Islamic Science

The Myth of Islamic Science

In this provocative essay, Waseem Altaf, the author argues that the notion of a golden age of Islamic learning is a myth created to counter the current sorry state of intellectual life in the Islamic world.  

Introduced by Dr. N.S. Rajaram

Editor’s introduction

It is widely believed and taught, including in India, that there was a Golden Age of Islamic learning that made a major contribution to science and the arts. In India we are told that this ‘synthesis’ between Hindu and Muslim thought gave rise to a great ‘syncretic’ civilization that was suppressed and eventually destroyed by the British. However, this flies in the face of the fact that not a single name of a major scientist from the five-plus centuries of Islamic rule of India has come down to us. We have to go to pre-Islamic India to invoke names from the past— names like Aryabhata, Varahamihira and the like.

AlBeruni

Al Biruni, eyewitness to the destruction of Indian learning

It is a similar story when we look at universities or centers of learning. Pre-Islamic India was renowned for its universities: Takshashila, Vikramashila, Nalanda, Ujjain and other places attracted students and scholars alike from far and wide, much like the United States of today.

After the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate, not a single center of learning (other than Islamic seminaries) was established for over seven centuries. The first modern universities came to be established only during the British rule.

Also worth noting is the fact that the so-called ‘synthesis’ of learning took place before Islamic invasions engulfed both India and Persia in a Dark Age. The Sassanid emperor Kosrau I deserves much of the credit for work that is wrongly credited to Islamic rulers and scholars.

Khosrau I (reigned 531–79) known as Anushirvan or ‘the immortal soul’ was a great patron of philosophy and knowledge. He gave refuge to scholars from the Eastern Roman Empire when the bigoted Christian Emperor Justinian closed down the neo-Platonist schools in Athens in 529 AD. Earlier, in 415 AD, Christian goons led by ‘Saint’ Cyril burnt down the great library in Alexandria and murdered the neo-Platonic scholar Hypatia who taught there, because another ‘saint’ Paul had decreed that women must keep their silence.

Khosrau was greatly interested in Indian philosophy, science, mathematics, and medicine. He sent multiple embassies and gifts to the Indian court and requested them to send back philosophers to teach in his court in return. Khosrau made many translations of texts from Greek, Sanskrit, and Syriac into Middle Persian. He was lauded as “Plato’s Philosopher King” by the Greek refugees that he allowed into his empire because of his great interest in Platonic philosophy.

A synthesis of Greek, Persian, Indian, and Armenian learning traditions took place within the Sassanian Empire. One outcome of this synthesis created what is known as bimari-stan (‘home for the ailing’), the first hospital that introduced a concept of segregating wards according to pathology. Greek pharmacology fused with Iranian and Indian traditions resulted in significant advances in medicine.

Regrettably this pre-Islamic era  of learning came to an abrupt end following the Arab (Muslim) invasions and the defeat of Sassanid Persia The reality is that most of this ‘synthesis’ took place in the pre-Islamic period until Islamic invasions sank both Persia and India into a Dark Age lasting centuries.

IndiaFacts is grateful to the author Waseem Altaf and the publication Viewpointsonline.net for the article. No photograph of the author is published out of concern for the author’s safety. Here is his essay.

Science in the Islamic world

Rational thought in the Muslim world developed during the reign of liberal Muslim rulers of the Abbasid dynasty. However it was after the rise of scholars like Al-Ghazali that all scientific reasoning came to an end in the 13th century. As we remain enamored by our past achievements in the sciences, we forget that there is very little “original” we as Muslims can celebrate and be proud of.

It was during the reign of the early Abbasid caliphs, particularly Mamun-ur-Rashid (around 813 CE) that in his Dar-ul-Hikmah (the house of wisdom) in Baghdad, Muslim scholars would begin translating the classic Greek works, primarily toeing the Aristotelian tradition. In addition, they were heavily relying on Persian and Indian sources.  They also penned huge commentaries on works by Greek philosophers. However, the Muslim translators were small in number and were primarily driven by curiosity. More than ninety nine percent Arabic translations of works of Greek philosophers were done by either Christian or Jewish scholars. It is interesting to note that Islamic astronomy, based on Ptolemy’s system was geocentric. Algebra was originally a Greek discipline and ‘Arabic’ numbers were actually Indian.

Al Ghazali

Al-Ghazali put an end to free thinking

[N.S Rajaram: Indians invented algebra, calling it bija-ganita. Greeks considered some special cases in number theory like Diophantine Equations, also known to the Indians. The cumbersome letter-based notation (like the later Roman numerals) did not lend itself to problems in algebra. The major Greek contributions were the concept of proof (known also to Indians) and above all the axiomatic method at which they excelled. The Arabs themselves never denied their indebtedness to the Hindus in astronomy, medicine and mathematics. They called their numbers ‘Hindu numerals’. As noted in the Editor’s Introduction, much of this took place in pre-Islamic Iran, especially under Khusro I.]

Most of these works were available to the West during 12th century when the first renaissance was taking place. Although Western scholars did travel to Spain to study Arabic versions of classical Greek thought, they soon found out that better versions of original texts in Greek were also available in the libraries of the ancient Greek city of Byzantium.

Notable Muslim scholars

However, it would be unfair not to mention some of those great Muslim scholars, though very few in number, who genuinely contributed in the development of philosophy and science.

