Your paragraph stating “Regarding a science which claims to tell of the future/unseen events, this has been totally condemned in Islam”, I have always been taught that Islam was a religion of science, and that our Holy Quran itself has many scientific facts that still today we are discovering. Perhaps I am misunderstanding your answer, after all when a hurricane or the like is approaching don’t we depend on science to tell us in what direction the hurricane is headed so we could get to safety?
Islam is a way of life that has been given for the salvation of Man. The Quran does not claim, nor has Allah made the claim that Islam is a religion of science or that the Quran was a book of science. Allah clearly told us in the Holy Quran that ‘The Book (Holy Quran) is a book of guidance’ and that ‘Islam is a complete and perfect way of life’.
In the Holy Quran, Allah Has given us information about many things. He Has spoken about the heavenly and celestial bodies, the cycle of water, vegetation, mountains, seas and rivers, the development of the human being etc. etc. All these have been given in the Quran as signs of Allah, imploring man to consider them and turn to the creator and controller of all these things, with submission and obedience. The prime objective in mentioning these, is that man believes in Allah and prepares for His final abode. If people invent sciences which conform to the facts of the Holy Quran, then it is all well and good, but it cannot be said that the Quran came for the purpose of teaching science or explaining scientific facts. It is a book of guidance which takes man from darkness and puts him into light.
Regarding my statement that a ‘Science which claims to tell of future/unseen events is condemned in Islam’. This is the Shariah’s position, and it means that the art of fortune telling, soothsaying, palmistry, astrology, horoscopes, reading the crystal ball etc. etc. are all acts of shirk and are condemned in Islam.
With respect to a ‘hurricane approaching’ which you have asked about, the science that tells about its direction etc. does not fall into the category of future/unseen events. The fact that the hurricane has started already in the sea, or in some part of the world, means that it is present and not ‘future’, and it is ‘seen’ not unseen. Using science and technology to know about these matters and other similar ones are not condemned in Islam. Since it is finding out about a thing which has already appeared or it is in its initial stages. These are not known to be future or unseen events. For example, the use of an ultra sound machine to know the sex or state of a baby in the womb of the mother, would not fall into the category of a ‘future/ unseen’ matter, since the ultra sound will only show that which is existing already. However, to go to a person who claims to have this knowledge from the time a woman conceives, is totally haram, since at this time the sex of the baby has not yet become manifest in the womb of the mother. So, if machines and equipments with science, are used to make clear that which is naturally unclear to the naked eye, then this will not fall into the scope of ‘unseen matters’, since only that will show which already exists and the human eyes could not perceive it. Take the example of going to the doctor for a blood test. In this case, the doctor will reveal to you the contents of sugar, fat cholesterol etc. in your blood which you could not see, however, with the aid of science and technology, he is able to inform you of these matters. Here, it cannot be stated that the doctor is informing you about ‘unseen’ matters, since the test will normally show what is ‘visible’ and ‘accessible’ to the ‘testing machine’. In other words the test will reveal only that which can be detected and exist already.
With this understanding, it means that machines that are used to detect the direction and movement of storms, hurricanes, earthquakes etc., are all permissible in Islam since these do not tell of the future and unseen events, they simply tell of the motion of something which has already appeared and witnessed by many.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan
This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.