Quran contains knowledge of this whole universe. This fact has been elaborated in my article ‘Quranic Knowledge and its Comprehensiveness’ dt. 22-09-11. A question is raised if Quran contains knowledge of whole universe, why almost all discoveries and inventions are being made by the non-Muslims who are ignorant of Quran and Quranic knowledge and why Muslims stand nowhere in the field of science and discoveries. Another related question is if Quran is embodiment of knowledge of this universe, why scientific inventions and discoveries- as we know them today- were not made by the Muslims during the period when Quran was being revealed. In the succeeding lines, we would mainly respond to these two questions.
No doubt Quran has contained knowledge of universe (knowledge is what is about Allah's Qualities and actions- Allah's actions and Qualities include all physical and social laws). But reading and thinking over Quran is not the only way of obtaining knowledge of universe. The knowledge of universe may also be obtained through other ways like research, logic, observation and experimentation etc.
“He causes to grow for you thereby the crops, olives, palm trees, grapevines, and from all the fruits. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought. And He has subjected for you the night and day and the sun and moon, and the stars are subjected by His command. Indeed in that are signs for a people who reason. And whatsoever He hath created for you in the earth of divers hues, lo! therein is indeed a portent for people who take heed” (al-nahl-11-13).
In these above mentioned verses, Allah, mentioning His various creations, states that there are signs in all that is created by Allah for people (Muslims or non-Muslims) who think, pay heed and use reason. In other words, Allah is saying that people may get knowledge through reasoning, research, logic, observation and experimentation. In short, knowledge of universe may be obtained either through Quran or through reasoning and experimentation without Quran. But it may please be appreciated if people want to obtain knowledge through Quran, even then they would have to use reasoning, logic, research, observation and experimentation.
“And those who, when they are reminded of the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of their Lord, fall not deaf and blind thereat” (al-furqan-73).
In this verse, Allah states about the Muslims that when they are reminded of Allah’s ‘ayat’/ signs, they do not take such ‘ayat’ without giving thinking about them. In other words, Muslims are those who give thinking to Allah’s signs. Similarly Quran says:
“We have explained (things) in various (ways) in this Qur'an, in order that they may be made thinking, but it only increases their flight [from the Truth] (al-isra-41).
In this verse too, Allah states that He has mentioned various facts in Quran so that people may give thinking to them. In short there are so many verses in Quran which say that lesson may be got from the Quranic verses only after giving due thinking to the verses. In other words, even if knowledge of universe is intended to be obtained through Quran, it has to be obtained through giving due thinking to Quranic verses.
Now question arises if knowledge of universe is to be obtained (whether through Quran or without Quran) on the basis of reasoning, thinking, and experimentation, then what the difference is between getting knowledge through Quran and without Quran. Actually Quran cuts too short a way to reaching a fact. Without Quran, we have to examine many wrong hypothesis before reaching to a true one; in this a lot of time and energy is consumed before reaching to a truth which is mentioned in Quran. If we pick up the truth from the Quran and examine it through reasoning and experimentation, we will be able to avoid lot of wastage of time and energy which we, otherwise, consume in examining wrong ideas.
In this age, Muslims are not making discoveries and inventions because they are not giving due thinking to Quran. Non-Muslims are making inventions and discoveries without Quran; but, of course, non-Muslims are doing so at the cost of lots of resources and lot of time.
Now we come to the second question i.e. why Muslims did not make discoveries during period of revelation of Quran, if Quran is embodiment of knowledge of universe.
Actually Allah has contained His knowledge in Quran. Allah says about His knowledge that: “….and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills”. People cannot get any knowledge out of Allah’s knowledge without Allah’s Will. Allah exposes only that much knowledge to the people in an age /period, which is the requirement of that age/ period. Our Nabi (s.a.w.w) states “Quran’s ‘ajaib’-treasures- would never be exhausted”. This process of exposing the Quran’s treasures will continue till qiyamah and even after that. Whenever Allah exposes His Knowledge contained in Quran in any age/period, He does so through our Nabi (s.a.w.w) who is embodiment of whole Quranic knowledge. In short, Quran contains knowledge of universe, but whole knowledge of Quran is not exposed in any single age/ period. In every age only that much knowledge is exposed which is the requirement of that age. That is why all discoveries and inventions were not made during the age/ period of our Nabi (s.a.w.w).