May 18, 2024
technology
Surah Al-Anfal (8:60) contains a verse that is often interpreted as a call to acquire scientific knowledge for the power of technology.

Introduction:


Technology means machinery and equipment developed from the application of scientific knowledge. In the Islamic tradition, the Qur’an serves not only as a spiritual guide but also as a source of knowledge that encourages believers to seek an understanding of the universe and its workings. Surah Al-Anfal (8:60) contains a verse that is often interpreted as a call to acquire scientific knowledge for the power of technology. This article explores the Qur’anic injunctions regarding the acquisition of scientific knowledge, particularly in the context of technological progress, with reference to the mentioned verse.

The Qur’an and the Pursuit of Knowledge:


The Qur’an repeatedly emphasizes the importance of knowledge and encourages believers to seek it earnestly. Numerous verses exhort believers to reflect, observe, and ponder upon the signs of Allah’s creation in the universe. For example, Surah Al-Baqarah (2:164) states, “Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, and the [great] ships which sail through the sea with that which benefits people, and what Allah has sent down from the heavens of rain, giving life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and dispersing therein every [kind of] moving creature, and [His] directing of the winds and the clouds controlled between the heaven and the earth are signs for a people who use reason.”

Furthermore, the Qur’an encourages critical thinking and inquiry. Believers are urged to ask questions and seek understanding. Surah An-Nahl (16:78) states, “And Allah has extracted you from the wombs of your mothers not knowing a thing, and He made for you hearing and vision and hearts [i.e., intellect] that perhaps you would be grateful.”

In light of these teachings, it is evident that the Qur’an promotes the pursuit of knowledge across all fields, including science and technology.

Understanding Surah Al-Anfal (8:60):


Prepare against them what you (believers) can of (technological) ‘power’ and cavalry to deter Allah’s enemies and your enemies as well as other enemies unknown to you but known to Allah. Whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be paid to you in full and you will not be wronged.[8:60]

The verse in question, Surah Al-Anfal (8:60), exhorts believers to prepare themselves with technological power and cavalry to deter enemies. However, the broader implications of this verse extend beyond mere physical defense. Scholars and commentators have interpreted this verse as a call to readiness in all aspects of life, including the acquisition of knowledge and the pursuit of technological advancement.

From the third of the best generations, Imam Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (May Allah have mercy on him), a renowned Islamic scholar and commentator of the Qur’an, provides a profound insight into the meaning of the verse in question, Surah Al-Anfal (8:60). His commentary sheds light on the significance of preparing oneself with the necessary tools and instruments to maintain strength and superiority over adversaries.

The statement “ما أطقتم أن تعدّوه لهم من الآلات التي تكون قوة لكم عليهم” translates to “Whatever you can afford to prepare against them of the instruments that would be a strength for you over them.” Imam Tabari’s interpretation emphasizes the practical aspect of readiness and preparation. He suggests that believers should utilize whatever resources and means at their disposal to equip themselves against potential threats or adversaries.

Expanding on Imam Tabari’s commentary, we can infer that the term “آلات” (instruments or tools) encompasses not only physical weapons or military equipment but also any means or methods that can be employed to maintain strength and dominance. This broader interpretation extends to the realm of technology, where advancements in various fields such as science, engineering, and innovation can serve as potent instruments for defense and deterrence.

Imam Tabari’s commentary underscores the importance of strategic planning and preparedness in the face of challenges. By leveraging technological advancements and harnessing scientific knowledge, believers can bolster their capabilities and resilience against external threats, thereby fulfilling the directive of Surah Al-Anfal (8:60) to prepare against enemies.

In essence, Imam Tabari’s insight reminds us that the pursuit of scientific knowledge and the advancement of technology are not only compatible with Islamic teachings but also essential components of fulfilling one’s duty to defend and protect the community. As such, Muslims are encouraged to embrace progress and innovation while remaining steadfast in their faith, recognizing that strength and preparedness go hand in hand with knowledge and wisdom.

