Science and Islam, American Islamic Congress and Project Nur


19 Oct 2012

Nidhal Guessoum

Salman Hameed

This video is an edited selection from a panel, Creation of the Universe: Qurʾānic Concepts and Scientific Theories, presented at a Science and Islam conference at the University of Iowa on 4 April 2012.  In addition to the two speakers, Dr. Ali Hasan was the moderator, and the end of the video presents some of the audience members, who are unnamed.

The speakers, who present separately, argue that science should be separate from religion, although there is room for belief in science.

Topics mentioned:  Big Bang, cosmology, philosophy of science, intelligent design.



The speakers all present ideas about Islam that generally conform with contemporary mainstream understandings.

Science is constructed here by scientists who are also Muslims.  They discuss some of the ideas present in the Qurʾān, but they do not see these ideas as limiting the open-ended explorations that science, as they understand it, requires.

There is insufficient historical content on which to base an evaluation.

About Nidhal Guessoum

Born in September 1960, Nidhal Guessoum is a renowned astrophysicist from Algeria. Guessoum received his Bachelors of Science in Theoretical Physics from the University of Science and Technology of Algiers in 1982, his Masters of Science in Physics and his Ph.D. in Theoretical Astrophysics (1988) from the University of California at San Diego. After spending a two-year stint at the NASA-Goddard Flight Space Center as a researcher, and another ten years teaching, divided between the University of Bilda, Algeria and College of Technical Studies in Kuwait, Guessoum settled at the American University of Sharjah (AUS), United Arab Emirates in 2000. As of 2015, he is still a Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Interim Head of Physics at AUS.

Guessoum has a long list of publications to his name – articles, technical papers, and books – in Arabic, English, and French, and often writes on the intersections of Islam and science. He was a columnist for Huffington Post from 2011-2012, publishing six articles that discussed aspects of the relationship between Islam and science. Guessoum has lectured at many universities around the world and participated in the international media for many years. In addition, he is a member of the board of trustees for the John Templeton Foundation, a foundation supporting discoveries “relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality.”

As of 2015, Guessoum operates an active Twitter page in Arabic, a personal Facebook and website where he often blogs in Arabic (as recently as May 2015). A more extensive faculty biography, CV, and list of publications may be found on AUS’s website.

Selected Bibliography:

AUS Faculty Bios.” American University of Sharjah. AUS, n.d. Accessed 06 June 2015.

Guessoum, Nidhal. Facebook. Facebook, n.d. Accessed 06 June 2015.

Guessoum, Nidhal. Huffington Post. HPMG News, n.d.

Guessoum, Nidhal. Nidhal Guessoum. N.p., n.d. Accessed 06 June 2015.

Guessoum, Nidhal. Twitter. Twitter, n.d. Accessed 06 June 2015.

Mission.” The John Templeton Foundation. N.p., n.d. Accessed 06 June 2015.

Nidhal Guessoum.” The John Templeton Foundation. N.p., n.d. Accessed 06 June 2015.

Nidhal Guessoum.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Accessed 06 June 2015.

About Salman Hameed

Salman Hameed trained as an astronomer and teaches about the intersections between religion and science. He received his undergraduate degree in physics and astronomy from State University of New York, Stony Brook (1994) and a Ph.D. in Astronomy from New Mexico State University (2001). Hameed went on to become a fellow in the astronomy department at Smith College and University of Massachusetts Amherst before he settled at Hampshire College in 2005. As of 2015, Hameed is an Associate Professor of Integrated Science and Humanities and an endowed chair, in addition to being the Director of the Center for the Study of Science in Muslim Societies at Hampshire.

Hameed’s publications include articles in The Guardian newspaper, the Zygon Journal of Religion and Science, and Religion Dispatches. He also frequently writes on subjects concerning science and religion in his blog, Irtiqa (the Urdu word for evolution). A collection of some of Hameed’s work, including videos, may be found as part of his biography on the Eqbal Ahmed website. His academic profile can also be found through the Hampshire College website. Hameed is also active on Twitter and other social media as of 2015 and has a personal website.

Selected Bibliography:

About Salman Hameed.” Eqbal Ahmad Centre for Public Education. EACPE, n.d. Accessed 13 June 2015.

Dr. Salman Hameed.” American Islamic Congress. American Islamic Congress, n.d. Accessed 13 June 2015.

Hameed, Salman. Irtiqa. N.p., n.d. Accessed 13 June 2015.

Hameed, Salman. “Salman Hameed Profile.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, n.d. Accessed 13 June 2015.

Hameed, Salman. Twitter. Twitter, n.d.

Salman Hameed.” Hampshire College. Hampshire College, n.d. Accessed 13 June 2015.