We live in the scientifically and technologically advanced world and such advancement of the world does not occur in a day or two, conforming to the idea which exists for long among us that time is an important factor to create a great thing from the proverb, “Rome was not built in a day”. The advancement occurs over the period of time that takes decades, centuries and millennia to reach it and we have the opportunities to confirm it by reviewing timelines of advances in different eras such as rocket, biological, physical, health, communication, religious era etc.. Advances are not only noticeable in science, math and technologies but also in thinking, logic and reasoning covering overall individual and communal knowledge. However, science, math and technologies work in a partnership manner to achieve the goal. There is no doubt that the advancement has provided innumerable benefits to the humanity towards development of human civilization in the world. However, for example, a key advance was the invention of the first liquid-fuelled rocket in 1926 by Robert Goddard in Auburn, Massachusetts. Goddard is considered to be one of the fathers of the modern rocket era. In the span of a few short decades this led to the German V-2 rockets, and NASA’s Saturn V liquid-fuelled rockets which landed the first humans on the Moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, in 1969. This breakthrough event was made possible only for the advancement of science, math and technology. However, NASA’s human space flight to Mars is anticipated in 2035. The Quran informs us that this advancement occurs according to God’s plan to ensure what the humanity need at the right time as no one can attain any knowledge, except as He wills (2:255).
Knowledge is both an individual and communal phenomenon. For the community, knowledge is the sphere of shared information and wisdom that is accepted as valid by the majority of people with access to that knowledge-space. However, here we would like to explore the shifts that occurred in how people created, owned, and believed in shared knowledge spaces as they moved from oral to print and ultimately to digital-networked communication. We also consider the way communication technologies affected the evolution of this knowledge space not only in the way it afforded the broad sharing of knowledge (across time and space) but also in the way it influenced the notion of justifiability and authority over that knowledge.
The Age of Oral or Pre-writing
The creation of symbolic language is widely credited with leading to the first great Information Revolution early in humankind’s history, between one and two million years ago. The development and use of symbolic language allowed humans to actualize and share knowledge outside of the specific here-and-now situation they were in, providing the “essential basis of human consciousness”. The symbolic language allowed humans to think hypothetically, to organize experiences, to conceptualize time, and to plan for the future. It is the basis of human personal, social, cultural, economic, and political structures and underlies all knowledge.This development, therefore, enabled all human achievement. It allowed complex human social organizations to flower in early human cultures that were entirely oral. The shared knowledge space in pre-literate cultures was localized and participatory. All members of the community had the potential to contribute to it in the sense that all members were able to speak and be heard.
The Age of Writing
Oral cultures dominated the early history of humankind, and primary oral cultures saw the development of much of the knowledge that made possible the future flowering of the great human civilizations. These great civilizations grew hand-in-hand with writing, the second great Information Revolution dated about 5000 years ago and the earliest forms of writing were developed in Sumeria.With the development of writing, the nature of knowledge changed dramatically and irrevocably. As humans moved from a sound-based to a vision-based culture, their ways of thought and expression changed. The development of writing, with its use of a codifiable visual medium, created cultures with unique characteristics that conclusively differentiated them from the earlier oral cultures.
Unlike speaking, the characteristics of writing include the freeing of communication from the barriers of space and time, less redundancy and greater planning in communication, and the invention and use of textual cues and recognized conventions of grammar and usage to compensate for the lack of presence (verbal and physical) of another person. Additionally, writing promoted detachment and self-consciousness because writers were able to share their thoughts without being physically present with a specific or known reader. Relatedly, writing encouraged the advance of abstract and analytic thought. Abstract thinking and deductive reasoning developed and became the bases for the development of rhetoric, mathematics, science, and literature. Perhaps most importantly, by preserving knowledge and information, writing enabling recorded human history. Whereas in oral cultures there may have been many differing stories of “how things were,” writing enabled a single history — authored and authorized within a written document.
These changes in the nature of knowledge occurred gradually, and over the course of millennia. Those who possessed the privilege of literacy became the producers and keepers of information; knowledge moved from the localized community to the geographically or temporally wider but smaller community of the educated literate.