Implications for the Power of Technology:

Surah Al-Anfal (8:60) can be understood as a call to harness the power of knowledge, including scientific knowledge, for the betterment of society. Technological advancement is a manifestation of human intellect and ingenuity, both of which are gifts from Allah according to Islamic belief. By preparing against adversaries through the acquisition of technological power and cavalry, believers are also called to prepare against challenges through technological innovation and progress.

Moreover, the verse highlights the concept of divine reward for endeavors undertaken in the cause of Allah. In the pursuit of scientific knowledge and technological advancement, believers are promised divine assistance and recompense. This serves as a source of motivation and encouragement for scientists, engineers, and innovators within the Muslim community.

The pursuit of scientific knowledge in fields such as medicine, engineering, agriculture, and astronomy is not only encouraged but also considered a form of worship in Islam. The development of technologies that enhance human well-being, improve living standards, and facilitate the fulfillment of human needs is viewed as a noble endeavor that aligns with Islamic principles.

Why We Need Technology?

The Qur’an indeed emphasizes the importance of faith and reliance on Allah in various aspects of life, including times of conflict and adversity. However, it also recognizes the practical necessity of preparation and strategic planning, which includes the utilization of technology and advancements in various fields. This nuanced approach reflects the Quranic understanding that while faith is paramount, it should not preclude believers from taking practical measures to defend themselves and deter adversaries.

The call for the power of technology in the Qur’an, as exemplified in Surah Al-Anfal (8:60), can be understood within this framework. While unwavering faith provides spiritual strength and guidance, it is complemented by the practical application of knowledge and resources to ensure protection and security. Technology, in this context, serves as a means to implement strategic preparedness and enhance the capabilities of believers in facing challenges and threats.

In the modern era, characterized by rapid technological advancements, the role of technology in deterring the enemies of true faith becomes even more significant. As societies evolve and adversaries utilize sophisticated means to spread misinformation, perpetrate violence, and undermine religious values, it becomes imperative for believers to leverage technology for defense and deterrence.

Without progressing in the field of technology, believers risk being at a disadvantage in safeguarding their communities and countering the threats posed by those who oppose true faith. Technological advancements enable enhanced communication, surveillance, defense systems, and countermeasures against various forms of aggression and subversion.

Furthermore, in a world where information warfare and cyberattacks are prevalent, technological proficiency is essential for protecting the integrity and sanctity of religious teachings and values. Through the use of digital platforms, believers can disseminate authentic knowledge, counter false narratives, and foster constructive dialogue, thereby fortifying the foundations of true faith.

Moreover, technological progress facilitates economic development, social empowerment, and humanitarian efforts, all of which contribute to the promotion of justice, compassion, and peace—core principles of true faith. By harnessing the power of technology for positive ends, believers can demonstrate the practical manifestations of their faith and serve as beacons of guidance and inspiration in an increasingly interconnected world.

In summary, while faith remains central to the lives of believers, the Qur’an acknowledges the importance of utilizing technology and practical measures for defense and deterrence. In the modern era, where technological advancements shape the dynamics of conflict and cooperation, progressing in this field is essential for effectively deterring the enemies of the true faith and advancing the values of justice, compassion, and peace.

Technology is a Psychological Need of Believers

Technology fulfills the psychological needs of the forces fighting against evil forces. As Allah Almighty said:

˹Remember, O Prophet,˺ when Allah showed them in your dream as few in number. Had He shown them to you as many, you ˹believers˺ would have certainly faltered and disputed in the matter. But Allah spared you from that. Surely He knows best what is ˹hidden˺ in the heart. Then when your armies met, Allah made them appear as few in your eyes, and made you appear as few in theirs, so Allah may establish what He had destined. And to Allah ˹all˺ matters will be returned for judgment. [8:43-44]

Surah Al-Anfal (8:43-44), indeed highlights a profound psychological aspect of warfare and conflict. It narrates a scenario where Allah showed the enemies of the believers as fewer in number in a dream granted to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This divine intervention served to strengthen the resolve and morale of the believers, preventing them from becoming disheartened or doubtful in the face of what may have seemed like overwhelming odds.

The psychological aspect of warfare is a crucial element that influences the attitudes, behaviors, and decisions of individuals and groups involved in conflict. In this verse, Allah’s intervention in the form of a dream illustrates His understanding of the human psyche and His ability to provide reassurance and encouragement to His followers.

The perception of numerical superiority or inferiority can significantly impact the mindset and confidence of opposing forces. Had the believers been shown the enemy as numerous, it may have led to doubt, fear, or hesitation among them, potentially undermining their unity and determination. However, by revealing the enemy as few in number, Allah instilled confidence, resolve, and steadfastness in the believers, ensuring their commitment to the cause and their readiness to face the challenge ahead.

This verse serves as a reminder of Allah’s wisdom and knowledge of what lies within the hearts of individuals. It emphasizes the importance of trust in Allah’s guidance and His ability to provide support and protection to His devoted servants. Moreover, it underscores the psychological dimension of warfare and the significance of maintaining morale, unity, and resilience in confronting adversities.

In the context of contemporary conflicts, technology plays a crucial role in addressing the psychological needs of forces engaged in combating evil forces. Communication technologies, such as social media and messaging platforms, enable the dissemination of information, inspiration, and encouragement to bolster the morale of troops and supporters. Psychological operations, including propaganda and messaging campaigns, leverage technology to influence perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors, both among friendly and enemy forces.

Furthermore, advancements in virtual reality, simulation, and training technologies provide realistic and immersive experiences for military personnel, enhancing their preparedness, confidence, and decision-making skills in high-pressure situations. Medical technologies, such as telemedicine and mental health support services, offer crucial psychological support and care for individuals affected by the stresses and traumas of conflict.

Overall, technology plays a vital role in fulfilling the psychological needs of forces fighting against evil forces, enabling them to maintain morale, cohesion, and resilience in the face of adversity. As believers, recognizing Allah’s role in providing guidance and support, and utilizing technology ethically and responsibly to serve noble causes, can contribute to the promotion of justice, peace, and righteousness in the world.

Military Technology

Advancements in military technology play a pivotal role in shaping the dynamics of modern warfare and exerting pressure on adversaries. In today’s complex geopolitical landscape, nations and armed forces continually strive to enhance their military capabilities through the acquisition and development of cutting-edge technologies. Without access to and utilization of the latest advancements in military technology, states may find themselves at a significant disadvantage in confronting adversaries and addressing emerging security challenges.

  1. Deterrence: Military technology serves as a deterrent against potential aggression and coercion by signaling a state’s capability and willingness to defend its interests and territory. Advanced weapon systems, such as precision-guided munitions, ballistic missile defense systems, and cyber capabilities, deter adversaries from engaging in hostile actions by raising the perceived costs and risks of aggression.
  2. Force Projection: Modern military technology enables states to project power beyond their borders and assert influence in regional and global affairs. Advanced air and naval platforms, including stealth aircraft carriers, long-range bombers, and expeditionary forces, allow states to deploy forces rapidly and effectively in distant theaters of operation, enhancing their ability to respond to crises and contingencies.
  3. Information Dominance: Information technology and cyber capabilities are increasingly critical in military operations, providing commanders with real-time situational awareness, command and control capabilities, and intelligence gathering and analysis tools. Cyber operations, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence enable states to disrupt enemy communications, degrade command structures, and gain a strategic advantage in conflicts.
  4. Precision and Lethality: Advancements in precision-guided munitions, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and reconnaissance and surveillance systems have revolutionized the conduct of military operations, enabling states to target enemy assets with unprecedented accuracy and efficiency while minimizing collateral damage. This precision and lethality enhance the effectiveness of military forces and enable them to achieve their objectives with minimal risk to friendly forces and civilian populations.
  5. Resilience and Adaptability: Military technology also encompasses capabilities for resilience and adaptability in the face of evolving threats and challenges. Integrated air defense systems, resilient communications networks, and sophisticated logistics and supply chain management systems enable states to withstand and recover from attacks and disruptions, ensuring continuity of operations in contested environments.
  6. Asymmetric Warfare: In addition to conventional capabilities, military technology encompasses tools and strategies for asymmetric warfare, including irregular warfare, insurgency, and counterinsurgency operations. States invest in counterterrorism capabilities, special operations forces, and counterinsurgency doctrine to combat non-state actors and asymmetric threats effectively.

In conclusion, the acquisition and utilization of the latest advancements in military technology are essential for states to exert pressure on adversaries, deter aggression, and safeguard national security interests. As technology continues to evolve, states must invest in research and development, strategic planning, and international cooperation to maintain a competitive edge and effectively address emerging security challenges in the twenty-first century.

Line of Action

The acquisition of scientific knowledge among Muslim youth, guided by the principles of the Qur’an, is crucial for empowering them to contribute to the advancement of technology for the benefit of the Muslim Ummah (community).

  1. Integration of Faith and Knowledge: Islamic teachings emphasize the importance of seeking knowledge as a fundamental duty of every Muslim. The Qur’an repeatedly encourages reflection upon the signs of Allah’s creation in the universe, fostering a deep appreciation for the pursuit of scientific inquiry. By aligning their pursuit of scientific knowledge with their faith, Muslim youth can draw inspiration from the Qur’an to explore and understand the natural world.
  2. Responsibility to Serve Humanity: The Qur’an teaches that Muslims have a responsibility to serve humanity and promote justice and compassion. By acquiring scientific knowledge and leveraging technology, Muslim youth can address pressing societal challenges facing the Muslim Ummah and the wider global community. Whether it’s developing innovative solutions for healthcare, education, infrastructure, or environmental sustainability, their contributions can have a transformative impact on improving the quality of life for people around the world.
  3. Empowerment and Self-Reliance: Advancements in technology offer opportunities for self-reliance and empowerment within the Muslim Ummah. By mastering fields such as engineering, information technology, biotechnology, and renewable energy, Muslim youth can contribute to building a knowledge-based economy and reducing dependence on external sources for critical technologies and expertise. This empowers Muslim-majority nations to assert greater autonomy and influence on the global stage.
  4. Ethical and Responsible Innovation: Islamic ethics and values provide a framework for ethical conduct and responsible innovation in science and technology. Muslim youth, grounded in their faith, can play a pivotal role in ensuring that technological advancements are guided by principles of justice, equity, sustainability, and social responsibility. By adhering to ethical guidelines informed by Islamic teachings, they can help mitigate potential risks and ensure that technology serves the common good.
  5. Bridge-Building and Dialogue: In a world characterized by diversity and interconnectedness, Muslim youth equipped with scientific knowledge can serve as ambassadors for interfaith and intercultural dialogue. By engaging in collaborative research, exchange programs, and partnerships with scholars and practitioners from diverse backgrounds, they can foster mutual understanding, respect, and cooperation in addressing shared global challenges.

In conclusion, the Qur’an calls upon Muslim youth to acquire scientific knowledge as a means of fulfilling their duty to serve humanity and advance the interests of the Muslim Ummah. By integrating faith and knowledge, embracing ethical principles, and leveraging technology for the greater good, they can contribute to building a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable future for generations to come.

Conclusion:


Surah Al-Anfal (8:60) serves as a reminder of the Qur’an’s emphasis on the acquisition of knowledge and the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of life, including technology. The verse encourages believers to prepare themselves with the tools and resources necessary to face challenges and adversaries, both known and unknown. In doing so, it highlights the compatibility of Islam with scientific inquiry and technological progress. By heeding this call, Muslims can contribute to the advancement of knowledge and the betterment of humanity while remaining faithful to their religious principles.

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