MUHAMMADIYAH.OR.ID, SURAKARTA – Professor Muhammad Salim Abu Ashi, a distinguished scholar of Quran and Tafsir at Al-Azhar University, mentioned that Muhammadiyah represents the Islamic world successfully performing da’wa, becoming a modern organization, and integrating Islamic teachings and science.
“May Allah give His blessings and forgiveness for Ahmad Dahlan, a founder of Muhammadiyah,” said Prof. Muhammad Salim Abu Ashi in the international seminar on ‘Quran and Integration of Sharia, Science, and Social Humanities’ at Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta (UMY) on Tuesday (August 22).
According to Prof. Muhammad Salim Abu Ashi, Ahmad Dahlan’s accomplishments align with Muhammad Abduh who modernized Al-Azhar University, shifting away from traditional texts to embracing contemporary science. The dichotomy no longer applies at Al-Azhar University. The university now focuses on science besides religious teachings.
Furthermore, Prof. Abu Ashi mentioned that the ‘tafaqquh‘ term in the Quran and Hadith refers beyond religious teachings; it involves diverse areas of science, highlighting Islam’s fundamental commitment to science. This principle is underlined in Surah Az Zumar, verse 9.
“Thus, learning physics and biology is part of ‘tafaqquh‘. We believe that science is religion, and religion is science. Religion encourages people to learn all science fruitful for humanity,” said Prof. Abu Ashi.
In contrast to Western religious and cultural binaries, Prof. Abu Ashi emphasized that Islam transcends dichotomies. Just as there’s no hierarchy between body and soul, or between the world and the afterlife in Islam, there’s no division between religion and science. They complement each other and serve distinct roles. Even previously mystified aspects have been rationalized through scientific and technological development.
“Hence, the most devout individuals possess knowledge that extends beyond religious understanding, allowing them to unravel the mysteries of the universe. This is what I observe in Muhammadiyah. Everything—religious teachings and worldly aspects—harmonize well,” said Prof. Abu Ashi.
Prof. Abu Ashi aspired for enlightened Muslims to integrate modern life with their faith, recognizing Islam’s enduring relevance (Al-Islamu shalihun likulli zaman wal-makaan) beyond mere ritual practices. Speaking of the seminar’s theme, he emphasized two distinctive qualities of the Quran: its meticulously preserved authenticity through continuous transmission and its unmatched miraculous essence that transcends human or technological replication.
In addition, the Quran, as Allah’s revelation, encourages Muslims to passionately seek knowledge. As a guiding text, it ignites curiosity across diverse fields.
“No religion calls its followers to embrace faith through science and dialogue,” said Prof. Abu Ashi.
For information, Prof. Abu Ashi’s presentation is accessible here.