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Muslim Scientists And Civilization

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Asalam-o-alaikum and peace

 

This is geared towards both muslim and non muslim members but I am curious especially to know what non-muslims have to say about this, and how much do you know regarding the contribution of muslim scientists/geniuses to world civilsation?

 

thanks

 

wasalaam

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PropellerAds

Peace zee,

 

To be honest I don't know a great deal. I know that in the south of Spain new agricultural techniques were introduced that created bigger harvests, that modern mathematics is based on the Arab system, that medical science flourished in the middle east during the golden era there, that navigation and sailing systems were developed that remain in use today etc. In terms of names of their inventors and dates though I know nothing I'm sad to say...

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:D

 

At my school in England, there was no acknowledgement whatsoever of Islam's contribution to European civilisation.

The history taught here goes from the Roman empire, to the dark ages, to the European awakening.

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Assalamu alaikum

 

A good website to check would be :

 

(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.muslimheritage(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/Default.aspx"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.muslimheritage(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/Default.aspx[/url]

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I know that in the past, roughly 1000 years ago, they contributed much.

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:D

 

you can check this

 

(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_web.umr.edu/~msaumr/reference/articles/science/contributors.html"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_web.umr.edu/~msaumr/reference/artic...ntributors.html[/url]

 

:D

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Listen to the accomplishment of the Muslims starting as far back as 1400 years ago: In 650 Caliph Omar introduced the first organized news service. In 711 Jews were given permission by the Muslim rulers of Spain to practice their cultural development, an activity that had been denied them before the Muslims arrived. In 720 Abu Musa Dshagger is reputed to have invented Sulphuric Acid, Nitric Acid, Aqua Regia and Nitrates of Silver. In 750 separate faculties for astronomy, mathematics, optics and chemistry were set up and Pharmacology and Medicine were established as two distinct sciences. In 774 Euclid's "Elements" were translated from Greek to Arabic. In 782 Jabir began his chemical studies, as distinct from alchemy. In 810 Mohammed Ibn Musa al Chwarazmi wrote a book on equations and coined the term 'Algebra'; the concept of 'zero' was introduced and all populations in the Muslim domains started counting in multiples of ten.

 

(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.twf(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/News/Y2004/1115-Muslims.html"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.twf(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/News/Y2004/1115-Muslims.html[/url]

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I know that in the past, roughly 1000 years ago, they contributed much.

Up to about five hundred years ago, actually. There's the further complication that science- as we think of it now- is a very recent development. Even Galileo and Newton aren't fully scientific.

One of the most important contributions of muslim civilisation was gathering all that was known together; but they didn't seem to further and try to find out more or even apply what they knew. For example, the Kitab-al-manadir [?sp] was an extraordinary book gathering just about everything that was known about optics together. the muslims had a start on reaching conclusions and applying that knowledge, yet the actual advances- the invention of the telescope, the microscope, even spectacles, which was an obvious next stage- didn't come from muslims but much later in Europe.

The other damaging factor, I think, was the rejection of Averroes and his Aristotelean theories of cause and effect and the emphasis on al-Ghazali's Confusion of the Philosophers, which emphasised the final cause- god- in relationship to all events. This means that muslim philosophers ignored the connexions- obvious cause and effect- between events which lead to inductive logic and modern science.

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I know that in the past, roughly 1000 years ago, they contributed much.

Not for more than about five hundred years actually.

For one thing, science, as we understand it today, is a very recent development. Even men as recent as Galileo and Newton weren't scientists and didn't think of themselves as sacientists in the modern sense. The muslim contribution seems to have been preserving and collecting together texts from all over the world: an obvious example is Alhazen's book on optics, which brought everything known about the subject together, yet neither Alhazen himself nor any other muslim made any further development. It was Europeans who developed the telescope, the microscope and even the fairly obvious reading-spectacles.

One reason why muslims don't seem to have actually learned as much as they could given their opportunities may be the rejection of the Averroan tradition, with its emphasis on Aristotelian logic, and the acceptance of Ghazili's Destruction of the Philosophers with its emphasis on the first cause- god- and diminution of the importance of other more immediate causes. Cause and effect was the most important aspect of science and scientific thinking for a long time and if all the emphasis is on very remote and distant causes or arbitrary (from a human outlook) causes- which is how Ghazali saw god as being- people just aren't going to be as good at it.

