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TASKHIR, FINE-TUNING, INTELLIGENT DESIGN AND THE SCIENTIFIC APPRECIATION OF NATURE

TASKHIR, FINE-TUNING, INTELLIGENT DESIGN AND THE SCIENTIFIC APPRECIATION OF NATURE

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by Adi Setia
by Adi Setia

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Published by: "Worldview of Islam Series" on Apr 19, 2011
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04/23/2011

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c
 Ad
i
Setia is Research Fellow (History and Philosophy of Science) at theInternational Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization
(ISTAC)
, KualaLumpur, Malaysia; Email: adisetiamuh@pd.jaring.my
 Islam
Science
,
Vol. 2 (Summer 2004) No. 1©
2004
by the Center for Islam and Science.
ISSN 1703-7603
 
7
 ASKH 
 I 
 R
,
 
F
INE
-T
UNING
,
 
I
NTELLIGENT
D
ESIGN
 
 AND THE
S
CIENTIFIC
 A 
PPRECIATION OF
N
 ATURE
 
c
 Ad 
i
Setia
The concept of 
taskh
 i 
 r
in the Qur
ba
n refers to the easilyobservable fact that nature, in both its cosmic andbiospheric dimensions, has been constrained by Allah torender service and benefit unto humankind. In moderncosmological terms,
taskh
 i 
 r
refers to the high degree of fine-tuning of the design-parameters of the universe forthe support of life on earth, and ultimately, consciousand intelligent human life. Through
taskh
 i 
 r,
theperfection of Allah’s wisdom
(
 h
 ikmah)
is manifested inthe phenomenal world, and His Grace
(fa
 d
l)
realized forhumanity. The service rendered to mankind by theDivine subjugation of nature is ultimately not onlyphysical and material in nature, but also intellectual,moral and metaphysical in its significance: thathumanity would be brought to recognize, acknowledgeand glorify their Creator, and thus to realize fully theenduring transcendent meaning of their fleeting,phenomenal life on earth. Axiologically, this means thatIslamic science is less utilitarian than intellecto-moral,and hence, the “outer” utilitarian dimension of science isto be subsumed under, and guided by, its “inner”intellecto-moral dimension, and not vice-versa.
 Keywords
:
 
taskh
 i 
 r
, intelligent design, fine-tuning,specified complexity, irreducible complexity,
 al-ni
c
 am al-
 a
 f 
 a
 qiyyah
,
 al-ni
c
 am al-anfusiyyah
, goals of Islamic Science.
Introduction: The Concept of 
Taskh
i
r
in the Qur
ba
n
Taskh
 i 
 r
is the verbal noun of “
 sakhkhara
,” which means to bringsomething into service, to compel something to be of service tosomething else, to make something subservient. In the classical
 
8
 
 Islam
Science
 
Vol. 2 (Summer 2004) No. 1
dictionary
 Mukht
 a
 r al-
S
 i
 hah
,
 sakhkharahu taskh
 i 
 ran
” is clarified as
 kallafahu
c
 amalan bi l
 a
ujrah
”, “to charge someone with a task withoutremuneration”; or “
 kallafahu m
 a
l
 a
yur
 i 
 duhu wa qaharahu
”, “to chargesomeone/something with a task not of his/its own accord and tocompel him/it to do it.” Thus “anything that submits to you and obeys you, or is ready for you, has most certainly been made subservient to you.”
1
 In the Qur
ba
n,
taskh
 i 
 r
refers to Allah compelling the heavens andthe earth to be of service to humankind that they may consciouslyappreciate His manifold blessings upon them and thereby give thanksto Him. Among the many verses of the Qur
ba
n concerning
taskh
 i 
 r
, thefollowing five may be noted:
2
 
1
.
 Allah is He who has created the heavens and the earth, and caused waterto descend from the sky, thereby producing fruits as food for you, and made the ships to be of service unto you, that they may run upon the seas at His command, and has made of service unto you the rivers, and made the sun and the moon constant in their courses to be of service unto you, and has made of service unto you the night and the day.
 
2
.
See you not how Allah has made subservient unto you whatsoever is inthe skies and whatsoever is in the earth and has loaded you with His favors both without and within? Yet of mankind is he who disputesconcerning Allah without knowledge or guidance or a scripture givinglight.
 
3
.
 Allah is He who has made the sea to be of service unto you that the ships may run thereon by His command, and that you may seek of Hisbounty; and that haply you may be thankful; and has made of service unto you whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth; it is all from Him. Lo! herein are portents for people who reflect.
 
