Muslims take high pride and boast about the critical contributions “Islamic Sciences” to civilization. It would require considerable space just to recite the many so-called crucial discoveries were allegedly ascribed to Muslims’ inventions. We are told that Muslim scientists originated in the Islamic world laid the ground to public hospitals, libraries, and universities. Muslim scientists laid the foundations of agricultural science and invented the coffee. Muslim scientists developed theories of evolution long before Darwin and proposed laws of gravitation that were proved by Newton centuries later on; Muslim scientists invented “flight control surfaces” that are “believed to have come from the medieval Islamic world.”
It is amazing, in fact confusing and perplexing to enter Islamic internet sites, for example muslimheritage.com. The impression is that Islam has invented everything on Earth from the beginning of history, and continues to discover and invent everything. Unfortunately, it seems as if according to this site Islam has caused the emergence and the existence of humanity, without Islam human beings would have been perished. Here is the list most of Muslim propagators in the West mention as the greatest and the firsts. Most of them were highly influenced by the Mu’tazila ideology.
Muḥammad Ibn Mūsa al-Khwārizmi(d. 850), was a Mathematica scholar hailed as the algebra inventor. However, he was not an Arab but Persian in origin and Zoroastrian in his religion. There is widespread misconceptions that Muslims “invented algebra”. Maybe this fallacy is due to the fact that the word “algebra” is Arabic, derived from Khwarizmi’s book, Addition and Subtraction after the Method of the Indians. Yet, the name of his book also refers to the fact that it was based on Indian or Greek sources.
Khwarizmi did not “invent” algebra. There are proven archaeological evidence that the roots of algebra date back to the ancient Babylonians, and were then developed in Egypt and Greece. The Chinese and especially the Indians also advanced algebra. The most important pre-modern scholar was Diophantus of Alexandria in the third century AD, called “the father of algebra.” He wrote series of books, Arithmetica, dealing with solving algebraic equations. Archimedes was the first mathematician to derive quantitative results from creation of mathematical models of physical problems. He was responsible for the first proof of the law of the lever and the basic principle of hydrostatics.
However, the most important mathematical text of Greek times, and probably of all time, the Elements of Euclid, written about 2300 years ago. In his book there are simply definitions, axioms, theorems, and proofs. Euclid’s work provided the field of Mathematics with a model of how ‘pure mathematics’ should be written, with precise definitions, carefully stated theorems, and logically coherent proofs. Euclid is thus first and foremost famous for creating a brilliant synthesis of the field.It is of note to mention that Diophantus and Euclid, like many other great Greeks taught and wrote at the most important institution of ancient time, the Library of Alexandria, founded by Ptolemy. This institution soon became a focal point of highest developments in Greek scholarship, both in the humanities and the sciences – and it was burned by the invading Arabs, headed by ‘Umar bin al-Khattab.
As for India, in 770, an Indian scholar brought two highly important mathematical works to Baghdad eg Brahmasiddhanta (Sindhind to Arabs) by the great 7th century Indian mathematician Brahmagupta, mathematician and astronomer, which contained early ideas of Algebra. The second manuscript contained a revolutionary system of denoting number and the concept of zero. Therefore, Khwarizmi took this work, combined it with Greek geometry (algebra developed by Hero of Alexandria). Indian numerals were used by Khwarizmi in algorithms (a Latinized version of his name) to solve certain mathematical problems. Hence Muslims certainly did not discover either zero or algebra and our so-called ‘Arabic Numerals’ are actually Indian (Hindu) Numerals.
Ibn Sīnā’ (Avicenna. d. 1037), and Abū Bakr ar-Rāzī (Rhazes. d. 925), were both great physiciansand significant thinkers. However, both were Persians and not Arabs, and both were at best highly unorthodox Muslims. ar-Razi didn’t believe a single word of the Islamic religion. Whatever contributions they made were more in spite of than because of Islam. Ibn Sina was always on the run of the fear of Islamic persecution, spent time in prison or had to write his works under the most severe circumstances. His greatest work, the Canon of Medicine, has become a standard work in Ehrope for the the next 600 years, but the Islamic rulers called hin an apostate (Murtad), and made his life intolerable as in his instruments he used to dissect pigs.
Moreover, while they should be considered to have been competent physicians, the greatest revolution in the world history of medicine was the germ theory of disease, championed by the Frenchman Louis Pasteur and the German Robert Koch in late nineteenth century Europe. They were aided in this by the microscope, which was an exclusively European invention.Islam continues with its misleading approach even concerning today’s “inventions.” In an article relating to Islamic medicine it is stated that in 2007 Malaysian scientist, Muszaphar Shukor, “became the first to perform biomedical research in outer space.” No less. Perhaps that meant he was the first Muslim to perform biomedical research in space. But this is exactly Islam.
Muslims comment on Abū Fath ‘Umar al-Khayyāmi, known as Omar Khayyam (d. 1131), who was a Persian philosopher, and creative mathematician, but he was not an Arab, and even not Muslim. Omar Khayyam was a wine lover who could at best be described as an extremely unorthodox Muslim. By and large he has been held either in ignominy, contempt, total disregard and oblivion by almost the entire Muslim world, and especially the Arab countries. He loved wine, women, and songs. He admired and praised the Zoroastrian religion. At the end, scientifically, he did not leave an impression on any science. Praising him today by Muslim propagators may hint of their desperation. How a Western-style materialist was created in an Islamic environment in early Middle-Ages and seems to openly defy the puritanical mind-set of 21st century apocalyptic Islam?
There is also Abū Mūsā Jābir Ibn Ḥayyān(d. 815), is hailed by Muslim propagators as the father of chemistry, by systematizing a “quantitative” analysis of substances. He was a Persian and not an Arab chemist and alchemist. He did good work in alchemy for his time and may have been the first person to create some acids, but he falls far short of Antoine Lavoisier and those who developed modern chemistry in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Europe. Muslim scientists have deepened their knowledge, however, their ideas are only to be found in fictional novels, rather than learning about their fundamental contributions from scientific databases.
