy (Chapter 7: Verse 157), but
  • was a messenger of Allah (SWT) to the whole of mankind including the Jews and the Christians (Chapter 7: Verses 157-158).

Before the revelation of the Holy Quran prophet Muhammed (PBH) did not know reading or writing, had he known reading and writing then some people would have thought that the Quran was written by him i.e. they would have doubted its Divine origin (29:48).

The Holy Quran is a treasure of true and useful knowledge, then how can a person to whom this great book was revealed be considered as illiterate or unlettered? In fact during the receiving of revelation of the Quran he SAWS was taught and in this process of learning and teaching he SAWS became the most learned human being who was basically selected to guide and lead the human species to paradise.[1]

Hence, the most learned human being can easily be called the Greatest Scientist, as this article will explain below, the beauty and greatness of Mohammad SAWS lies in the fact that he explained the greatest scientific facts in the most common terminology, in the Arabic Language to laymen of his time 1,400 years ago.

These scientific facts have either been supported by scientific discoveries so far or some theories scientists are currently working on to confirm them as facts or some are still beyond the grasp of current scientific knowledge. Below are some examples of how Prophet Mohammad SAWS explained the scientific knowledge to common men of his time:

  1. Space is curved: Space as it appears to us, contains all the matter and energy of the universe. It is three – dimensional and length is one dimension. Dr. Einstein considers space to be real. The universe according to him is not a kind of an island in an infinite space. George Gamov is of the opinion that the space is curved. Prophet Mohammad SAWS was once asked: “what is this sky (universe)?” He replied: “It is a stagnant wave”. (Tafseer Ibn e Katheer, Chapter 21: Verse 30). Prophet Mohammad’s SAWS reply, though 1400 years old, sounds similar to the latest scientific concept of space because a wave is curved in nature and there could not be a better term than wave for explaining the issue to a common man.[2]
  2. Time: Time as we know of, think of, and use in our calculations in our day to affairs is apparent time. It is event driven, such as going to office at 10am, we know it, and it is relative in nature i.e. it is related to some event, incident or accident in our day to day lives. Contrary to this there is Real time, it is absolute in nature, and we cannot describe it, but can only feel it. If we concentrate our consciousness on time i.e. pay full attention to it by cutting ourselves completely off internal influences of breathing, heart beat, etc. we feel Real time as something passing by or flowing past, yet we cannot express this feeling in words.

    The very fact that we measure time is a sufficient proof of its existence as an entity. If time did not exist we would not have been able to measure it. Let us therefore try to prove the existence of time (Real) by the help of an analogy: The domestic electricity meter in our houses measures the amount of current flowing through it, and it is a proof that electricity exists although cannot be seen. Similarly, the rotation and revolution of the earth is used by humans to measure time, one rotation of the earth is called one day and thirty rotations, is called a month and 365 rotations or one revolution around the sun, is called a year. An electricity meter is not a pre-requisite for the flow of current, it is only an indicator. In the absence of the meter current can exist, similarly, time could exist even in the absence of heavenly bodies i.e. it could have existed before their creation and could continue to exist after their end. Real time which we feel and experience might be the ultimate reality, which the philosophers and atheists are looking for.[3]

    The power that moves the heavenly bodies and the Ultimate Reality according to the Quran, is Allah SWT.[4] This power, based on the analogy of current and philosophical considerations (from Bergson), is seen to be Real Time. This forces us to conclude that Real Time is God. No verse of the Quran directly supports this conclusion but one of the sayings of Prophet Mohammad SAWS supports it very strongly, which is quoted below:

    Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah”s Apostle said, Allah said, “The offspring of Adam abuses Dahr (Time), although I am Dahr; I am the One Who alternates the day and the night![5]

    The statement that ‘I am the One Who alternates the day and the night’ is confirmed through various verses of the Quran, which not only supports the statement of Prophet Mohammad SAWS, but also shows the coordination between the Quran and the Hadith of the Prophet SAWS.

    Such statements from Prophet Mohammad SAWS not only explain and support our understanding of the Quran but also show the level of knowledge of our Prophet SAWS about the various scientific and other facts contained in it. When he SAWS was asked by Abu Bakr RA, "I have noticed that your hair has turned grey. What is the reason?"The Prophet SAWS replied, "Surah Hud and its sisters have made me old."[6]

    The subjects and the contents in these Chapters of the Quran are so exhaustive that pondering on them had their effects on Prophet Mohammad SAWS, which were noticed by his companions.
  3. End of the Present Universe: When the material universe collapses and everything perishes in a fiery chaos, man being part of the universe may have to participate in the event, in whatever form he might be, being as helpless to avoid it as any inanimate object. When the primeval atom formed from the collapsing universe explodes and a new generation of galaxies, stars, etc. are created, where will man be? The Quran summarizing these events states:

