Are you not tired of people calling Muslims barbarians and backwards. While it is true that we as an ummah today are not in the fore front of things, and there are very good causes for that which we can discuss later, our history is full of achievements that show that the West should at least say THANK YOU to our great grand fathers.
Islam’s contribution to the West
When this deen dominates the mind and heart of people, the actions will be great for humanity.
Islamic civilization. What is it?
This civilization has not been fairly treated. Huge gap on Muslim side in exploring and investigating the Islamic history. Most link it to the political history but we need to get other aspects of the Islamic civilization also. On Non Muslim side we need more objectivity and fairness in dealing with the Islamic civilization.
What was the driver of this civilization? To continuously produce and move ahead on to contribute to human knowledge and literature. Only thing that kept going up was the knowledge and literature. Economically, politically, socially all had their ups and downs. So the driver was the knowledge from the Sharia, that motivated the Muslim to contribute. E.g. Hadith. Seeking knowledge is an obligation for every male and female Muslim. Hadith. Angels honor the knowledge seeker and every creation of Allah, even fish in the sea makes asks for forgiveness for such people. Surat Hashr - Allah SWT says He elevates people of knowledge to high levels of Jannah. Also Allah SWT says people of knowledge are not equal to the people of no knowledge. So the knowledge is not just Sharia knowledge that we are asked to seek. But the primary driver was the spiritual driver that motivated Muslims to seek knowledge for pleasure of Allah SWT.
Muslims 1) Preserved 2) modified and corrected 3) added and contributed . Most Muslims preserved the Greek, Romans, Chinese and Indian knowledge of humanity. Very tough task but they put a lot of effort in doing so. Imagine you are given a book in Chinese or a book in trigonometry, and you need to learn Chinese and putting things together. So Muslims impacted greatly in human civilization. Secondly Muslim started to critique and think deeply of this treasure they got and started to analyze e.g. How Plato is contradicting Aristotle or other contradictions were critiqued by Muslims. Gary Nose, father of medicine, the only people that got up to challenge what he had proposed were Muslims. So the literature was critiqued and modify. And now, lastly, they were at a position to add. So in summary this is what is meant by contribution of Muslim civilization in area of knowledge and literature.
Spain (Andalusia) and Cecily were 2 places of this sharing of knowledge to the West. Royal families of Europe used to seek permission from Muslim rulers to send to them their smart children to learn from them. E.g. England’s Henry 5th’s famous letter to Al Hakam the ruler at the time. 15th century was the peak of conflict of secular thoughts and the Church. Church portrayal of Muslims that they are just bunch of barbarians and the more the Church control started to fade, the more people were able to learn from Muslims and it shows anytime there is lack of integration between any religions, its bad for humanity.
Stereotype that when we talk about Muslims its just Arabs. The main contributors were the non Arabs and non Muslims who were living within the Muslim civilization and contribute in the language which is not just a language of a tribe but it’s a language of humanity, Quran and people of Jannah and that was ARABIC. Today you can’t get into a University without TOEFL, MELAB etc but at that time you could not navigate any type of knowledge unless you knew Arabic. Ibn Habban, Bukhari, Tabari, Muslim, Ibn Hakkam, and many scholars of hadith were non arabs.
Universal Scholars (Encyclopedia like scholars). This was the default for someone to be worth listening to and to be called a Scholar. Someone who was strong in different fields e.g. engineering, Quran, Fiqh, astronomy etc. Tabari’s tafseer is very famous. He contributed to philosophy but had knowledge of other fields as well. They really had knowledge. You can’t understand Fiqh without being an expert of Arabic, knowing the lineage of chains of narrators, and that’s why there books are living for centuries. E.g. books for Razi, and Imam Ghazali were books of real minds (not developed in an era of fast food philosophy) and their books continue to move on over the centuries.
One hadith for Muslims scholars would be enough. Hadith. Wisdom is the pray or hunt of every Muslim, whenever its there, then he is the most eligible person to seek the wisdom from. So the primary driver to go into philosophy was 1) that Prophet SAW told us to seek wisdom and 2) philosophy was supposed to be rational and practical.
