Another pretentious approach to praise Islamic inventions is made through the internet. An article titled “How Islamic inventors changed the world” was written by Paul Vallely, begins with the following statement: “From coffee to checks and the three-course meal, the Muslim world has given us many innovations that we take for granted in daily life.” In his article, Vallely lists twenty “Islamic inventions that changed the world” and reveals their actual inventors and the true role of Islam/Muslims behind the inventions.
The answer to these atrocious claims is heavily taken from the internet article: “how Islamic inventors did not change the world.” Regrettably, this inaccurate piece of writing not to say full of sheer lies, has received much praise from Muslims and is still being widely circulated on Islamic websites, forums, blogs, and is even used as a source to validate false claims of Islamic inventions in many separated articles on Wikipedia.
Coffee. According to Vallely it was invented by an Arab named Khalid, in the Kaffa region of southern Ethiopia. He boiled berries of a tree to make the first coffee. However, this man was an Abyssinian; that is he was an Orthodox Christian. So, if this legend were to be true, Khalid (or Kaldi) would not have been a Muslim, but a Christian.
Vision. According to Vallely, the first person to realize that light enters the eye, rather than leaving it, was Ibn al-Haytham. He invented the first pin-hole camera and set up the first Camera Obscura (from the Arab word Qamara, for a dark or private room). He was also the first man to shift physics from a philosophical activity to an experimental one.However,the basic optical principles of the pinhole are commented on in Chinese texts from the 5th century BC. Both the claims, that Ibn al-Haytham created intromission theory, and that he invented the pin-hole camera, are false. Intromission theory originated in Greek philosophy by Aristotle and Galen. The term “camera” was not derived from Arabic, but the opposite: the Arabic word “Qamara” has been borrowed from the Latin word “camera.” The term camera was first coined by Johannes Kepler (1571–1630). “Camera Obscura” means literally a “dark room.”
Chess. According to Vallely Islam developed and was the cause of the spread of chess to Europe. However, this is an offence to the Islamic religion as chess is forbidden. It was condemned by Muhammad who compared playing chess with dying ones hand with the flesh and blood of a swine (Sahīh Muslim, 28:5612.al-Muwatta, 52:7). The internet publication “history of Chess” is commonly held that the first version of the game was invented in India. It spread to Persia before the Islamic conquests, and was carried by the Byzantine Empire to Europe. From there it was introduced by the Moors in Spain in the 10th century.
Flying. According to Vallely, a Muslim poet, astronomer and engineer Andalusian named Abbas Ibn Firnas made several attempts to construct a flying machine. In 852 he jumped from the minaret of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba, creating what is thought to be the first parachute. In 875, he perfected a machine of silk and eagles’ feathers he jumped from a mountain. He flew to a significant height and stayed aloft for ten minutes. This is a thousand years before the Wright brothers. As far as flying is concerned, at the beginning were the kites, and these were a Chinese invention. They date back as far as 3,000 years. The earliest written account of kite flying was about 200 BC. In 478 BC a Chinese Philosopher, Mo Zi. Kites were also used in Chinese warfare for years, meant to frighten the enemy. The ancient Greek engineer, Hero of Alexandria, worked with air pressure and steam to create sources of power. One experiment that he developed was the aeolipile, which used jets of steam to create rotary motion. The importance of the aeolipile is that it marks the start of engine invention. Given all of the above information, how can anyone possibly accredit the invention of flight to a 9th century Muslim jumping off a mosque in Spain?
Bathing. According to Vallely, since washing and bathing are religious requirements for Muslims, which perhaps explain why they perfected the recipe for soap which we still use today. The ancient Egyptians had soap of a kind, as did the Romans. But it was the Arabs who combined vegetable oils with sodium hydroxide and aromatics such as thyme oil. Shampoo was introduced to England by a Muslim.However, Sumarians produced thousands of years before the formal invention of soap from a mixture of alkaline ash and fat-containing substances. A soap-like material found in excavation of ancient Babylon as early as 2800 BC. The “Muslim” that Paul Vallely is referring to who introduced shampoo, was not a Muslim but a Christian convert. Moreover, the Jews have strict rules concerning washing and hygiene related to religious rituals. Olive oil soap and lighting was known from the beginning of Jewish history in the Land of Israel. This happened thousands of years before Islam, and all evidence prove that Islam’s religious ritual was taken from Judaism. Like the ancient Egyptians before, daily bathing was also an important event in the ancient Roman world. Soap-making by guilds was an established craft in Europe by the 7th century. The English began making soap during the 12th century.
Distillation. According to Vallely, the means of separating liquids through differences in their boiling points, was invented around the year 800 by Islam’s foremost scientist, Jabir Ibn Hayyan, who transformed alchemy into chemistry, inventing many of the basic processes and apparatus still in use today. As well as discovering sulphuric and nitric acid, he invented the alembic still, giving the world intense rosewater and other perfumes and alcoholic spirits. Ibn Hayyan was the founder of modern chemistry. However, distillation apparatus from the Chinese Han dynasty, dated around the first century AD. The earliest evidence for its invention is a distillation apparatus and terra-cotta perfume containers recently identified in the Indus Valley, dating from around 3,000 BC. The first firm documentary evidence for distillation comes from the Greek historian Herodotus, dated 425 BC. The Arabs may have improved upon the process of distillation some 3500 years later, but they most definitely did not invent it.
