Islam and science

Picasso

Picasso

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
Islam and science
The road to renewal

After centuries of stagnation science is making a comeback in the Islamic world


THE sleep has been long and deep. In 2005 Harvard University produced more scientific papers than 17 Arabic-speaking countries combined. The world’s 1.6 billion Muslims have produced only two Nobel laureates in chemistry and physics. Both moved to the West: the only living one, the chemist Ahmed Hassan Zewail, is at the California Institute of Technology. By contrast Jews, outnumbered 100 to one by Muslims, have won 79. The 57 countries in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference spend a puny 0.81% of GDP on research and development, about a third of the world average. America, which has the world’s biggest science budget, spends 2.9%; Israel lavishes 4.4%.

Many blame Islam’s supposed innate hostility to science. Some universities seem keener on prayer than study. Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, for example, has three mosques on campus, with a fourth planned, but no bookshop. Rote learning rather than critical thinking is the hallmark of higher education in many countries. The Saudi government supports books for Islamic schools such as “The Unchallengeable Miracles of the Qur’an: The Facts That Can’t Be Denied By Science” suggesting an inherent conflict between belief and reason.

Many universities are timid about courses that touch even tangentially on politics or look at religion from a non-devotional standpoint. Pervez Hoodbhoy, a renowned Pakistani nuclear scientist, introduced a course on science and world affairs, including Islam’s relationship with science, at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, one of the country’s most progressive universities. Students were keen, but Mr Hoodbhoy’s contract was not renewed when it ran out in December; for no proper reason, he says. (The university insists that the decision had nothing to do with the course content.)

But look more closely and two things are clear. A Muslim scientific awakening is under way. And the roots of scientific backwardness lie not with religious leaders, but with secular rulers, who are as stingy with cash as they are lavish with controls over independent thought.

The long view

The caricature of Islam’s endemic backwardness is easily dispelled. Between the eighth and the 13th centuries, while Europe stumbled through the dark ages, science thrived in Muslim lands. The Abbasid caliphs showered money on learning. The 11th century “Canon of Medicine” by Avicenna (pictured, with modern equipment he would have relished) was a standard medical text in Europe for hundreds of years. In the ninth century Muhammad al-Khwarizmi laid down the principles of algebra, a word derived from the name of his book, “Kitab al-Jabr”. Al-Hasan Ibn al-Haytham transformed the study of light and optics. Abu Raihan al-Biruni, a Persian, calculated the earth’s circumference to within 1%. And Muslim scholars did much to preserve the intellectual heritage of ancient Greece; centuries later it helped spark Europe’s scientific revolution.

Not only were science and Islam compatible, but religion could even spur scientific innovation. Accurately calculating the beginning of Ramadan (determined by the sighting of the new moon) motivated astronomers. The Hadith (the sayings of Muhammad) exhort believers to seek knowledge, “even as far as China”.

These scholars’ achievements are increasingly celebrated. Tens of thousands flocked to “1001 Inventions”, a touring exhibition about the golden age of Islamic science, in the Qatari capital, Doha, in the autumn. More importantly, however, rulers are realising the economic value of scientific research and have started to splurge accordingly. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, which opened in 2009, has a $20 billion endowment that even rich American universities would envy.

Foreigners are already on their way there. Jean Fréchet, who heads research, is a French chemist tipped to win a Nobel prize. The Saudi newcomer boasts research collaborations with the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and with Imperial College, London. The rulers of neighbouring Qatar is bumping up research spending from 0.8% to a planned 2.8% of GDP: depending on growth, that could reach $5 billion a year. Research spending in Turkey increased by over 10% each year between 2005 and 2010, by which year its cash outlays were twice Norway’s.

The tide of money is bearing a fleet of results. In the 2000 to 2009 period Turkey’s output of scientific papers rose from barely 5,000 to 22,000; with less cash, Iran’s went up 1,300, to nearly 15,000. Quantity does not imply quality, but the papers are getting better, too. Scientific journals, and not just the few based in the Islamic world, are citing these papers more frequently. A study in 2011 by Thomson Reuters, an information firm, shows that in the early 1990s other publishers cited scientific papers from Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey (the most prolific Muslim countries) four times less often than the global average. By 2009 it was only half as often. In the category of best-regarded mathematics papers, Iran now performs well above average, with 1.7% of its papers among the most-cited 1%, with Egypt and Saudi Arabia also doing well. Turkey scores highly on engineering.