The Age of Print
Several millennia after the establishment of chirography and the scribal culture, the nature of Western knowledge changed dramatically with Gutenberg’s printing press, leading to the Third Information Revolution. The mechanization of writing changed the creation and dissemination of information and the scope and content of the shared knowledge space.
Print had profound impacts on social, cultural, political and economic development as the world moved from a chirographic to a print culture from the 15th to the 20th centuries. points out that the print culture represented a unique departure from the chirographic or scribal culture. However, it is important to note a cautionary point made by Eisenstein (1983) that at the time of Gutenberg’s press there was such a big overlap between orality, script, and print that it is hard for us at this removed time to precisely judge when one ended and the other began.
The first major impact of the printing press was to make written text more affordable and to gradually democratize literacy, thus ultimately democratizing knowledge. Concurrently, as books (and in particular, the Bible) became available, there were also religious and political shifts (in the West it was the Reformation) that moved the authority to read (be part of the literate knowledge space) from an elite minority to everyman. The process was slow and did not unfold worldwide until the 20th century. But today we are all absolute products of literacy, subject to the cognitive and expressive characteristics of a literate culture discussed in the previous section. Thus, print facilitated the Scientific Revolution, which led to the Industrial Age, which culminated in the Age of Information.
The Industrial Age
The printing revolution had far-reaching effects on knowledge, forming the basis of the Industrial Revolution. The inventions and products of the Industrial Age further impacted knowledge. During the Industrial Age, information became available cheaply and plentifully. Cheap printed text not only meant that more people had access to knowledge, but that it was economical to tailor it to specific populations. Specialized texts allowed professions to share their knowledge better than they had been able to do under the apprenticeship system.
Publishing houses were created to take advantage of increasingly sophisticated transportation systems to easily produce, control, and distribute knowledge from a central location. Knowledge became something determined and controlled by an expert far away through encapsulation into printed text, while equally controlled by the economic forces represented by publishing houses. Publishers became the new authority in justifying which knowledge was to become part of the shared global knowledge and which was not.
One result of this change in the conceptualization of knowledge occurred as the technologies of mass production and mass transportation commoditized knowledge. The convergence of the paper mills that now used wood pulp to produce cheap paper with the engine-driven printing presses and the trains that now carried daily newspapers, journals and “penny-dreadfuls,” did result in a widespread distribution of text-based knowledge, leading to democratization of information. That commoditization of information opened the door to the Information Age.
The Information (Knowledge) Age
The commoditization, democratization, and arbitration of knowledge were furthered by the developing technologies in the latter half of the 20th century, the computer and digital and cyber technologies. The Information Age has seen an unprecedented explosion in access to, and availability of information. Information is now not bound by the physical restrictions of printed texts, nor is access to information limited by geographical or temporal boundaries. Cyberspace immeasurably extends possibilities for storage and transmission of information, and access to information. Not surprisingly to the authors, the expanded availability of information has not translated to a commensurate increase in knowledge. However, the change in options and technologies for information creation, transmission, and storage certainly impacts our conceptions of knowledge. A survey indicates that the number of people that were online was 1.08 billion (2005), and the Internet in general, and the World Wide Web specifically, have become more than a means of accessing information — they have evolved into a medium for knowledge exchange.
Today, we do not assume, as we did in the past, that the printed text is the critical medium determining knowledge creation and distribution. New technologies cheaply provide a large amount of knowledge to the global community and at the same time maintain the malleability of information and the possibility of contribution by all. Technologies such as wikis are causing us to re-think assumptions about knowledge and how it is created and distributed. The trick for citizens in the Information Age is to be able to decide on the justifiability of the believed truth, just as their counterparts did in the Age of Orality. Thus, with the evolution throughout history of communication technologies that affect our creation, transmission, and storage of knowledge, there will continue to be changes in our conceptualization of knowledge.
The religion belongs to God (3:19) and it started with the descent of human on earth but in a simple form just having specific words to please God for their successful return to God (2:37). Since Adam and Eve were the first humans who populated the world upon their arrival on earth (2:36) came with an assurance of guidance from Him for their descendants (2:38). It has been derived from the Quran that God has sent 20 prophets and unknown number of messengers to guide the humanity in the right path (4:164).