The crank-shaft. According to Vallely, this was one of the most important mechanical inventions in the history of humankind. It was created by an ingenious Muslim engineer called al-Jazari to raise water for irrigation. His 1206 Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices shows he also invented or refined the use of valves and pistons, devised some of the first mechanical clocks driven by water and weights, and was the father of robotics. Among his 50 other inventions was the combination lock. However, the crank-shaft was known to the Chinese of the Han Dynasty. It was also used on Roman medical devices. In year 834 AD the crank was used in Europe. Piston technology was also used by Hero of Alexandria in the 1st century AD with the creation of the world’s first steam-powered engine—the aeolipile, more than a thousand years before al-Jazari. Hero of Alexandria deserves the title “father of robotics” and not al-Jazari. As for the water clock, the ancient Egyptians used a time mechanism run by flowing water. One of the oldest was found in the tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh buried in 1500 BC, and the Chinese began developing mechanized clocks from around 200 BC. The more impressive mechanized water clocks were developed between 100 BC and 500 AD by Greek and Roman horologists and astronomers. Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, and astronomer Archimedes (287–212 BC) is also said to have made such a device. As about the Combination Lock, it was on use during the Roman period.
Quilting. It is a method of sewing or tying two layers of cloth with a layer of insulating material in between. According to Vallely, it is not clear whether it was invented in the Muslim world or whether it was imported there from India or China, but still Vallely chose to include quilting as an Islamic invention. However, again the evidence is clearly against. The actual origins of quilting remains unknown, but its history can so far be traced to ancient China, Egypt of the first pharaonic dynasty, in 3400 BC, and in Mongolia somewhere between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD.
Architecture. According to Vallely, the pointed arch so characteristic of Europe’s Gothic cathedrals was an invention borrowed from Islamic architecture, allowing building of bigger, higher, and more complex buildings. Other borrowings from Muslim genius included ribbed vaulting, rose windows and dome building techniques. Europe’s castles were also adapted to copy the Islamic world. However, there is no basis or credible evidence for Vallely’s claim that Europeans “copied” the structural elements of Muslim castles. When it comes to revolutionary architectural inventions, nothing is greater than the creation of concrete, a material perfected by the Romans. This enabled them to erect buildings that would have been impossible to construct using the traditional stone system. As about the pointed arch, it was in fact the Assyrians and not the Muslims who first used it as early as 722 BC. The best example of a dome in the ancient world is the Pantheon in Rome, built almost 500 years before Islam. It remained as the greatest dome in the world until the 15th century construction of the Florence Cathedral (1420–36). The second most impressive pre-Islamic dome is that of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, built during the years 532–537 AD. In fact, it was the Muslims who borrowed from older Christian architecture. As about rose windows, the invention depends entirely on glass and craftsmanship, originated around 2,000 BC. The best glass manufacturers and exporters were the Phoenicians, who had a great supply of silica rich sands. The invention of the arrow-slit is attributed to Archimedes during the Siege of Syracuse in 214–212 BC.
Instruments. According to Vallely, many modern surgical instruments are of exactly the same design as those devised in the 10th century by the Muslim surgeon, al-Zahrawi. His devised 200 instruments are recognizable to a modern surgeon. In the 13th century, another Muslim medic named Ibn Nafis described the circulation of the blood, 300 years before William Harvey discovered it. Muslims doctors also invented anesthetics of opium and alcohol mixes and developed hollow needles to suck cataracts from eyes.However,the Greek and Roman physicians had access to a variety of surgical instruments. These medical instruments, which are now on display in museums around the world, were all available to the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (460–370 BC) who lived more than a thousand years before Islam. It was also the Greek physician and medical researcher Claudius Galenus (129–217 AD), who first used catgut to close wounds and not al-Zahrawi. As for the circulation of the blood, the Chinese Book of Medicine describes this 1,600 years before Ibn Nafis. Cataract surgery has been performed for many centuries. The earliest reference was written by a Hindu surgeon in manuscripts dating from the 5th century BC. In Rome, archaeologists found surgical instruments used to treat cataract dating back to the 1st and 2nd century AD. Anesthetics of opium and alcohol mixes were used both by the ancient Chinese and Romans.
The windmill. According to Vallely, it was invented in 634 for a Persian caliph and was used to grind corn and draw up water for irrigation, 500 years before the first windmill was seen in Europe.However, a lie again. Contrary to the Vallely’s claim, there was no caliph in Persia in 634, and there was no Islamic windmill in 634. The first rotary mills were discovered in Turkey and existed 8,000 years ago. As about grain-grinding and water-pumping, one of the earliest can be found in 1st century BC in Greek writings. China is also often claimed as the birthplace of the windmill, but the earliest actual documentation was in 1219 AD.
Inoculation. According to Vallely, the technique of inoculation was not invented by Jenner and Pasteur but was devised in the Muslim world and brought to Europe from Turkey by the wife of the English ambassador to Istanbul in 1724. Children in Turkey were vaccinated with cowpox to fight the deadly smallpox at least 50 years before the West discovered it. However, this is most inaccurate. Indeed, Jenner and Pasteur were not the inventors of inoculation but neither were the Muslims. Inoculation against smallpox began in China during the 10th century, but the earliest documented reference comes from text written in 1549. In India, physicians conferred immunity by applying scabs to the scarified skin of the healthy. The technique of inoculation spread west to Turkey and then Europe.
The fountain pen. According to Vallely, it was invented for the Sultan of Egypt in 953 after he demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes. It held ink in a reservoir by a combination of gravity and capillary action.However, this nice story is provided without any proof or corroboration. The history of the fountain pen begins with the quill pen, which was used by the Pharaonic kings 4,000 years ago. Though the first pencil was invented by Conrad Gessner in 1567, until the end of the 18th century when the metal pen was invented. A fountain pen which functioned as a pen with a piston was created by Folsch in 1809.