Science and technology-related subjects, with their clear practical benefits, do best. Engineering dominates, with agricultural sciences not far behind. Medicine and chemistry are also popular. Value for money matters. Fazeel Mehmood Khan, who recently returned to Pakistan after doing a PhD in Germany on astrophysics and now works at the Government College University in Lahore, was told by his university’s vice-chancellor to stop chasing wild ideas (black holes, in his case) and do something useful.

Science is even crossing the region’s deepest divide. In 2000 SESAME, an international physics laboratory with the Middle East’s first particle accelerator, was set up in Jordan. It is modelled on CERN, Europe’s particle-physics laboratory, which was created to bring together scientists from wartime foes. At SESAME Israeli boffins work with colleagues from places such as Iran and the Palestinian territories.

By the book

Science of the kind practised at SESAME throws up few challenges to Muslim doctrine (and in many cases is so abstruse that religious censors would struggle to understand it). But biology—especially with an evolutionary angle—is different. Many Muslims are troubled by the notion that humans share a common ancestor with apes. Research published in 2008 by Salman Hameed of Hampshire College in Massachusetts, a Pakistani astronomer who now studies Muslim attitudes to science, found that fewer than 20% in Indonesia, Malaysia or Pakistan believed in Darwin’s theories. In Egypt it was just 8%.

Yasir Qadhi, an American chemical engineer turned cleric (who has studied in both the United States and Saudi Arabia), wrestled with this issue at a London conference on Islam and evolution this month. He had no objection to applying evolutionary theory to other lifeforms. But he insisted that Adam and Eve did not have parents and did not evolve from other species. Any alternative argument is “scripturally indefensible,” he said. Some, especially in the diaspora, conflate human evolution with atheism: rejecting it becomes a defining part of being a Muslim. (Some Christians take a similar approach to the Bible.)

Though such disbelief may be couched in religious terms, culture and politics play a bigger role, says Mr Hameed. Poor school education in many countries leaves minds open to misapprehension. A growing Islamic creationist movement is at work too. A controversial Turkish preacher who goes by the name of Harun Yahya is in the forefront. His website spews pamphlets and books decrying Darwin. Unlike his American counterparts, however, he concedes that the universe is billions of years old (not 6,000 years).

But the barrier is not insuperable. Plenty of Muslim biologists have managed to reconcile their faith and their work. Fatimah Jackson, a biological anthropologist who converted to Islam, quotes Theodosius Dobzhansky, one of the founders of genetics, saying that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”. Science describes how things change; Islam, in a larger sense, explains why, she says.

Others take a similar line. “The Koran is not a science textbook,” says Rana Dajani, a Jordanian molecular biologist. “It provides people with guidelines as to how they should live their lives.” Interpretations of it, she argues, can evolve with new scientific discoveries. Koranic verses about the creation of man, for example, can now be read as providing support for evolution.

Other parts of the life sciences, often tricky for Christians, have proved unproblematic for Muslims. In America researchers wanting to use embryonic stem cells (which, as their name suggests, must be taken from human embryos, usually spares left over from fertility treatments) have had to battle pro-life Christian conservatives and a federal ban on funding for their field. But according to Islam, the soul does not enter the fetus until between 40 and 120 days after conception—so scientists at the Royan Institute in Iran are able to carry out stem-cell research without attracting censure.

But the kind of freedom that science demands is still rare in the Muslim world. With the rise of political Islam, including dogmatic Salafists who espouse a radical version of Islam, in such important countries as Egypt, some fear that it could be eroded further still. Others, however, remain hopeful. Muhammad Morsi, Egypt’s president, is a former professor of engineering at Zagazig University, near Cairo. He has a PhD in materials science from the University of Southern California (his dissertation was entitled “High-Temperature Electrical Conductivity and Defect Structure of Donor-Doped Al2O{-3}”). He has promised that his government will spend more on research.

Released from the restrictive control of the former regimes, scientists in Arab countries see a chance for progress. Scientists in Tunisia say they are already seeing promising reforms in the way university posts are filled. People are being elected, rather than appointed by the regime. The political storms shaking the Middle East could promote not only democracy, but revive scientific freethinking, too.

 
  • Advertisement
  • Picasso

    Picasso

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    Who’s Afraid of Arabic Numerals?
    Before there was a Western civilization, there was Islamic civilization.

    By Mustafa Akyol

    Should Americans, as part of their school curriculum, learn Arabic numerals?

