The Myth of Islamic Contribution to Human Civilization
When the Arab Muslims, a collection of backward, nomadic warrior tribes who did not even have a fully developed script, conquered Egypt, Syria and Iran, they took control over some of the world’s largest centres of accumulated knowledge. To say that “Muslims” or “Islamic culture” created the civilizations of the Middle East can be compared to an illiterate person storming into the planet’s largest library, killing all the librarians and then claiming to have written all the books there. The cultural superiority of the Middle East in relations to Europe did not begin with Islam’s entry into the area. In fact, it ended with it. One of the great riddles of history is how this once-dynamic region could become the world’s number one problem spot. It so happens that this decline coincides with the region’s Islamization, although some would claim that it had already started before this. Islam’s much-vaunted “Golden Age” was in reality just the twilight of the conquered pre-Islamic cultures, an echo of times passed.
It is true that no civilization exists in a vacuum. Modern Western civilization owes much to Egyptians, Persians, Sumerians, Byzantines, Assyrians, Jews, Indians and Chinese. We owe little, if anything to Islam.
Anything But Science
Sheikh Yusuf al Quaradawi: Muslims will Conquer and Rule Europe!
Yes: Yusuf will save the Europeans from their materialism, and Euope will become Islamic without the sword…
More Islamic stupidity:
“A prominent cleric, Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawy, said modern science had at last provided evidence that Mecca was the true centre of the Earth; proof, he said, of the greatness of the Muslim “qibla” – the Arabic word for the direction Muslims turn to when they pray….
The meeting in Qatar is part of a popular trend in some Muslim societies of seeking to find Koranic precedents for modern science.”
— from the article above
Muslims are touchingly aware, even as they outwardly express other, more triumphalist notions, that Muslim socieities have been, from every point of view, failures — failures in their encouragement of despotisms, failures in the inshallah-fatalism that underlies economic stasis, failures in their societies, where both women and non-Muslims are subject to unequal and intolerable treatment.
And among those many failures, the dreamy belief that there was once a “Golden Age of Islamic Science,” its achievements greatly exaggerated, with no recognition of how much was simply taken, lock, stock, and algebra-gunpowder-and-printing barrel, from India and from China, and claimed for Islam and for Muslims.
When one looks at the non-orthodox beliefs of, say, ar-Razi (Rhazes), realizes that many of those whose achievements, in lands under Islamic rule, were not Muslims but Arabic-using Christians and Jews, or new converts, only one generation, or poossibly two, away from a Christian or Jewish miilieu, and that much that has been described as “Islamic science” or “science under Islam” took place despite, not because of, Islam, which in spirit and letter is opposed to free and skeptical inquiry, and unlike Western Christendom, has remained so opposed, and will always do so. Muslims do not want to recognize the failures, the absence of achievement in science, after the first few hundred years of Muslim conquests. Nor do they wish to recognize that the end of the period of scientific achievement oin Dar al-Islam can be linked to the mass conversions in lands conquered by Muslims that inexorably brought about a change from a largely non-Muslim to a largely Muslim population. Islam discourages the very attitudes that the enterprise of modern science most requires. And there is no solution for this, except either to forego participation in that world-wide enterprise, or to limit the power of Islam over the minds of its adherents, and its role in their lives.
The desperate attempt to read into the Qur’an all kinds of modern developments in science reflects this felt inferiority behind all the Muslim bluster about “Islamic science” or, in George Saliba’s version, “Arabic science.” (which means, or should: science as conducted by those who, whether Muslim or not, used Arabic as their main language). Since Islam encourages the habit of mental submission, the number of those who believe in conspiracy theories, and in crackbrain theories of every kind, are not merely present, as they are in all societies, but in fact far outnumber the handful of those whom we might recognize as fellow inhabitants of something like the same mental universe that all the rest of us inhabit. These crackbrain theorists locate in some vague Qur’anic phrase now all of vulcanology, and now, in another phrase, all of Mandelbrot’s fractals, and over here, in this phrase, we can find Muhammad setting out the double-helix in all of its Mill-Hill glory. No need for Watson, Crick, Maurice Wilkins, or Rosalind Franklin to come along. It was there, all of it, already, in some phrase in the Qur’an, if only poor naked forked Infidel man had known where to look. But he didn’t, the dope.
Posted by: Hugh