A study of the Quran shows that the Quranic approach is based neither on mythology nor on superstition, but on scientific principles. When we use the term ‘scientific approach’ to describe a way of thinking, it always means that such thinking that is in accordance with reality. One with such a bent of mind will be scientific in all his dealings in the world. His thinking is totally in accordance with external realities.
According to traditions, the Prophet of Islam used to pray: ‘O God, show us the truth in the form of truth and grant us the wisdom to follow it, and show us falsehood as falsehood and grant us the strength to keep ourselves away from it. Show us things as they are.’
This prayer of the Prophet of Islam is a fine example of the scientific approach. The Quran wants to inculcate this spirit in every believer. When a believer becomes eager to be granted this spirit to guide his thoughts, he begins praying for it.
On a number of occasions we find this teaching expressed in different ways in the Quran. The Quran enjoins believers to ‘fear God and speak the truth. He will bless your works and forgive you your sins. He who obeys God and His apostle shall win a greater victory.’ (33:70-71).
This Quranic verse commands mankind to say what is fair. Qaul-e-Sadid means saying the truth in exact accordance with the facts. Just as the arrow reaches its target by being shot in precisely the right direction, similarly qaul-e-sadid hits the mark by making one’s words correspond in every detail with reality.
There are two kinds of human utterances: realistic and unrealistic. Realistic or sadid utterances are those that tally exactly with reality. Conversely, unrealistic utterances are those that do not take the actual state of affairs into account and are based on suppositions, conjectures, or mere opinion, rather than on fact. God approves of only the former types of utterances.
There are a number of verses in the Quran that aim at inculcating this scientific spirit of thought in the believers. In all matters believers are to be guided by reason and logical thinking.
According to the Quran, there are two kinds of thinking – sincere thinking and insincere thinking. That may be called double standard thinking. The scientific approach is characteristic of a sincere thinker. A sincere thinker cannot envision an approach which is not based on realism. He bases his life on sound and true foundations. On the contrary, it is the insincere thinker or a hypocrite that has no principles or scruples. His approach is based on opportunism and he changes his point of view and way of thinking to serve his own interests. That is why there is not even a grain of the scientific approach in him. His thoughts and deeds are totally unpredictable.
A sincere person, with a scientific approach and a scientific way of looking at the world, is one who comes up to the standard set by the Quran. At the same time, the insincere person is completely unaffected by and in fact free of the scientific approach. Therefore, he fails in life’s test, as he is so obsessed with his egocentric thinking that he refuses to adopt scientific or realistic approach.
The Quran is not a book of science in the technical sense, but there is no denying the truth that the Quranic approach is nothing other than the scientific approach.