  1. Al-Razi  (865 – 925 CE) from Persia, the greatest of all Muslim physicians, philosophers and alchemists wrote 184 articles and books, dismissed revelation and considered religion a dangerous thing. Al-Razi was condemned for blasphemy and almost all his books were destroyed later.
  2. Ibn-e-Sina or Avicinna (980-1037CE), another great physician, philosopher and scientist was an Uzbek. Avicenna held philosophy superior to theology. His views were in sharp contrast to central Islamic doctrines and he rejected the resurrection of the dead in flesh and blood. As a consequence of his views, he became main target of Al-Ghazali and was labeled an apostate.
  3. Ibn-e-Rushd (1126-1198 CE) or Averroes from Spain was a philosopher and scientist who expounded the Quran in Aristotelian terms. He was found guilty of heresy, his books burnt, he was interrogated and banished from Lucena.
  4. Al-Bairuni (973-1048 CE), the father of Indology and a versatile genius, was of the strong view that Quran has its own domain and it does not interfere with the realm of science. [NS Rajaram: Al-Bairuni, or Al-Biruni as he is better known in India, makes it clear that the Islamic invasions made Hindu (and Buddhistic) centers of learning their special targets. In his words: “…Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions. …This is the reason too why Hindu sciences have retired far away from those parts of the country conquered by us, and have fled to places which our (Muslim) hands cannot reach.” The last great center of mathematics was in Kerala, from their reach.]
  5. Al-Khawarazmi (780-850 CE) was another Persian mathematician, astronomer and geographer. The historian Al-Tabari considered him a Zoroastrian while others thought that he was a Muslim. However nowhere in his works has he acknowledged Islam or linked any of his findings to the holy text.
  6. Omar Khayyam (1048-1131 CE), one of the greatest mathematicians, astronomers and poets was highly critical of religion, particularly Islam. He severely criticized the idea that every event and phenomena was the result of divine intervention. [NS Rajaram: Omar Kyayyam is known to the world mainly as the author of the Rubayiyat (in its English translation by Fitzgerald), but native Persians see him as a minor poet but a great scientist. Like all free thinkers he was denounced as a heretic.]
  7. Al-Farabi (872-950 CE), another great Muslim philosopher, highly inspired by Aristotle, considered reason superior to revelation and advocated for the relegation of prophecy to philosophy.
  8. Abu Musa Jabir- bin- Hayan or Geber (721-815 CE) was an accomplished Muslim alchemist cum pharmacist. Although he was inclined towards mysticism, he fully acknowledged the role of experimentation in scientific endeavors.
  9. Ibn-ul-haitham or Hazen (965-1040 CE) was an outstanding physicist, mathematician, astronomer and an expert on optics. He was ordered by Fatimid King Al-Hakim to regulate the floods of the Nile, which he knew was not scientifically possible. He feigned madness and was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life.

Contribution of unorthodox thinkers

As we go through the life histories of these great men we find that they were influenced by Greek, Babylonian or Indian contributions to philosophy and science, had a critical and reasoning mind and were ‘not good’ Muslims or even atheists. A significant number of them were reluctant to even reveal the status of their beliefs for fear of reprisal from the fanatics. They never ascribed their achievements to Islam or divinity. And they were scholars and scientists because of a critical mind which would think and derive inspiration from observation and not scriptures which set restrictions on free thinking and unhindered pursuit of knowledge.

Avicenna author of the famous Canon of Medicine

Avicenna author of the famous Canon of Medicine

 

Hence bringing in Islam to highlight achievements of Muslim scientists is nothing but sheer rhetoric as these men did not derive their achievements out of Islam or flourished due to Islam. And we find that whatever little contribution to science was made can be owed to ‘imperfect Muslims’.

[NS Rajaram: Muslims are not alone in this. Many Hindu scholars also make extravagant claims in the name of ‘Vedic science’ and the like that have no basis. Considering their numbers, the Hindus don’t have a particularly good record, compared to say, the Jews. India and Israel became independent countries around the same time but in science there is no comparison. Retreat into religion in the name of ‘spirituality’ must take its share of the blame. Hindu moneybags spend lavishly on religious endowments and dubious holy men, but are measly when it comes to supporting temples of learning. And the few they do (like the Hindu University of America) are an embarrassment and get bogged down in obscurantism and mismanagement.]

 

 Putting ‘God’s hands in chains’

However it was the ‘perfect Muslim’, the Islamist, from the 12th century who was to give the biggest blow to scientific thought in the Muslim world.

Imam Ghazali (1058-1111 CE) who still occupies a centrestage among Muslim philosophers openly denounced the laws of nature and scientific reasoning. Ghazali argued that any such laws would put God’s hands in chains. He would assert that a piece of cotton burns when put to fire, not because of physical reasons but because God wants it to burn. Ghazali was also a strong supporter of the Ash’arites, the philosophers who would uphold the precedence of divine intervention over physical phenomena and bitterly opposed the Mu’tazillites— or the rationalists who were the true upholders of scientific thought.

In other words Ghazali championed the cause of orthodoxy and dogmatism at the cost of rationality and scientific reasoning. Today we find that all four major schools of Sunni Islam reject the concept of ‘Ijtehad’ which can loosely be translated as ‘freedom of thought’. Hence there is absolutely no room for any innovation or modification in traditional thought patterns.

We also find that as Europe was making use of technology while transforming into a culture of machines, the acceptance of these machines was extremely slow in the Islamic world. One prime example is that of the printing press which reached Muslim lands in 1492. However, printing was banned by Islamic authorities because they believed the Koran would be dishonored by appearing out of a machine. As a result, Arabs did not acquire printing press until the 18th century.

