Is Studying the Natural Sciences Virtuous for Muslims? Sh Muhammad `Awwamah Explains

By Shaykh Muḥammad ‘Awwāmah ḥafiẓahullāh

Translated by: Mufti Abdullah Moolla

Shaykh Muḥammad ‘Awwāmah ḥafiẓahullāh is considered the grand Muḥaddith of our time. He is from the progeny of Sayyidunā Ḥusayn raḍiyallāhu ‘anhu, the blessed grandson of Sayyidunā Muḥammad Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The biography of Shaykh Muḥammad ‘Awwāmah ḥafiẓahullāh has been penned in Arabic and the English summary can be found here.

Shaykh Muḥammad ‘Awwāmah ḥafiẓahullāh is a blessing for the entire Ummah. He adheres to, promotes, and advocates traditional Islāmic scholarship and is rigid upon his position of not wavering from the Sunnah. The words of Shaykh Muḥammad ‘Awwāmah ḥafiẓahullāh have a great impact upon the listeners, prompting one to carry out the beautiful teachings of Islām. He speaks with great thought, carefully threading his words, like a string of pearls and conveys comprehensive and far-reaching pertinent points of wisdom. They are being featured here for the benefit of the English speaking Ummah.

Note: The subtitle has been added by the translator.

We request you to remember us and the whole Ummah in your special du’ā during these trying times.

What Is True and Genuine Knowledge?

إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ غَفُورٌ

« Only those fear Allāh, from among His servants, who have knowledge. Indeed, Allāh is Exalted in Might and Forgiving» [Sūrah Fāṭir: 28]

This blessed verse, or this part of the sentence of the verse, in terms of the context, speaks about the natural sciences. Allāh Ta’ālā turns the attention of man towards the fact that He sends water down from the sky. By means of this water, He takes out fruit of different colours. He makes pathways in the land and mountains. The mountains and lands are of differing colours. The field of study that covers these aspects is known as geology, i.e., sciences of the land and its structure etc. Allāh Ta’ālā turns the attention of man towards this. In the same way, man, animals, and other creatures are of different colours. Allāh Ta’āla draws the attention of man towards these sciences. After this, He says, ‘Only those fear Allāh, from among His servants, who have knowledge.’

Hence, the knowledge that increases you in qurb, i.e., closeness to Allāh Ta’ālā, increases you in īmān, i.e., faith, in khashyah, i.e., a deep-rooted sense of the fear of Allāh Ta’ālā, in muraqabah, i.e., reflecting over the greatness of Allāh Ta’ālā, in good deeds – all these sciences will be virtuous in the sight of Allāh Ta’ālā. The reason is that it takes you closer to Allāh Ta’ālā.

However if we would look to these sciences and study them, on the basis that they are materialistic matters, which “nature” has brought into existence. As is said: “It is Nature that made the mountains, various lands, rose-colored earth, or black-colored, or white-colored, salty or not salty.” If we look towards these matters, the phenomena in existence, and we consider them as being merely “natural matters,” then these sciences do not increase us in closeness to Allah. Rather they increase us in distance from Allah.

So, the knowledge that increases you in closeness to Allāh Ta’ālā, that will be noble, honourable, and prestigious. It will have a very high level of virtue and honour. As for other sciences and fields of study, i.e., that do not take a person closer to Allāh Ta’ālā, they will not have this status and rank.

RELATED: Knowledge vs. The Appearance of Knowledge: Know the Difference!

In this way, we say, even regarding the sciences of the Sharī’ah, in the sciences of the Noble Qur’ān and the Sunnah – if they take the one studying them, the one exerting himself in them, the one teaching them, closer to Allāh Ta’ālā in terms of his actions, his ways, his dealings, his character, his worship, then yes (it will be noble, virtuous, and blessed). If they do not take a person closer to Allāh Ta’ālā in this way, then they will not be as such. Even if the person is involved in the sciences related to the Noble Qur’ān and the Sunnah, it will not be virtuous and noble for that person.

For this reason, knowledge that has virtue, it is beloved in the sight of Allāh Ta’ālā, it is that knowledge that takes a person closer to Allāh Ta’ālā, it is that knowledge that increases its bearer in proximity to Allāh Ta’ālā.


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Jzk Allah khyer.
This is exactly what I heard Sh Ahmed Alsayed say when advicing what field to pick in seeking knowledge (Sharia) .


Although I do agree that Islamic knowledge is the knowledge that ultimately increases one’s closeness to Allah azawajjal, as a natural sciences student, the knowledge of chemical and biological systems has only increased me in awe of Allah and given me true appreciation for his amazing creation. In saying that, natural sciences can indeed increase ones closeness to Allah, and is also beneficial for the betterment of life for many people in terms of developments that benefit the human race.

Nazrul Islam

In what way?