    CivicScience, a Pittsburgh-based research firm, put that question to some 3,200 Americans recently in a poll seemingly about mathematics, but the outcome was a measure of students’ attitudes toward the Arabworld. Some 56 percent of the respondents said, “No.” Fifteen percent had no opinion.

    Those results, which quickly inspired more than 24,000 tweets, might have been sharply different had the pollsters explained what “Arabic numerals” are.

    There are 10 of them: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

    That fact prompted John ****, the chief executive of the polling company, to label the finding “the saddest and funniest testament to American bigotry we’ve ever seen in our data.”

    Presumably, the Americans who opposed the teaching of Arabic numerals (Republicans in greater proportion than Democrats) lacked the basic knowledge of what they are and also had some aversion to anything described as “Arabic.”

    Which is indeed sad and funny — and also a reason to pause and ask a simple question: Why is the world’s most efficient numerical system, also standard in Western civilization, called “Arabic numerals”?

    The answer traces to seventh-century India, where the numerical system, which included the revolutionary formulation of zero, was developed. Some two centuries later, it moved to the Muslim world, whose magnificent capital, Baghdad, was then the world’s best city in which to pursue an intellectual career. There, a Persian Muslim scholar named Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi developed a mathematical discipline called al-jabir, which literally means “reunion of broken parts.”

    In the early 13th century, an Italian mathematician named Fibonacci, who studied calculation with an Arab master in Muslim North Africa, found the numerals and their decimal system much more practical than the Roman system, and soon popularized them in Europe, where the figures became known as “Arabic numerals.”

    Meanwhile, the discipline of al-jabir became “algebra,” and al-Khwarizmi’s name evolved into “algorithm.”

    Today, many words in English have Arabic roots; a short list would include admiral, alchemy, alcove, alembic, alkali, almanac, lute, mask, muslin, nadir, sugar, syrup, tariff and zenith. Some scholars think that even the word “check,” which you get from a bank, comes from the Arabic word sakk, which means “written document.” (Its plural, sukuk, is still used in Islamic banking to refer to bonds.)

    There is a reason these Western terms have Arabic roots: Between the eighth and 12th centuries, the Muslim world, whose lingua franca was Arabic, was much more creative than Christian Europe, which was then in the late Middle Ages. Muslims were the pioneers in mathematics, geometry, physics, astronomy, biology, medicine, architecture, trade and, most important, philosophy. To be sure, Muslims had inherited these sciences from other cultures, such as the ancient Greeks, Eastern Christians, Jews and Hindus. Still, they advanced those disciplines with their own innovations and transmitted them to Europe.

    Why delve so deep into this much-forgotten history? Because there are lessons for both Muslims and non-Muslims.

    Among the latter are Western conservatives, who are passionate about protecting the legacy of Western civilization, which they often define as exclusively “Judeo-Christian.” Of course, Western civilization does have a great accomplishment worth preserving: the Enlightenment, which gave us freedom of thought, freedom of religion, the abolition of slavery, equality before the law, and democracy.

    Those values should not be sacrificed to the postmodern tribalism called “identity politics.” But Western conservatives retreat to tribalism themselves when they deny the wisdom in, and the contributions of, sources that are not Judeo-Christian. The third great Abrahamic religion, Islam, also had a hand in the making of the modern world, and honoring that legacy would help establish a more constructive dialogue with Muslims.

    Of course, we Muslims ourselves have a big question to answer: Why was our civilization once so creative, and why have we lost that golden age?

    Some Muslims find a simple answer in piety and the lack thereof, thinking that decline came when Muslims turned “sinful.” Others assume that the early majesty can be traced to mighty leaders, whose reincarnations they hope to see again. Some find solace in conspiracy theories that blame enemies outside and “traitors” within.

    Here is a more realistic explanation: The early Islamic civilization was creative because it was open-minded. At least some Muslims had the urge to learn from other civilizations. There was some room for free speech, which was extraordinary for its time. That allowed the work of towering Greek philosophers such as Aristotle to be translated and discussed, theologians of different stripes to speak their minds, and scholars to find independent patronage. From the 12th century onward, however, a more uniform and less rational form of Islam was imposed by despotic caliphs and sultans. So Muslim thought turned insular, repetitive and incurious.