Khusro Anivarshan known as the ‘Just’

Khusro Anivarshan known as the ‘Just’

It also stands established that science is born out of secularism and democracy and not religious dogmatism. And science only flourished in places where religion had no role to play in matters of state. Hence there is an inverse relationship between religious orthodoxy and progress in science. Rational thought in the Muslim world developed during the reign of liberal Muslim rulers of the Abbasid dynasty who patronized the Mu’tazillites or rational thinkers.

However it was after the religious zealots’ compilation of the ahadis and the rise of scholars like Al-Ghazali that all scientific reasoning came to an end in the 13th century. As a consequence, Muslims contributed almost nothing to scientific progress and human civilization since the dawn of the 13th century. And while science and technology flourish in the modern world, a vast majority of Muslims, engulfed by obscurantism, still find solace in fantasies of a bygone era——the so called ‘golden age’ of Islam.

Concluding comments by Dr. N.S. Rajaram

Whether one agrees with the author’s radical conclusions or not, it is undeniable that the contributions to science under the great Islamic empires was disproportionately small considering their wealth and power. We already saw that their record in India even during the supposedly ‘great’ Mogul empire was dismal. Part of the problem was that Islamic rulers, instead of encouraging learning, hired foreigners and mercenaries— like Hindus in India and Jews and Christians in the Ottoman Empire.

Indian Muslim historians like Irfan Habib have tried to explain this intellectual vacuum of the Islamic period in India claiming that its rulers were mainly nomadic tribes from Central Asia (like Turks) who were more interested in military exploits than learning or scholarship. But why only under Islam in a belt from India to Turkey and beyond, and that too only after the coming of Islam?

One has to agree with the author Waseem Altaf that Islam (like Medieval Christianity) was mainly responsible for this continuing backwardness. Others, notably Hindus should learn from this and avoid getting trapped in the past.

Dr. N.S. Rajaram is an Indian mathematician, notable for his publications on the Aryan Invasion debate, Indian history, and Christianity. Among his numerous books, the “The Dead Sea scrolls and the crisis of Christianity” is widely acclaimed.
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  • Most of the translators in Dar al Hikmah were not Muslim at all, but Syriac Christians and Jews.

  • Connor Gunn Paterson

    The only science (if it can be called that) that islam has ever been good at is the science of warfare, islam is often called the religion of peace and in a sense that is true all the dead are at peace, however they can not find peace even within their own religion just look at the conflict between sunni and shia. Religion and I mean ALL religion has caused more abject misery and suffering than any plague ever could, if people want to belong to a religion fine but none of them have the right to demand that the world bow to them, so much learning has been lost due to fanatical religious belief so tell me what good is religion, science may not know all the answers but if religion keeps getting in the way we may never get out of the dark ages and if you think we have think again.

  • Raj Ambardar

    Religions are Peaceful, take away the religions and peace will stay.
    No doubt, Islam has blood on its hands with un-precedent horrific killings of Innocent victims of Humanity.

  • At school they told us so many lies, at University it’s worse though. Thank you. They destroyed the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. By far the greatest loss for humanity.

  • Tim Kirne

    While there are certain things in this article that are undeniable unfortunately, such as Al Ghazali’s death knell on Islamic intellectual tradition and subsequent decline- this article comes across as a futile attempt by extreme Indian nationalists to boost their morale for the lack of contribution to civilisation on India’s part for several millennia now- and it seems blaming Muslims is the excuse for that. There was no ‘great’ civilisation existing in India prior to Muslim invasion. The last time India contributed something of value was with Buddhism (its culture and philosophy) and even that contribution is only nominal as it developed and flourished in other parts of the world.

    There was no great centre of scientific learning in ancient India where people from ‘all over the world would travel to learn’. Missions came from south east asia and China to acquire knowledge of religions and the Sanskrit language- that’s about as far as the scholastic tradition of India went. The Greeks made no observations of note when encountering India other than to make mention of its notoriously oppressive caste system which exists to this day! The acme of Indian intellectual tradition rested on rote study of a stagnant Sanskrit grammar and literature and religion along with some basic arithmetic and religious pseudo-medicine- hardly scientific or useful to anyone outside its ambit. This is a silly attempt to discredit what has been accepted by decades of scholarship. A few biased no-nothing’s on an extremist site aren’t going to change anything.

    The author is correct is his assertions that Islamic civilisation in India didn’t contribute much in the way of learning other than religious schools. True you would be hard pressed to find any figures other than religious ones from this period. But what great names are there from Sassanid Persia which the author boasts about? Which noteworthy scientists did it produce and what are their contributions?

    The West owed much to Greek and Muslim works to bring about the enlightenment. Should the Enlightenment then be called a myth?

    • rahul

      The western idea of civilization, that is learning,crafts and all activity tied to the political state was not current before the advent of christianity and islam. You are trying to look for a nation state “civilization” in the past, the concept of which is barely 200 years old. Even the Greek civilization was closer in structure and attitude to the hindus than to any modern western states which vainly try to imagine, that they have ïnherited” greek democracy, opinions and attitutdes, and keep concocting stories to that effect. In fact civilizations have and do exist where the political authority does not interfere completely in the lives of each and every citizen but loosely accepts allegiance while politics remains largely independent of common peoples’ lives. It is too common even for intelligent people to get taken in by the sonorous words of what the western historians write.

      India has been a unique civilization where vast numbers of people have been living with relatively less strife for 5000 years-india always has had large populations. It has had its own languages, administrations, luxuries and intellectual culture, which is still alive, long before anyone else alive today had it. If this is not civilization I cant imagine what else can be. If prior to the muslim invasions nothing was there, it is curious how and why they invaded in the first place, how they were able to cart away millions of slaves and much wealth from here. In fact the only concept they brought here was that of a total war state, which is what you want to see to define a culture as civilized.