The system of numbering. According to Vallely, the system of numbering in use all round the world is probably Indian in origin but the style of the numerals is Arabic and first appears in print in the work of the Muslim mathematicians, al-Khwarizmi and al-Kindi around 825. Algebra was named after al-Khwarizmi’s book, al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah, much of whose contents are still in use. The work of Muslim maths scholars was imported into Europe 300 years later by the Italian mathematician Fibonacci. Algorithms and much of the theory of trigonometry came from the Muslim world. al-Kindi’s discovery of frequency analysis rendered all the codes of the ancient world soluble and created the basis of modern cryptology.However, today’s system of numbering evolved from the Indian Brahmi numerals which were developed in the beginning of the first century. Even Arabs themselves refer to as “Hindu numerals.” Theorigins of algebra is traced to the ancient Babylonians who were able to do calculations in an algorithmic fashion. The mathematician Diophantus of Alexandria (214–298 AD) who authored a series of books called “Arithmetica” and is commonly referred to as “the father of algebra.” It is universally accepted that the system of numbering we use today (the digits 0 to 9) was invented in India. The use of zero as a number is found in many ancient Indian texts. The concept of negative numbers was recognized between 100–50 BC by the Chinese.
Greek and Indian mathematicians studied the theory of rational numbers. The best known is Euclid’s Elements, dated 300 BC. Euclid is also often referred to as the “Father of Geometry.” The earliest use of irrational numbers is in the Indian Sulba Sutras (800–500 BC). The earliest known conception of mathematical infinity appears in the Hindu text Yajur Veda. The earliest reference to square roots of negative numbers were made by Greek mathematician and inventor Heron of Alexandria (10–70 AD). Prime numbers have been studied throughout recorded history. The mathematical branch of Trigonometry has been studied by ancient Egyptians and Babylonians, but the ancient Greeks are responsible to modern trigonometric formulae. And finally, the earliest known algorithms were developed by ancient Babylonians (1600 BC). Cryptology itself can be traced back to the time of Julius Caesar.
Three course meal. According to Vallely, Ali Ibn Nafi’ came to Cordoba in the 9th century and brought with him the concept of the three-course meal – soup, followed by fish or meat, then fruit and nuts. He also introduced crystal glasses (which had been invented after experiments with rock crystal by Abbas ibn Firnas).However, indeed having to include the three course meal in any top 20 list of inventions is embarrassing. Still, it is not a Muslim invention. It is Roman’s one. It was the pre-Islamic Persians who introduced the dessert into Asia Minor. Also, Abbas ibn Firnas did not invent crystal glass. Clear glass appeared during the 15th century in Venice, and was called cristallo. Crystal was invented 175 years later, after glassmaker George Ravenscroft added lead oxide to glass, creating lead crystal glass.Carpets. According to Vallely, carpets were regarded as part of Paradise by medieval Muslims, thanks to their advanced weaving techniques. , new tinctures from Islamic chemistry and highly developed sense of pattern and arabesque which were the basis of Islam’s non-representational art. Europe’s floors were distinctly earthy, until Arabian and Persian carpets were introduced. However, the earliest known carpet was discovered in the Altai Mountains in Siberia, dated from the fifth century BC and is now kept in the Hermitage museum of St. Petersburg. Evidence suggests that some forms of rug-weaving were used in Pharaonic Egypt, Babylon and Persia about 4,000 years ago. The Romans were fond of rugs and used them intensively.
The modern check. According to Vallely, the modern check comes from the Arabic word, Saqq, a written vow to pay for goods when they were delivered, to avoid money having to be transported across dangerous terrain. In the 9th century, a Muslim businessman could cash a check in China drawn on his bank in Baghdad.The Pharaonic Egyptians invented the book, as well as the material on which it could first be written, via papyrus. Up until the middle of the tenth century, papyrus was the main source of writing material. The only surviving copies of two works of the third century BC, Greek mathematician Archimedes, were on papyrus (Huff, The Rise of Early Modern Science).
Earth is round.According to Vallely, by the 9th century, many Muslim scholars took it for granted that the Earth was a sphere. The proof, said Ibn Hazm, “is that the Sun is always vertical to a particular spot on Earth”. The calculations of Muslim astronomers were so accurate, the Earth’s circumference to be 40,253.4km, less than 200 km out. Along these lines, Science and Technology Minister, Fikri Işık, claims that Muslim scientists working around 1,200 years ago (some 700-800 years before Galileo Galilei) were the first to determine that the Earth is a sphere.However, everything that has been attributed to Muslim Arabs, had already been discovered by not only the pre-Islamic East, but also by the pre-Christian Greeks. The fact that the Earth is spherical was common knowledge among Ancient Greeks Pythagoras (570–495 BC), Aristotle (384–322 BC) and Hipparchus (190–120 BC). Eratosthenes (275–194 BC) measured the circumference of the earth to a figure very close to what we know of at present. The Greek philosopher and mathematician Aristarchus (320–230 BC) even knew the Earth revolves around the Sun and not the other way around. Indian astronomer and mathematician, Aryabhata (476–550 AD), also deal with the sphericity of the Earth, the motion of the planets, and that its circumference is 39,968 km, which is close to the current equatorial value of 40,075 km. He also calculated the length of the day to be 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.1 seconds.