1
. Hans Wehr,
 A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic
(Beirut: Librairie duLiban, 1980), p. 401; Mu
h
ammad b. Ab
u
Bakr b.
c
 Abd al-Q
a
diral-R 
a
z
i
,
 Mukht
 a
 r al-
S
 i
 hah
(Beirut: Maktabah Lubn
a
n, 1988), p.122; al-Fayr
u
z
a
b
a
d
i
,
 al-Q 
 a
 m
 u
 s al-Mu
 hit
, 2 vols. (Beirut: D
a
r I
h
 y
ab
 al-Tur
a
th al-
c
 Arab
i
, 1997), 1: 571; Ibn Man
zu
r,
 Lis
 a
 n al-
c
 Arab
, 18 vols. (Beirut: D
a
r I
h
 y
ab
al-Tur
a
th al-
c
 Arab
i
, 1997), 6: 203.
2
. Respectively,
 Ibr
 a
 h
 i 
 m
: 32–33;
 Luqm
 a
 n
:
 
20;
 al-J 
 a
thiyah
:
 
12–13;
 al-
 H 
 ajj
:
 
65; and
 al-Ra
c
 d
:
 
2. All translations of Qur
ba
nic verses are basedon Mu
h
ammad Marmaduke Pickthall,
The Meaning of the GloriousQur’an
(Mecca: Muslim World League, 1977).
 
c
 Ad
 i 
Setia
 
 
9
4
.
 Have you not seen how Allah has made all that is in the earth subservient unto you? And the ships run upon the sea by His command, and He holds back the heaven from falling on the earth unless by Hisleave. Lo! Allah is, for mankind, full of pity, merciful.
 
5
.
 Allah is He Who has raised up the heavens without visible supports, then mounted the Throne, and compelled the sun and the moon to be of  service, each runs unto an appointed term; He ordered the course; He detailed the relevations, that haply you may be certain of the meetingwith your Lord.
Taskh
i
r
in al-Fakhr al-R 
a
z
i
’s
 Maf 
a
ti
 h
al-Ghayb
 
Fakhr al-D
i
n al-R 
a
z
i
(544–606/1149–1209) was not only anaccomplished
 mutakallim
and
 mufassir
3
 
but also an eminentphilosopher and scientist. As we shall see, al-R 
a
zi’s holistically rationalexplication of 
taskh
 i 
 r
is quite sophisticated, rigorous and elegant. Heshows a philosophico-scientific approach to the understanding of Qur
ba
nic verses that can have conceptual and empirical import for re-elucidating the Islamic worldview, or
 ru
b
 yat al-Isl
 a
 m li
b
l-wuj
 u
 d
4
in
 
contemporary intellectual discourse. As expounded by Professor al- Attas, this worldview is “the Islamic vision of reality and truth, which isa metaphysical survey of the visible as well as the invisible worldsincluding the perspective of life as a whole”; or “the vision of thetotality of being and existence projected by Isl
a
m”.
5
 In his
 Maf 
 a
ti
 h
al-Ghayb
, al-R 
a
z
i
gives a metaphysical explanation of  verse 2 of 
 s
 u
 rah al-Ra
c
 d
, in which the sun and the moon are mentionedas being “compelled to be of service” by Allah (
wa sakhkhara al-shamsw
b
l-qamar
).
6
He says that the celestial bodies (
 al-ajr
 a
 m al-falakiyyah
),
 
including the sun, the moon and the stars, are like all other material
3
.
 Mutakallim
, a scholar of Islamic dialectical theology (
 kal
 a
 m
);
 mufassir
,an exegete of the Qur
ba
n.
4
. Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas,
 Prolegomena to the Metaphysics of  Islam: An Exposition of the Fundamental Elements of the Worldview of  Islam
(Kuala Lumpur:
ISTAC
, 1995), p. 1.
5
. Ibid., pp. 1–2.
6
. Mu
h
ammad b. ‘Umar b. al-
H
usayn b. al-
H
asan b.
c
 Al
i
al-Bakr
i
al-Tabaristan
i
Fakhr al-D
i
n al-R 
a
z
i
,
 al-Tafs
 i 
 r al-Kab
 i 
 r
,
 
32 parts in 11 vols. (Beirut: D
a
r I
h
 y
ab
al-Tur
a
th al-
c
 Arab
i
, 1996), 6 (18): 526-7.This work is also known as
 Maf 
 a
t
 ih
al-Ghayb
, which means
 Keys tothe Unseen.

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