Through divine revelation, Muhammad (peace be upun him) invited people to use their minds, to discover the universe around them and to acquire knowledge. He confirmed that Allah rewards such deeds at a time when scientists and intellectuals in other civilizations were suffering persecution and accusations of heresy and blasphemy, being terrorized in prisons, tortured and often killed.
The first verse revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upun him) was:
"Recite in the name of your Lord who created." (96:1)
Allah also revealed:
"Say, 'Are those who know equal to those who do not know?' Only they will remember who are people of understanding." (39:9)
"Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees." (58:11)
And further, the scripture revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upun him) alludes to a number of scientific facts. This is part of its miraculous nature since such information could not have been authored by an unlettered Prophet (peace be upun him) who could neither read nor write. In truth, it was impossible that he could have even known them at that time – such facts as the existence of an invisible barrier between bodies of fresh and salt water, the immensity of the stars and the three layers of darkness in a woman's womb. These and many other facts have been registered by scholars as being among the miracles of the Qur'an, and have been assisted in this by non-Muslim scientists. They are available in publications, on cassettes, etc. Additionally, the Prophet (peace be upun him) mentioned some others, such as the formation of the fetus in the mother's womb.
How, then, is it possible for anyone to think that a prophet to whom God revealed such information could have been against scholarship or opposed scholars? Knowledge spread during the centuries of Islamic civilization only because the religion of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upun him) encouraged and advanced it. Moreover, it considers a whole community blameworthy if it neglects a branch of knowledge required by its members.
In contrast, and centuries after Muhammad's (peace be upun him) mission, we find many scientists and pioneers in scholarship condemned by the Church, accused of opposing the Lord's will and of unbelief as a result of their discoveries and scientific findings, as was the case of Galileo and others before him. Their work was not acknowledged until many lives had been lost and many free thinkers had been imprisoned, something that never happened in the Islamic civilization established by Muhammad (peace be upun him), the Prophet of Mercy.