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For example, the Kitab-al-manadir [?sp] was an extraordinary book gathering just about everything that was known about optics together
-Drosophila

 

I suspect you refer to the Kitab al Manadhir of Ibn al Haytham. It is rather inadequate to state that Ibn al Haytham "gathered together" what was already known. Ibn al Haytham was the first to combine the mathematics of the Greeks with empirical dissections of the eye to develop a true theory of vision. He refuted Galen's incorrect idea of a ray emanating from the eye, and developed the camera obscura. (www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.math.sjsu.edu/~alperin/Alhazen.pdf"]This reference[/url] will give some idea of the mathematical sophistication of his work.

 

(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.sciencemag(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/cgi/content/full/297/5582/773"]Ibn al Haytham[/url] was born in Basra in the 10th century. He worked in Cairo for a time, and proposed to the caliph to build a dam near Aswan. When this project failed, some histories claim that he feigned madness until the death of the caliph, and he became known to Western scholars as "the mad Arab, Alhazen".I believe he may have been manic depressive, starting grandiose projects in his manic phase and entertaining persecution phantasies in his depressive phase - a sort of early John Nash figure.

 

In the West, his theories inspired Roger Bacon, who repeatedly refers to his work, and Johannes Kepler.

Unfortunately, his work was not immediately accepted by Arab science, where the translations of Galen by the Christian Arab, Ibn Ishaq became the standard.

A disciple of Maimonides, the Jewish philosopher, relates that he was in Baghdad on business, when the library of a certain philosopher (who died in 1214) was burned there. The preacher, who conducted the execution of the sentence, threw into the flames, with his own hands, an astronomical work of Ibn al-Haitham, after he had pointed to a delineation therein given of the sphere of the earth, as an unhappy symbol of impious Atheism.

-Ernest Renan

 

IQ71.JPG

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:D

 

I think people might find the following link interesting, :D

 

(www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.victoryscent.co.uk/lies_what_should_b_taught.htm"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.victoryscent.co.uk/lies_what_should_b_taught.htm[/url]

 

:D

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Hmm... as the website says popular belief say that blood circulation was discovered by William Harvey in 1628. However, circulation appears discussed in full and complex form in The Yellow Emperor's Manual of Corporeal Medicine in China by the second century BC.

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Assalamu Alaikum, JazaakAllahu Khair for the info UmEesaa.

 

Maybe you should make a seperate thread and if it is not copyright, then open the link and post it. I had read a few things before somewhere else, but not all of this.

 

Wassalamu Alaikum.

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Thank you, Ibn sina- I'll look at the site. The camera obscura was known to Aristotle, actually. It's interesting that al-Hazen was possibly mentally ill. Newton was paranoid, perhaps because of mercury poisoning from his alchemical experiments.

A disciple of Maimonides, the Jewish philosopher, relates that he was in Baghdad on business, when the library of a certain philosopher (who died in 1214) was burned there. The preacher, who conducted the execution of the sentence, threw into the flames, with his own hands, an astronomical work of Ibn al-Haitham, after he had pointed to a delineation therein given of the sphere of the earth, as an unhappy symbol of impious Atheism.
Not being an expert I'd always assumed that mediaeval Islam was less intolerant than christianity: was this sort of thing common? If the averroean tradition was persecuted rather than merely disapproved of it would have a pretty stifling effect. a friend said the Islamic world became less tolerant after the fall of Baghdad to the muslims- perhaps as Europe became more open to inquiry it became harder to study freely in the muslim world. There's still the question of why no-one followed up on Al-Hazen's work- could the comparative importance of orality and writing in Islam and christianity have had something to do withit? A muslim sc holar would know the koran by heart whereas a christian wouldn't be expected to know the bible and so would depend on reading more, perhaps.

 

the website says popular belief say that blood circulation was discovered by William Harvey in 1628. However, circulation appears discussed in full and complex form in The Yellow Emperor's Manual of Corporeal Medicine in China by the second century BC.
Harvey did discover the circulation of the blood- the much earlier chinese discovery wasn't known about in Europe [and had been forgotten in much of China] until the last century.

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Zee, Peace

 

No-one with a knowledge of mathematics can be unaware of Algebra, Algorithm. No-one with a knowledge of Astronomy can be unaware of Deneb, Kochab, Zubenelgenubi, Altair.... No-one with a knowledge of Chemistry can be unaware of Alcohol or Alkali. In the course of learning scientific disciplines, you cannot avoid being taught who was responsible for such discoveries.

 

But as a western scientist with more than the average amount of knowledge of the history of Science and Mathematics, I cannot recall a single Muslim Scientist of note since about 1450 CE. Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Shinto, Confucians, Taoists, and Christians of all varieties, yes.