      It is true that many monks travelled to india for religious learning. But the chinese royal astronomical groups had hindu buddhist scholars designing methods and instructing the chinese- this is well known. Wholesale translations of hindu medical literature was undertaken by both the persians and the chinese, and even al biruni, says that hindu sciences had pearls and sour dates– probably because the intellectual centres were destroyed by the muslims and only corrupt accounts available, somewhat like how after constantine, all academic activity was pushed underground resulting in unscientific material in greece.
      The grammar, which you call stagnant was so because it had already done its job of systematization of language– which modern computer scientists refer to and find cues for their own work.Apart from that there have been bhaskara and madhava who were extraordinary mathematicians who arrived at the threshold of calculus. So even if you havent heard, there have been many etraordinary scientific minds in india right upto the 16th century–after which all energy was directed towards resisting islamic brutality.

      You are again regurgitating the myth of “greek and muslim” prelude to the enlightenment, if it can be called that. Greek learning and material which pagan scholars brought to italy under the leadership of plethon kicked off a new look into knowledge which was a natural process of discovery. Indeed there were persian scientists but they too owed nothing to islam as shown in the article.
      Anglosaxons have a vested interest in advancing islam-a sadistic cult given their own proclivities, which is what has resulted in the so called acceptance by “decades of scholarship’. Such bunkum should be exposed, which is what this article does.

  • Vivienne Havalant

    Brilliant piece of writing and how re-assuring to be reminded Hindu India led the way. The Vedic Scriptures influenced every religion including Judaism. Hindu India long before any other civilization had concepts of the origins of Universe. Today India has finally put a craft into space. Under muslim domination India has suffered exponentially and still the suffering continues not only in India but any society where Islam dominates. The Dark Ages is truly on the rise unless we do something. I have enormous respect for Dr. N S Rajaram.

  • Procopius

    Great article….but the part about Hypatia is historical bunkum, as were the uncalled for aspersions on Cyril of Alexandria. For reference: http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2010/06/the-perniciously-persistent-myths-of-hypatia-and-the-great-library

  • Just_me_and_God

    “Muslim Science” was advanced by adopting the knowledge of the peoples they had conquered by the sword.”
    This document (on the link) is proof that the Koran is NOT from God, because and All-Knowing God would not make a single mistake!
    According to the Koran and the stated beliefs of Islam, the Koran is an
    unedited and unchanged, single source manuscript, as told to the illiterate Mohammad over his adult lifetime by the “Angel Gabriel” (Jibral).

    A brief history of where and how the early Muslim’s scientific knowledge was obtained and why they lost it.

    Just some of the “pseudo-scientific” blunders and absurdities of Seventh Century beliefs that are in the Koran.
    Did you know?
    (1.) That the sun sets in a murky spring, and that people live nearby the spring where the sun sets?
    (2.) The Earth does not revolve around the sun, nor does it rotate on its own axis.
    (3.) There is a barrier that prevents fresh water and salt water from mixing?
    (4.) That mountains were driven into the earth as pegs?
    (5.) That human beings come from clots of blood?
    (6.) The World is flat?

    Yet even today Muslims believe everything that is in the Koran is the absolute TRUTH, because Mohammad said that “Allah” told him it was so.
    http://www.pineapplefish56.net/Muslim_Science.html

    • Indeed, the Qur’an contains many incoherent statements.

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  • UncleVladdi

    Precisely! Islam invented absolutely NOTHING. It simply violently invaded and enslaved many previously Greek, Christian countries, like Egypt, Syria, Libya, Iraq (and India and Iran,) destroyed them, and then, centuries later, pretended to rediscover their inventions.

    Islam is a barbaric, might-makes-right-based, predatory parasite. It stifles thought, invents nothing, makes nothing, and does nothing but enslave and live off the works of all the civilized people it attacks.

    Arabic “culture” is one of lies and liars, where one pretends one has done something, merely by having stated one intends to do it. That this has resulted in Arabs actually inventing nothing in the past is also proven by how they have invented nothing in the present, either – in all the Arab and muslim lands, there have been absolutely no Nobel Prize winners, compared to the Jews, whose population is less than 1% of the Arabs (and much less than that of all the other non-Arab muslim countries) who have won so many.

  • BackToZoroastrianism

    Even those Iranian polymaths who were identified as “muslim” were in
    fact Crypto-Zoroastrian. Indeed, islam promotes and encourages ignorance
    and illiteracy for its followers (muslims must follow the example of
    muhammad who was an ignorant illiterate). Therefore, you cannot be a
    polymath scientist AND a real muslim at the same time, it is not
    possible!
    https://www.facebook.com/followzarathushtra!

    • UncleVladdi

      Zoroastrians are correct about the simple, binary nature of the Universe.

  • Brandon_T

    Great essay thanks for it. The anti Christian(and I might add dubious) intro article was a little over the top, but the essay was very informative. Thanks again

  • Great read, so glad I saw the link. Going to be sharing this with lots of friends.