    And it will be blown into the trumpet (structure of the universe), so whoever is in the skies and whoever is in the earth will fall down senseless except he whom Allah wills. Then it will be blown into it a second time when they will stand seeing. And the earth will shine with the light of its Fosterer. And the record (of deeds) will be laid down and the prophets (informers) and the witnesses will be brought, and it will be judged between them with justice and they will not be dealt with unjustly. And every soul will be paid back in full for that which it did, and He knows best about that which they do. And those who did not believe will be driven to hell in troops until when they come to it, the doors of it will be opened and its guards will say to them, “Did messengers from among yourselves not come to you, reciting to you the signs of your Fosterer and warning you about the meeting of this day of yours?” They will say, “Why not, but the statement of punishment has become binding on the infidels.” It will be said, “Enter the doors of hell to stay therein.” So evil is the home of the proud. And those who feared their Fosterer will be driven to the garden in troops until when they come to it, the doors of it will be opened and the guards of it will say to them, “Peace be on you, you are happy (lucky), so enter it to stay.” And they will say, “Praise is due only for Allah Who has been true to us in His promise and He has made us to inherit the earth, we can settle down in the garden wherever we will.” So excellent is the reward of the workers.[7]

    The blowing of the trumpet for the first time probably corresponds to the collapsing of the universe and the blowing of it for the second time to its recreation, as discussed earlier. The time between these two events (blowing of trumpet twice) has not been mentioned in the Quran, but the following statement of Prophet Mohammad SAWS throws some light on the subject:
    ‘The period of time between the blowing of the trumpet for the first and the second time is forty’. Abu Hurairah RA who narrated this Hadith from the Prophet SAWS, was asked by the people, Is it forty days? He replied, I do not know. Is it forty months? He said, I do not know. Again they asked, Is it forty years? He again replied, I do not know. (Bukhari & Muslim).

    When the universe including the sun and the earth are not there, during the interval of time between the blowing of the trumpet twice, the question of mentioning this period in days, months and years does not arise, because days and months are nothing but the rotation and revolution of the earth around the sun. Probably, due to this reason, nothing has been mentioned after forty, whether days, months or years. Nevertheless, this statement of the Prophet SAWS clearly shows that there is a time lag between these two great events.[8]

    Thus Prophet Mohammad SAWS in very simple terms explained great scientific phenomenon to common men who got their questions answered and today we find that the same statements, have great significance in the field of science.
  4. Bridge over Hell (Pull Sirat): As explained above after the second trumpet blowing, Allah SWT will descend with the angles and people will be judged according to their deeds, and the people will be transported to Jannah (Heaven) or Jahannam (Hell). Jannah is in the skies as mentioned by the following Verse:

    Those who deny Our signs and (turn away) from them considering themselves great, the gates of the sky will certainly not be opened for them and they will not enter the garden (Jannah)…[9]

    From various Hadith we come to know that ‘Pull Sirat’ i.e. bridge of Sirat will be established over Jahannam (Hell), it is a bridge across Hell and its edges will be very sharp.

    There is a Hadith in which, A’isha RA reported: I asked Allah’s Messenger SAWS about the words of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious: “The day on which the earth will be changed to other than the (present) earth and the skies (too),[10] (and inquired): (Allah’s Messenger SAWS), where would the people be on that day?” He said: They would be on the Sirat.[11]

    It should be noted that the skies and the earth are not present i.e. this universe has already collapsed and, therefore Aisha RA enquired where will all the people be? To this Rasoolullah SAWS said we will be on the bridge of Sirat meaning we will be in transit, being transported to Jannah probably in another universe or atleast outside the boundary of the present universe, as this universe would have already collapsed.[12]

    Now some people would cross the Bridge of Sirat at the speed of light as the following Hadith mentions:

    …and the first of you will pass like lightning. I said (that is Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him): I ransom you with my father and mother, what is like the movement of lightning? The Messenger of Allah replied, “Have you not seen how the lightning goes and returns in the twinkling of an eye? Next (group will pass) like the passing of the breeze, next like the passing of a bird, and the next with the speed of a running man, according to the quality of their deeds. (During all this time) your Prophet SAWS will remain standing on the Bridge saying: ‘O my Rubb, keep (them) safe, keep (them) safe,’ till men’s deeds are so weak that a man comes who will be able only to crawl…[13]

    Today this subject is under research and scientists have not reached any conclusion regarding multiple universes, as it is beyond experimental verification. Science has yet to discover and develop an understanding of this concept. When they conclude with experimental verification or observations are extended further and deeper into space, we may find more details.

    This Hadith shows the intelligence of not only the questioner but the extent of knowledge of the Prophet SAWS, he has explained the Quran to us, hence he not only understood the words, their meanings, the phenomenon and facts mentioned in the Quran, but he was the expert on all its contents and has explained the same through his sayings ‘Hadith(s)’. This Hadith is an answer to the critics of Hadith and people who say that the Prophet SAWS did not know science. It is now upto the Muslim Community (Ummah) to understand and relay his teachings to the world.
  5. The above are only a few examples provided in support of the title of this article, if we were only to enlist the different Hadith(s) dealing with various sciences and explain them, then it would be impossible to complete this article. We may have to write a book with few volumes to cover this subject, dealing with subject from Astronomy to Microbiology, Finance to Metaphysics, Social Sciences to Natural Sciences, etc.\r\n\r\nWe wanted to highlight this aspect of Prophet’s SAWS life, as many people have a misconception about, his capabilities, his knowledge, his understanding of not only this world but this universe and beyond. The author has only touched this subject and intends to inculcate reflective thoughts in the Muslim Ummah about this topic.