It is found that just after a few generations down of Adam God started to send scripture, which was given to Idris (Enoch), the grandfather of Noah (as mentioned in the Bible) while there is indication in the Quran that Idris was one of the 20 prophets but there is no indication in the Quran that he was the first prophet. He has been mentioned in the Quran 2 times by name, in one occurrence as a saint, prophet and the other occurrence as steadfast, patient:
[19:56] And mention in the scripture Idris. He was a saint, a prophet.
[21:85] Also, Ismail, Idris, Zal-Kifl; all were steadfast, patient.
The next scripture was given to Noah and his era is well-known for the great flood which was considered to be the reversal of creation. However, there is also mention of two important communities Ad (Hud) and Thamoud (Saleh) just after him who also disbelieved their messengers.
[23:23] We sent Noah to his people, saying, “O my people, worship God. You have no other god beside Him. Would you not be righteous?”
[25:37] When the people of Noah disbelieved the messengers, we drowned them, and we set them up as a sign for the people. We have prepared for the transgressors a painful retribution.
[17:3] They are descendants of those whom we carried with Noah; he was an appreciative servant.
[14:9] Have you not heard about those before you – the people of Noah, `Ãd, Thamoud, and others who came after them and known only to God? Their messengers went to them with clear proofs, but they treated them with contempt and said, “We disbelieve in what you are sent with. We are skeptical about your message; full of doubt.”
Abraham is one of the 20 prophets who came after Noah but what made him prominent is the giving of all the religious rites that we practice today appointing him Imam for the people. The Quran teaches us that the religion as decreed for the previous generations (43:10) started formally at the time of prophet Abraham who originally named us Submitters (Al-Mus’limeen in Arabic) (22:78). So, the details of all the religious rites are delivered through prophet Abraham to practice by all the people including all prophets and messengers after him until the end of the world. Hence, it is obligatory for all the people to practice the religion of Abraham (the religion he practiced), and the believers who practice the religious rites as given to Abraham without slightest modification or change to those rites from their end to redeem their souls belong to one family (16:123, 22:78, 49:10):
[2:124] Recall that Abraham was put to the test by his Lord, through certain commands, and he fulfilled them. (God) said, “I am appointing you an imam for the people.” He said, “And also my descendants?” He said, “My covenant does not include the transgressors.”
[16:123] Then we inspired you (Muhammad) to follow the religion of Abraham, the monotheist; he never was an idol worshiper.
[22:78] You shall strive for the cause of God as you should strive for His cause. He has chosen you and has placed no hardship on you in practicing your religion – the religion of your father Abraham. He is the one who named you “Submitters” originally. Thus, the messenger shall serve as a witness among you, and you shall serve as witnesses among the people. Therefore, you shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and hold fast to God; He is your Lord, the best Lord and the best Supporter.
[42:13] He decreed for you the same religion decreed for Noah, and what we inspired to you, and what we decreed for Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: “You shall uphold this one religion, and do not divide it.” The idol worshipers will greatly resent what you invite them to do. God redeems to Himself whomever He wills; He guides to Himself only those who totally submit.
[43:28] This example (of Abraham) was rendered an everlasting lesson for subsequent generations; perhaps they redeem their souls.
Moses and Aaron
Both Aaron and Moses were chosen as prophets and were given the same scripture. They were sent with great signs of God to Pharaoh, a real tyrant. The people of Moses demanded to see God physically (2:55). Torah is composed of 5 books revealed to a number of Jewish prophets as there is no indication in the Quran that Torah was given to Moses.
[2:53] Recall that we gave Moses scripture and the statute book, that you may be guided.
[25:35] We have given Moses the scripture, and appointed his brother Aaron to be his assistant.
[7:103] After (those messengers,) we sent Moses with our signs to Pharaoh and his people, but they transgressed. Note the consequences for the wicked.
[10:75] Then we sent after them Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh and his group, with our proofs. But they turned arrogant; and were transgressing people.
[10:83] None believed with Moses except a few of his people, while fearing the tyranny of Pharaoh and his elders. Surely, Pharaoh was much too arrogant on earth, and a real tyrant.
