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  List of Reviews

Reviews by well-known Arab linguists
Dr. Amr Mansour El Zawawy of Alexandria University, Egypt

   Dr. Mousa A. Btoosh, Fahad Bin Sultan University, KSA
Review by a physicist on Dawat online, urdu weekly with largest circulation

 See other reviews on Amazon.com

Book review by Dr. Amr Mansour El Zawawy of Alexandria University, Egypt

 Mr Akhtar's book is veritably a truthful investigation of the scientific value of the Qur'an as a source of eternal interest. His thorough study of the different meanings of the words investigated and reliance on arguments of a linguistic nature rightly point to the significance of his effort. His ability to trace the denotations and his reference to

Arabic resources of notable renown cannot be underrated. On the linguistic level, the book appears to be a legend, one that even Arab scholars, writing in their native language Arabic, need to emulate. This level of analysis opens up vistas of linguistic research that are direly required, especially with the ever-expanding body of scientific knowledge that ushers to the need for re-pondering the interrelations between the linguistic and scientific in the study and understanding of the Glorious Qur'an, the everlasting miracle of Islam.


Dr. Amr  Mansour El Zawawy is an expert in Arabic and English. His Linguistic Fields are Linguistic Theories; Psycholinguistics and Translation.  He teaches 'translation and grammar'; essay & language drills; historical linguistics; syntax and morphology
Book Review by Mousa A. Btoosh, Fahad Bin Sultan University, KSA

This book makes a new significant attempt to the understanding of numerous controversial issues related to life and human origins by presenting some religious beliefs mentioned in the Quran, trying to prove them in the presence of the existing knowledge in different fields. Jamshed Akhtar, the author, uses the revealed knowledge to present an alternative source of information that can open cosmos for us and guide us to make this world a better place. The author asserts that the Quran guides us towards some of the research models and rejects other possible explanations informing us, in cooperation with the rational knowledge, what is really happening. Accordingly, the Quran reveals some information that is verifiable and others that cannot be verified with our present level of knowledge and technology. Recent developments in science and technology have been used in this debate to reach a convergent opinion that could be convincing for all.

The book, which encompasses a multitude of important topics, is clear, informative and communicative combing the revealed knowledge with the scientific one in a lucid way. In addition to the introduction, the book consists of five parts, each dedicated to a major theme.

The Introduction sets the scene by providing answers to the following questions which have transfixed scientists, philosophers and people in general.

Who are we and from where have we come?

How did the universe, the earth, life, and time itself begin?

What came before the universe, and what lies beyond it?

The answers of these questions, according to the author, could be based on our religious beliefs especially for Muslims while for others they are derived from the scientific methods that involve observations and investigations. So, the aim of the book is to consolidate these divergent opinions into a single vision that could be convincing for all.

The search for our “Origins” goes under severe debate. The author tries to present the diverse disciplines to clarify how “Revealed Knowledge” can help in the scientific investigations that are occurring globally.

He also tries to combine the information mentioned in the Quran and the Bible which is considered the only source of revealed information for the Western World, the torchbearers of science in the modern world. Muslims, on the other hand, believe that “Scriptures from heavens do not need certificates from science”. Accordingly, the author presents some pieces of information that satisfy all; Muslims, Christians, Jews and even atheists.

Part I: “Transmission or Inspiration” begins with the examination of reports that exist in ancient manuscripts concerning the “Transmission of Revelations”; some of these are:

The extreme pain in the process of revelations

The low volume and high frequency hum

The virtual mass during the phenomenon

The presence of small protuberance

The author draws on these and other points to prove the credibility of the records revealed to Prophet Muhammad showing that they are real and cannot be falsified. After that, he moves on to talk about the ways followed to record and preserve the revelation; the Prophet Muhammad directed his companions to write the revelation down in its exact placement, in addition to other directions such as memorization or revising it in Ramadan. This part closes with comments on how these revelations were recorded and preserved in a written manuscript and the official copies that were made from the first manuscript during Abu Baker, Omar, Othman and Ali eras.

The second part “Birth of Life from Dust and its Journey towards Man” introduces the audience to the pointers mentioned in the 1400 year old text, the Quran; these pointers revealed information that was unknown in the 7th century. The information pertains to the origin of life and man and provides answers to the queries related to:

How life arose on the planet

Where, when, and how the first man appeared on the earth

The author presents a comprehensive account of how the revealed knowledge can provide answer to many questions related to the creation of life and first man and how can we benefit from the combination between the “Revealed” and “Rational” Knowledge. By so doing, he provides answers to several relevant queries that are troubling scientists. The author also explores the difficulties that may face researches while trying to combine the sources of knowledge. Then he moves to mention several pointers on the birth of life and man that can help us differentiate and understand the pronouncements of the Quran on: The child birth, the creation and evolution of life, and its linkage with the modern man.

Drawing on his thorough investigation of the collected Quranic verses on the creation of man, the author has concluded a number of strange pointers. He also offers evidence from both Quran and scientific views and theories to relate them together.

