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October 19, 2010

Fields of study interconnected for Qu'ranic scholar and opthalmologist

Qur’anic scholar and ophthalmologist Dr. Kamran Riaz spoke on modern science and the Qur’an Thursday in Harper at a talk hosted by the Muslim Student Association and the Interfaith Dialogue group.

“God told Muslims to seek knowledge, found everywhere in nature, through objective and deductive reasoning. He stressed cradle-to-grave learning, to create a society of students of all knowledge,” Riaz said.

Riaz is a resident in the ophthalmology department at Northwestern University Hospital and a teacher of Qur’anic studies at Darul Qasim, an institution of Islamic learning in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

He spoke on scientific issues ranging from the big bang theory and dark matter to embryology and heart surgery.

“The facts mentioned in the Qur’an challenge the human being to look at the macro- and microscopic world,” Riaz said. “These facts are like appetizers that stimulate people to go out and accumulate both religious and secular knowledge.”

Riaz spoke on scientific facts present in the Qur’an, the 1300 year old holy book of Islam. He said knowledge should inspire people and lead them to a greater appreciation of God.

“We can never prove God. God exists only subjectively in faith,” he said.

Riaz incorporated various faith traditions into his talk in an effort to make it relatable to a broad audience. He described the preservation of the Hebrew language by Jews and Muslims working together in Cordoba, Spain during the Middle Ages, citing it as an example of the “spirit of knowledge.”

Riaz said his main goal was to educate the audience and relay information, not to force his opinions on others or to prove that the Qur’an is a book of science. He stressed the importance of mutual and interfaith dialogue. “When we have an exchange of ideas,” he said, “amazing things can happen.”

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