Gunpowder. According to Vallely, though the Chinese invented saltpetre gunpowder, and used it in their fireworks, it was the Arabs who worked out that it could be purified using potassium nitrate for military use. By the 15th century they had invented both a rocket and a marine torpedo. However, indeed the Chinese invented saltpetre gunpowder, and saltpetre is in fact potassium nitrate. The Chinese were also the first to fire cannon in war, gun, grenade, and fire arrows carried flammable materials or sometimes poison-coated heads. By the end of the 13th century, armies of Japan and India are believed to have acquired sufficient knowledge of gunpowder propelled fire arrows. At the same time,scientific papers on the subject of the preparation of gunpowder and its application in weaponry were being published in Europe. Notable works were prepared by Roger Bacon, Albertus Magnus, and Marchus Graecus before the close of the 13th Century. In 1379, an Italian named Muratori used the word “rochetta” when he described types of gunpowder propelled fire arrows used in medieval times. This was the first use of rocket.
Gardens. According to Vallely, Medieval Europe had kitchen and herb gardens, but it was the Arabs who developed the idea of the garden as a place of beauty and meditation. The first royal pleasure gardens in Europe were opened in 11th-century Muslim Spain. Flowers which originated in Muslim gardens include the carnation and the tulip.However, gardens were in Middle Eastern tradition long before Islam, to mention the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon around 600 BC. It also ignores the beautifully artistic Chinese Suzhou gardens (770–476 BC) which were designed for relaxation. The Roman tradition of gardens and fountains used for meditation. The oldest pictorial records of gardens are from Ancient Egyptian tomb paintings.
It is much more important, to accredit inventions to a religion is complete nonsense. Inventions are the result of ingenuity on the part of one or more people. In fact, what have the Arabs invented lately? The answer is not much in the last one thousand years. Moreover, many Islamic nations are stuck in the dark ages because of their corruption, religion and wars. Millions of people live in squalor with inadequate toilets and water. The West patents hundreds of thousands of inventions a year whereas the entire Muslim world has only a handful in its entire history, if any. The reason for this is plain: Islam forbids creativity and ingenuity. It discourages resourcefulness and innovation. It promotes strict observance of religion instead. How is that, the Science Museum publish and exhibit these mere lies? Simple again: money. Big money is being used to propagate these lies to the public in the name of diversity and multiculturalism. Unfortunately, Muslim strategy to conquer the world and to subdue humanity is highly successful, also due to the policies of ignorance, appeasement and oblivion.
For those who wish to balance: imagine history of the Arab life in Arabia, tribes with two main occupations of day by day living: Ghazawāt (raids) and Ghanā’im (booty). This was also their main occupation during Muhammad’s times and the conquest eras (al-Khulafā’ ar-Rāshidûn, the Umayyad and the Abbasid Dynasties). These tribes were not acquainted with sciences and culture. Their religion does not recommend investigation, criticism, open-mindedness, rationalism, skepticism and free thinking. Were from one suddenly expects the Arabs to dwell with sciences?
Philip Carl Salzman sketches out two patterns of rule that historically have dominated the Arab-Muslim Middle East and are key to understanding it: tribal autonomy and tyrannical centralism. Tribal autonomy means, tribal confederations seize control of the political system and exploit their power unabashedly to forward their own interests, and cruelly exploiting their subject population. Tyrannical centralism means autocratic rule, political mercilessness, and economic stagnancy that account Islam’s “bloody borders:” widespread hostility toward the infidels, non-Muslims.
Tribesmen and subjects, not citizens, populate the region. Middle Eastern countries retain “us-versus-them mentality” which dooms universalism, the rule of law, and constitutionalism. Trapped by these ancient patterns, Middle Eastern societies “perform poorly by most social, cultural, economic, and political criteria.” As the region fails to modernize, it falls steadily further behind. For Fouad Ajami it is clear: under the modern cover, the reality of clans and tribe persists and the calling voice of antagonism.
André Servier, historian of North Africa, has related to the issue boldly: “Islam was not a torch but an extinguisher.” Conceived in a barbarous brain for the use of a barbarous people, it was and it remains incapable of adapting itself to civilization. Wherever it has dominated, it has broken the impulse towards progress and checked the evolution of society. Islam is all the unimaginative brain of a Bedouin that copies, and in copying it distorts the original. The Arab has borrowed everything from other nations, even religious ideas. Incapable of rising to high philosophic conceptions, It has distorted, mutilated and desiccated everything. This destructive influence explains the decadence of the Muslim nations and their powerlessness to break away from barbarism. Islam is a doctrine of death and it formally forbids any change, any evolution, and any progress. In the history of the nations, Islam has never been an element of civilization and the Islamic nations have been stricken with intellectual paralysis and decadence.
Bertrand Russell, the British philosopher and historian, also relates to this issue: “Mohammedanism and Bolshevism are practical, social, unspiritual, concerned to win the empire of the world. It was the duty of the faithful to conquer as much of the world as possible for Islam… The first conquests of the Arabs began as mere raids for plunder, and only turned into permanent occupation after experience has shown the weakness of the enemy… The Arabs, although they conquered a great part of the world in the name of a new religion were not very religious. The motive of their conquests was plunder and wealth rather than religion… In modern politics this embodied in imperialism.”