    By the 17th century, in Muslim India, Ahmad al-Sirhindi, a prominent scholar also known as Imam Rabbani, was marking the dogmatic turn when he condemned all “philosophers” and their “stupid” disciplines. “Among their codified and systemic sciences is geometry that is totally useless,” he wrote. “The sum of three angles in a triangle is two right angles — what benefit does it have?”

    Exactly why this tragic closing of the Muslim mind happened, and how it can be overturned, is the biggest question facing Muslims today. We should not lose more time through denials and blame games.

    At the same time, however, others should not make the mistake of judging Islamic civilization by looking at its worst products, many of which are now rampant. It is a great civilization that has made significant contributions to humanity, especially the West.

    That is why you dial your phone using “Arabic numerals.” And that is just the tip of a big iceberg of ideas and values shared between Islam and the West.


    NYTimes
     
    Indie

    Indie

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    Before there was a Western civilization, there was Islamic civilization.

    No there wasn't.

    Pagan Western civilization existed thousands of years before islam saw the day. Christian Western civilization existed hundreds of years before islam saw the day.

    As for Arabic numerals, they have nothing to do with islam, either. They originate from India; again, before islam saw the day.

    Arab mathematicians did adopt them, and added fractions and the decimal point.

    And European scientists (including a future Pope), as well as the European printing press, are the reason they spread throughout the world.

    Th earliest existing copies of the Arab mathematician's books are in Latin.

     
    Last edited:
    Indie

    Indie

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    P.S. The article claims that Arabic numerals arrived in Europe in the 13th century. In fact, by the year 976, they were already being used there, and books written about them.

    This means it took around 150 years for them to be transferred from Arabs to Europeans. Just like it took around 125 years for them to be transferred from Indians to Arabs.

    Given the means of transport and technology of the time, it makes perfect sense. Arabs being closer to India got introduced to them first, and they gradually moved West.
     
    Abotareq93

    Abotareq93

    Legendary Member
    No there wasn't.

    Pagan Western civilization existed thousands of years before islam saw the day. Christian Western civilization existed hundreds of years before islam saw the day.

    As for Arabic numerals, they have nothing to do with islam, either. They originate from India; again, before islam saw the day.

    Arab mathematicians did adopt them, and added fractions and the decimal point.

    And European scientists (including a future Pope), as well as the European printing press, are the reason they spread throughout the world.

    Th earliest existing copies of the Arab mathematician's books are in Latin.

    Arab mathematicians? How many can we name?
     
    Abotareq93

    Abotareq93

    Legendary Member
    Wikipedia names four, one of which was Persian, and another Jewish.
    That is what I was trying to say; the Persian one is the son of the Persian Civilization which has nothing to do with Islam, in fact, it was destroyed by Islam. As for the Jewish one, he was Jewish not Muslim, so, why would he be considered part of the Islamic Civilization?
     
    Indie

    Indie

    Legendary Member
    Orange Room Supporter
    That is what I was trying to say; the Persian one is the son of the Persian Civilization which has nothing to do with Islam, in fact, it was destroyed by Islam. As for the Jewish one, he was Jewish not Muslim, so, why would he be considered part of the Islamic Civilization?
    Because they have to embellish their history.
     
    Abotareq93

    Abotareq93

    Legendary Member
    Because they have to embellish their history.
    Yes, it is like putting the following slogan: sewage smells perfume and spending centuries trying to prove it.
     
    Dark Angel

    Dark Angel

    Legendary Member
    a significant portion of those polled did not reject the arabic numerals out of racism/hatred, they simply did not know what arabic numerals are and did not feel the need to learn a new set of numerals. no one in the western world is ready nor willing to forfeit the numerical system because it was associated with arabs at a certain time.

    is there a need to wonder how the result of that poll would come back if it was ran it in the arab and islamic world today? these results would be significantly more telling.
     
    Rafidi

    Rafidi

    Legendary Member
    Arab mathematicians? How many can we name?
    I do not want to turn this into a religious debate. But there is something I have repeatedly observed about Christian bigots:

    1. They downplay the role of Islam in spreading Arabic/Muslim civilization.
    2. They even claim pagan Makkah was a flourishing civilization that was admirable.
    3. They downplay the role of Arabians and Muslims and the facilitation and encouragement of the Islamic faith to spread knowledge and the sciences.
    4. They portray Arabians after Islam as barbaric and Arabians before Islam as gentle doves.
    5. They disconnect the achievements of early Muslim scientists from Islam and Arabians, and attribute them solely to their conquered civilizations.