The 2nd part concludes with the following:

Man and plants have been similarly produced from the earth.

Man was given shape after its creation and was made to stand up under a most beautiful plan.

Basic components were dust.

The actual process began from clay in which “a small quantity of liquid played an important part”.

The process occurred in a fixed place within a time period known only to the creator.

The verses reveal different stages with the gradual domination of organic molecules.

Life acquired clear shape with internal support from a structure of bone covered with tissues and muscles.

The ability to generate sound was created in life.

This part closes with a crucial concept, namely, the fractal attribute, information within information, of the verses is the specific quality of “Revelation”. This attribute was needed to reveal a guidance of gradually increasing complexity for different periods, drawn from the same statements and words, which could be understood and interpreted through attainment of a higher knowledge base.

As with the debate on the origin of life, the appearance of modern man on earth has also become the subject of intense discussion. The third part “How, Where and When the Modern Humans were Created” discusses several concepts and arguments related to the creation of the modern human such as microevolution and macroevolution.

Microevolution refers to a change in the genetic characteristics of a population without the development of new species. Macroevolution, on the other hand, occurs when one species changes into another.

After discussing such terms, the author moves to center on two hypotheses regarding the origin of modern humans, namely: “Regional Continuity Model” and “Out of Africa Scenario”. Investigating them, the author concludes that the majority of anatomical, archeological and genetic evidence gives credence to the view that those fully modern humans are a relatively recent evolutionary phenomenon. The current best explanation for the beginning of modern humans is the Out of Africa Model that postulates a single African origin of Homo sapiens.

Then the author compares between “Secular Evolutionism” ,that explains the origins of the world and man from a purely naturalistic prospective, without involving God, and  Creationism, which is associated with beliefs that conflict with the theory of evolution by natural selection, with an emphasis on scriptures over other sources of knowledge.

At the end of this part, the author presents some information from the Quran on the birth of the First human pair. He presents some traditional religious beliefs, and talks about the unique cases of Adam and Jesus. The author also discusses other issues such as “Satan” “Jennat”; trying to answer the question of whether Adam’s Jennat is the same as God promised the believers after the Day of Judgment. The last section of this part is solely devoted to the “Mystery of Satan”.

Part IV: “Mystery of Jinn” draws attention to some pointers provided in the text of the Quran on the birth of life and man. The Quran, according to the author, guides us towards some research models, and rejects other alternative explanations to reveal how life may have arisen from dust, and what may have happened with First Man.

The answers of some questions can be found if we study the mention of “Hidden Beings” in the Quran, popularly known as Jinn; some of these questions are:

How did the life progress from stage to stage?

Was there an external agency involved?

If one was involved, why do not we find signs of its presence on the earth?

Since the Quran corroborates the existence of Jinn on earth, the author discusses the term of “Jinn” in different cultures.

The Quran accepts the presence of Jinn, and some pointers regarding the “Jinn” and their origin were mentioned, some of these pointers are:

They were created before man.

They are hidden from us.

Their creation process followed a different route; fire of a scorching wind.

The Jinn were included in God’s command to angels regarding man.

In this context, the author refers to an interesting fact mentioned in the Quran clarifying that the creation of man was comparatively more complex than the creation of Jinn.

This section finishes with some elaboration on “Satan” and “Man”, illustrating that the Quran confirms that the “Satan” and the “Guidance” are both real. Satan is an energy based life, coexisting with us, whom we cannot see, but who can influence our minds. Man, on the other hand, has been designed weak as it was mentioned in Adam’s story in Jennat.

Part V: “Suggestion of a Mechanism for Verification of the Information in Revelations” begins with a broad definition of ‘Scepticism’. That is, our belief about any given matter should be subjected to intense scrutiny, and then using a scale of probability, we should accept or reject the likelihood of its truth or falsehood. To a sceptic, the reality of revealed knowledge is an unacceptable concept, for example the claim of non human origin doesn’t have any credible precedence.

The author proceeds to discuss Dembiski criteria of detection an intelligence cause: Actualization, Exclusion, Specification and Complexity principles. Applying these criteria to the complex hints, a head of their time, present in the Quran, we may conclude that the human or non human origin of the revealed knowledge can be ascertained more objectively and according to a scale of probability.

The author concludes the book by emphasizing that many questions will be answered and some information we need will be brought, though we don’t have the rational means to acquire, if we become convinced about the reality of revealed knowledge.

Evaluation

In Search of Our Origins: How the Quran Can Help in Scientific Research makes a very useful contribution to the literature on the revealed knowledge, in general. The book, which presents a multi-faceted examination of the revealed knowledge in the Quran and other religious scriptures concerning the origin of life and man, and how the revealed knowledge presents an alternative source of knowledge that can help in scientific research, is well-conceived, planned, and executed.

This book is also easy to read and understand. It covers a wide variety of interrelated topics and expands the horizons of this field by focusing on the epistemological study of the relevant Quranic verses. The explanations throughout the book are clear and do not require the reader to have a certain level of religious background or linguistic knowledge.

 


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