  • Horace Kindler

    The author is profoundly wrong in contending that “science only
    flourished in places where religion had no role to play in
    matters of state. Hence there is an inverse relationship between
    religious orthodoxy and progress in science.” The author seems
    oblivious that western science flourished precisely in the
    midst of Christendom, perhaps in spite of the Church, but
    nevertheless in its midst. In several of his books, Remi Braque
    has addressed this matter of the Church’s consequence for the
    development of science and philosophy in the context of
    Aristotelianism. The dilemma for the Church was its inheritance,
    on the one hand, of a conception and attitude towards the
    natural world as fallen and, on the other hand, its attraction
    to the Greek concept of that world as one worthy of rational
    study and engagement. The Church was profoundly challenged to
    reconcile these two streams, just as theologically it was
    struggling to resolve the conflicting demands of faith and
    reason. It is still attempting to plumb the depths of this
    conundrum, fides quaerens intellectum. Only in
    Christianity could a Pope or any other religious leader speak
    about “Faith, Reason, and the University” as Benedict did in
    2006 at the University of Regensburg. There is simply no
    comparison between Islam and Medieval Christianity in their
    effects on philosophic or scientific development.

    • Brandon_T

      “415 AD, Christian goons led by ‘Saint’ Cyril burnt down the great library in Alexandria and murdered the neo-Platonic scholar Hypatia who taught there, because another ‘saint’ Paul had decreed that women must keep their silence.” What the?!! over the top…..lol.

      • talent4disruption

        so what actually happened??

      • UncleVladdi

        Even the Egyptians admit the muslims burnt it down more than a few times because they “only need the Qur’an!”

        Although I agree that Psaul was a dick and Cyril wasn’t much better.

        • Brandon_T

          Ive met and read lot of people that would qualify as “dicks” inmy book…Saint Paul, for me doesnt make the list. I think he was actually quite “liberal” for his time.

          • paendragon

            “Woman are bad and we should Submit to slavery.”
            “We don’t have to take personal responsibility but can be forgiven everything by saying these magic words:
            “Jesus is God Jesus is God! Jesus is God!”

            CONCLUSION:

            Psaul was a proto-Muhammad idolater.

          • Brandon_T

            Well it would help if you quoted the man correctly. “There is niether Jew nor Gentile, slave or free male or female for you are all one in Jesus Christ.” “love is patient, love is kind. It does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking…”

          • paendragon

            My list and analysis of Psaul’s vile quotes takes up several pages. Nabbing some metaphorical LYING twaddle won’t help your case, either. “Love is (an anthropomorphosized thing) which does (various speculative opinions asserted as facts) etc IS ONLY TO LIE.

            How about: “Submit to Caesar and Authorities, because God put them in charge of you (might makes right)!”

            At BEST, Psaul’s nonsense was only kept in the Bibles as an IQ test – if and when someone thinks they can be reconciled with Jesus’ words and actions (which Psaul never refers to), it proves them to be mindless idolaters.

          • Caliber897

            Paendragon, care to elaborate on your assertion that the Pauline letters from the Christian New Testament are “vile quotes”?

            PS. Are you a hack of the BJP?

          • paendragon

            I may like the BJP, but I don’t work for them – and none of them are “hacks” LOL!

          • Brandon_T

            Paul is talking about early christians needing to follow the laws of the lands in which they live. It is a kind of “render on to ceaser” or separation of church and state.
            Paul refers to the gospels(corintians 8:1), the resurection and the eucharist(1 corinthians(10 :16-17) in his letters. Also is a major character in the acts of the apostles written by the athor of The gospel according to luke.

          • paendragon

            It’s still endorsing slavery and the status quo – NOT something Jesus ever did.

      • I caught that, too. One of the stupidest comments I’ve browsed on the web this week. This author knows nothing about Christianity other than the slobbering hatred he reads from BJP rags.

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  • Maneck Bhujwala

    Very interesting article by Mr. Altaf and Dr. Rajaram.
    One question I have is about claims of rational thinking credited to Greek philosophers.
    According to American philosopher Joseph Campbell, on one of his broadcasts on public TV many years ago, he said that it was Iranian Prophet Zarathushtra (known as Zoroaster by Greek philosophers who studied his teachings that were brought to Greece from Iran, after Alexander’s conquest of Persia and subsequent Greek rule for abut 200 years, before Persian Zoroastrian rule was re-established by Parthian dynasty and succeeded by Sasanian dynasty) who introduced the concept of rational thinking and not the Greeks as popularly assumed.

    • Sree Charan R

      There is a very informative book, which you may like to look into—
      “The Shape of Ancient Thought” by Thomas McEvilley.
      Thank You

  • Aspy

    Glad that this myth regarding Islam’s contributions in the field of Science, Arts, Mathematics, etc; etc; has finally been brought to light by an academic of the stature of Dr.N.S.Rajaram.

  • Harish Kumar

    As Sri Aurobindo says muslims borrowed mathematics from Indians and science from the Greeks; they had no achievement of themselves. The real achievement of the muslims was preserving the Greek classics and Aristotelian science. The Islamic Golden Age was inspired by the Greek Classics and is thus the Greek Golden Age!

    • Indian

      The islamic golden age ended when Persia and Persian learning was destroyed by hardcore Sunni loving ijtehad hating TRIBAL HORDES ( who were incidentally muslims) took control of the vast lands and men of Persia…..

    • UncleVladdi

      Except that islam had first actually CAUSED the so-called ‘Dark Ages’ by destroying the existing trade routes between the West and China and India (which had been established by Marco Polo)!

      Islam invented absolutely NOTHING. It simply violently invaded and enslaved many previously Greek, Christian countries, like Egypt, Syria, Libya, Iraq (and India and Iran,) destroyed them, and then, centuries later, pretended to rediscover their inventions.

      Islam is a barbaric, might-makes-right-based, predatory parasite. It stifles thought, invents nothing, makes nothing, and does nothing but enslave and live off the works of all the civilized people it attacks.