    Yet, their very own existence to this day is thanks to the tolerance, no matter how miniscule, of these very Arabians they hate on. If they were as brutish and barbaric as the Christian Arab bigots want to paint them, you won't have seen the light of the day to display your mental complexes and the outright hatred you narrate centuries later.

    It also baffles one that the Arabians, who are depicted in the most despicable ways could conquer Egypt, Persia and the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine). With all their sophistication, the "barbaric and good for nothing Arabians" trampled over the heads of your ancestors and held you in chains and ruled over you. And had it not being for the atom shred of mercy, and tolerance you won't have made it. You were conquered. But the question is how did these barbarians do it? At least, you would need superior weapons and fighting skills. But no credit is granted to the Arabians by the bigots. The hatred is understandable. But it is history and you cannot rewrite history no matter how hard your try. If you have so much deep seated and historical hatred, why not leave? Why coexist with those who follow the very religion of your conquerors and their genes? In fact, you yourself share Arabian genes. You're as much indigenous to lands out of Arabia as the Muslims are. DNA studies have proved that. Lebanese are said to be 44% of Arabian ancestry. In fact Lebanese Muslims happen to be more indigenous to Lebanon than Lebanese Christians. Your problem is religion. That's your entire complex in expressing hatred for your ancient masters. But still, if you have this much deep seated hatred, why not leave?
     
    Mockinggbird

    Mockinggbird

    New Member
    I do not want to turn this into a religious debate. But there is something I have repeatedly observed about Christian bigots:

    1. They downplay the role of Islam in spreading Arabic/Muslim civilization.
    2. They even claim pagan Makkah was a flourishing civilization that was admirable.
    3. They downplay the role of Arabians and Muslims and the facilitation and encouragement of the Islamic faith to spread knowledge and the sciences.
    4. They portray Arabians after Islam as barbaric and Arabians before Islam as gentle doves.
    5. They disconnect the achievements of early Muslim scientists from Islam and Arabians, and attribute them solely to their conquered civilizations.

    Yet, their very own existence to this day is thanks to the tolerance, no matter how miniscule, of these very Arabians they hate on. If they were as brutish and barbaric as the Christian Arab bigots want to paint them, you won't have seen the light of the day to display your mental complexes and the outright hatred you narrate centuries later.

    It also baffles one that the Arabians, who are depicted in the most despicable ways could conquer Egypt, Persia and the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine). With all their sophistication, the "barbaric and good for nothing Arabians" trampled over the heads of your ancestors and held you in chains and ruled over you. And had it not being for the atom shred of mercy, and tolerance you won't have made it. You were conquered. But the question is how did these barbarians do it? At least, you would need superior weapons and fighting skills. But no credit is granted to the Arabians by the bigots. The hatred is understandable. But it is history and you cannot rewrite history no matter how hard your try. If you have so much deep seated and historical hatred, why not leave? Why coexist with those who follow the very religion of your conquerors and their genes? In fact, you yourself share Arabian genes. You're as much indigenous to lands out of Arabia as the Muslims are. DNA studies have proved that. Lebanese are said to be 44% of Arabian ancestry. In fact Lebanese Muslims happen to be more indigenous to Lebanon than Lebanese Christians. Your problem is religion. That's your entire complex in expressing hatred for your ancient masters. But still, if you have this much deep seated hatred, why not leave?
    100% Rachel Corrie
    I wish I can leave this part of the world full of hatred, blood, intolerance and backwardness.
    We want to live and conduct normal lives just like the other 5 billions human beings in North America Europa Asia Australia Etc...
    You and your likes you want to die to get your chance with the 72 hot virgins
    We have different plans
    On a separate note I think your aggressive approach in this forum is for you to try and convince yourself not the opposite
    You are always trying desperately to justify by throwing theories that are disputable to say the least
    This might give you some self confidence that you belong to a community that is glorious and right etc...
    But in reality and in numbers all your theories are simply baseless crap
     
    Mockinggbird

    Mockinggbird

    New Member
    I would have said you're a clown. But some bigot is liking your post.

    He forgets that Galileo was made to forcefully confess to unscientific ideas by his Pope.