Nasir al-Din al-Tūsī (d. 1274), was Persian and not an Arab physician and astronomer. According to Muslim Heritage, al-Tusi was a prolific writer in different fields of science. He wrote over 150 works in Arabic and Persian that dealt with mathematical sciences, philosophy, and the Islamic religious issues. By that he acquired the honorific title of Khwāja (distinguished scholar); Ustādh Bashariyah (teacher of mankind); and Mu’alimal-Thālith (third teacher, after Aristotle and al-Fārābī). He was the director of the Islamic astronomical observatory of Marāgha.However, astronomy was invented in India, based on the Ptolemaic Greek theoretical framework, and al-Tusi achievements made only some adjustments in the field.
Ḥunain Ibn Ishāq (d. 873), Johannitius in Latin, was Christian Nestorian (Assyrian) in his origin and even not Muslim. He was one of the most prominent translators of Greek books into Syro-Aramaic and Arabic. Soon he, his son and his nephew had made Galen’s medical treatises as well as Hippocratic works and texts by Aristotle, Plato and others available in Arabic. Hunayn’s own compositions include two on ophthalmology: the Ten Treatises on the Eye and the Book of the Questions on the Eye. His books had some influence but his importance came by transmitting the pure Galenic theory of vision.
Abū Naṣr Muḥammad al-Farābī (d. 950) was not an Arab, but from Khorasam, nowadays state of Kazakhstan. He was a renowned philosopher, known in Islamic circles with honorific title “the Second Master” (after Aristotle). He is credited with preserving the original Greek texts during the Middle-Ages, but not their translator. Mohamad Abdalla claimed that in the twelfth century, the West discovered, via a translated catalogue of sciences (map of knowledge) by al-Farābīthe existence of a considerable body of Antiquity’s scientific work. The West started examining these sciences, including astronomy, biology, botany, mathematics, and medicine. In addition, medieval European university became the institutional manifestation of al-Farābī’s map of knowledge. The translated work of Islamic knowledge formed the basis and the scientific foundation of the university in its living reality “the reality of its syllabus, the content of its teaching.”
Abu Yūsuf Yaʻqūb al-Kindī (d. 873), known as “the Philosopher of the Arabs”, was an Arab Muslim philosopher, and is hailed as the “father of Islamic philosophy, for his synthesis, adaptation and promotion of Greek and Hellenistic philosophy. Abbasid Caliphs appointed him to translate “the philosophy of the ancients,” as Greek philosophy was often referred to by Muslim scholars, into Arabic. This had a profound effect on his intellectual development, and he wrote many original treatises in many subjects. al-Kindī also played an important role in introducing the Indian system of numbers, traced back to 500 BC. The Indian numerals was spread to Sassanid Persia and was also used by the Assyrian and Nestroians. He was one of the first to attempt to reconcile Islam with Greek philosophy, especially with Aristotle, a project that soon failed due to religious resistance. De Lacy O’Leary reflects the significant topic that almost all Muslim thinkers and philosophers were classed as Aristotelians, tracing their intellectual descent from al-Kindī and al-Farābī.This is a romantic and tranquil picture.However reality gives different picture. al-Mutawwakil, the Abassid caliph, was convinced that Kindī had dangerous beliefs, and ordered the confiscation of his personal library, and punishment of fifty lashes before a large crowd. Other scholars, like al-Rāzī, Ibn Sinā, and Ibn Rushd were also subjected to some degree of persecution, and a part of them had to flee their countries for their own safety from the persecuting Islam.
Abū ‘AlīḤasan Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen. d. 1040) was an Arab, and of all the list of the mentioned scientists, the highest-ranking contribution by any Muslim scholar. He was invited and remained in Egypt for the rest of his life, patronized by the Fatimi Caliph, al-Hākim. Indeed, Alhazen made significant contributions to the principles of optics, due to direct access to Greek optical theory. He relied heavily on the Greek scientific tradition, but the synthesis he created was new. His most important Book of Optics(Kitāb al-Manāzir), a great original scientific work written in Arabic has been ranked as one of influential books in the history of physics. He was perhaps the only Arab who was really important to scientific contributions.
Alhazen was a prolific writer on all aspects of science and natural philosophy, including some ninety of which he acknowledged authorship. These includes commentaries on the optical works of Euclid and Ptolemy, and analyses of Aristotle’s Physics. He read Hippocrates and Galen on medicine, Plato and Aristotle on philosophy and wrote commentaries on many Greek philosophers. His treatise on optics contains a substantially correct model of vision.The best analysis of the issue is by David C. Lindberg. According to him, Alhazen’s essential achievement was to obliterate the old battle lines. He was neither Euclidean nor Galenist nor Aristotelian, or else; he was all of them. Tragically enough, his Book of Optics was not widely used in the Islamic world afterwards. The reason, his work was considered as blasphemy, and some of his disciples were put on fire as apostates.
Moreover, the French thinker Rémi Brague, claims that Muslims lacked the European instinct for self-criticism and appreciation of the other. Even though Muslims did translate scientific works from Greek and a few other languages into Arabic, they didn’t bother to preserve the originals. This made the act of going back to the sources to really understand them impossible. However, Brague was wrong. The Muslims did not preserve the originals purposely and intentionally. From the beginning they wanted the immitaton to become the original. This is one of the Arab-Islamic significant traits perceiving the world being totally Islamic.
Brague also quotes Ibn Khaldun, who has refered to this in his Muqaddimah: “Muslims desired to learn the sciences of the nations, to make them their own through translations. They pressed them into the mold of their own views. They peeled off these strange tongues into their own idiom, and surpassed the achievements of the non-Muslims in them. The manuscripts in the non-Arabic languages were forgotten, abandoned, and scattered. All the sciences came to exist in Arabic. The systematic works on them were written in Arabic. Thus, students of the sciences needed a knowledge of Arabic writing.”
Analyzing scientific topics and academic faculties
Universities. Islam did not establish secular scientific universities. Islam did established religios universities, like al-Azhar. Even though al-Azhar was a center of education in the Islamic world, it was a center of religious learning and Sharī’ah alone, not secular learning and science. al-Azhar was created in the tenth century as an institute of Islamic religion studies. Contemporary Muslim propagators hail it as one of the oldest universities, but this is really a joke. It was never a university but an Islamic religious study institute.