    May Allah accept this effort from us and reward us suitably with Khair and Afiyah in this world and the hereafter.

    Quranic Resources Administrator

    References:


    [2] Extracts from “The Universe Seen Through The Quran”, Dr. Mir Aneesuddin, Al Attique Publishers, Canada

    [3] Extracts from “The Universe Seen Through The Quran”, Dr. Mir Aneesuddin, Al Attique Publishers, Canada

    [4] That is because Allah is the Reality and that which they call upon besides Him, that is falsehood and because Allah, He is the High, the Great. Al Quran, Surah Haj, Chapter 22: Verse 62.

    Allah causes the oscillation of the night and the day, in that there is certainly a lesson for those who have insight. Al Quran, Surah An Noor, Chapter 24: Verse 44

    Allah certainly holds together the skies and the earth lest they get separated and if they get separated, no one other than Him can hold both of them together. He is certainly Clement, Protectively Forgiving. Al Quran, Surah Fatir, Chapter 35: Verse 41

    He it is Who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers that they may (thereby receive more) belief added to their belief, and Allah’s are the forces of the skies and the earth and Allah is Knowing, Wise, Al Quran, Surah Al Fatah, Chapter 48: Verse 4

    And the sky, We constructed it with energy, and We are the Expanders (of it). Al Quran, Surah Az Zariyaat, Chapter 51: Verse 47

    He governs the affair from the sky to the earth, then it will ascend to Him in a day, the measure of which is a thousand years of that which you count. Al Quran, Surah As Sajdah, Chapter 32: Verse 5

    Vision cannot comprehend Him, but He comprehends vision, and He is the Subtlety Informed. Al Quran, Surah Al An’aam, Chapter 6: Verse 103

    … Allah certainly has power over everything. Al Quran, Surah Al Baqarah, Chapter 2: Verse 109

    Allah, there is no god except Him, the Living, the Eternally Existing; neither slumber takes hold of Him nor sleep; whatever is in the skies and whatever is in the earth is His. Who is there who can recommend to Him except by His permission? He knows that which is before them and that which is behind them, and they cannot encompass anything from His knowledge except that which He wills (to impart); His Chair (power, jurisdiction) extends over the skies and the earth and it does not tire Him to preserve (monitor) them both, and He is the High, the Great. Al Quran, Surah Baqarah, Chapter 2: Verse 255

    And He is Omnipotent (All Powerful) over His servants and He is the Wise, the Informed. Al Quran, Surah Al An’aam, Chapter 6: Verse 18

    …and Allah is the Holder of power over everything. Al Quran, Surah Al Kahf, Chapter 18: Verse 45

    …Everything will perish except His Person, His is the judgment and towards Him will you be returned. Al Quran, Surah Al Qasas, Chapter 28: Verse 88

    Allah is He, besides Whom there is no god, Knower of the unseen and the seen, He is the Beneficent, the Merciful. Allah is He, besides Whom there is no god, the King, the Holy, the Author of peace, the Granter of security, the Guardian, the Mighty, the Compeller, the Possessor of greatness; glorified be Allah above what they associate as partners (with Him). Allah is He (Who is) the Creator, the Purifier, the Fashioner, His are the most beautiful names, whatever is in the skies and the earth glorifies Him and He is the Mighty, the Wise. Al Quran, Surah Hashr, Chapter 59: Verses 22-24

    …There is nothing like His likeness and He is the Hearing, the Seeing. Al Quran, Surah Ash Shurah, Chapter 42: Verse 11

    [5] Sahih Al Bukhari, USC-MSA web (English) reference: Vol. 8, Book 73, Hadith 200

    [6] The sisters of Surah Hud (Chapter 11) are:

    • Al-Waqia (Chapter 56),
    • Al-Mursalat (Chapter 77),
    • An-Naba’ (Chapter 78) and
    • Al-Takwir (Chapter 81).

    The evidence for this is the Hadith reported by Al Tirmizi and Al Hakim. Al Zahbi considered this Hadith sound in his comments on Al Mustadrak.

    [7] Al Quran, Surah Al Zumar, Chapter 39: Verses 68-74

    [8] Extracts from “The Universe Seen Through The Quran”, Dr. Mir Aneesuddin, Al Attique Publishers, Canada

    [9] Al Quran, Surah A’araaf, Chapter 7: Verse 40

    [10] Al Quran, Surah Ibrahim, Chapter 14: Verse 48

    [11] Sahih Muslim, Book 39, Hadith 6709

    [12] Jannatul Mawa, near the lottee tree, beyond which Jibraeel refused to go as it was his limit.
    [13] Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 201
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