Von Grunebaum, the distinguished orientalist, suggested that Islamic science was a mimic of Greek science. Islam failed to put natural resources to such use as would insure progressive control of the physical conditions of life. Inventions, discoveries, and improvements might be accepted but hardly ever were searched for. Ernest Renan, the French philologist, believed that Islamic science could only flourish in association with heresy, and that Islam was simply a vehicle transmitting Greek philosophy to the Renaissance in Europe. Pierre Duhem, the physicist-philosopher-historian believed: “There is no Arabian science. The wise men of Mohammedanism were always the more or less faithful disciples of Greeks, but were themselves destitute of all originality…”
The truth is simple: the Arabs conquered the most cultured scientific peoples, in Iraq, Persia, India, and the Hellenist-Roman Christianity. Their peoples came under Islamic rule and were Islamized. They were forced to write in Arabic, they were forced to convert to Islam. Does that mean their scientific contribution is Islamic? Science does not emerge out of nothing, science is a continuous process of thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis. How that relates to the situation in Arabia? There were admittedly few Arabs that accepted and absorbed the age of scientific development, but they unfortunately were few and negligent. Even Ibn Khaldun refers with contempt to the retarded savage “Bedouins of the desert,” as compare to the city dwellers.
To the Islamic falsifications, Assyrians reacted to what they call “Islamic imperialistic expropriation behavior.” Arab-Islamic civilization is not a progressive, but regressive. It does not give impetus, but retards. The great civilizations in the Middle East have never been Arab-Muslim, but Babylonian, Persian, Pharaonic, Buddhist, Jewish and Christian. Arabs-Muslims were plundering Bedouins, engaged in an explicit ongoing campaigns of destruction and expropriation of cultures, identities and ideas, of ethnic cleansing and Arabization and Islamization. Wherever Arab-Muslim civilization encounters a non-Arab-Muslim one, it attempts to destroy it, to Arabize and Islamize it, and to expropriate its achievements. This is a pattern that has been recurring since the advent of Islam, 1400 years ago.
If the “foreign” culture cannot be destroyed, then it is expropriated, and revisionist historians claim that it is an Arab. This is exactly the case of the Land Israel, when the so-called “Palestinians,” a new invention of the second half of the 20th century, expropriate the Jewish history and rights over the land. This is the case of the Assyrians in Babylon, who first settled Nineveh in year 5000 B.C. Even the word ‘Arab’ is an Assyrian word, meaning “Westerner” (‘Ma’rabiyeh’), first used by King Sennacherib, 800 B.C. The Assyrian group end their declaration by claiming: one must be very sensitive not to unwittingly and inadvertently support Arab-Islamic Imperialism, with its attempts to wipe out all other cultures religions and civilizations by expropriating their cultural scientific achievements.
One has to look into the history of Islam of the occupied territories. What happened to the ancient Middle East that has become Arabized and Islamized? What happened to the glorious Christian centers of Alexandria in Egypt and Antioch in Syria; what happened to the great Babylonian scientific achievements led by the Assyrians; what happened to the wondrous of Persian civilizations; what happened to the Buddhist achievements and glorious sites? Why all these and many others magnificent civilizations have disappeared? Indeed, they all had gone with the wind of the stormy desert of Arab-Islamic primitive invasions. And today, what is the fate of the minorities during the last 1400 years in the Middle East under the so-called Islamic “tolerance”? What is the fate today of the Nubians in Egypt; the Berbers in North Africa; the Negroid in Sudan; the Assyrians in Iraq and Syria? Can one really imagine the existential threats posed on Israel as a Jewish nation and a Zionist state if it fails?
*part of a larger book titled, Why Islam is a Danger to the World: A Scholarly Rebuttal of Muslim Propaganda, be published by Mellen Press.
Science, religion and the quest for rationale and spirituality
Since human history evolves, man is considered as an unexampled procreation owing to his rational behavior. When his reasoning and intellect grow in pluralistic society, he looks through fundamental questions to be answered. This proclivity of probation is drawn to the context of either natural reasoning or supernatural explanation. Hence, this distinctive disposition demarcates a line between “Science and Religion”, without knowing the fact that there are two sides to every picture. Consequently, religious representatives reject scientific facts as it does not meet their spiritual needs and impressions.. However, others deificate scientific approach and discard paranormal and preternatural explanations as it seems amiss for their existing subject. Eventually, leading the noblesse to follow either religion or science.
It is the human nature that has put the supreme being (man) in an unremitting mission of exploring truth and reality. Man has been intensely eager to delve and discover this mysterious world. Hence, being conscientious, he rationally tries to investigate the answers of basic questions. This eagerness and curiosity has compelled man to decode and decipher what has been in clandestine before him. This athirst of searching and exploring has always been found in man. Though the scope and radius of man’s ideas is limited. He can never surpass what inhibits him naturally. But the ardent wish has mustered courage in him and pushed him to find the answers of all lingering questions. It is a dynamic force employing man to fathom the mystery of his very being. Whatever the force may be, the thing that gives currency to the confrontation and disconformity is the way to pursue those motives. Many people seek their salvation in the folds of religion while many are those who look for science as a medium to man’s inevitable mystery. People are divided into two distinct and quite different ways and ideas. Some go for religion, considering it a viable source to all their quests and questions while others deificate science. This is where the shoe pinches. Science and religion are not different things and ideas but the two aspects of a same coin.
Regrettably, many people fail to understand this very notion. They think of science as a separate entity having no relation with religion. They deal with science in a sense to materialize all their dreams and desires. Their pursuance is fixed on material holdings. For these people, this world is last resort to live in. For them its a means to an end. An end which ends when life comes to an end. Unfortunately, inspired by the West; the arch rival of religious ideology, they think of science as a source of all comforts and ease in human life. For these fellows worldly belonging is everything. They never come to know the deceptive face of it. They chant slogans under the spell of West, overlooking their glorious past which has entitled them cachet and prestige in annals of all time to come. Dazzled by the ample successful contributions of science to the modern world, they bow their heads before it. Definitely, the time would come, their sand houses would collapse. Ultimately, they will have to blow away the cobweb of modern science.
