The Eighth International Conference on the Scientific Signs in the Qur’an and Sunnah ended Wednesday night amidst great enthusiasm among the audience.The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs of Kuwait made several announcements during the closing ceremony to support the work of its conference coorganizer, the International Commission on the Scientific Signs in the Qur’an and Sunnah. The ministry announced the establishment of a waqf (religious endowment) for the support of the commission’s work. It also pledged to build a research center in Kuwait to incubate research projects supported by the commission. Finally, it is establishing a private satellite channel specialized in the topic of scientific signs in the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Despite general enthusiasm, Dr. Abdullah Al-Turki, the secretary general of the Muslim World League, cautioned against the lack of scientific debate that defined most conference sessions.
“The physician or the researcher in the applied field has to have with him [in session] people who are not convinced with his efforts and direction so we would listen to the opposing opinions and there would be development in the study. We hope that in the future we would reach that level,” he said.
He also called for a change in the way the conference is being organized to allow for more interaction.
“A researcher and scientist who have worked [on their projects] for months and for a long time, when he is only given a chance to speak for 5 or 10 minutes, this is not appropriate. Sometimes conferences are better [organized] in the form of forums or workshops where every group studies something separately and then the general audience can benefit through the media center or through the [announced] results.”
On the other hand Dr. Nabil Sadoun, National Board Member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Islamic civil liberties group in the United States, thought that the way this conference is structured probably allowed for discussion and debate to take place during the paper review period.
Organizing Conference in the West
Responding to some of the calls made during the closing ceremony to hold such conferences in the West, Dr. Sadoun told IslamOnline.net that this would require special care in how it is handled.
“If the studies are abiding by scientific standards in a decisive manner then their results would be logical and convincing. But if they do not abide by scientific and academic standards in a decisive fashion then there will be embarrassment to the Muslims in front of American researchers because the matter of scientific production and research in America is at a high and advanced level.”
“[If we are] to choose from among the studies those which the Muslim scientists here have scrutinized very well and present them there, then the participation of the Muslim [researchers] would be an honorable one to Islam and Muslims. The studies would be convincing, leave a [positive] effect, and cause a stir in the West. Otherwise if there was any leniency in adhering to these scientific standards and abiding by them, it would cause the opposite reaction.”
Modern Science in the Qur’an
As did the last conference, the closing ceremony included a speech by a convert to Islam. Milan Schultz, from the Czech Republic, said that his introspections into the universe changed him from a disbeliever to a believer in God 25 years ago.
“But I was not looking for religion because I thought all religions are wrong,” he said, “and about Islam I only had negative information”
He said that later, however, he came to read about the Qur’an and found in it scientific signs that were only understood in recent history. This lead to his conversion to Islam.