      Arabic “culture” is one of lies and liars, where one pretends one has done something, merely by having stated one intends to do it. That this has resulted in Arabs actually inventing nothing in the past is also proven by how they have invented nothing in the present, either – in all the Arab and muslim lands, there have been absolutely no Nobel Prize winners, compared to the Jews, whose population is less than 1% of the Arabs (and much less than that of all the other non-Arab muslim countries) who have won so many.

      • Just_me_and_God

        Polo was born between September 15 and 16, 1254, in Venice

        • UncleVladdi

          Yeah, and the muslim Turks only started invading Europe (Romania, Serbia and the Balkans) in the early 1400s.

          General dates:

          … In 732 AD the Muslim Army which was moving on Paris was defeated and turned back at Tours, France, by Charles Martell. By then, the muzzies had taken over 2/3rds of Christendom in the Byzantine Middle East.

          But they kept at it.

          …in 1571 AD the Muslim Army/Navy was defeated by the Italians and Austrians as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to attack Southern Europe in the Battle of Lapanto.

          ….in 1683 AD the Turkish Muslim Army, attacking Eastern Europe, was finally defeated in the Battle of Vienna by German and Polish Christian Armies.

          • Just_me_and_God

            Thanks, that answered my questions.

          • UncleVladdi

            De nada. Marco Polo was only free to explore the East thanks to Charles Martell. And Christopher Columbus was only able to (re-)discover America (originally named after the Italian, Amerigo) thanks to the Spanish Reconquista of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella’s being successful in kicking the muslims out of Spain.

          • TruthWFree

            The Ottoman Muslims (the last caliphate) were defeated at the Battle of Vienna on 9/11/1683…coincidence???

          • UncleVladdi

            Of course not! Muslims never accept defeat, and so later “continued” the fight from the exact same date!

    • Syriac Christians and Jews under Muslim rule preserved those works–not the Muslims themselves.

  • Harish Kumar

    The only thing the muslim rulers in built were harems with women from all over the world !

    • Just_me_and_God

      SLAVE Women, for the sexual pleasure of the MudScum elite!

  • bollywood only copy except few

    when you compared hindus with jews you forgot they didnt have nehru and gandhi.

    they formed a jewish secular state and dont tolerate islam and only put forward a fake mask of secuarism.

    they know their enemy and Indian also kniow their enemy but secularism and nehru gandhi are responsible e for present state of india.

    they dont have communists licking up china. thy are only fighting arabs and India is fight islam, christian missionaries and draviadan politics fake divide and communism.

  • m p

    Secular Jinnah,who respected all religions, is another noble myth. It is created based on 1 free-to-go-to-temple speech,made under pressure on 11th Aug 1947, but what about 100s of actions & speeches attacking other religions.

    Examples:-

    1) Jinnah’s Ladke Lenge Pakistan speech on Aug 14 1948 which triggered Great Kolkata Killing & Noakhali genocide.

    2) After making 1 free-speech, Jinnah make another speech on 19 Feb 1948 on radio Australia introducing Pakistan: “One part of country is in west & another in east. You will ask how such a country is possible? ISLAM makes it possible”

    3) Wipe out entire linguistic & cultural heritage of new country by wrapping it with Islam. New country has an Islamic flag, Islamic name, Islamic emblem, Islamic National Language, Islamic History, & Islamic capital city; Thus, leaving no room for non-Islamic.

    • cool

      actually Jinnah had written in a letter to the governor general which states Sikhs have to leave Pakistan (p. 175, Muslim league attack – Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947).

  • ChanderS

    Very informative article full of facts. Except on Indiafacts, nowhere we get to read such articles.
    Muslims ruled India for over 1000 years but show one University they created. Just one. They burnt down Nalanda, Vikramsila, Taxila universities that were thriving before their invasion of India. They only built Mosks after demolishing temples, looting the temple gold and persecuting natives’.

    • Ki Sopo Nyono

      Ah, yes, indeed!

  • cool

    The science of farce – http://www.dawn.com/news/1083758

  • Sree Charan R

    While there are many Truths in this article; some of my thoughts–
    1)There is no good reliable justification to compare Israel and India, in terms of Scientific Achievements; and this statement can be easily verified when one looks into the history of Israel (true history, not the distorted-chauvinist one).The uncritical comparison of Jews and Hindus is irreverent to truth.
    2)There is “Vedic Science”–culmination of Scientific knowledge gathered by ancient Indians in subjects such as Psychology,Cosmology,Mental arithmetic,Architecture,Aeronautics and other areas.May be calling it “vedic” misinterprets it; but “vedic” does not mean it is related to Religion, instead it simply indicates a particular historical period. We should understand that making extravagant claim is part of Science today, whether one likes it or not(though I am not supporting this); but they can only be dismissed with Facts, not by rhetorical discussions.
    3)Firstly, there is no scientific reason to believe in anything such as “laws” of nature( which is nothing more than a theological construct so essential to Western Universality, especially when there are reasons for believing in “laws of nature” in post Crusade Christian theology, rather than a Scientific thought).Scientists do build models,but models are fallible, and acknowledged as such, unlike laws.
    4)Just to criticize Islam, we need not to arrogantly establish few “theories”, rather we need to argue about “why?”.Islam– though not as a ‘religion’, but as community–has contributed a lot to Medical Science, Astronomy in Middle ages(which is definitely inspired by Indian Science, but that does not undermine their ingenuity.) Islam,however violent it may be(and was),curiously unlike in any other part of the world, has ‘encouraged’ intellectual activity in India, though they are only few cases.But acknowledging them makes us understand “Peaceful Islam” better.
    5)Hindu(this includes Jain, Buddha and Sikh too) scholarship and investment in Science continued till 17th century continuously–a fact that author may know better than anyone else (specially in Kerala, Southern Tamilnadu and Maharashtra); though they happened in “non-Islamic” areas.And even during the modern times, Hindus have invested a lot to Science–though their contributions are forgotten in obscurity, like any other Indian Achievement.Hence the statement ( an often repeated “slogan”) that Hindus,have invested more in “Spirituality”(whatever that means, in the modern misinterpreted form) than Science is outright Falsehood.And can be verified when one looks into the Facts.(My case is not to support my argument through few statistical jugglery, bu to invest in Truth.)
    A relevant paper, by C.K.Raju, a well-known Mathematician and Historian–
    http://ckraju.net/papers/Islam-and-Science.pdf