Undoubtedly, science is a means to make human life at ease, dealing with materialistic aspect of man’s life. Contrary to this, there prevails another mode of human life that is spirituality. Spirituality is an integral part of man’s life, without it, man will be like a sole spectator and nothing else. Spirituality is as pernicious to man as food for the hungry soul and water for thirsty lips. Spirituality and man are amalgamated in every aspect. Materialistic aspirations cannot please the departed souls. Feelings cannot be bought. Smile has no match with money. Pure love cannot be linked with lust. Avarice and wealth has no limit. Greed makes man intoxicated and makes him an unsocial animal, a brute.
Besides, sentiments of joy, cheerfulness, happiness and sorrow are valuable and cannot be bought or sold. Such feelings are attainted by penetrating deep into the folds of a religion. That is religion which opens the new dimensions in man’s life and takes man to the highest horizons of peace and tranquility. This is religion alone that makes man’s life complacent. It is said and rightly so, a contained mind is a bliss to mankind. This containment is achieved when man comes into the folds of religion. Religion is not a name of an outmoded ideology, no longer existing. It is a source of eternal salvation. It is the best source to peace, prosperity and progress and will remain so, till doomsday. Religion has much to offer man. It encompasses highest schemes of social and moral uplift.
Alternatively, it has been order of the day to chew out religion. Merely going into some books of insolent demagogues, young minds pick religion to pieces. These minds are turned round the fingers of their leaders who spoil their worldly life and detest their life after death as well. One cannot blink the fact and if so, man would find no place and would ultimately lose into the unending race of material desires and unlimited aspirations.
Certainly, this is religion which paves a way for departed souls to salvation. Materialistic belongings could provide temporary happiness and joy but souls can be satisfied merely by perfection of deeds. Religions guarantee man a better life after death. Those who stick to the notion, shun all their materialistic desires and become a pure soul. For Almighty God promises a better life in heaven. One could find many examples from history where experiencing profound penetration into mysticism and spirituality, individuals shook out the yokes of slavery and ascended the higher planes in their lives. They would be heightened to higher horizons for sure in heaven as well. Gautam Buddha, Bhagat Kabeer, Saami, Khwaja Nizamudin Chishti, Abdul Qadir Jilani are some instances in view. Their efforts and search for reality will never go in smoke. They are rewarded in this world and will be awarded there after. Those devoid of such a fully blooded force are really unfortunate. They become stoic and nothing means them except materialistic achievements. That achievement IS nothing at all. This pursuance makes their gifted life aimless, motiveless and purposeless.
Additionally, religion teaches that nothing is out of blue. Everything is inter connected. Nothingness has a deep meaning. When there was nothing, everything existed and that everything comes to screen from nothingness. When eyes are closed, man sees nothing and feels everything has lost. Man thinks so because his imagination has a limit. He cannot surpass that line. But actually, everything exists and by closing eyes before it, nothing becomes obsolete and outmoded. This offers a strong point in the case when a man dies. Materialistic perception instills in man the idea of nothingness behind his death. Whatever materialistic belonging is , man should strive hard to gain it, accumulate it and access to it by hook or crook. This idea employs man with tiring motives. Man going so far, tries tooth and nail achieving that purposeless objective in his short life hardly going sixty to seventy years.
Again, how fast a man can run after unlimited aspirations in a limited time? How much a man can achieve in his short life? How much a man can eat on an empty stomach? How much a water can a man drink when on thirsty lips? Just a morsel of food and a draught of water, nothing else. Hunger can be saturated, thirst can be quenched if intended so. Otherwise greed, lust and avarice is an unremitting race that never ends.
Nevertheless, according to science only that particular thing is reality which is approved by sense, observation and experimentation, reason and intellect while the rest of the things are unreal or illusion. But the fact is that five senses cannot reach the “ultimate reality”. Similarly, reason and intellect do not work beyond the radius and scope of the five senses. Human understanding and intellect is limited and full of error. Hence, the diameter of scientific observation and calculation is limited only to what human senses can perceive. How can it then measure the revelations of religion which are immaterial and metaphysical and essentially spiritual?
Taking history as a guide, it can well and truly be said that religion along with science can wipe out all such endless and limitless desires. Science eases difficulties and offers comforts while religion can rid man of worldly tyranny and oppression. Religion has had its past, it has a present and would have a bright future coupled with scientific approach. It is religion that can blow away the cobweb of modern science and can torn away the yokes of materialism from the face of the earth. And it is science that can flourish the blind faith to logic and reasoning. Religion is not a static force. It is a dynamic force that can bring change and can offer mankind higher and nobler ends. While science can make man’s life in conformity with worldly comforts and pleasures. Great astronomer Sir James Jeans has rightly said that greatest problems of science could not be resolved without believing in God. Same applies when religion is devoid of reasoning and logic.
Hence, religion when interpreted through scientific logic and reasoning offers a firm belief in the divine commandments. Eventually, enhancing the spirit to responsible accomplishment of those obligations. Reason based belief not only makes the person committed to his religion but also mounts his desire to mull over the heavenly doctrine aiming to discover the hidden treasures. Likewise, science seems impuissant when confronted with the quest and queries regarding mysterious universe and metaphysical things thereupon showing its limitations. Therefore, religion and science should be seen from an eye of same magnifying glasses otherwise this would be a parting effort to an intermixed entity.