 

There's bound to be some. The amount of work coming from the US and China is immense, and both have large Muslim populations. But I can't think of anyone from the Islamic world in the last 500 years. :D

 

Zoe

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Assalaamu Alaa MAnitaba'al Huda

 

Zoe, did you check the link i posted? that might help :D

 

Wassalaamu Alaa Manitaba'al Huda

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a friend said the Islamic world became less tolerant after the fall of Baghdad to the muslims- perhaps as Europe became more open to inquiry it became harder to study freely in the muslim world. There's still the question of why no-one followed up on Al-Hazen's work- could the comparative importance of orality and writing in Islam and christianity have had something to do withit?

 

Dear Drosophila,

 

Fascinating speculations! Of course, in studying history, you never have enough reliable data to be very sure of anything. For example, a French writer (Renan) says that a Jewish philosopher (Maimonides) says that his disciple says that some unnamed Muslim preacher denounced the scientific works of Ibn al Haytham. Who can be sure what actually happened or how typical it was?

 

That said, let me express my own speculations. When Islam was first proclaimed, it acquired the scientific works of the Eastern Roman Empire, as well as the works of Persia and India. The early caliphate greatly encouraged scholarly work (translation and original work). The Christians in the Western Roman Empire had only the works of Plato, certain popularizations of scientific works, and good technical and engineering techniques but did not acquire the works of Aristotle or of Galen or of the Egyptians until the fall of al-Andalus. After this, and the work of Thomas Aquinas, who argued that Aristotelian science did not contradict their faith, the Christian West could freely study the great philosophers of Islam.

 

So, I would argue that science flourishes under Islam but is not prevented by other faiths, such as Christianity, Judaism, Hindoo or Chinese beliefs.

 

In your theory about "orality" you overlook another far more obvious factor: the Mongols, and the invasion and destruction of Baghdad in 1258 and of Damascus in 1259 by Hulegu and the Mongol invaders. The decline of China, or the relative backwardness of Russia, may also be a result of the Mongol invasions.

 

If Genghis Khan had not arisen, perhaps the great world conflict today would be between the Caliphate and the Chinese Emperor.

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in post 14 above I referred to "the fall of Baghdad to the muslims". I meant the fall of Baghdad to the mongols of course. Please correct.

 

 

In that partciular topic- optics- there's still the question of why the muslims who had access to alhzen's work didn't apply his theories in practise.

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Dear Drosophila,

I referred to "the fall of Baghdad to the muslims". I meant the fall of Baghdad to the mongols of course.

Thanks for clearing that up. I see we are in agreement then.

 

In that partciular topic- optics- there's still the question of why the muslims who had access to alhzen's work didn't apply his theories in practise.

I really thought I had explained this when I mentioned the translations of Galen by (www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_www.assyrianms(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/Litreture_English/Hunaynibnishaq.html"]Hunayn Ibn Ishaq[/url]. You mustn't think of this as one scholar translating one book. The entire corpus of Greek medicine was translated and became the basis of medical education for generations of doctors. Thus, Galen's theories of the eye and of optics, correct in part and incorrect in part, crowded out all rival hypotheses, until (www.)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_micro.magnet.fsu.edu/optics/timeline/people/bacon.html"]Roger Bacon.[/url]

 

Incidentally, Ibn Ishaq appears to have been a man of the greatest personal honour. When he was commanded on pain of execution by the Caliph al-Mutawakkil to prepare a poison, Ibn Ishaq is said to have replied, "Two things forbid it, my religion and my profession. My religion commands us to do good, even to our enemies, so much more to our friends, and my profession forbids us to do harm to our kindred as it is instituted for the benefit and welfare of the human race, and God imposed on physicians the oath not to compose mortiferous remedies."

 

Ibn Ishaq was pardoned by the Caliph.

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That's part of what i was thinking of: the translation of already existing knowledge was permitted- even the discovery of new knowledge- but practical application was another matter. Not just spectacles; another example is firearms. Europeans got gunpowder via the muslims- it was available to the muslims for longer, yet when Solomon besieged Constantinople he bought cannon from a Hungarian gun-maker. Printing too- it went all over europe in no time, yet the first printing press in the Ottoman empire- in the late 16th century- was a commercial failureand there wasn't another for a couple of hundred years. Even if printing rather than copying the koran was disapproved of, there were plenty of other things which could have been printed.

 

it's curious the way discoveries remain 'academic' for centuries: Hero's steam turbine for example. have you read Joseph Needham's Science and civilisation in China? He discusses fascinating experiments and discoveries- the circulation of the blod for example- yet no-one seems to have built on them or looked for the next stage. More than anything I think that is the most important thing about modern science- the way people asked question 'What can we do with this knowledge?' and the other question:' what comes next?'

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