Islam Defines Science


11 Nov 2017

History of Science

Imran Hussein

In this short presentation, Imran Hussein asserts that science is necessarily subsumed under Islam, because reflecting on the physical world will “inevitably lead us to be grateful to God”.

Hussein starts by setting up a straw man argument, positing that there are “false narratives” that structure science as progress and Islam as regressive and anti-science.  He does not mention anyone specific here.  However, the narratives about “science and Islam” today typically are either assertions about their correspondence by locating science in the Qurʾān, a form of iʿjāz, or rebuttals of those narratives.  There are plenty of Muslim scientists who go about their work without a lot of “narratives” about their religion.

Hussein quotes two Qurʾānic verses in his discussion, 16:78-79.  He explicates the verses, which are displayed on the screen in both Arabic and English, suggesting that God provided the human faculties of reasoning.  In this discussion he talks about an “Arabic word” which he says “encompasses all of the human faculties of reasoning” in verse 78.  This word, afʿida, means “hearts”, and is most closely associated with feelings rather than rationality.

Hussein suggests that one needs God, and in particular Islam, to explain the why of what’s behind “everything”.  “As we say in our tradition, there is no power, there is no might except the power of God.”  He says this means that God is first of all encouraging people to “get involved with science”.  But secondly, the reason for this study is to “lead us to appreciate and be grateful towards Him, not to deny him or turn away from Him”.  He bases his reasoning on the concept that “blind, random processes” do not make sense without something controlling it does not make sense to him.

This video is part of a series, Thought Revolution.  It was recorded in London on the Greenwich Peninsula, generally looking north across the Thames.


Islam:  The material on Islam is within the bounds of what Muslims have historically understood as acceptable.  While Hussein’s translation of afʿida is not standard, it is among the range of interpretations given to this verse historically.

Science:  Hussein’s presentation of “science” here is framed in ways that do not represent the constructions of all scientists.  Most working scientists do not feel they have to reach for an understanding of God in order to do their work, and many probably do not find it necessarily leads them to a monotheist god.  It is, of course, entirely possible that some Muslim scientists do feel this way, but it is not necessarily true as Hussein asserts.

History:  There is insufficient historical material on which to base an evaluation.

About Imran Hussein

Imran Hussein is most well known in the dawah movement, specifically in the United Kingdom. As of 2015, he works for the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) as a community organizer, public speaker, and instructor. Though he now works as an educator for Islam, Hussein’s degree at the University of Buckinghamshire is in Industrial Design and Engineering. The topics of Hussein’s lectures according to his biography on the iERA website are as follows: the existence of God, reasons to believe, purpose of life, why Islam, Islam v. Atheism, and the importance of dawah.

Hussein updates his public Facebook and Twitter quite regularly, with several posts in 2015. He updates with less frequency his personal website that functions as a blog, with one posting there from 2015.

Selected Bibliography:

Hussein, Imran. “Imran Hussein.” Facebook. Facebook, n.d. Accessed 26 May 2015.

Hussein, Imran. “Imran Hussein.” Imran Hussein. N.p., n.d. Accessed 26 May 2015.

Hussein, Imran. Twitter. Twitter, n.d. Accessed 26 May 2015.

Imran Hussein.” Islamic Education and Research Academy. IERA, n.d. Accessed 26 May 2015.