Inflation in Pakistan during the Holly Month of Ramadan
Ramadan is considered one of the holiest months in the Islamic calendar for Muslims all over the world. As for as Pakistan is concerned, it has always been a tradition that whenever Ramadan comes the inflation rate also increases. With the advent of Ramadan, the inflation rate is increased by 14.56 per cent within the country. Two types of Muslims throughout the country wait anxiously for this month. For one type of people, it brings happiness and blessings and for another type, it brings a massive amount of money. But it becomes a curse for the poor people when prices of the edible items touch the sky. While this month of Ramadan becomes blessings for the business community and hoarders that take as much benefit as they can. As 2020 had already remained the most challenging year of the twenty-first century because of the pandemic outbreak throughout the world. Almost every country has been victim Covid-19 where thousands of people are dying every day due to this deadly Virus. Because of this pandemic, the people of Pakistan are facing a dual challenge such as unemployment and increasing inflation.
Moreover, as for as the hard restrictions of lockdown against the spread of coronavirus have been implemented resultantly all of the economic activities such as construction, manufacturing and many other industries, which were the only source of earning for labour community, have been closed. In addition, the poor people who earn a few hundred per day after working the whole day have nothing to do, their lives are in trouble and they are worried about burning their stoves because of a current lockdown situation. They are restricted to their homes and there is no any available platform for them to earn. In this hard situation, the profiteering has taken birth, the profit earners have risen the prices of daily food items at alarming rates despite lowering the prices in respect of Ramadan. It is a painful truth that despite being a Muslim state, there is no any leniency in the prices of very basic and demanded vegetables and fruits such as flour, gram flour, oil, potatoes, tomatoes, lemons, sugar, red chills, chicken, watermelon, dates etc. in the Holy month of Ramadan.
These skyrocketing prices have compelled poor people to break their fast with only water. Moreover, they have nothing to eat after breaking their fast because of the high inflation rate. In this regard, inflation has been the major problem of the people of Pakistan facing from starting particularly in the month of Ramadan. But being a human it should be stopped at least in this staggering circumstances where a pandemic has wrapped the whole world and people are dying because of this dangerous virus. In addition, when the condition is already very bad and people had been unemployed due to COVID-19 lockdown. They are already fighting the war with their lives. They have nothing to eat. They are hardly surviving at the extent that even can’t afford their food necessities. Furthermore, these downtrodden people are suiciding because of hunger for instance recently a widow along with her children had committed suicide in Sukkur, Sindh due to hunger. Now the government has to decide what is more dangerous the “CORONAVIRUS” or “HUNGER”?
In Pakistan, this hazardous disease of inflation is increasing the poverty day by day. In PTI Government 18 million more people fall into poverty, it is reported that more than 39.9 per cent population of Pakistan lives below the poverty line. In this hard and difficult situation, the people have been frustrated. Besides, more than half of the poor people are homeless, many of them have not even their place to live rather they live on rent. But unfortunately, in this miserable condition, they cannot afford to buy their own house. The government says that they are providing the funds to the poor as well as Ramadan relief Packages but still no relief have been given. Not any proper funds are given to real deserving and poor people. If according to governments that it has given the funds then the question rises that will these little funds can beat these higher prices? This is one more remarkable stain on the government of Pakistan that would be highlighted in history. In this tough time instead of being a pillar for the public, the government has left poor people helpless even giving them a tough time by increasing the inflation. It is a painful truth that Muslims are sucking the blood of other Muslim brothers including government has been parasite for the public.
In other non-Muslim Countries such as Canada, United States of America, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany; the prices of food items, groceries, clothes, households and other demanded and consumed accessories reduce to less than half in respect of their holy events or festivals. But sadly opposite is happening in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, in our country, profiteers see these holy events as the source of income. There is no check and balance system. This non-serious attitude of the Pakistani government has led people to beg for survival. But the only government could not be blamed, it is the collective responsibility of worthy people to take care of needy ones. Everyone complains about poor governance and rising inflation but no one talks about their responsibility. Have we ever been thought about our poor neighbours before having dinner? Have we ever noticed those little children without clothes wondering on the roads when we pass by them on our luxurious vehicles and went for shopping with our family? Instead of spending a lot of money on clothes or unnecessary things we should take a glance at those who even cannot fulfil their basic needs. So not much but do little things for others, spread little happiness on the faces of those who have remained deprived of it for many years. It is also the religious duty of all the Muslims who meet the necessary criteria of wealth to give Zakat. Though paying Zakat purifies, increases and blesses the remainder of wealth, it is for better when it is the month of Ramadan. Allah says: “it is right of the poor on the wealth of the rich”. Bring some change in ourselves and let its shine reflect the society. Until Government do something on this issue we all have to hold each other’s up.
The voiceless sufferers of covid-19: Islam and Animal care
“Whoever is kind to the creatures of God is kind to Himself.”(Bukhari)
The Corona virus has locked people inside their homes and has caused the death of thousands of individuals. Apart from taking a heavy toll of human lives, it has paralyzed all the vital sectors of life, like trade and commerce, education, communication and transport. On the socio-cultural grounds it has created a serious trauma and has led to psychosomatic disturbances. The social web or fabric has seen a great set back and challenges due to the ongoing pandemic. But humans are not the lone sufferers of this crisis as it is now badly hurting animals as well. These helpless creatures are suffering as the lockdown has left them wandering on the streets for food. While the world fights Covid-19, the needy animals and birds from the streets require food. As we know thousands of stray cats, cows and dogs in India depend on food and waste from markets, restaurants and grocery shops. But with corona virus sending people into isolation and public establishments shutting down, strays are having a hard time finding food. As per some reports many stray animals have died due to starvation. Some disturbing pictures of animals like cats and dogs, panting, licking mud and biting shoes can be seen on social media. This speaks a lot about the pathetic conditions of these animals and seriously these creatures are going through the troubled times. As more and more people fall sick, the more rapidly, stray animals and birds are being ignored. The people are advised to stay home to avoid the spread of corona virus but the homeless, unvoiced and abandoned animals have been left at the mercy of their lord. These creatures need our care and attention. It is our collective job and obligation to feed these living beings. To be gentle and humane to all creatures of God is the universal message of all religions but Islam in particular is very clear about animal care and has guided its followers to take due care of every creature on earth.