David and Solomon
The history of David and his son, Solomon has been mentioned in the Quran. Both David and Solomon were prophets and obedient servants of God. David was given the Psalms (known as Zubur to us). David defeated Goliath’s troops and killed him who was a giant of Philistine warrior while Sheba submitted to God with Solomon without fighting by God’s leave. God gave both of them wisdom, knowledge and kingship. He blessed David and committed mountains and birds to submit to Him with him while He blessed Solomon and gave him an army of Jinns, humans and birds including the control over the wind. Here are the verses of the Quran that have stated their history only mentioning them by their names:
[2:251] They defeated them by God’s leave, and David killed Goliath. God gave him kingship and wisdom, and taught him as He willed. If it were not for God’s support of some people against others, there would be chaos on earth. But God showers His grace upon the people.
[4:163] We have inspired you, as we inspired Noah and the prophets after him. And we inspired Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, the Patriarchs, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon. And we gave David the Psalms.
[21:78] And David and Solomon, when they once ruled with regard to someone’s crop that was destroyed by another’s sheep, we witnessed their judgment.
[21:79] We granted Solomon the correct understanding, though we endowed both of them with wisdom and knowledge. We committed the mountains to serve David in glorifying(God), as well as the birds. This is what we did.
[21:81] For Solomon, we committed the wind gusting and blowing at his disposal. He could direct it as he wished, to whatever land he chose, and we blessed such land for him. We are fully aware of all things.
[27:16] Solomon was David’s heir. He said, “O people, we have been endowed with understanding the language of the birds, and all kinds of things have been bestowed upon us. This is indeed a real blessing.”
Jesus was the 19th prophet who was given 18th scripture, Injeel (Gospel) compiled as New Testament of the Bible but his birth was the exceptional event in the human history to make him a portent for the whole world. His mother’s virginity confirms this unusual event as she was conceived within herself by the Holy Spirit (the Gabriel). It is noteworthy that the birth of Jesus was as same as the creation of Adam (3:59), which has mathematical confirmation as well while both Adam and Jesus have been mentioned 25 times by name in the Quran. It is also noteworthy that he was crucified to kill him by the disbelievers.
[19:30] (The infant spoke and) said, “I am a servant of God. He has given me the scripture, and has appointed me a prophet.
[19:31] “He made me blessed wherever I go, and enjoined me to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and the obligatory charity (Zakat) for as long as I live.”
[4:157] And for claiming that they killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of God. In fact, they never killed him, they never crucified him – they were made to think that they did. All factions who are disputing in this matter are full of doubt concerning this issue. They possess no knowledge; they only conjecture. For certain, they never killed him.
[3:52] When Jesus sensed their disbelief, he said, “Who are my supporters towards God?” The disciples said, “We are God’s supporters; we believe in God, and bear witness that we are submitters.”
[3:55] Thus, God said, “O Jesus, I am terminating your life, raising you to Me, and ridding you of the disbelievers. I will exalt those who follow you above those who disbelieve, till the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me is the ultimate destiny of all of you, then I will judge among you regarding your disputes.
Muhammad was the 20th and the last prophet who was given the Quran. The Quran informs that Muhammad, the soul was taken to the highest Heaven to be given the Quran (2:185, 17:1, 44:3, 97:1). Then the Gabriel brought it down piece by piece to put it from heart to his memory. Thus, the revelation of the Quran has occurred in 2 different ways: the whole Quran has been placed into the soul of Muhammad on the day of his journey to the highest Heaven and then the Holy Spirit (Gabriel) gradually brought it down to put it in his memory. Hence, the Holy and Honest Spirit (Gabriel) brought it down piece by piece from God and passed it to the Prophet while the Honest Prophet (68:4) memorized and read it to the people, which took place over a period of about 23 years, from 610 to 632 A.D. to complete the delivery of the whole Quran (17:106, 26:193). Thus, God has maintained the quality of the delivered message with the utmost and absolute perfection and purity of the message. In addition, He has provided us with mechanism in the text of the revealed message to detect any distortion and remove it if found any from His message to purify it (15:9). With the revelation of Quran all our laws and teachings are constituted. Since both the Gabriel and the Prophet are directly connected with the revelation of the Quran, anyone who disbelieves and refuses the Honest Gabriel and Prophet has to face the consequences (4:136, 48:13).