Bassam Tibi relates to this: “Some Islamic historians wrongly translate the term Madrasa as university. This is plainly incorrect: If we understand a university as universitas litterarum, or consider, without the bias of Eurocentrism, the cast of the universitas magistrorum, we are bound to recognise that the university as a seat for free and unrestrained enquiry based on reason, is a European innovation in the history of mankind.Universities were the Assyrians and Buddhist invention. Among the best is the Great Monastery of Nalanda in India. It was not established by Muslims; in fact, it was destroyed by Muslims, as were so many cultural treasures in India, Central Asia and the Middle East. Though some texts were reintroduced to Europe via Arabic translations, but neither the inventions nor the translators were Arabs or Muslims. The Greek texts that were translated into Arabic were copied by Greek-speaking Byzantine Christians and others, and most tragically the originals disappeared or burnt.
Without the separation of church and state, the West would not have produced a deeply rooted natural philosophy that was disseminated through Europe by virtue of an extensive network of universities, which laid the foundation for the great scientific advances made in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A striking number of the leading scholars in early modern Europe, from Copernicus to Galileo and Newton, had studied at these institutions. Although the Scientific Revolution began in the seventeenth century with the systematic use of the experimental method and a more critical view of the knowledge of the ancients, exemplified by individuals such as Galileo, the initial institutional basis for these developments was laid with the natural philosophers of the medieval universities.
It is an historical fact that scientific revolution happened in Europe. The foundations for the study of modern science were laid in the European universities. The natural sciences became “the foundation and core of a medieval university education.” The earliest European universities, such as the University of Bologna in Italy and Oxford in England, were created in the eleventh century, but many more were added during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The medieval European university represented a real innovation when the Greco-Roman heritage was slowly recovered. After the Crusades, translations directly from Greek via Byzantine manuscripts acquired from Constantinople. Unfortunately they were stopped after the Ottoman occupation of Constantinople. Again, Islam has proven to disruptive and distructive when it comes to sciences.
Toby E. Huff quotes: Something like 87% of the European scientists born between 1450 and 1650 [who were] thought worthy of inclusion in the Dictionary of Scientific Biography were university educated.’ More importantly, ‘A large proportion of this group was not only university educated but held career posts at a university.’ For the period 1450-1650 this was 45 percent, and for 1450-1550, it was 51 percent. In short, sociological and historical accounts of the role of the university as an institutional locus for science and as an incubator of scientific thought and argument have been vastly understated. Indeed, Islam has nothing to do with this processes. Universities and Islam are contradictory.
The legal system that developed in 13th century Europe, which saw the absorption of Greek philosophy, Roman law, and Christian theology, was instrumental in forming a philosophically and theologically open culture that respected scientific development. European universities were legally autonomous and they could develop their own rules, scholarly norms, and curricula, depending on curiosity, skepticism, and inquisitiveness. It was only this attitude of inquiry that helped lay the foundation for modern science.
The network of universities facilitated the spread of information, knowledge and debate and served as an incubator for many later scientific advances in Europe. These developments had never occurred in the Arab lands. Moreover, all of these innovations were made centuries before European colonialism had begun. In fact, it was the time when Europe itself was a victim of Islamic colonialism and violent aggressive Jihad being waged by the Ottomans in the remaining Byzantine lands, and the Mediterranean coasts had suffered centuries of Islamic raids.
Mathematics, geometry trigonometry. Mohamad Abdalla claims that Muslims developed Greek geometry and then used it in designing wheels of all kinds, including waterwheels and other systems for drawing water, in improving farming equipment, and, inevitably, in devising engines and devices of war. In the ninth century, Thābit ibn Qurra wrote on cubatures and quadratures; advanced the study of parabolas; and translations of Appollonius’ Conics, Archimedes’ treatises, and Nicomachus’ Introduction to Arithmetic. Moreover, he continues legends, trigonometry was invented by the Arabs. They were the first to formulate explicit trigonometric functions. Khawarizmi, the Muslim mathematician and the first to establish algebra and algorithm and to compose many astronomical tables. Habbash al-Hāsib was the first to use tangents cotangent functions. Abu al-Wafā’ al-Buzanji, the first person to demonstrate the sine theorem for general spherical triangle, which is attributed to Copernicus. Bayruni was the first to write on spherical trigonometry, calculated the approximate value of a diagonal of one degree, and was the first to demonstrate that for a plane triangle.
The problem with this list is that all of them were not the first and all of them were not Arabs. Khawarizmi was a Persian mathematician and astronomer; Thabit ibn Qurrah was a Sabian mathematician and physician from Harran, Turkey; Habbash al-Hāsib Persian astronomer and mathematician; Abu al-Wafā’ al-Buzanji was a Persian mathematician; and al-Bayruni was born in todays’ Uzbekistan. There is no accurate information whether they were Muslims at all or forcibly converted to Islam. What is clear that their knowledge, whatever it worth, was not Islamic originated.
Persian scientific efforts contributed significantly to academic development of clinical pharmacology and medicine. One example is the practical production in food industry. Persian scientists improved the cooking process in such a way that long before others they could enjoy the taste of pure sugar. The list of Persian scientists that have enriched clinical chemistry, pharmacology, and thus medical therapy and medicine, is almost endless. The Persian poet, Ferdowsi composed in the 11th century his famous work Shahnameh, the ‘Book of Kings.” With this book the poet elevates the Persian language, 300 years after the destruction of Sassanid empire. While most of the conquered countries would lose their culture and language forever the Persian poet Ferdowsi prevented this tragedy for Persia. The Sumarians, one of the first Aryan peoples, integrated astronomy and medical science. The medical profession of doctor goes aback as far as 4000 years, with traces of medical instruments and recipes. Nothing Islamic.
Algebra already existed in ancient Mesopotamia. Algebraic symbolism was employed by Diophantus in Greco-Roman times. Muslims never made use of such symbols. Moreover, wheels of all kinds and farming equipment where all well-known to the Pharaonics and Assyrians long time before Islam; and geometry and trigonometry were invented in India, and some of them by Assyrians. And one more thing: please do not feel uncomfortable reading Muslim were the first of everything. History belongs to them, and everything was created for them and according to their will. They have the best example in Muhammad. He was the greatest human who ever lived and the best model for all humanity: al-Insān al-Kāmil, “the ideal perfect man” whose life is to be imitated by all Muslims and must be obeyed (3:32; 4:79; 8:20; 24:54). Muhammad is the uppermost “beautiful model of conduct” (33:21), a man of “sublime moral character” (68:4).
Medicine. Mohamed Abdalla assisted by Islamic Heritage site claims that “Muslims also excelled in and made original contributions to medicine… Muslims produced new medical knowledge, by systematizing the inconsistent Greco-Roman medical knowledge by writing encyclopedias and summaries. The influence of Islamic medicine in the West was critical, due to the mass of information it conveyed and because it helped establish medicine as a science. In this background Islamic medicine developed and advanced, and at its zenith produced such towering physicians like Ibn Sinā and al-Rāzi, considered to be among the greatest physicians ever known.”
“ar-Rāzi is the keenest original thinker and greatest clinician not only of Islam but of all the Middle Ages. He was the Islamic world’s greatest original clinical and observational physician… He applied chemistry and physics to medicine… wrote a medical encyclopedia and a treatise on smallpox and measles that was the earliest of its kind and considered a masterpiece of Arabic medical literature. He was a pioneer in pediatrics, obstetrics, and ophthalmology… the inventor of the Seton in surgery, and the first to relate hay fever to a rose’s scent, and mastered by psychological shock and of using psychosomatic medicine and psychology. Another great figure Ibn Sinā, was the most renowned physician, philosopher, astronomer and mathematician… representing the climax of medieval philosophy… His book, Canon of Medicine, influenced Europe’s medical schools for the next 600 years and was probably the most used of all medieval medical references.”
However, it is interesting that what is called Islamic medicine was in fact Assyrian and Jewish, and it was built on known traditions, mainly theoretical and practical knowledge developed in Greece and Rome, in Babylon, Persia and India. Here is what ar-Rāzi said about Islam: Muslims get angry and spill the blood of whoever confronts them with questions about their religion. They forbid rational speculation, and strive to kill their adversaries. This is why truth became thoroughly silenced and even concealed. Muslims claim that the Qur’an is miraculous and the infinite words of Allah, and ‘whoever denies it, let him produce a similar one.’ Indeed, we can produce thousands similar, which are more appropriately phrased and state the issues more succinctly. Muslims are talking about a work which recounts ancient myths, is full of contradictions and does not contain any useful information or explanation. Now, can one who utter such words be a Muslim?
As said before, both ar-Rāzi and Ibn Sinā’ were great physiciansand thinkers. However, both were Persians and not Arabs, both were highly unorthodox if they were Muslims at all, and both made their contributions in spite of Islam and not because of Islam. The fact is that as in almost every science, the observatory as a scientific and cultural institution failed to take root in the Arabic-Islamic world. European anatomists were practicing dissections on the pigs and also human body. Consequently, they had a considerable stock of empirical knowledge about human anatomy that was not available in the Arab-Muslim world. Engaged in a variety of practices that would have been forbidden in Islam, Middle Eastern medical education of the time was still based mainly on the memorization of authoritative texts. Moreover, Clear glass was used by Europeans to create eyeglasses for the correction of eyesight, and later for the creation of microscopes and telescopes and thus the birth of modern medicine and astronomy. The final breakthrough was made by the great physician, Vesalius, in his book On the Fabric of the Human Body from 1543.
Astronomy. In his website, George Saliba writes: “I study the development of scientific ideas from late antiquity to modern times, with a special focus on the various planetary theories that were developed within the Islamic civilization and the impact of such theories on European astronomy.” Moreover, Islamic heritage site explains that the medieval Islamic astronomers were not mere translators but also have played a key role in the Copernican revolution, which ultimately influenced Renaissance. The contribution of Islamic science was fundamental to the birth and subsequent development of astronomy in the West, for before this contribution the West had no advanced astronomy. The knowledge developed by Muslim astronomers produced changes in the West as regards the development of trigonometry, instruments, and the local star catalogues, and affected the growth and development of astronomical theory.
It continues: Islamic astronomers surpassed the Greek mathematical methods, and developed trigonometry, which eventually provided the essential tools necessary for the astronomy that developed during the Renaissance. Scholars as Thabit ibn Qurra and Hunayn ibn Ishaq translated Ptolemy’s major work. By the end of the ninth century, the Arabs had thoroughly studied and were acquainted with the work of Antiquity. Saliba himself concludes that at some level the Renaissance “which was at least partly inspired by the Copernican revolution was not a purely European creation.”
Though the best Muslim scholars could be capable of observational astronomers, above all Ulugh Beg (Mīrzā Muhammad Tāraghay), who was a Timurid from Samakand, and Persian in origin, and not an Arab. Few of them made some adjustments to Ptolemaic astronomical theory, but none of them ever made a huge conceptual breakthrough comparable to that provided by Copernicus in 1543 when he put the Sun, not the Earth, at the center of our Solar System. Ptolemaic astronomy was in reality outdated in Europe even before Galileo and others introduced telescopic astronomy in 1609.
The achievements of the Maragha Observatory in Persia, founded in 1259 and known for its precise observations of the stars and the planets, were Persian mind and invention, not Islamic. The fact is that by 1304-05 the observatory was closed because it contradicted Islamic teachings. Islam was and still is against sciences and innovations considered as Bid’ah. The breakthrough in astronomy was the shift to a heliocentric or sun-centered model of the solar system, was done by Nicolaus Copernicus in the sixteenth century. It was based on ancient Greece and in India thinking.
Another aspect was astrology, however, it was directly counter to the teachings of Islam: only Allah knows the past and the future, and only Allah regulates the entire world. Therefore, those astrologists who claim such knowledge are blasphemers. This was exactly the reason that several observatories in Persia and India were destroyed because of their alleged association with astrology. Astrology was blasphemy and an insult to Allah and Astronomy was thus distrusted and mainly denied by Muslims.
Archaeology is one of the proofs that the Islamic world was against at adopting scientific cultural inventions. Historically and religiously Muslims tend to be indifferent and uncurious toward non-Muslim cultures and sciences, past or present, but most of the time actively hostile to them. Muslims, despite the fact that they controlled the cradles of the most ancient civilizations on the planet, were indifferent or actively hostile to their remains. The Egyptian Grand Mufti, Ali Gom’ā, is quoted a saying by Muhammad that sculptors will be among those receiving the harshest punishment on Judgment Day. According to the influential Egyptian scholar, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, “Islam prohibits statues and three-dimensional figures of the living creatures… Therefore, the statues of ancient Egyptians are prohibited.”
When Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798, he sent scientist to exlore the wonders of the Pyramids and the Sphinx. This took the Muslims completely by astonishment, as they could not understand why anybody would be interested in worthless infidel stones. The local Egyptians were confused and did not understand the issue: what was important with this monuments they only robed its treasures. This was the case of other ancient monuments in Iraq, Syria, and North-Africa.
Archaeology was invented by Europeans in the post-Enlightenment period. Muslim exegetes perceived it as infidelity. The French expedition to Egypt in 1798-1801 brought many scholars to catalogue the ancient monuments, thus founding modern Egyptology. The trilingual Rosetta Stone discovered in 1799 was employed to decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphs in 1822, by using the Coptic language. Arab and Turkish Muslims controlled Egypt for more than a thousand years, yet they never bother to decipher the hieroglyphs. The Copts, the native Egyptian Christians (the name “Egypt” comes from Coptic=Cuptan=Egypt) were the direct link to ancient Egypt that fortunately the Arab Muslims invaders hadn’t managed to completely eradicate.
Fine arts in Islam is another sad story of nothing. For 1400 years, Muslims have been prevented by their own faith from enjoying the freedom of artistic expression that non-Muslims take for granted. A highly reliable authentic Hadīth from Sahīh Bukhārī and Sahīh Muslim quotes Muhammad says that “angels have declared that they will not enter a house in which there is a dog or a picture.” The Reliance of the Traveler quotes a number of Ahādīth, that “There will be no peoples of my community who will hold fornication, silk, wine, and musical instruments to be lawful.” Another quote says: “On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to songstress.” The scholarly conclusion is that “All of this is explicit and compelling textual evidence that musical instruments of all types are unlawful.” Another legal ruling says that “It is unlawful to use musical instruments – such as those which drinkers are known for, like the mandolin, lute, cymbals, and flute – or to listen to them. It is permissible to play the tambourine at weddings, circumcisions, and other times, even if it has bells on its sides. Beating the kuba, a long drum with a narrow middle, is unlawful.”
There appears to be a close correlation between the sciences and the arts. Music was closely connected to astronomy in Pythagorean thought, and the great astronomer Claudius Ptolemy wrote on music. Mathematical laws and proportions were considered the underpinnings of musical intervals. Plato and Aristotle both claimed that education should stress gymnastics to discipline the body and music to discipline the mind. The Christian church was the dominant institution in post-Roman Europe that deeply affected the future development of European music. The Gregorian chant in the monasteries and cathedrals established the musical tradition in the works of Mozart and Beethoven. From the Jews came the practices of singing psalms and chanting Scripture. Greek theory evolved from Pythagoras. The Church of post-Roman Europe and drew music from Greek philosophy, musical theory, and Jewish tradition (Donald J. Grout, A History of Western Music). Psychological and behavioral tests clearly prove that music, any music, has been an important ingredient in thinking, developing and the advancement of man.
One must also relate to the Islamic intolerance of the other’s arts. It is clear, the greatest destruction of art in the history of the world is that wrought by Muslims over 1400 years of its existence (architecture, artifacts of ancient civilizations). Muslims devoted the greatest destruction of art in world history, vandalizing many different works of art and architecture, frescoes, mosaics, paintings, statues, synagogues, churches, Hindu and Buddhist temples, wherever Islam was present. Some of that arts has been religious in nature: thousands of Buddhist and Hindu temples complexes in India razed by Muslims; thousands of churches vandalized, razed, or turned into mosques in North Africa and the Middle East.
The destruction of a world heritage ancient sites also prove Islamic intolerance. The Buddhas of Bamiyan, from the 4th-5th century, monumental statues of standing Buddha carved into a cliff in Afghanistan, were demolished by the Taliban in March 2001. In 2012, Muslims of Ansar Dine group, which claimed allegiance to al-Qaeda, unleashed a campaign of destruction against the cultural and religious monuments of Timbuktu, bashing in the doors of a 15th century mosque, and tearing down centuries-old tombs of Muslim holy men.Palmyra, a World Heritage Site, one of Syria’s biggest tourist destinations, is on ruins. The 1,900-year-old Temple of Baal (Bell), described as the premier archeological site in Syria is demolished. Mar Elian Monastery, an important Christian pilgrimage site is demolished. Apamea, a rich Roman-era trading city, has been badly looted. Dura Europos, a Greek place on the Euphrates, housed the world’s oldest known Christian church, a beautifully decorated synagogue, and many other temples and Roman-era buildings, were widespread destructed. Mari, from the Bronze Age, a center of palaces, temples, and extensive archives was looted systematically.
In Iraq, Hatra, UNESCO World Heritage site from the Roman era with marvelous Greek architecture, was demolished. Mosul Museum and universities are in a process of destruction. Mosul University’s library was burned. The Mosul Museum, Iraq’s second largest, after the Museum in Baghdad, was demolished. Nimrud, the first Assyrian capital, founded 3,200 years ago is ruined and looted. Ninveh, an ancient Assyrian capital between 900 and 600 B.C. is under Jihadi control. Mosul’s Mosque of the Prophet Yunus was dedicated to the biblical figure Jonah was demolished with explosives. Imam Dar Mausoleum, near the city of Samarra, was a medieval Islamic architecture and decoration was blown up.