    Note:Just my understanding, corrections/criticisms are okayyyy !!!

    • Note:Just my understanding, corrections/criticisms are okayyyy !!!

      Not just okay – essential. The difference between science and faith.

      Even if you’ve gotten some of the details wrong – or at least, not everything you say is in accordance with my own limited knowledge – your last sentence shows that you have the essentials right.

      All models are wrong : some models are useful.

      http://stats.stackexchange.com/questions/57407/what-is-the-meaning-of-all-models-are-wrong-but-some-are-useful

      • UncleVladdi

        Pst! Google for Mark McCutcheon and the Final Theory (of Everything)!

        😉

    • Samir

      A really worth Note to this good essay… Thank you sir

    • UncleVladdi

      Re: “Scientists do build models,but models are fallible unlike laws.And hence, one cannot criticize Islam for ‘not believing’ in “laws”, or that ugly ‘reason’, which in itself is ill-defined(i.e., in the modern sense,that ‘they’ exist to, basically, satisfy our intellectual ego,not to find truths about Nature).

      Actually, that HAS all been winnowed down to one final, universal, unified field(s of science) theory. There is a single Law and the “theory” is a simple and proven fact – one so simple a 3-yr-old child can understand it (Google Mark McCutcheon).

      4)Just to blame Islam, there is no need to establish few “theories”, but rather to argue about “why?” part of the story.Islam– though not as ‘religion’, but as community–has contributed a lot to Medical Science, Astronomy in Middle ages–history of this is well recorded, (which is inspired by Indian Science, but that does not undermine their true ingenuity.) Islam,however violent it may be(and was),curiously unlike in any other part of the world, has ‘encouraged’ intellectual activity in India, though they are only few cases.But acknowledging them makes us understand “Peaceful Islam” better.”

      THERE IS NO “PEACEFUL” ISLAM!!!

      Islam has contributed absolutely nothing to medical science and astronomy – how could it, since it’s “Perfect” Qur’an asserts that the stars circle the Earth and are used to shoot lasers at the approaching ‘Satans!’? The Qur’an also insists the sky is made of lead, and that the continents are held down and in place by mountains. The sun sets in a dirty pool of water, and … the earth is FLAT.

      Islam invented absolutely NOTHING. It simply violently invaded and enslaved many previously Greek, Christian countries, like Egypt, Syria, Libya, Iraq (and India and Iran,) destroyed them, and then, centuries later, pretended to rediscover their inventions.

      Islam is a barbaric, might-makes-right-based, predatory parasite. It stifles thought, invents nothing, makes nothing, and does nothing but enslave and live off the works of all the civilized people it attacks.

      Arabic “culture” is one of lies and liars, where one pretends one has done something, merely by having stated one intends to do it. That this has resulted in Arabs actually inventing nothing in the past is also proven by how they have invented nothing in the present, either – in all the Arab and muslim lands, there have been absolutely no Nobel Prize winners, compared to the Jews, whose population is less than 1% of the Arabs (and much less than that of all the other non-Arab muslim countries) who have won so many.

      You’ve heard Muslims invented the zero, right?

      Actually, the zero, which is often attributed to Muslims, and what we know today as “Arabic numerals” did not originate in Arabia, but in pre-Islamic India.

      They preserved Greek philosophy when Christian Europe had thrown it away, correct? No.

      Aristotle’s work was preserved in Arabic not initially by Muslims at all, but by Christians such as the fifth century priest Probus of Antioch, who introduced Aristotle to the Arabic-speaking world. Another Christian, Huneyn ibn-Ishaq (809-873), translated many works by Aristotle, Galen, Plato and Hippocrates into Syriac. His son then translated them into Arabic. The Syrian Christian Yahya ibn ‘Adi (893-974) also translated works of philosophy into Arabic, and wrote one of his own, The Reformation of Morals. His student, another Christian named Abu ‘Ali ‘Isa ibn Zur’a (943-1008), also translated Aristotle and others from Syriac into Arabic.

      Aristotle’s philosophies would be prohibited under Islam; Muhammad most likely would have beheaded him. He stands for everything Islam is against. Ayn Rand wrote this of Aristotle: “Aristotle’s universe is the universe of science. The physical world, in his view, is not a shadowy projection controlled by a divine dimension, but an autonomous, self-sufficient realm. It is an orderly, intelligible, natural realm, open to the mind of man.” These very ideas are anathema to Islam; they are blasphemy.

      But what about medicine? The Muslims were great innovators in the medical sciences, weren’t they? Here again it was non-Muslims in the Islamic world who were doing the heavy lifting:

      The first Arabic-language medical treatise was written by a Christian priest and translated into Arabic by a Jewish doctor in 683. The first hospital was founded in Baghdad during the Abbasid caliphate — not by a Muslim, but a Nestorian Christian. A pioneering medical school was founded at Gundeshapur in Persia — by Assyrian Christians.