    Galileo's confession:

    muslim majority countries are currently the least developed on all levels Socially Culturally and scientifically
    These are numbers and facts
    Go search for the reasons
    Might be they don’t like modernity
    Might be they still consider women as accessories for reproduction and disposable items
    You raise them like this
    The day you start raising your children as equal we can start arguing about Islam and science
    The day you reject polygamy we might start arguing
    []
     
    Last edited by a moderator:
    Apostate

    Apostate

    Your will, my hands.
    Orange Room Supporter
    "Islam and science" is an oxymoron. Islam is the dumbest religion to have ever existed.
    There is nothing that makes a religion 'dumber' or 'smarter' than any other religion. They all equally require you to believe things based on bad evidence. You can argue about which religion produces worse effects on people than other religions, though.
     
    Apostate

    Apostate

    Your will, my hands.
    Orange Room Supporter
    Who’s Afraid of Arabic Numerals?
    Before there was a Western civilization, there was Islamic civilization.

    By Mustafa Akyol

    Should Americans, as part of their school curriculum, learn Arabic numerals?

    CivicScience, a Pittsburgh-based research firm, put that question to some 3,200 Americans recently in a poll seemingly about mathematics, but the outcome was a measure of students’ attitudes toward the Arabworld. Some 56 percent of the respondents said, “No.” Fifteen percent had no opinion.

    Those results, which quickly inspired more than 24,000 tweets, might have been sharply different had the pollsters explained what “Arabic numerals” are.

    There are 10 of them: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

    That fact prompted John ****, the chief executive of the polling company, to label the finding “the saddest and funniest testament to American bigotry we’ve ever seen in our data.”

    Presumably, the Americans who opposed the teaching of Arabic numerals (Republicans in greater proportion than Democrats) lacked the basic knowledge of what they are and also had some aversion to anything described as “Arabic.”

    Which is indeed sad and funny — and also a reason to pause and ask a simple question: Why is the world’s most efficient numerical system, also standard in Western civilization, called “Arabic numerals”?

    The answer traces to seventh-century India, where the numerical system, which included the revolutionary formulation of zero, was developed. Some two centuries later, it moved to the Muslim world, whose magnificent capital, Baghdad, was then the world’s best city in which to pursue an intellectual career. There, a Persian Muslim scholar named Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi developed a mathematical discipline called al-jabir, which literally means “reunion of broken parts.”

    In the early 13th century, an Italian mathematician named Fibonacci, who studied calculation with an Arab master in Muslim North Africa, found the numerals and their decimal system much more practical than the Roman system, and soon popularized them in Europe, where the figures became known as “Arabic numerals.”

    Meanwhile, the discipline of al-jabir became “algebra,” and al-Khwarizmi’s name evolved into “algorithm.”

    Today, many words in English have Arabic roots; a short list would include admiral, alchemy, alcove, alembic, alkali, almanac, lute, mask, muslin, nadir, sugar, syrup, tariff and zenith. Some scholars think that even the word “check,” which you get from a bank, comes from the Arabic word sakk, which means “written document.” (Its plural, sukuk, is still used in Islamic banking to refer to bonds.)

    There is a reason these Western terms have Arabic roots: Between the eighth and 12th centuries, the Muslim world, whose lingua franca was Arabic, was much more creative than Christian Europe, which was then in the late Middle Ages. Muslims were the pioneers in mathematics, geometry, physics, astronomy, biology, medicine, architecture, trade and, most important, philosophy. To be sure, Muslims had inherited these sciences from other cultures, such as the ancient Greeks, Eastern Christians, Jews and Hindus. Still, they advanced those disciplines with their own innovations and transmitted them to Europe.

    Why delve so deep into this much-forgotten history? Because there are lessons for both Muslims and non-Muslims.

    Among the latter are Western conservatives, who are passionate about protecting the legacy of Western civilization, which they often define as exclusively “Judeo-Christian.” Of course, Western civilization does have a great accomplishment worth preserving: the Enlightenment, which gave us freedom of thought, freedom of religion, the abolition of slavery, equality before the law, and democracy.

    Those values should not be sacrificed to the postmodern tribalism called “identity politics.” But Western conservatives retreat to tribalism themselves when they deny the wisdom in, and the contributions of, sources that are not Judeo-Christian. The third great Abrahamic religion, Islam, also had a hand in the making of the modern world, and honoring that legacy would help establish a more constructive dialogue with Muslims.

    Of course, we Muslims ourselves have a big question to answer: Why was our civilization once so creative, and why have we lost that golden age?

