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.
How modernity and globalization influenced the message and expansion of Islam
Islam – societal and cultural changes
In order to understand how cultural and societal changes influence any religion, we must first know the definition of religion. Religion is a relation with God which human beings regard as sacred, divine, spiritual, holy and worthy of respect. It consists of the ways to deal with different concerns of human life. Religious influences are rooted in all aspects of human life. Religions evolve and change with time. Religions consist of ideas, values, practices and stories that are embedded in culture and are not separable. It is not possible to understand a religion without its cultural dimensions How Islam has adapted cultural and societal changes as it has spread throughout the globe is an interesting and complex phenomenon.
Islam traveled in many ways through different regions. The history of Islam is full of events that led to Islam’s spread across the globe. Sometimes it was transferred through military conquests, it was also carried through trade caravans that travelled over vast distances or through the missionaries. When Islamic ideas came into contact with new societies, they evolved in unique ways and took on diverse forms. That’s why these societies have multiple different interpretations of Islam. The spread of Islam across different regions involved some prominent factors such as inter-marriages, trade, influencers etc . Spreading of Islam is a complex phenomenon and to say that it travelled merely through sword is not justified. Muslim culture developed from the ninth century to the twelfth century, and crystallized into what we currently know as Islam. The military expansion of the early centuries facilitated the spread of Islam in name only and it was later that Islam spread in true meaning, as a number of citizens started converting to Islam. Expansion of Islamic culture was carried out by missionaries and political convoys, it also expanded through trade. Group of travelers (caravans) used camels to transport goods and themselves across different regions, they played the most important role in the spread of Islam. These caravans helped in expanding Islamic civilization and culture by connecting different provinces (with the Islamic empires) which were far apart. Merchants carried out trades across different regions. These trades were equally influential in expanding culture and created a sense of multiculturalism or internationalism. These new cultural relationships led to the transfer of technology, science and other forms of culture. This was the start of globalization. But at that time it was just known by multiple names like multiculturalism or internationalism. Cultural globalization is a multidimensional process which leads to different impacts and consequences and makes possible the coexistence of different values with Islamic symbols , values and discourses. Islamic culture does not consist of merely a group of a combination of rituals rather it is a complete way of life prescribed by the Quran.
“The human history is the graveyard of great cultures that the disastrous end of them has been due to this matter that they couldn’t present a planned, rational and volitional reaction against the challenges.” -Erich Fromm
When Islam encountered globalization:
During the time of prophet Muhammad (SAW) there wasn’t much expansion of Islam to other parts of the world. Only a small group of people went to Abissynia during the early days of Islam for the purpose of seeking shelter. The actual age of Islamic globalization has begun when in Medina the Prophet (SAW) founded an Islamic State in 622. From that time, Islam started to spread around the globe. The teachings of the Qur’an and the prophet (SAW) inspired the Muslims not only to learn but also to illumine their souls by knowledge. Despite mastering modern information and technical skills, Muslims had an open mind in understanding all that’s good and helpful . They were willing to grasp knowledge and ideas from the Persians, Indians and Greeks in order to enrich their civilization. They had a welcoming attitude towards the changing world.
In assessing the Muslim time of globalization, one could come to realize that the growth of Islam and its civilization to overseas territories took place because of its dynamic nature as disclosed by God. The Book of Islam conveyed messages associated with faith and additionally recommended Muslims to gather know-how of science and equip themselves with modern knowledge. When Muslims took Islam to overseas lands there has been no compulsion for human beings to comply with Islam. Many western scholars made the claims that Islam became unfold on the factor of the sword which are groundless. Islam was promoted with stunning preaching and desirable examples proven through the Prophet (SAW) and early Muslims at some stage in their age of globalization.(‘N e w s l e t t e r 1 0 Muslim Responses to Globalization’, 2002)
Globalization has begun without being acknowledged by a huge area of the Islamic Ummah. Since the tsunamis of globalization began to contact the shores of the Islamic nations, but it shouldn’t affect the faith of Muslims and Islamic lifestyle. As it has been comprehended from the former conversation that globalization is irreversible and The Muslims, inevitably, have no choice but to prepare and protect themselves. Realizing that Malaysia needs to do something Former Prime Minister Mahathir stated in one of the His addresses on the issue of globalization to the Islamic Ummah:
“Muslim countries and Muslim government have a duty to ensure that globalization will not result in the marginalization of their countries as happened with the Industrial Revolution and Industrial Age. We cannot afford it this time. If once again we miss this opportunity to keep pace with the radical and rapid advances now being made with technology and the sciences, and the changes they cause to the world’s perceptions of things, the new ideas and concepts in human and international relations; if we miss all these and fail to handle them, then we will not only be marginalized, but be dominated and hegemonised permanently”
Mahatir’s statement is a reminder to the Muslims not to Ignore the events and progress that take place, and stay away In the fields of Information Technology, Multimedia, e-Study, e-commerce, etc If Muslims choose to remain isolated in this era of globalization then Muslims will be one who will be left alone and loser in comparison with the rest of the world. A sensible thing for the Muslims to do is to be active in mastering and utilizing the new technology for a good purpose that could deliver progress, development and economic benefits to themselves and to the rest of mankind. Now if one looks at the modern period, as far as politics and government go, Muslims have absorbed a great deal from the West, especially in relation to democracy, human rights, democratic forms of governance. There’s been as great deal of absorption on the part of Muslims from the West. Any Muslim society today including those which have remained closed and cloistered cannot ignore the force of democracy and the wave of modernity and globalization.