[33:40] Muhammad was not the father of any man among you. He was a messenger of God and the final prophet. God is fully aware of all things.
[5:3] …Today, I have completed your religion, perfected My blessing upon you, and I have decreed Submission as the religion for you. …
[16:123] Then we inspired you (Muhammad) to follow the religion of Abraham, the monotheist; he never was an idol worshiper.
Rashad is a messenger of covenant as prophesied in Quran (3:81, 33:7) and Bible (Malachi 3:1-2) supported by the Quran’s mathematical code, number 19 found in the Quran (74:30), which is the God’s system from the past (7:75) and this 19-based physical evidence of the Quran was revealed in 1974 exactly after 1406 (19×74) lunar years of the revelation of the Quran. Now we know that the Quran is mathematically composed and 19 is its common denominator which is one of the great miracles (74:35). The code 19 provides a strong evidence for the existence of God and for the authenticity and awesomeness of the Quran. While the mathematical miracle is at work to perpetually authenticate Quran, our generation and the future ones are blessed with the knowledge to understand that every single letter and word in Quran is precisely and deliberately chosen and counted along with the physical proofs of chronological order of the revelation and physical composition of the Quran. This code helps us to remove 2 false verses of Quran inserted just after 19 years of the death of prophet Muhammad including physical verification of many misconceptions, superstitions added to Islam over the period of time and misinterpretation of many verses of Quran. The people of the world get the pure Quran and the mechanism to prevent it from further distortion in the future. All our religious rites given through prophet Abraham has been confirmed using mathematical code to avoid all kinds of idol worshipping discarding all additions that have been added from time to time after the death of prophet. The crucial message Rashad brought with him is to advocate people to worship God alone as well as to follow the Quran alone upholding only one religion, submission (Islam in Arabic) given by God (3:19, 3:83, 3:85). However, he has been killed in 1990 by the disbelievers that made him portent for the whole world when we are about to forget the past event of killing God’s messenger (2:87) and the details of his killing have been recorded in the court’s decision to archive a single version of the event for the present and subsequent generations until the end of the world.
[21:2] When a reminder comes to them from their Lord, that is new, they listen to it without paying attention.
[72:27] Only to a messenger that He chooses, does He reveal from the past and the future, specific news.
[13:32] Messengers before you have been ridiculed; I permitted the disbelievers to carry on, then I punished them. How terrible was My retribution!
[7:75] The arrogant leaders among his people said to the common people who believed, “How do you know that Sãleh is sent by his Lord?” They said, “The message he brought has made us believers.”
[2:87]…Is it not a fact that every time a messenger went to you with anything you disliked, your ego caused you to be arrogant? Some of them you rejected, and some of them you killed.
Everything is under full control of God Almighty (3:109, 4:126 and many other verses). The evolution that has occurred in any areas (disciplines) took place according to His plan and will. There is no doubt that a large extent on technological advances that make possible of scientific advances on new ideas, conceptual leaps and paradigm shifts had also occurred under His knowledge. With the evolution throughout history of communication technologies that affect our creation, transmission, and storage of knowledge, there will continue to be changes in our conceptualization of knowledge. Now the believable truth of a piece of information is justified by the proprietary search algorithms of Google, and no longer solely based on the say-so of a book or journal publisher.
The changes either in communication or religion at all its stages has been part of a bigger plan of God that has culminated in the unveiling of the mathematical miracle of the Quran to provide us an effective tool to purify it removing any distortion and man-made errors from it making it possible to have one standardized edition of the Quran for all to be led to the right path. Thus, the shift on conceptualization of knowledge, mathematics, science and technologies over the long period of time that we call the evolution history is, in fact, the God’s teachings in stages to the true believers of God what we need to fulfill our need at right time at right way at right place, and we will not be asked about what our previous generations of people had done or vice-versa as every community has received specific rules, laws and teachings from God.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless