For Enlightened Islam: the mathematical order of the Quranic text

For Enlightened Islam: the mathematical order of the Quranic text

Ismaël Omarjee, Doctor of history and philosophy of science
Many pioneers of the scientific arena, most of the founders of modern science, have reached conclusions of metaphysical nature, on the basis of the study of nature and its intelligibility. For instance, the idea of a divine origin and order is characteristic of Isaac Newton’s thinking. In conclusion to his major work, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, he wrote: This most elegant system of the sun, planets and comets could not have arisen without the design and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being[1]. Neither was Albert Einstein a stranger to metaphysical reflection, stating for example: The individual feels the vanity of human desires and aims, and the nobility and marvelous order which are revealed in nature and in the world of thought. He feels the individual destiny as an imprisonment and seeks to experience the totality of existence as a unity full of significance[2]. Georges Lemaître, one of the principal founders of modern cosmology, proposed the following idea: Science is beautiful, worthy in its own right of love and service, given that it reflects the creative thought of God[3]. Another eminent figure of 20th century physics, Abdus Salam, stated that: For the believer, this wonderful world structure which our intelligence has reached is no more than the briefest glimpse of the divine plan, akin to plucking a few threads from a spectacular tapestry. The only attitude that we can adopt when faced with the profound depth of the world’s radiant beauty in our exploration of it is one of religious respect[4].
The metaphysical issue is still raised within the scientific community. For example, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), publisher of the review Science, held a conference in 1999 on Cosmic Questions, whose programme included a day dedicated to the following topic: Is the Universe designed? On this occasion, for instance, were asserted the compatibility of Darwinian evolutionism with the faith in a Creator or even the idea according to which quantum physics in no way reduces the credibility of materialism and scientism. Furthermore, the progresses in astrophysics led some scientists not to exclude that evolution and the characteristics of the Universe are marked by a plan or a creative principle. According to them, the laws and constants of the Universe must be adjusted in an extremely precise way so that life and thought can appear, since the slightest variation of them would render impossible the emergence of any form of complexity. These ideas come from scientists who recognize the current theories, not from supporters of the creationist thesis, or that known under the name of “Intelligent Design,” which are both critical of the theory of evolution.
The idea of an opposition between “creation” and “evolution” forms part of the controversy involving the notions of creationism and evolutionism[5]. Varying responses have been given regarding the question of their compatibility. It is not our aim to present and study them here. We will limit ourselves to clarifying that at the heart of the cultural area concerning the Quran, which is this work’s primary object of study, is proposed and largely shared the idea according to which the sacred text of the seventh century in no way contradicts the naturalist idea of an evolutionary process since the beginnings of the Universe, even going so far finds some alignment with it. This process, conceived of as natural, is therefore thought of as the chosen mode of creation, the work of Transcendence. On this basis, evolution and creation, science and theology, stand in agreement, in their complete acceptance of each of these notions. Finally, within this logic of monotheistic nature, if it is a miracle, it is not to be found in the whole, but is instead represented by the whole itself: whole of the Universe and its laws, a unified and organized whole, not the whole of miracles, of timeless creations, of out of laws, out of rules, abnormal or paranormal events[6].
Let us note that the Quran mentions the general idea of regularities characterizing the creation: (…) Then you will not find for God’s Mode a change (…)[7]. We can point out, with the reference to this idea, that the calculated and regulated nature of astronomical phenomena, for example, represents a Quranic subject[8]. Laws and constants, the mathematical dimension of the Universe and the unitary traits of the world appear to the knowledgeable believer as an expression of divine will, a manifestation of the intelligence, the permanency, the measurement, the rule, offered to reason, to the human spirit. In this regard, the observation of nature and the intelligence of phenomena, the study of divine signs, the comprehension of the order established by an omnipresent Creator, are encouraged: Certainly in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are signs for men of understanding – Those who remember God, standing and sitting and on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth (…)[9]. In general, in numerous verses, and since the very first revelead, the Quran insists on the importance of an awareness of the Creator’s work, on the observation and the full exercise of reason. The spiritual journey consequently defines itself as a natural and rational journey, a journey of conscience and science, an act of knowledge and recognition.
Farid Gabteni’s firm and complete commitment to the Islam of knowledge, the original Islam, the enlightened Islam, explains his method of research concerning the Quranic text, and, beyond, the sacred texts of monotheism. On the basis of his research, the author culminates in the highlight of a mathematical order encoded in the Revelation, of an underlying calculation, which is all the more surprising, and which could not be the product of pure chance. He thereby establishes the existence of a structural and structuring message, both signifier and evidence. The following statements come as a result. The Book, like the Universe, is mathematically structured and understandable. The history of their respective development-advent is thus conceived as mathematically directed, the expression of a sovereign intelligence, which reveals itself within and through the human mind. In other words, a reality of thought, an integral order, a general mathematical rule, a science of oneness, presiding over the real, come to light: (…) Then you will not find for God’s Mode a change (…). Creation and Revelation both lead to their shared, unique origin.
This natural order, this mathematical modality of the “great book”, according to Galileo’s formula, appears as the teaching of the human intelligence, fruit of an evolution whose roots are found in the minutes of cosmic origins, to the consciousness. Science and conscience become the marks of a plan, reflections and signs, within the human mind, of the Origin, of the Intelligence.
Farid Gabteni’s work presents an additional dimension: that of their unitary aspect in the field of monotheism. Indeed, starting from the Quran, the author integrates the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament to his research. The work’s first volume thus contains a section entitled “Messianic air”, which exposes the results of a crossover study of the three texts, where their respective elements articulate with each other and complete each other. These works constitute therefore a practical example of the meeting among the three great religions claiming the same origin, the Abrahamic origin, on their common foundation: The One.
This work, by lifting a veil on the reading and the richness of the Quran, reminds and confirms its revealed nature, its timeless truth: The Unique God Without associate, The Absolute Reality, The Uncreated, who created everything. To this end, the two volumes of the book complement one another. The decisive conclusions reached in the first volume are backed up and supported by the second volume. For instance, the hiterto misunderstood and enigmatic letter codes of the Quran[10], the study of which finds its natural place in this work outlining an encoded and unsuspected science, show their significant and enlightening dimension. In fine, by showing the way, this work promotes a thorough and extended[11] study of the divine Book, which conveys a masterful and unequalled teaching.
The present publication of Farid Gabteni’s works has been enriched with additional developments. The rigorous mathematical-textual developments of the work, its quintessence[12], their innovative and founding character, their profound consequences in the field of science, philosophy and theology, create a singular and significant achievement within the history of thought. They build a far-reaching field of rationality and knowledge, where science and conscience become one. This science leads to enrich our thinking on the nature of the real[13] and the very meaning of the word knowledge[14].
Let us also add that the work, along with the presentation of the results obtained and the method used by the author, is directed at a general public, at the researcher as well as the non-specialist. There again is found its specificity, in terms of scope, in the context of the now highly specialised fields of sciences.
[1] Newton, Isaac, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Scholie general.

[2] Einstein, Albert, Œuvres choisies, Volume 5, Seuil-CNRS, 1991, p.156.

[3] This idea was proposed in 1934, on receiving the Francqui Prize.

[4] Abdus Salam un physicien, Entretien avec Jacques Vauthier, ed. Beauchesne, 1990.

[5] The opposition between creationism and evolutionism is essentially borne of the divergent positions respectively dictated by literal sense of the biblical verses, on the one hand, and by the scientific research, sometimes coupled with a different exegesis of these verses, on the other hand.

[6] Quranic verses such as follows are put forward to support these ideas, in accordance with the idea of a unified origin of plurality, whose current reality is conceived as its development and expression, and with the idea of cosmic expansion:
  - "Have those who denigrated not seen that certainly the skies and the earth were compact? Then We Separated them, and We Formed from water every living thing (…)" (sura 21, verse 30),
  - "And the sky, We Built it with hands, and certainly We Are assuredly (its) Expander" (sura 51, verse 47).

[7] Sura 35, verse 43.

[8] A verse such as the following furthers this idea: "The sun and the moon by calculation" (sura 55, verse 5).

[9] Sura 3, verses 190-191.

[10] Letters that are located and uttered at the beginning of some suras, without making up words.

[11]  Multidisciplinary among others.

[12] The work for the large part comprises mathematical-textual developments. It has also been supplemented by theological comments as well as historical and linguistic analyses. We define the work’s quintessence as the convincing and enlightening heart of these mathematical-textual developments.

[13] That is to say, an enrichment of the reflection on Scripture, the nature of nature, man’s place in the Universe or, in other words, the cosmological and human History, the subject of the ultimate origin, the proof of God’s existence.

[14] For all of these reasons, this work represents a profound source of study favouring various disciplines, ranging from exact sciences to epistemology and metaphysics.