The Islamic view of the natural order and the environment, as everything else that is Islamic, has its roots in the Quran, the very Word of the God, which is the central theophany of Islam. The Quran addresses not only men and women but the Whole of the cosmos. Humans in Islam are the central creatures of the earthly sphere, but can exercise power over things only in obedience to God’s laws. And divine law (al-shari`ah) specifically includes duties to the natural environment. Laws forbid pollution and instruct the planting of trees and gentle treatment of animals.
The concept of environment in Quran is distinct enough. It has given the values of unity, balance, order and harmony. The balance not only governs the structuring of the universe, it has specified each element with its proper place and definite function. The law of structural balance of the environment is often referred in the Quran by the words ‘Balance,’ ‘proportion,’ or ‘measure’. The Quran presents the whole material world and the animal kingdom in particular, as a divine miracle to which man must respond with self-restrain. As one sonorous verse puts it: “Do you not see that Allah is exalted by whoever within the heavens and on the earth, and by the birds with wings spread? Each of them has known his means of prayer and exalting.” (Quran 24:41)
In mediaeval times, writes historian Gustave le Bon, “Animals enjoyed heaven in the Muslim world.” Trusts were solely devoted to sick and vulnerable creatures. The Muslims in 18th century Cairo, setup bread and water foundations for dogs. In Damascus, a municipal area was dedicated to ageing horses where they could pasture in dignity until the end of their lives, which continued until the 20th century.
From the start of an animal’s life to its end, there were clear rules on maintaining its welfare. Mercy to animals goes hand in hand with faith as Prophet’s (Pbuh) words articulate, “He who take pity even on a sparrow and spares its life, God will be merciful to him on the day of judgment.”
Islam talks a lot about the Ummah or global community of believers; some interpretations give the term a broader meaning, embracing humanity as a whole. As eco-Muslims often recall, the Quran also insists that other species constitute Ummah-like communities, which are correspondingly worth of respect. “There is no creature on earth, nor any bird that flies with its wings, but are communities (Ummah) like you. We neglected nothing in the scripture. Then to their lord they will be gathered.” (Quran: 6:38)
Furthermore, Muslims believe that all creations of Allah, including animals and trees, glorify God in their own way. “Seest thou not that to Allah bow down in worship all things that are in the heavens and on earth, the sun; the moon; the stars; the hills; the trees; the animals; and a great number among mankind?” (Quran 22:18) Islam also teaches humans that all creatures of God, whether it is the tiny ant or the huge lion, serve a certain purpose in the large scheme of God’s world. “There is not an animal (that lives on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. (Quran 6:38)
The Prophet (Pbuh) said, “Whoever kills a sparrow or anything bigger than that without a just cause, Allah will hold him accountable on the day of judgment.” The listeners asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what is a just cause? The Prophet (Pbuh) replied, “That he will kill it to eat, not simply to chop off its head and then throws it away.” (Sunan Abu Dawud-2/11)
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (Pbuh) said, “A man felt very thirsty while he was on the way; there he came across a well. He went down the well, quenched his thirst and came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. He said to himself, “This dog is suffering from thirst as I did.” So, he went down the well again, filled his shoe with water, held it with his mouth and watered the dog. Allah appreciated him for that deed and forgave him.” The Companions said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?” He replied: “There is a reward for serving any living being.” (Bukhari)
Teasing or mutilating any living being, be that an animal or a bird is disapproved and abhorred in Islam. The Prophet (Pbuh) says, “May God curse anyone who maims animals”? (Bukhari) While as good and humane treatment is applauded in Islam, “Whoever is kind to the creatures of God is kind to Himself.”(Bukhari) On discovering a companion had caused distress to a bird by taking her young, Mohammad (Pbuh) ordered him to return them at once. (Sahi Muslim)Hence irresponsible wanton killing of even the tiniest of God’s creatures is strongly discouraged in Islam. He (Pbuh) even reprimanded those who sat idly on their camels and horses with the warning, “Do not treat the backs of animals as chairs. “God gave these to your command only on the condition that you may go with them easily to places you would not been able to go by yourself without extreme trouble.”(Abu Dawud, 61, )
Animals should be cared for; Abdullah Ibn Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet said, “ A women entered the (Hell) fire because of a cat which she had tied , neither giving it food nor setting it free to eat from the vermin of the earth.”[Bukhari…Narrated by Abdullah bin Omar].
We have seen that there are clear references in Holy Scriptures of Islam about the due place and position of animals and birds in the Gods scheme of the world. And the believers have been guided and instructed to be gentle and humane towards these creatures of God. There is a due reward for feeding a starving being be it an animal or a bird. As the Prophet of Allah (Pbuh) has said, “There is a reward for serving any living being”. Along with taking care of poor and needy it is our duty to serve animals living around us. The crisis will not remain longer but our attitude and character shown to helpless and voiceless will be remembered for long.
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