Allah tells us in the Qur’an that He has subjected the world for our use. He opens up for us the ways by which we set right our worldly affairs. The world is not made inaccessible to us. It is not a place of bewilderment. Allah encourages us to use our ingenuity and make discoveries about the world. He blesses us for doing so.
This is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us to say when we leave the mosque: “O Allah! Forgive me my sins and open to me the gates of Your bounty.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhī (713) and Sunan Ibn Mājah (771)]
This supplication is appropriate for departing from the mosque, since we are leaving the place of formal worship and returning to the market or our homes or our place of employment to seek Allah’s bounty.
Allah says about the Friday prayers: “O you who believe! When the call is made for prayer on Friday, hasten to the remembrance of Allah and leave off trade; that is better for you, if you but knew.” [Sūrah al-Jumu`ah: 9]
Then in the very next verse, He says: “But when the prayer is over, disperse in the land and seek of Allah's bounty, and remember Allah often, that you may be successful.” [Sūrah al-Jumu`ah: 10]
Likewise, Allah says about the pilgrimage to Mecca: “There is no blame on you in seeking the bounty of your Lord, but when you hasten on from Arafat, remember Allah.” [Sūrah al-Baqarah: 198]
Allah makes clear to us in these verses the difference between seeking His mercy and seeking His bounty. In the context we are considering, Allah’s bounty refers to the good of this world, what we ask for when we leave from the mosque: “Open to me the gates of Your bounty.”
This gives us a positive view of the world. Our worldly lives are not an obstacle for the next world, but rather the field wherein we sow the seeds for the harvest of Hereafter. People are not divided into those who seek after this world and those who aspire for the next. Instead, they are divided into those who pursue only the life of this world and those who pursue the good of both this world and the next – and therefore attain both.
One way Allah has made "all that is in the heavens and on Earth" of service to humanity is that He has given us the ability to discover the laws of nature and how to harness that knowledge for our benefit. Our material advancement and scientific progress bear witness to this. Humanity has made startling advances that have overturned long-cherished assumptions about the natural world and changed our lives in fundamental ways. Humanity has ventured into space. Advancements in communications technologies have revolutionized the way we live. The genome has been mapped and the power of the sub-atomic world has been harnessed. Glory be to Allah who has taught humanity what they did not know before.
These scientific achievements are but a manifestation of what Allah has opened up for us. If humanity would only recognize the connection to their Lord in all of this, then scientific knowledge would be a true extension of the divine message that Allah sent to His Messengers. It would then most certainly serve human interests and never be a source of harm.
What is the need for science to provide us with the means to make nuclear missiles and other dangerous weapons which can kill tens of thousands or more people at one time and cause harmful genetic mutations in the children of the survivors? What value are scientific discoveries when they are abused and applied in ways that are harmful to people or marginalize their humanity? Knowledge has a moral imperative as well.