This was the number one driver and rationally the best way to promote the religion of Islam. Fight with same weapon those who attacked Islam. The amount of effort e.g. by Motazilat made and unacceptable philosophy that challenged the mercy of Allah.
Philosophy was supposed to be rational and Islam was rational enough to not just shut down these people’s wrong philosophies but to challenge them. Farabi who died in 950, Ibn Seena died in 1077, Ibn Rushd (second teacher of Plato after Aristotle) 1198. These names were people who preserved, explained and contributed to the Greek philosophy. Ibn Seena even though a controversial name, he used philosophical approach and used the debate to prove the applicability of the Shareeah and the Islamic state. Ibn Rushd used Aristotle philosophy to show that Quran addresses 3 people that Aristotle talked about 1) people of deep thought and 2) those who understand evidence and 3) those who were normal emotional human beings. So they were promoting Islam. Kindi, Farabi and Ibn Seena took a lot from Greek philosophy that respected mind and rational and they added to that a role of mind coming from Quranic perspective.
Muslims were known as people of dictionaries. Muslims were first ones to propose the societal sciences (how societies interact). Pioneer of this was Ibn Qhuddun.
Many famous cities in Baghdad, Spain and other places, many art and architectural contributions. In Guttural Island in Sweden they found a lot of Muslim coins and even in Island, showing how Muslims even crossed the sea and
Till 18th century there was nothing available to students the only curriculum was books like Al Hawi (written by Razi the philosopher) and Qanood by (Ibn Seena). 5 star treatment in Muslim hospitals. Full service. No OHIP, no Green Shield. But that’s how they looked at the human aspect of things.
First people to do C section and come up with stitches were Muslims. Without C section, many died. Anesthesia was by Muslims first. Before that they used to get Iron rod and hit you with a strong blow and loose conscious and then they would go at you if you survive. Small blood circulation system, first to explain how the eyes work. First people to discover diseases like Diabetes.
First ones to produce an accurate Map of world, given by Idrisi, showing the world as a bowl, and bundled it with 70 maps and Phasgodegama who discovered the path along Africa, were maps drawn by Idrisi. Christopher Columbus, had a map in his journey to the unknown west, from a Turkish person.
First to invent the compass (finding Qiblah direction) and the clock, and the instrument that measures the distance between the stars and the Earth, optics and camera, rainbow, composition of light beam.
Pendulum experiment was done by Ibn Yunus. Algebra (Al Khawrismi) and development of number zero. First to propose the square root, the pie (radius of circle, circumference).
Muslims did a lot to Music. There is difference between Music and singing even though some of the singers were accepted by the Mashaikh at that time. Amazing thing was that Muslims approached Music based on Math. E.g. the Music ladder. Created devices to achieve these. How the vocal chords and sounds come out of instruments.
For fair historians, it’s fair to say that the contribution of Muslim civilization is huge. There are many more examples and books about this.
Extremism and not accepting a religion creates problems for humanity to integrate together.
Its Allah SWT’s will and wisdom that human beings and Muslims in particular would contribute in all these fields. This is how Allah SWT wanted us to live. “construct civilization”. We Muslim worship Allah SWT, by contribution to innovation, to get Jannah. Ibn Hatam said I didn’t write a word but with the intention that this word will reach people . That’s why it is said that Imam Shafee reached by his Fiqh exactly how Farabi reached Allah by contributing to medicine.
We are not listening to this to say WOW we were great. Only weak people talk about past, but we use it to show people that this is the only way of life not only to enter Jannah but to take people out of the suffering that we have now and add thousands of contributions at technical levels and science. And this is how me and you will make contribution to humanity and please Allah SWT.
We have to bridge the gap between spirituality and science. Today science has come to strip away peoples spiritual and everything has excelled except for people and how there are so many problems around the world. Whereas the contribution in Muslim civilization was to free people, to raise them out of darkness, to help them financially and every other aspect of humanity.
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