Back to the past. The case of the Library of Alexandria, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, which was burnt in 644. The Library was the ancient world’s greatest and most significant archive of knowledge. It has been estimated that it held over 700,000 scrolls and documents from Assyria, Greece, Persia, Egypt, India and other places. The great thinkers of the age, scientists, mathematicians, poets from all civilizations came to study and exchange ideas. al-Qiftī (1172-1248) relates to the issue in his The History of Learned Men (Ta’rīkh al-Hukamā’). Umar ibn-al-Khattāb replied to ‘Amr ibn al-‘Asas follows: ‘As for the books you have mentioned I can say that those which agree with the Book of Allah [The Qur’an] are to be disposed of because Qur’an is sufficient. And if they have things which contradict the Qur’an, they must be deposed of.’ Another version claims that Umar wrote: “they will either contradict the Qur’an, in which case they are heresy, or they will agree with it, so they are superfluous.” So, allegedly, all the texts of the Library were set on fire.
In his Prolegomena (al-Muqadimah), Ibn Khaldun supports the story of the burning of Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in light of the Arabs’ behavior towards books in that era. He recalls that the Sassanid Persia’s library books were thrown in water and set on fire after the Battle of Nahavand, in 642. This battle is known as the “Victory of Victories” following the order of the Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattāb who told Ibn Abi Waqqās: ‘If these books included guidance, know that Allah has given us a better guidance; and if they contained deviation then may Allah protect us.’
Arabs/Muslims are engaged in an explicit campaign of destruction and expropriation of cultures and communities, identities and ideas. Wherever Arab/Muslim civilization encounters a non-Arab/Muslim one, it attempts, and unfortunately most of the times even succeeded to destroy it. If the “foreign” culture cannot be destroyed, then it is expropriated, and revisionist historians claim that it is and was Muslim, as is the case of most of the Muslim scientific “accomplishments.” This is a pattern that has been recurring since the advent of Islam, 1400 years ago, and is amply substantiated by the historical record, and clearly corroborated by contemporary situation.
The tragedy of the Free World that this Islamic onslaught is on the winning route. So many publications on the internet sites, books, pamphlets and documents, and so much money pour out to change the human mind. For example, MuslimHeritage.com perpetuate historical fabrications and virtually rob the heritage of other civilizations such as ancient China, Greece, Rome, India, and pre-Islamic Middle East – Persia, Babylon, Assyria, Phoenicia, Jews, and Pharaonic Egypt. Or the official site of Paul Vallely,paulvallely.com where the articles written by him are proven to be fundamentally misleading and full of sheer lies and fabrications. They omit, distort, twist, and make blunders concerning the most basic of historical well-known facts. They leave the reader wondering what could have motivated him into writing such deceptive pieces?It is money alone? Is it ignorance? Or it is evil?
Science is universal. Its problems and modalities are international. Islamic Science is the total opposite of any science. Science does not believe in creation theory and religion does not believe in evolution theory. They are both contradictory. The Islamic gates of innovation (Ijtihād) were closed. The Islamic religion is the main, almost the only cause to the Islamic empty-science.Enough is enough. More and more Muslims and their idiot-fools supporters in the West publish ‘researches’ and ‘investigations’ that claim everything was Islamic, and everything belongs to Islam, and hence Islam deserves to be the only legitimate religion and political system.
If contemporary generation still has the ability to make the difference and is somehow immune of this fabricated propagation, the next generation will be totally exposed to one way falsified propaganda that twists distorts and perverts the basics of truth. Science, pure science, will be vanished and instead a “science” depend on religion will emerge. From here the road of the Free World to the Islamic 7th century desert is close, and Judeo-Christian civilization is lost.
*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.
Fostering Inclusivity: Spiritual Discovery in International Ethics and Diplomacy
The concept of inclusion and understanding is not a new-age phenomenon but an essential aspect of any discussion and dialogue that aims to unite diversified perspectives. In the international sphere, especially diplomacy, this inclusivity and understanding take a prime role in fostering meaningful conversations, leading to significant breakthroughs in relations.
Spirituality significantly influences diplomatic interactions. Intrinsically human, spirituality shapes our values, beliefs, and visions. In diplomacy, this force becomes influential as countries shape their national ethos influenced by dominant spiritual or religious sentiments. And the teachings of TheosU about inclusivity and multi-religious dialogues may lead to increased harmony.
Spirituality varies across cultures and nations, shaping unique patterns of thoughts and behaviors. Understanding these dynamics aids in comprehending international ethics and its application in diplomatic scenarios.
Here’s where we delve into the realm of spiritual diplomacy. This involves integrating an understanding of various religious sentiments into diplomatic practices.
Essential aspects of spiritual diplomacy involve fostering cross-cultural dialogue and creating relationships through mutual respect for religious beliefs.
As a proponent of spiritual diplomacy, one key goal is to maintain harmony amidst what is known as heterogeneity – keeping peace in the face of conflicting religious or spiritual views requires careful negotiation within ethical boundaries.
A good negotiator understands meeting ethical implications involves grasping unspoken norms that are part and parcel of societal standards formed by dominant religions.
Technology will play a big part in ethical considerations also. There are now online Bible lessons and lectures on religious scriptres. However, care must be taken to foster inclusivity and non-religious spirituality.
Mindfulness techniques can be your aids to provide balanced judgments while facilitating negotiations between contrasting faiths. Developing compassionate awareness helps you form an enlightened understanding essential for meaningful interfaith encounters.
Walking the tightrope between various faiths requires careful, respectful navigation to avoid discord or antagonism. Migration is a hot topic. And making a plan for inclusion for all regardless of nationality or religion is a worthy goal.
Understand the need to unpack biases posing as significant hurdles to foster unbiased dialogues while at the same time planting seeds of empathy over intolerance.
Understanding how different religious practices can affect daily political affairs is integral to handle international relations effectively. Promoting balance within global interactions infuses inclusivity into standard diplomatic routines ensuring valuable room for diverse perspectives.
Spirituality may not strike as a critical aspect when one thinks about diplomacy; however, it plays a crucial role in bridging gaps that ideological differences may bring. The aim of diplomacy is to further one’s goals.
With nations often defined by their unique spiritual and cultural ethos, failing to incorporate these valuable insights can run the risk of misinterpretation and conflicts.
Therefore, spiritual diplomacy emerges as a bridge that connects these different ideologies through a common route of mutual respect.
Inclusion starts with acknowledging diversity. Recognising that religious beliefs are deeply personal yet universally present in various forms provides individuals the strength to appreciate diversity. Religious diplomacy has come to the forefront in recent times.
