The Myth of Islamic Civilization and Science

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.

From the Twin Myths of Eurabia by Fjordman

Muslims claim credit for Western science, even for things before Mohamed…. (Vlad)

Anything But Science

Hilarious!

* Islamic Inventions? NOT!

*  The Golden Age of Islam is a Myth

By Serge Trifkovic 

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:

Muslim scientists and clerics: It’s time for Mecca Time

“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

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15 thoughts on “The Myth of Islamic Civilization and Science”

  1. I cannot agree with your statement that “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.” Algebra did not exist before Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi developed it in his book, The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing. Analytic geometry did not exist until Ibn al-Haytham developed it. Most importantly, the scientific method, with its emphasis on the systematic testing of hypotheses with discreet, verifiable experiments, did not exist until Ibn al-Haytham introduced it in Kitāb al-Manāzir, (Book of Optics). Contrary to your suggestion that Muslims simply accepted a storehouse of knowledge, Ibn al-Haytham pointedly challenged the accumulated wisdom and insisted on independent discovery of truths through experimentation. “The seeker after truth is not one who studies the writings of the ancients and, following his natural disposition, puts his trust in them,” he wrote, “but rather the one who suspects his faith in them and questions what he gathers from them, the one who submits to argument and demonstration.” As I point out in my book Ibn al-Haytham: First Scientist, the world’s first full biography of the scholar known in the West as Alhazen, European scholars such as Roger Bacon, John Peacham, and Erazmus Witelo did not arrive at the scientific method independently. All three of those scholars wrote summaries of De Aspectibus, the Latin translation of Kitāb al-Manāzir and adopted the methodology it demonstrated, repeating Ibn al-Haytham’s experiments step by step and sometimes word for word. The scientific method did not merely advance the understanding of the physical world. It provided a new standard for establishing truth in general. No longer would mere opinions, rhetoric, authorities, or even logic be sufficient to establish the truth regarding any phenomenon. The Europeans began to expect facts to be backed with tangible, physical proof, arrived at objectively, using the scientific method developed by Ibn al-Haytham.

  2. Contrary to your suggestion that Muslims simply accepted a storehouse of knowledge, Ibn al-Haytham pointedly challenged the accumulated wisdom and insisted on independent discovery of truths through experimentation. “The seeker after truth is not one who studies the writings of the ancients and, following his natural disposition, puts his trust in them,” he wrote, “but rather the one who suspects his faith in them and questions what he gathers from them, the one who submits to argument and demonstration………………….

    But you make our point exactly! In Islam, there is no study, no questioning. The koran is the word of god and therefore perfect – period. I say that if the earth is round, the koran is wrong – because the earth is flat in the koran.

  3. muslims have not contributed a single scientific discovery or educational discovery they stole everything from the rest of real civilisations
    ban islam
    ban islamic migration
    deport all muslism now

  4. I am not surprised that Muslims have blocked out these videos. Censorship is required in Islam to promote its lies. As Allah said, ”Do not ask questions as some did and left Islam” The God of truth does not fear information because He is confident that truth does not need to be protected from lies. It will stand on its own veracity AND POWER and Satan, even with his censorship, will not prevail.
    Satan knows his time is short, and he is working overtime to push his lies and shut out the True Living Word of God, the Bible. Re 12:12 ¶ “Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
    And as was told to John by Jesus; Re 12:9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
    Allah boasts in being the best deceiver, and the MOST proud one, In the Bible, both titles were given to Satan.

  5. Bradley Steffans,
    You are incorrect in all your points. Credit for development for all of the mathematics and technique of science you mention goes to other civilisations – in particular the early Hindus contributed very significantly to mathematics. The most famous muslim mathematician, not an arab but a Persian, made their work available to other (he did make some contributions himself). The scientific method is directly traced to the Greeks. I suggest you do a little more reading.

  6. I just went around and around with Scientific American on this subject. Scientific American apparently does not take kindly to criticism of their articles. My objection in the form of a comment on the article was deleted and I am no longer welcome there. My response to a misguided person who answered me remains.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=forgotten-history-muslim-scientists

    This article was about an exhibit in New York that repeated all the misinformation that Muslim children are taught in madrassas, in the generally successful attempt to make them believe that Islam is perfect and it has done everything important in the history of man. Although we know that they did not invent human rights or democratic government, someday they will claim to have done so.

  7. Quote:
    Algebra did not exist before Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi developed it in his book, The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing.
    end quote.

    And calculus did not exist before ….

  8. Quote:
    Algebra did not exist before Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi developed it in his book, The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing.
    end quote.

    I don’t know what you are quoting. I can’t even tell if you are serious.

    Regarding Muhammed ibm Musa: “In Renaissance Europe he was considered the original inventor of algebra, although we now know that his work is based on older Indian or Greek sources. (Toomer, Gerald (1990). “Al-KhwārizmÄ«, Abu JaÊ¿far Muḥammad ibn MÅ«sā”. In Gillispie, Charles Coulston. Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 7. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. ISBN 0-684-16962-2.) cited in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu%E1%B8%A5ammad_ibn_M%C5%ABs%C4%81_al-Khw%C4%81rizm%C4%AB

    The Greeks and Romans certainly had a sort of math that approached calculus — their feats of engineering would have been impossible otherwise. The Indians probably did, as well. Formalizing it was the work of Newton and Leibniz. It’s been an interesting weekend. I think I’ll close this page.

  9. Well, following this way of argumentation, we could say that it is in nothing great in modern Western civilisation, they simply reaffirmed ancient wisdom, made few technological advancements and then started to colonise, enslave and exploit other continents.
    Medieval Muslim did accept previous knowledge, just like anyone in their place would do so, however, they developed it and enriched it with more systematic principles, experiments etc.

  10. @stupid

    I would ask if you are having a laugh, but based on the plethora of ignorant tools, like you that visit this site, ignorant blather like yours continuously demonstrates to us otherwise.

    What is ancient wisdom? Define it?

    The Wests continuous technological advancements are demonstrated on the computer, keyboard and internet that YOU used to type your dribble and rather poor attempt at articulation.

    “started to colonise, enslave and exploit other continents.” The fact that you can say that statement without a hint of irony is par for course for Muslim zombies and sycophants that come here.

    Where did Islam originate from? When Islam spread fourth from Arabia and conquered the surrounding countries from Egypt to Spain to India and Malaysia, such actions are known as… “colonizing”.

    What did Muhammad and his cult followers do in those conquered lands? Yep, “enslave” the indigenous populations. What was the ‘official’ date to the last Muslim state that kept slaves??? Saudi Arabia in…when?? 1963. Unofficially…well ask all the domestic staff in Saudi in 2012/2013 if they are treated like slaves or not.

    Exploit other countries? Really? Get off your victimhood horse, Islam and Muslims have left a trail of exploitation in it’s entire existence from appropriating and exploiting the Kaba in Mecca, to churches across Egypt, Constantinople (Haigia Sophia) and 21st century Muslim exploitation is looting/mooching of welfare and benefits in what ever Western country, they were lucky enough to find themselves.

    Your revisionist history only works on fellow zombies and sycophants who are as ignorant and uneducated like you.

    You are engaging with people who know better.

    Stupid, this site is beyond your intellectual capabilities you might want to find a site that is a bit more your level.

  11. I disagree with the way you explain things at the top of this webpage. It is as if you feel you have to come across as being Asia-centric to make up for any misgivings with Islam. Trying to avoid Eurocentrism when it comes to science history is downright dishonest. The Middle East was superior to Europe up until Islam? Hmmmm….that is funny. I guess you are either acting as if the Greeks and Romans never existed, or you are suggesting that they were Eastern as opposed to European. Then you go on listing a bunch of Asian civilizations, ommiting Greece and Rome, when giving examples of who the Muslims learned from. I agree with the premise of this website but your opening paragraphs are full of the type of political correctness I came here to avoid.

  12. The Myth of Islamic Civilization – from The Idiot’s Guide to Islam, part 21

    I transcribed it in full. It refutes the idea of ANY Golden Age of Islamic science, philosophy and anything else that is creative.

    Islamic propaganda machine in the U.S.: the whitewashing of the ghastly Islamic present by creating a fictional glorious Islamic past.

    TRANSCRIPT OF VIDEO ABOVE

    The Mohammedan Muslim media and individuals as well as so-called Arabists incessantly speak in glowing terms of the contribution of Mohammedan Muslims to civilization. What is the reality?

    Before I begin to address this question, there is an extremely important word that has to be defined which is at the root of this discussion. This word is “Civilization”.

    According to the English language, it comprises a society which is in an advanced state of social development, with complex legal, political and religious organizations. That is, in an advanced state of intellectual, cultural and material development in human society marked by progress in the arts and sciences, the extensive use of record-keeping including writing, and the appearance of complex political and social institutions.

    Like everything else about Mohammedan Islam, fact and reality are contrary to all their exaggerated and invariably false and wishful thinking declarations. Let us examine the historical facts as recorded by the Mohammedan Muslims themselves and contemporaries.

    In the Arabian peninsula where Mohammed was born, the Arabs were among the most illiterate, superstitious and unlearned nomadic and semi-nomadic people in what we call the middle East today. Although surrounded by other truly advanced civilizations and cultures, they had not even the semblance of a civilization to speak of. They had no central authority such as a king or a priest-king, no government, no army, no civil service, no arts, no sciences and no record-keeping. The Arabs under the banner of so-called Islam conquered several civilizations on three continents, such as the Zoroastrian Sassanid Persian Empire, the Byzantine Christian empire, the Coptic Christian Egyptians, the Hindu Indians, the Buddhist Chinese et cetera.. These were truly advanced civilizations.

    It is therefore inconceivable to suggest that the Arabs could have imparted anything of value to the subjugated peoples of these conquered civilizations. In Arabic, the subjugated people who converted to Mohammedan Islam are called mawadi, meaning clients, followers or supporters. This is an extremely relevant and important word because it is from among the conquered people of these civilizations that the Arab imperialists were able to build their mosques, their palaces, run their trade and their economies, collect taxes and take census.

    It was from among the mawadi and the Jews and Christians of the conquered territories that Greek, Roman and Hebrew literature, philosophies and sciences were translated into Arabic. From 701 to 1423, a period of about 700 years, a maximum of eighty scientists and scholars under the sword of Mohammedan Islam, mostly from among the mawadi, contributed a wealth of advancement in many branches of knowledge. it is vitally important to realize that these scholars based their knowledge on foundations first set by others centuries before them: Egyptian, Hebrew, Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Indian et cetera, whose knowledge and writings were translated into Arabic by men from the conquered people, by converts to Mohammedan Islam, mawadi, as well as by Jews, Christians and others. The so-called Islamic science and Islamic civilization had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Mohammedan Islam.

    Almost the entirety of these scholars and scientists excelled not because of Mohammedan Islam but in spite of Mohammedan Islam, since they were invariably secular thinkers. No knowledge whatsoever in the sciences, arts, engineering, architecture, philosophy, et cetera, can possibly sprout under fundamentalist Mohammedan Islam, because the only knowledge that fundamentalist Mohammedan Islam can recognize as valid and worthy is knowledge of the Koran.

    Out of the 80 or so scientists and scholars mentioned above, only a handful were pure Arabs; the remainder were Persian, Turkic, Jews, Christians, Sabeans, Spaniards, north Africans, etc. In reality this science and civilization should be called mawadi science and mawadi civilization, because Mohammedan Islam contributed absolutely nothing to its evolution, propagation, and establishment.

    Nothing of value in human intellectual endeavours can possibly be created or grow under fundamentalist Mohammedan Islam.

    Mohammedan Muslims listening will be outraged at such statement. Well, let them think of the following facts and find out the common denominator that underlies them.

    1. Can any follower of Mohammed name ten Mohammedan Muslims who have contributed anything whatsoever to human intellectual, artistic, and philosophical advancement from among the tens of millions in the Arabian peninsula in the last 1372 years (since 635)?

    2. Can any follower of Mohammed name ten Mohammedan Muslims who have contributed anything whatsoever to the advancement of human knowledge in the sciences, art, philosophy, theological discourses etc, from among the hundreds of millions of Mohammedan Muslims in the world during the five hundred years from 1450 to 1950 AD?

    The only reason they cannot find these scholars or scholars is because fundamentalist Mohammedan Islam cannot survive under the bright light of knowledge, freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom of religious belief, and freedom of intellectual dialogue and debate, because the best and most perfect system of fundamentalist Mohammedan Islam is that of the Taliban in Afghanistan – a state of mind-boggling ignorance, religious intolerance, hate, terror, and utter stupidity.

    Fundamentalist Mohammedan Islam can only survive in darkness, and as we know, very little can bloom or prosper in the dark without sunshine. That is why very little knowledge, if any, emanates from over fifty Mohammedan Muslim states in the world today.

    Mohammedan Muslims thrive in the twilight zone of denial and of blaming all others – the denial of facts, the denial of reality, the “blame others” syndrome. For as long as they are not willing, or not able, to face facts, Mohammedan Islam and Mohammedan Muslims will continue to remain forever fixed in the time warp of the seventh century, the time of Mohammed and his Koran.

    The Golden Age of Islam is like the golden egg that dropped out of the goose’s butt – A LOAD OF CRAP.

    A further point on the alleged great contribution of the Arabs to the preservation of the classical Greek learning through translations into Arabic (from which they were later re-translated into Latin in time for the Western Renaissance). Bernard Lewis, in The Middle East: 2000 years of history from the rise of Christianity to the present day, writes in Chapter 13 (Culture):
    An important factor in the development of scholarship and more generally of science and learning was the work of the translators who, in the ninth century and after, produced a series of epoch-making Arabic versions of major Greek writings on mathematics and astronomy, physics and chemistry, medicine and pharmacology, geography and agronomy, and a wide range of other subjects including, notable, philosophy.

    Some of these works were preserved by the local non-Muslims; others were specially imported from Byzantium. … Many important Greek works which were … lost in the barbarous and for the most part uninterested West became known through Arabic translations, from which at a later date Latin versions were made. MOST OF THE TRANSLATORS WERE NON-MUSLIMS – Christians, Jews, and above all members of the mysterious sect of the Sabians, since only they were likely to have the necessary knowledge of languages. …

    Thereafter there is little sign of interest [by Muslims] in the West until many centuries later

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