Thousands acquired knowledge under Imam Jaafar Sadiq (as) including the eminent scientist Jabir bin Hayyan. Some of Imam Sadiq’s theories have been proven to be true more than a thousand years later, confirmed by science in the last few hundred years once science developed the needed tools like the telescope.
Two examples given below are from the book “The Great Muslim Scientist and Philosopher”, an English translation by Kaukab Ali Mirza of the famous Persian book “Maghze Mutafakkir Jehan Shia”, which is a translation from a French thesis published by The Research Committee of Strasbourg, France, about the contribution made by Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (A.S.) to science, philosophy, literature and irfan (gnosticism). For more please click here
Discovery of Hydrogen
According to the Western world, the greatest miracle of the Imam was his revelation of the presence of oxygen in the air… Imam Baqar had said about the presence of hydrogen in water and that water can be turned into fire, as hydrogen was a highly inflammable gas. The discovery of these two gases depended upon their separation from air and water….. Pure oxygen is available in the air, but pure hydrogen is not available anywhere. Hence hydrogen could not be obtained till sufficient power was developed and water was hydrolysed. The world amazes as to how both our Imams could reveal the presence of hydrogen in air which was a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas and does not exist freely in nature. They could not have identified this gas and found out its properties without separating it from water through the process of hydrolysis, which was impossible without a strong current of electricity….The first person who was able to separate hydrogen from water in modern times was the English scientist Henry Cavendish, who died in 1810. …He was also able to confirm that hydrogen gas was highly inflammable as a result of a freakish accident that he had while doing his experiments, which resulted in his house catching fire. It was eventually Lavoisier, the French chemist, who gave the name of hydrogen to this gas…
Origin of the Universe.
When modern scientists read this theory they confirm that it totally agrees with the modern theory, which has not yet become a law of physics. However, it has the unique distinction that it was enunciated 12 centuries ago. The theory reads as follows ” The universe was born out of a tiny particle, which had two opposite poles. That particle produced an atom. In this way matter came into being. Then the matter diversified. This diversification was caused by the density or rarity of the atoms.” The most significant point in this theory is the description of two opposite poles. The importance of this point was realised when the presence of two opposite poles was proved by modern science. Today it is an undisputed fact in atomic science and electronics.
Another of his interesting theory was that the universe is not always in one and the same condition. In one periods it expands and in another it contracts….This phenomenon was considered for centuries as inconceivable and the theory remained quite incomprehensible to the leading astronomers. After the 18th century more and more powerful telescopes were built and astronomers could see beyond our solar system. It was in 1960 that it was observed and confirmed by astronomers that distances between our galaxy and the neighbouring galaxies are increasing. These observations have provided sufficient proof that the universe is in a state of expansion. We do not know when this expansion started. The discovery of black holes has proved true his other statement that the universe sometimes contracts.The Imam also stated that everything in the universe including inanimate objects, is always in motion although we may not see it….This theory, which was unacceptable in his time, is a scientific fact today.
For more pearls of wisdom from Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (`a), narrated by his companion Mufaddal ibn `Umar .As recorded by ‘Allamah Majlisi (d. 1110 AH) in Bihar al-‘Anwar, volume 3, page 57, chapter (bab) 4, tradition (riwayah) no. 29. please click :Tradition of Mufaddal
Imam Jaafar Sadiq’s (a.s.) amazing scientific gems need wide publicity. Not so much for trumpeting our past but in order to motivate our youth into becoming top scientists and thinkers. Can we, who pride ourselves as belonging to the Jaafari school of thought, be content with less?
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