      The bottom line: the inventions and discoveries attributed to the Muslim world were actually stolen from conquered peoples.

      As for the “why” you ask about – WHY is islam antithetical to science? Because it was modeled on the life, words and actions of a literal psycho-path, Muhammad. The word is a Greek one, which directly translates as “Thought-Killer.”

      Islam’s Qur’an officially discourages independent thinking:

      “O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things which if made plain to you, may cause you trouble… Some people before you did ask such questions, and on that account lost their faith.” (Quran. 5:101-102)

      Capisce?

      😉

      Muslims aren’t allowed to challenge whatever Muhammad said (33:36).

      “It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, has indeed strayed into a plain error.”

      And they must obey his every word:

      33:21. Moe is the Perfect Man, the Perfect Example of Humanity for All Mankind. TO be imitated and emulated.

      4:65. “But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full Submission.”

      8:20. “O you who believe! Obey Allâh and His Messenger, and turn not away from him (i.e. Messenger Muhammad ) while you are hearing.”

      And exactly what is his Message? What are they commanded to do?

      9:123. “O you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allâh is with those who are the Al-Muttaqûn” (the pious – see V.2:2).

      Are they allowed to interpret the message differently, to choose which parts to believe, obey and/or reject?

      2:85 … “Then do you believe in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest? Then what is the recompense of those who do so among you, except disgrace in the life of this world, and on the Day of Resurrection they shall be consigned to the most grievous torment….”

      Sura 4:77: Offensive eternal War is mandatory for them, because both the good and the bad come from allah:

      Muslims have only two options: to go to War for allah, or to go to Hell: 9.38 & 39.

      The “original religion” of Islam, is Jihad:

      From:

      http://www.quranexplorer.com/Hadith/English/Hadith/dawud/023.3455.html

      Wages (Kitab Al-Ijarah)

      Dawud :: Book 23 : Hadith 3455

      Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar:

      “I heard the Apostle of Allah, (peace_be_upon_him) say: When you enter into the inah transaction, hold the tails of oxen, are pleased with agriculture, and give up conducting jihad (struggle in the way of Allah), Allah will make disgrace prevail over you, and will not withdraw it until you return to your original religion.”

      Jihad is preferred over peaceful commerce and agriculture as an economic model. Get a clue: 3:151, 8:12, 39, 57, 60, 65, 67; 9:5, 29, 38, 39, 111, 120, 123; 33:26, 27; 47:4; 49:15; 59:2, 13; 61:10-13; Sahih Bukhari 1.7.331 & 4.52.220.

      Surah Al-Anfal 8.39 commands Muslims to wage war against pagans until resistance ceases and only Allah is worshiped. Surah At-Taubah 9.29 commands Muslims to wage war against people with scriptural religions until they are subjugated and submit to annual demands for extortion. Both commands are without chronological or geographic limits. They are permanent in duration and global in scope.

      Muslims are admonished in Surah At-Taubah -.38-39, that they will suffer a “painful torment” if they do not join the Jihad. Muslims are promised, in Surah At-Taubah 9.111 and Surah As-Saff 10-12 that he will admit them to his celestial bordello if they join the Jihad.

      Jihad is the Muslim’s get out of Hell free card! If he does not play that card, he meets Allah with a defect: hypocrisy. (Sunan Ibn Majah Vol. 4 #2763)

      The minimum Jihad quota is once each year. If Jihad is not performed in a year when it was possible, all with knowledge of the imperative are sinners, liable to eternal damnation. (Reliance of the Traveller O9.1, Hedaya 2.140-141, The Book of Jihad pg. 18)

      Muslims are commanded, in Surah Al-Anfal 8.57, to treat vanquished foes harshly so as to strike terror into those behind them. They are commanded in 8.60 to maximize the power of their army so as to terrify thereby prospective victims.

      Muslims are promised, in Surah At-Taubah 9.120, that acts of terrorism will be rewarded with extra credit towards an upgrade in the celestial bordello.

      AGAIN: Muslims are warned, in Surah Al-Baqarah 2.85, that they cannot select the parts of the Qur’an they like and reject the rest.

      ….

      From The Hedaya, Volume II, Book XXI, Chapter 2, P.#687-89:

      *The testimony is not admissible of free-thinkers, if they avow their sentiments:*

      “THE evidence of a person who openly inveighs against the companions of the prophet and their disciples is not admissible, because of his apparent want of integrity. — It is otherwise, however, where a person conceals his sentiments in regard to them, because in such case the want of integrity is not apparent.”

      i.e: YOU CAN ONLY CRITICIZE MOE’S COMPANIONS, OR EVEN THEIR DISCIPLES, IN PRIVATE, AND BE SEEN AS HONEST, IN ISLAM; SPEAKING OUT IN PUBLIC FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE MEANS YOU “HAVE NO INTEGRITY!” THIS MEANS SOMEONE INCAPABLE OF LYING, OR OF KEEPING OPINIONS QUIET, IS HELD TO BE DISHONEST! (INCAPABLE OF CONCEALING ANY CRIMES)! ISLAM: IMAGE OVER REALITY, FICTION OVER FACT! LIES OVER TRUTH! HONESTY IS DESCRIBED AS INSANITY IN SHARIA!

      ;-(

      • TruthWFree

        Thank you. Good post and in line with my studies of Islam.

        • UncleVladdi

          You’re quite welcome!