    Some Muslims find a simple answer in piety and the lack thereof, thinking that decline came when Muslims turned “sinful.” Others assume that the early majesty can be traced to mighty leaders, whose reincarnations they hope to see again. Some find solace in conspiracy theories that blame enemies outside and “traitors” within.


    Here is a more realistic explanation: The early Islamic civilization was creative because it was open-minded. At least some Muslims had the urge to learn from other civilizations. There was some room for free speech, which was extraordinary for its time. That allowed the work of towering Greek philosophers such as Aristotle to be translated and discussed, theologians of different stripes to speak their minds, and scholars to find independent patronage. From the 12th century onward, however, a more uniform and less rational form of Islam was imposed by despotic caliphs and sultans. So Muslim thought turned insular, repetitive and incurious.

    By the 17th century, in Muslim India, Ahmad al-Sirhindi, a prominent scholar also known as Imam Rabbani, was marking the dogmatic turn when he condemned all “philosophers” and their “stupid” disciplines. “Among their codified and systemic sciences is geometry that is totally useless,” he wrote. “The sum of three angles in a triangle is two right angles — what benefit does it have?”

    Exactly why this tragic closing of the Muslim mind happened, and how it can be overturned, is the biggest question facing Muslims today. We should not lose more time through denials and blame games.

    At the same time, however, others should not make the mistake of judging Islamic civilization by looking at its worst products, many of which are now rampant. It is a great civilization that has made significant contributions to humanity, especially the West.

    That is why you dial your phone using “Arabic numerals.” And that is just the tip of a big iceberg of ideas and values shared between Islam and the West.


    NYTimes
    How many of these muslim mathematicians and philosophers and physicists and astronomers during the 'golden' age of islam were appreciated in that time? Were they called Koffar by any chance?

    Also the highlighted paragraph seems to make a good point.
     
    Rafidi

    Rafidi

    Legendary Member
    muslim majority countries are currently the least developed on all levels Socially Culturally and scientifically
    These are numbers and facts
    Go search for the reasons
    Might be they don’t like modernity
    Might be they still consider women as accessories for reproduction and disposable items
    You raise them like this
    The day you start raising your children as equal we can start arguing about Islam and science
    The day you reject polygamy we might start arguing
    []
    Last I checked, Iranians and Turks are more developed, literate and modern than you remnant lot of dhimmitude.

    We do not use the body of women to advertise soap, and deodorant on TV and sell music videos. Stop parroting prejudice.
     
    Rafidi

    Rafidi

    Legendary Member
    100% Rachel Corrie
    I wish I can leave this part of the world full of hatred, blood, intolerance and backwardness.
    We want to live and conduct normal lives just like the other 5 billions human beings in North America Europa Asia Australia Etc...
    You and your likes you want to die to get your chance with the 72 hot virgins
    We have different plans
    On a separate note I think your aggressive approach in this forum is for you to try and convince yourself not the opposite
    You are always trying desperately to justify by throwing theories that are disputable to say the least
    This might give you some self confidence that you belong to a community that is glorious and right etc...
    But in reality and in numbers all your theories are simply baseless crap
    No one is seeking your validation. The aggression, prejudice, bigotry and islamophobia is from your counterparts on the forum. This forum has the most islamophobic, bigoted and prejudiced set of people. And these are supposedly Lebanese/Arabs who are expected to understand more about Muslims and Islam. But sadly, you have blocked your ears or you're spreading misinformation knowingly.
     
    Dark Angel

    Dark Angel

    Legendary Member
    if you are interested in veracity, then you should realize the following:
    There is nothing that makes a religion 'dumber' or 'smarter' than any other religion.
    that is not a right thing to say.

    religions are catalysts for ideologies and cultural progress. the development of societies are impacted by their belief sets, and you can easily gage whether that influence is a positive one or not.

    They all equally require you to believe things based on bad evidence.
    another false statement, and does not imply your first statement even if it was true. by definition faith begins at the limit where evidences are no longer clear. this is neither good nor bad by itself, and that qualification comes from how you proceed forward beyond that edge separating what can be concretely proven and what cannot. you can confine yourself to the safety of the provable zone, but you cannot pretend nothing exists outside that which you can prove with tangible evidence.

    You can argue about which religion produces worse effects on people than other religions, though.
    you can also argue which religion produces better effects on people. you cannot put all religions, philosophies and ideologies in the same basket. that is by itself a very dangerous and a very destructive ideology.

    if you are not interested in veracity however, then it is a different story which requires a different approach :)
     
    Top