Globalization, modernity and Islam
Through its name, the idea of globalization is very much clear. The word global provides the central idea, it mainly comprises economy, society, culture and politics. People from different countries with different cultural backgrounds are connected through globalization, they make a homogenous culture and thus become globalised. Globalization has made the world interconnected, such that local events may come to have global consequences. Now we proceed to how globalization and modernity which is a very intensified phenomenon, influenced the message of Islam. (m.miasami, no date) As it has been mentioned in a research article the relationship between Islam and globalization has been subjected to considerable speculation and sarcastic discussion. The belief that Islam opposes globalization has been the essence of the debate. Islam calls for adequate responses to the constant challenges posed by the fluctuating time and space factors and for the prospect of their comprehension and implementation to be revitalized and revamped from within in order to combat the possible shortcomings of the Muslim mind and the cultural and civilizational degeneration of Islamic societies This article emphasizes that the current debate of Islam and globalization is more focused on westernization than globalization. It has been argued that the tension is due to the westernization process rather than globalization. Since the mere terminology surrounding the debate has created considerable misunderstanding, the terms of reference need to be defined properly. Globalization is a very intense phenomenon which involves worldwide exchange of goods, people and ideas. Globalization has captured growing intensity of worldwide interconnectedness. Globalization has been a part of human life since its inception. This refers to the inherent human nature and the propensity of man to be a social animal. It is, in fact the propensity with which god has created human beings to exchange his resources with others in order to get better chances at life. Though globalization is related to the idea of comparative advantage, free trade and open economy , its origins can be traced back to long before such ideas came to life. To establish a more detailed view of the so called ‘Islam-Globalization’ controversy, it is important to differentiate between the globalization cycle in its original context and other comparatively more recent mechanisms, such as westernization that are veiled as globalization and yet are so distinct.
Globalization aims to narrow the gaps that separate the various communities. This is achieved by sharing advantages of cultural , social, science and political governance in all facets of life. That is, they share knowledge, they recognize the principles and codes of ethics of one another, and they establish a common ground. Westernization, by contrast, does not consider such an understanding or building of such a common ground as worthwhile enterprises. Globalization is a mechanism in which the entire planet is like a global town. Globalization is a dynamic process which has different effects on various religions around the world. It breaks the cultural barriers and spread different ideologies and values around the globe. Westernization, on the other side, appears to be a one-way path, implying that in the name of globalization, one country seeks to conquer and influence other areas. In addition, while globalization takes place through the free will of various communities, Westernization is characteristically imposed on other regions. Having explained the distinction between globalization and westernization, the discussion regarding Islam-globalization can be more adequately measured. Islam is not, in its original context, anti-globalization (or modernity, deemed a by-product of globalization), but Muslims also have a concern with Westernization. While there is criticism of Westernization of culture, modernization is accepted as a timely phenomenon.(Achmad and Hamzani, 2016)
Modernity in its political and social forms refers to increasingly specializing isolation from religion in societal institutions such as political systems, law, economic management and education. Unlike social life in the pre-modern period, these roles are conducted in modernity, free from the overarching influence of religion. In this viewpoint, religious fundamentalism-in the sense of a return to a purist past-is a issue in all its complexity and cultural hybridity created by the interaction between modernity and the Muslim ummah.
Modernity is a process in which society becomes modern. It implies social mobility , industrialization, trade. Modernization has been accelerated and accentuated with globalization in the past two decades. Islam, like all other religions, has felt and reacted to the effects of and responded to the impingement of modernity in Muslim society, the multiple forces of modern intellectual, scientific and socio-political life. There’s hardly a facet of Muslim society ‘s life that has been left untouched. Contrary to common belief, the bulk of the ideas of justice, equality prescribed by Islam are in accordance with those inherent in the modernization process. Islam has always promoted ideas such as peaceful coexistence, the acceptance of other religions, democratic governance and women’s rights. Indeed, Islam and modernization need not be at odds with one another. Muslims need not have any excessive aversion to Islamic tradition since Islam has never been a cause of any chapters of darkness or ignorance in Muslim history. Islamic culture was without dark ages. Such a thing would be an anomaly for mankind as Islam is in a religion of supreme light, reality, and guidance. Islam, on the contrary, was the root cause of all goodness which emerged in Islamic civilization and benefitted not only Muslims but also non-Muslims. (Kohler and Krueger, 1952)
Islam is both traditional and modern, as the universal and final revelation to mankind. While it speaks of the infinity, permanence and inviolability of its divinely prescribed truth, and thus of continued compliance with and following its authorities, as well as of the valuation and conformity with the legacies and traditions spawned by such dynamic historical processes, Islam also calls for appropriate responses to the constant challenges posed by the fluctuating time and space.
According to an article, (Bicer, 2013)Islamic responses to the globalization phase are very complex. Islamic understanding, social circumstances and interaction with modernity are the reasons for this. Discrete experiences form independent Islamist thoughts, expectations, critiques, strategies, and their modern or non-modern commitments. Where political , economic or cultural deprivation slowly impedes the fulfillment of desires without pressure or inequality, Muslims may follow a committed, private and a political Islamism consistent with western rationalization, also entangled with it. Muslims should take a personal, general, cooperative, and systematic approach and strive toward a compromised modern Islamic public sphere. Globalization should be acknowledged for providing a suitable arena for exchange of ideas and thoughts.
Globalization in the light of Quran
Globalization is socially, historically and politically powerful, and is prevalent in the world. Whatever the dominant political and cultural influence geographically, the ideology takes priority over others. In our times the U.S. is the world’s dominant power. American culture is the power house worldwide. The Qur’an says the balance of power passes to other hands, “We bring these days to men by turns, and that Allah may know those who believe and take witnesses from among you. And Allah loveth not those that do wrong” (Qur’an 3/140). This verse means, “Allah has turned those glories around, Some days are in favour of people and some are against them”. In this Qur’anic verse, the word dawla (mubadala) means going back and forth. That exchange of primacy among cultures has some causes hidden. We must accept globalization as a reality in principle. It is a power cycle and can change thereby from person to person, community to community, State to State, continent to continent. Globalization is in essence neutral rather than demonic nor divine. It shifts the role of client, and room utilized. There are, therefore, many articles about globalization, for and against religion.
Religious and cultural values have been affected by the influence of globalization’s dominance. Globalization is seen as a cause of religious diversity and its threat to traditional values. It is also seen as a polarization factor defining religious identity and its internal practice. Evaluating the substance of religious scriptures and religious history challenges us with this underlined reality that Islam is a global faith and has sought to become globalized through its historical context. Islam has also addressed the question of globalization and the development of a global culture and democracy. To prove that topic, we can state the following Quranic verses.
Many verses of Quran have spoken about the globalization of Islam and lack of its limitation to definite place or time directly or indirectly. Also, they have narrated and characterized the global view of Islam.:
- «قل يا ايها الناس اني رسول الله اليكم جميعاً»
Say: O people! surely I am the Messenger of God to you all.
- «يا ايها الناس اعبدوا ربكم الذي خلقكم و الذين من قبلكم لعلكم تتقون»
O men! serve your Lord who created you and those before you so that you
may guard against evil.
- «ان الله اصطفي آدم و نوحاً و ال ابراهيم و ال عمران علي العالمين»
“Surely God chose Adam and Nuh and the descendants of Ibrahim and the
descandents of Imran above the nation.
- «هو الذي ارسل رسوله بالهدي و دين الحق ليظهره علي الدين كله.
“He it is who sent His messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, that
he might cause it to prevail over all religions, though the polytheists may be
- «وعد الله الذين آمنوا منكم وعملو صالحات ليستخلفنكم في الارض كما استخلف الذين من قبلهم و ليمكنن لهم دينهم الذي ارتضي لهم و ليبد لنهم من بعد خوفهم امنا.
“God has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will most certainly make them rulers in the earth as He made rulers those before them, and that He will most certainly establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them, and that He will most certainly, after their fear, give them security in exchange; they shall serve Me, not associating aught with me; and whoever is ungrateful after this, these it is who are the transgressors.”
- «يا ايها الذين آمنوا ادخلوا في السلم كافه و لاتتبعوا خطوات الشيطان»
“O you who believe! enter into submission one and all and do not follow the footsteps of shaitan; surely he is your open enemy “
It has been pointed in above verses that Holy Prophet of Islam (Peace be Upon Him) has announced His Quranic message, the divine revelation, with the characteristic of eternity for all human beings. Also, the aforesaid verses imply the world’s inclusion of Islam legal system and this matter that the mission of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon Him) is global and for all human beings.
Islam is not in conflict with the issue of globalization and modernity, but the features of globalization, from the Islamic point of view, are distinct from the present idiomatic element. Reviewing the quality of religious texts and religious history presents us with this obvious reality that religion of Islam is a global religion and in its historical experience has always sought to become worldwide. Islam has always addressed the question of globalization, liberal culture system and global governance. We believe that Islam has broad-based and national thought and theoretical principles that, if extracted and clarified in the modern language, can be as a shining lamp before the present human way. Of course, other holy books, such as the New and Old Testaments, claim to present this principle, but the comparison of Islam’s foundation of thought with other holy religions proves that Islam and the Quran are unquestionably superior. So we can conclude that whatever is described as the globalization phase today is not in line with Islam ‘s view given the presence of similarity and parallels such as the elimination of geographical borders, but it is apparent that Islam does not oppose globalization and render Islam global, but the characteristics of globalization vary from today’s idiomatic features.
From this point of view, globalization should be seen as a possibility for the growth and advancement of human good principles, as it has transformed communicative technologies and enabled citizens across the world with swift and unified connectivity. According to this approach, globalization is an appropriate opportunity to develop the exalted Islamic instructions and is a ground for the fulfillment of the global government of Islam, as promised in the verses of the Glorious Qur’an.
As a result, it can be said that while Western and especially America dominated communicative technologies, the growth and development of these technologies , particularly internet and satellite, created an atmosphere that this situation can be used well. It is also easy for the active addressees of the media to accept the exalted messages of Islamic religion which are in harmony with human instincts that the dust of negligence has been touched on their pure human nature, and this matter requires the conscience and acuity of Islamic world thinkers that they can better use this condition and prove this principle that Islam is in agreement with globalization.
Achmad, D. and Hamzani, U. (2016) ‘Globalization in the Perspective of Islam and Economic Experts’, Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 219, pp. 41–46. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.04.030.
Bicer, R. (2013) ‘Globalization in the Context of Islamic Theology’, The Journal of Rotterdam Islamic and Social Sciences, 3(1), pp. 1–12. doi: 10.2478/jriss-2013-0001.
Kohler, W. and Krueger, F. (1952) ‘T H E Impact of the German Immigration on T H E’, 2(May), pp. 207–229.
m.miasami (no date) ‘Islam and Globalization’, fountain magazine.
‘N e w s l e t t e r 1 0 Muslim Responses to Globalization’ (2002) Religion, (July).
The future of Orthodox shrine in Gifhorn
St.Nicholas’ Orthodox Church in Gifhorn (Germany) – a copy of the ‘gem’ of the Russian wooden architecture of the 18th century – has for a long time heard none of the divine liturgy chants or the ringing of the bells after the service. The reason for this is the decision by a private sponsor, who at the end of the 20th century granted the financial resources and the territory to rebuild this magnificent church, to sell it to the Russian Orthodox community for a hefty sum. What caused the problem is the breathtaking beauty of the architectural marvel.
It was the beauty of the wooden Transfiguration Church, created by Russian architects in 1756, that encouraged German entrepreneur and ethnography lover Horst Wrobel to replicate it in Germany. The copy in question was built in 1995 in Lower Saxony, near the town of Gifhorn in Wrobel’s private estate where he set up a museum of old mills on the riverbank. The beautiful church fits in perfectly well with the picturesque landscape. Its original, the above-mentioned Transfiguration Church, which used to be located in one of the villages of the Vladimir Region (about 200 km from Moscow), burned down seemingly beyond repair in a fire caused by a strike of lightning in the 19th century. In the 20th century it was rebuilt on the basis of the original designs, but this time, on the territory of the wooden architecture museum in Suzdal.
It was in Suzdal that Horst Wrobel saw the breathtaking beauty and exquisite elegance of the Orthodox shrine. With the help of old drafts he had a copy of the church built in his estate and dedicated it to St.Nicholas the Miracle Worker. In autumn 1995 His Holiness Patriarch Alexey II, while on a visit to Germany, paid a visit to Horst’s museum of mills and the church on the territory of the museum. In a solemn ceremony the Wrobel family presented His Holiness Patriarch Alexey II with St.Nicholas’ Church. According to Father Superior Archpriest Gennady (Budko), the gift certificate was not of legal but of symbolic nature:
The symbolic document of 24.11.1995 points out that «50 years after the end of the Second World War this church serves as a bridge across our nations, from person to person, and from heart to heart. Let this House of God become a symbol of reconciliation for all German and Russian Christians for ever». Having consecrated the church Patriarch Alexey II addressed those present: «The church’s beauty is reminiscent of a cathedral. I would be happy to take the church to Russia, but it stays here as a fifth church of the Russian Orthodox Diocese in Berlin and Germany. A visit to Gifhorn crowns my visit to Germany».
According to Father Gennady, in 25 years that the church has been in Lower Saxony the owner of the building has signaled no intention to legalize the gift to the Russian Orthodox Church. In 25 years the church has seen six superiors, has formed a community of 120 people, and requires appropriate maintenance and renovation. Given the conditions imposed by the owner the parishioners have to hold services on the rented premises of a Catholic church or on the premises of other Christian organizations. Why? – Entry to the museum is not free, for parishioners it costs 30 euros a year. The superior together with parishioners have to leave the church right after service for absence of life-support facilities – water supply, kitchen, recreational area (benches – tables). But this is not the main thing that worries the church community led by Father Gennady. «Our parish consists of missionaries and wanderers, – Father Gennady says. – If the new owners come, the road to the church will become inaccessible, for the museum is skirted by a trench with water and a bridge which is lifted most of the day. This is the only way to the church. The incumbent owner is set on selling the church». This is the price the fifth church of the Russian Orthodox Diocese pays for its beauty, once inspired by God. A poet says,
«…what is beauty and why is it worshipped by people?
– Is it a vessel with a vacuum,
or is it a fire twinkling in the vessel»?
St.Nicholas’ Church with its spectacular beauty and impressive history is waiting for prayers and chants to the glory of God, glimmering icon-lamps. Put on stake is money and faith. Either the church will be bought (at best by the Russian Orthodox Church), or the prayer will work a miracle and the church will be gratuitously handed over to the Russian Orthodox Diocese in Germany. The parishioners believe in a miracle and continue to pray about the future of the church.
From our partner International Affairs
Islam, Science and Time: Is science compatible with religion?
Logically, time is present at every particle as a moment and eventually the very same moment is present at the whole, limitless space like a singular unit of totality. It means that there remains no gap, difference, or distance between time’s state of rest and its omnipresence. Typically, the time shown by clocks across countries at a given singular moment can be different and thus divisible (due to geological distances). However, the given singular moment of the time remains the same everywhere. This implies that time is indivisible, immortal and eternal. There is no past, present and future of the time. In fact, these are particular events and their happenings that cause past, present, and future phases of the space. Thus, it is space not the time that passes through the phases of past, present, and future.
The ages of nonentity (nothingness) turned into the past reign of the space when the first event of the big bang took place and subsequently started the new structure of the universe upon the surface of space. Thus, the existing design of the universe at the face of space is running as the present reign of the structure. If there exist both past and present reigns of space, there must also be its future. This future reign cannot be denied as it is the eternal fate to come either through a big crunch or through the heavenly bugle of doomsday.
The imaginative sort of time-space structure should compel the writer and his readers alike to conclude that the time-space combination and its structural phases of universe came into being under some mindful scheme of an Almighty Authority, Who created and controls the whole vista. While He let some universe open and visual so that it can be learnt and discovered, He hid the rest which cannot be discovered or disclosed. “But for whom”? What was that generic class or character that the Almighty had in His mind to bring forth after the initial preparations would complete. Of course and undoubtedly, this generic class and character was of human beings for whom the Almighty Authority of Allah was preparing the ground of His schematic system that could either be learnt visually or believed conscientiously.
That is why human beings see the time-space relativity as two different realities. Time is hidden and a non-visual reality, while the space and structure of the universes are naked, visual realities that humans can learn through their wit or wisdom. However, human wit or wisdom is limited. For example, the supreme avenue of heaven—i.e., the vista of censored realities such as Allah Almighty Himself, death-revealing, angels, Eden and hell—is beyond human’s knowledge. Thus, where the wit and wisdom ends, the belief or faith starts. Human wit or wisdom lie in the scientific view and faith and belief lie in religious view.
Stephen Hawking says, “So long as the universe had a beginning, we could suppose it had a creator. But if the universe is really completely self-contained, having no boundary or edge, it would have neither beginning nor end; it would simply be. What place, then, for a creator?” When a religious leader Saint Augustine was asked “What did God do before he created the universe”? He replied that “time was a property of the universe that God created, and that time did not exist before the beginning of the universe”. Immanuel Kant opined in his thesis that “if the universe did not have a beginning, then there would be an infinite period of time before any event, which he considered absurd. The argument for his antithesis was that if the universe had a beginning, there would be an infinite period of time before it, so why should the universe begin at any particular time?” Here, Hawking denies the concept of time before the beginning of the universe which he considered an unspoken assumption of Kant’s thesis and anti-thesis. According to Hubble’s observations, “there was a time, called the big bang, when the universe was infinitesimally small and infinitely dense…. One may argue that time had a beginning at the big bang, in the sense that earlier times would not be defined”. Hubble explained that “wherever you look, distant galaxies are moving rapidly away from us. In other words when the objects were all at exactly the same place and when, therefore, the density of the universe was infinite”. All of these scientific views (Stephan Hawkings. “A brief history of time) endorse that the mutual relativity of the time-space was spread out endlessly before and even after the beginning of the universe and its systemized structure. Thanks to scientists for providing a time-space basis to start with the Quranic view.
Quranic Ethical Identification
Human phrase of time-space has two words and the Quranic phrase of “Al Hayyul Qayum” (Quran chap 2, verse 255) also has two words. The first word is for Allah’s life defined as “Ever-Living”. Allah’s life means Allah’s time to live along. Hence, Allah’s life transmitted or translated into the time. Allah’s life is immortal, eternal, unending, indivisible and turned primarily into the time being. Allah’s life has been transferred as the singular unity of time over the whole and unending space, once for all and forever. In other words, Allah’s life or Allah’s self-being is the time-being—i.e., absolute digital constant of reference. The second word for Him is: “The Sustainer of all other Existences”. For sustenance of something, housing or existing space is required. Thus, and when Allah is the sustainer of all other existences, He created the boundless vastness of the space to provide housing or staying place. “The City of Allah” during the time-space entity was a “Arsh-e-Mualla” (owner of the throne). There the angels were carrying His throne with his Arsh-e-Mualla and some others around it praying for those to come in future with their true beliefs. (Quran chap 40, verse 7,15) The universe, then came into being so as that: “He, it is who gives life and causes death; and when He decrees a matter, He, but says to it “Be” and “it becomes”. (Quran chap 40, verse 68)
There was no Sun when the Earth was formed in “four days” and seven skies in “two days”. If there had been no sun when the Earth was formed, the scale of time was certainly not the measurement of time with respect to the sun. Those six days may not be the same six days that are measured with respect to Earth’s spinning around its axis today, nor the time calculated for a year’s span of time with respect to Earth’s revolution around the sun. The relative time is unknown for numbering these six days in total (Chap 41, verses 9-12). Time is eternal. After that the “lowest sky was adorned by lamps (and stars)”. Again, the future of the space is informed as: “Then watch (or wait) for the day when the sky will bring a visible smoke! Covering the people; this is a painful torment” (chap 44 verse 10,11). When someone could see no event of change occurring before him, he felt as if the time was passing through the same moment. Cave-fellows of the “Kahf” slept for “309 years” but found these years just like a day (or even less) after getting up from their sleep (Chap 18 verse 19,25). Similarly, a person in the good books of God became alive after 100 years of his death, he found it “a day or less than that” (chap 2, verse 259)
Thus, it is concluded that Time-Space and its systemized structure of universe or universes is not self-contained. Almighty Allah is its creator and the controlling authority, Who has left some realities as naked while others as hidden so that the former may be visualized by humans to the extent of their use of wit and wisdom and the latter with their faith and belief. Time represents the same moment for all. It is not a naked reality as observed in our time clocks or estimated by the Sun.
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