While discussions can reinforce stereotypes or misunderstandings about other faiths, they also have the potential to be valuable tools in debunking these biases and promoting an inclusive environment where diverse religious outlooks can coexist.
Emphasising inclusivity goes hand-in-hand with ensuring equality across all faiths amidst diplomatic relations. It helps condition the diplomatic realm into more than merely a negotiation table but transforms it into an arena where sacred values are exchanged and appreciated.
This advocacy sets a precedent in international relations valuing human dignity over regional divisions.
Understanding one’s biases is the first step towards cultivating inclusive dialogues based on empathy rather than contention in today’s interconnected world.
Familiarising oneself with mindfulness techniques can aid diplomats in maintaining equanimity while navigating sensitive interfaith discussions. Inculcating compassion even beyond personal beliefs fosters an atmosphere of dialogue rooted in tolerance, leading towards prosperous international ties.
The initiative towards promoting inclusive spirituality is not free from obstacles. Culture resistance, societal prejudices, and stereotypes serve as formidable challenges to implementing inclusive spirituality in diplomacy.
These factors require persistent efforts to dismantle. It involves replacing age-old misconceptions with facts and maintaining open-mindedness for welcoming wisdom from all religious circles.
In conclusion, nurturing the harmony between spirituality, ethics, and diplomacy emerges as a potent tool in international relations. It attests to the power of collaboration and mutual respect in an increasingly diverse world.
By embracing this inclusive spiritual diplomacy, countries can create spaces for genuine dialogue and understanding among different faiths, encouraging peaceful collaborations and productive resolutions.
Congeniality Between Islam and Democracy
In the contemporary era, compatibility between Islam and democracy is one of the most recent and controversial debate. Diverse opinions are found but to effectively compare the congeniality between the two, one should first understand democracy and its features then compare this political system with Islamic governance. Democracy as a model of self-government can co-exist with Islam because they have principles like separation of powers, checks and balance, legitimacy, constitution, accountability and protection of human rights in common.
About half of the states today have democratic form of government. Starting as Athenian form of direct democracy in 15th century to today’s representative and liberal forms of democracy (indirect democracies), a number of states have gone through democratization. It has spread beyond Western Europe to Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, Latin America, (most) Asia and Africa. When Soviet Union collapsed, democracy trampled communism. The soviet allies, that practiced communism, adopted democracy as solution for modernity and freedom. Democracy also advanced to Middle East in the hopes of end of dictatorship, but there, it got rejected. It led to the idea that Islam can never be compatible with democracy. However, recent happenings in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt have raised this question once again. This leads to the assumption that democracy is static and cannot adopt other cultures, which is not true because we see evolution in west which embraced of democratic principles.
In theoretical application of Islam, Middle Eastern Countries do understand and appreciate democratic process and its meaning in their own unique way. Then why Muslims Countries have not been democratized? This leads to question of the compatibility between Islam and democracy. West believes that attachment of religious values to democratic government is contagious but there are a number of values common in Islam and democracy which make them compatible. For this reason first we should understand what is democracy and its features and then what similarities exist between Islam and Democracy.
According to President Abraham Lincoln, in his famed 1863 Gettysburg Address may have best-defined democracy as a “…government of the people, by the people, for the people…”.The core principle of democracy is self-rule. The basic features of democracy are separation of powers, checks and balances, existence of constitution, periodic elections and protection of fundamental rights.
There are a number of Muslim like Ahmad Moussalli and Muhammad Asad and Non-Muslim scholars who talk about compatibility of the two. They give importance to the principles of consultation, people’s will, transparency, and Accountability. For example, Robin Wright, a well-known American expert on the Middle East and the Muslim world writes: “neither Islam nor its culture is the major obstacle to political modernity”. John O. Voll and John L. Esposito, two bridge-builders between Islam and the West articulate: “The Islamic heritage, in fact, contains concepts that provide a foundation for contemporary Muslims to develop authentically Islamic programs of democracy.”
Below are the similarities between Islam and Democracy.
Constitutional Government: Like democracy, Islamic governance is fundamentally a “constitutional” government, in which the constitution reflects the agreement of the governed to govern according to a specified and agreed-upon framework of rights and duties. For Muslims, the constitution is based on the Qur’an and Sunnah. No authority, other than the governed, has the authority to repeal or amend such a constitution. As a result, Islamic administration cannot be despotic, hereditary, or militaristic in nature. Such a government structure is egalitarian in nature, and egalitarianism is one of Islam’s defining characteristics. It is also commonly agreed that the Islamic republic in Medina was founded on a constitutional foundation and a pluralistic framework that included non-Muslims.
Participatory: An Islamic political system is participative. The system is participatory from the establishment of the institutional structure of governance to its operation. It means that leadership and policies will be implemented with complete, gender-neutral participation of the governed through a popular electoral process. Muslims can use their ingenuity to institute and continuously enhance their systems, based on Islamic precepts and human experience to date. This participation feature is actually Islamic Shura (consultation).
Accountability: This is a necessary corollary to a democratic system. Within an Islamic system, leaders and those in positions of responsibility are held accountable to the people. According to the Islamic framework, all Muslims are answerable to Allah and his divine guidance. However, this is more in a theological sense. People are the focus of practical accountability. Thus, the Khulafa ar-Rashidoon were both Khalifat-ur-Rasool (representative of the Messenger) and Khalifat-ul- Muslimeen (representative of the Muslims)
Legitimacy: Just like in democracy, the people are allowed to select who to govern them i.e. give legitimacy to administer their affairs, in Islam, Jurists have the authority to approve any political decision made by the monarch and the power to protest to the ruler’s decision if it is contradictory to Shariah. As a result, the political elite required the legitimacy of legal professors. Thus, in the ancient past, we can observe how jurists and kings work together constantly. That close historical relationship between religious interpretations and the political arena explains why Islam attempts to establish norms and laws that govern not only the personal life of the believer but also the public domain.
Separation of powers: Islamic constitutions, like the one Iran uses, establish the executive and the legislature branches of government. Legislature functions under the sole supervision of the Imam and Muslim jurists of the Ummah in accordance with new legal provisions. This demonstrates that all three institutions of government are free to carry out their respective duties without outside intervention and practice effective decision making among them without victimization of any individual or organization.
Protection of fundamental rights: Islam and democracy are also compatible because both promote and protect fundamental rights of individuals. Islam, as a welfare state, stresses on provision of basic human rights (food, shelter, security) with equality, justice, freedom, self-determination for all. It also provides rights of private ownership. It creates laws and principles for assurance of these rights. Civil rights movements are permitted in both Islam and democracy hence ensuring that these rights are promoted in an effective and clear manner.
In conclusion, by comparing the basic values of democracy and Islam, it is evident that there is congeniality between the two. Understanding this compatibility can help Muslim states better grasp the purpose of democracy and work towards the welfare of their citizens. The common principles of separation of powers, checks and balances, legitimacy, constitution, accountability and protection of separation of human rights provide a foundation of a harmonious coexistence between Islam and democracy.
Shiites, not Jews, emerge as a touchstone of Saudi moderation
Saudi Arabia has removed anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli references from Islamic studies schoolbooks, according to an Israeli textbook watchdog.
The watchdog, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), said the deletions were part of a broader textbook revision that also eliminated anti-Christian references and toned-down negative portrayals of infidels and polytheists.
Instead of explicitly referring to infidels and hypocrites, the revised textbooks asserted that on the Day of Judgement. Hell, “the home of painful punishment,” would be reserved for “deniers,” rejecting Mohammed’s prophecy. Deniers replaced the term infidel or hypocrite.
In its 203-page report, Impact-se further noted that problematic concepts of jihad and martyrdom were also deleted, while two newly released ‘Critical Thinking’ textbooks stressed notions of peace and tolerance.
The report acknowledged an improved approach to gender issues, including removing “a significant amount of homophobic content.“ Nevertheless, the textbooks maintained a traditional approach to gender, the report said.
However, the review suggested that progress was limited in altering attitudes towards Shiite and Sufi Muslims, considered heretics by Wahhabism, the austere ultra-conservative strand of Islam that was dominant in the kingdom until the rise in 2015 of King Salman, and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“Some problematic examples remain…in the approach to perceived heretical practices associated with the Shi‘a and Sufism,” the report said.
The report will likely be read against the backdrop of US efforts to persuade Saudi Arabia to follow the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco in formalising relations with Israel and the recent Chinese-mediated Saudi-Iranian agreement to restore ties broken off in 2016.
In contrast with the three Arab states that unconditionally established diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020, Saudi Arabia has made formal relations dependent on Israeli moves to solve its conflict with the Palestinians.
Israeli media reported that Bahrain had mediated a recent telephone conversation between Mr. Bin Salman, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.
Mr. Netanyahu has made diplomatic relations with the kingdom a priority. He has pressed Mr. Bin Salman to allow direct flights between Israel and Jeddah, the Saudi Red Sea gateway to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, during next month’s annual pilgrimage. Without direct flights, Palestinian pilgrims have to transit through a third country to reach the kingdom.
Prospects for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are dim, with Mr. Netanyahu heading the most religiously ultra-conservative and nationalist government in Israeli history.
Israeli-Palestinian tensions have significantly increased since the government took office in December. Earlier this month, they led to five days of Israeli airstrikes against targets in Gaza and Palestinians firing rockets into Israel in response.
Complicating matters, Saudi Arabia wants the United States to offer the kingdom more binding security guarantees, grant it unrestricted access to US weaponry, and assist in developing a peaceful nuclear program as part of any agreement to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.
Long in the making, the revision of Saudi textbooks constitutes a gesture towards the United States and Israel.
However it is, first and foremost, designed to counter the ultra-conservative, supremacist, and intolerant religious concepts that have shaped the education system since the kingdom was founded.
The revisions are also crucial to Saudi Arabia’s efforts to diversify its oil export-dependent economy, prepare its youth for competition in the labour market, and project the one-time secretive kingdom that banned women from driving as an open, forward-looking 21st-century middle power.
Furthermore, the revisions bolster Saudi Arabia’s quest for religious soft power as the custodian of Islam’s holiest cities and a beacon of a socially liberal moderate Islam.
Getting Saudi Arabia revamping its textbooks has been a long, drawn-out process. The United States and others have pushed for changes since the September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington. Most of the perpetrators were Saudi nationals.
The more limited progress in redressing prejudiced attitudes towards Shiite and Sufi Muslims compared to Jews and Christians suggests the continued influence of ultra-conservative religious thought in Saudi Arabia despite Mr. Bin Salman’s social reforms.
It also puts into perspective the kingdom’s reluctance to anchor the reforms in religious as well as civil law, an approach propagated by Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s Indonesia-based largest and most moderate civil society movement.
On the plus side, Saudi Arabia’s revised textbooks no longer describe visitors to sacred figures’ tombs, a widespread Shiite practice, as “evil” and “cursed” by the Prophet Mohammed.
Nevertheless, textbooks still condemn such visits as innovations banned by Wahhabism. For example, one revised textbook implicitly described tomb visits to supplicate the deceased rather than God as a polytheistic practice to be punished in Hell.
“Students learn that polytheism is dangerous, as it is the ‘most heinous’ of sins. However, while the 2021 edition also taught that those who practice it will be punished with eternity in Hell, this was removed in 2022,” the report said.
At times, the Impact-se report conflated thinking among some Arab and Sunni Muslims with Islam in general, particularly regarding Shiite-majority Iran.
In one instance, the report noted that in the textbooks, “Islamic historical animus toward Persia is maintained through claims that the assassination of the second caliph was a Persian conspiracy.”
The animus is maintained by some Sunni Muslims rather than Muslims as such. It relates to the killing by an enslaved Persian of Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second of the first four 7th-century caliphs to succeed Prophet Mohamed.
On an optimistic note, the report concluded, “Saudi efforts to reform the curriculum reveal a reasonably consistent step-by-step approach…and one…hopes that the approach will be applied to the handful of problematic content remaining in some textbooks.”
The report did not say that tackling problematic attitudes towards Shiites and Sufis would constitute one indication of how far Saudi rulers are willing to venture in challenging ultra-conservative Muslim precepts.
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