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NOBLE QURAN - Cornerstone of Science & Renaissance


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Author Topic: NOBLE QURAN - Cornerstone of Science & Renaissance  (Read 222 times)
Zeynab
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« on: May 08, 2007, 03:50:37 am »

"The Quraan actually forms one of the cornerstones of science in Islam in a way unlike any other scripture of any other religion," said Glen M. Cooper, a professor of the History of Science & Islam at Brigham Young University. 

"The Quraan enjoins on the believers and the unbelievers alike to examine nature for signs of the Creator's handiwork, evidence of His existence and His goodness," Cooper mentioned.  "Reason is revered as one of the most important of God's gifts to men.  The examination of nature led historically into a scientific perspective and program."

Farkhonda Hasan, a professor at the University of Cairo agrees "the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh) of Islam emphasises the acquiring of knowledge as bounden duty of each Muslim from the cradle to the grave, and that the quest for knowledge and science is obligatory upon every Muslim man and woman.  One-eighth, which makes up of 750 verses of the Quran, exhort believers to study, to reflect and to make the best use of reason in their search for the ultimate truth."

After the death of the Prophet (pbuh), Muslim armies swept out of the Arabian peninsula and expanded the borders of Islam, east and west.  They absorbed not just land but also scientific knowledge from Greek learning planted centuries earlier by the armies of Alexander.  Muslims translated into Arabic the treasures of Hippocrates, Aristotle, Archimedes and othe great physicians, philosophers and scientists. 

The impact of Islam's discoveries during this period went much beyond individual innovations, like algebra and the establishment of models for modern hospitals and universities. 

The spread of Islamic knowledge to Europe sparked the Renaissance and scientific revolution of the 17th century.  "It is highly probable that, but for the Arabs, modern European civilization would never have arisen at all,"  Sir Thomas Arnold and Alfred Guillaume wrote in their 1997 classic, "The Legacy of Islam." 

Robert Briffault wrote in the "Making of Humanity" in 1938 that "Spain, not Italy was the cradle of the rebirth of Europe."  After Italy steadily started sinking into barbarism and had reached the darkest depths of ignorance, it was then, when cities like "Baghdad, Cairo, Cordoba and Tolede were growing centers of civilizaiton and intellectual activity.  It was there that the new life arose which was to grow into a new phase of human evolution."

"Yet most Americans and Europeans are compeltely unaware of Islam's rich scientific heritage,"  said George Saliba, a professor of Arabic & Islamic Science at Columbia University.

"This is unfortunate,"  says Cooper.  "Much of our modern science and philosophy owes a large debt to Islamic civilization during the Middle Ages for preserving the classical heritage in all intellectual fields, and for improving upon it in many of these fields.  If the average American understood this, there would be fewer citizens looking down on 'backward Muslims' with hate and fear."

Two reasons why Americans are relatively clueless on this subject are the Arabic-English barrier and a long tradition of U.S. historians focusing on European scientific traditions, says Jeffrey Oaks of the University of Indianapolis.

Explaining the Decline

Analysts cite many reasons.

1)  Universities were an Islamic invention later adapted in Europe, but Muslim universities did not shelter and preserve scientific knowledge during wars and other upheavels.

2)  Christian warriors carved up the Islamic Empire and cut off contact between great scientific centres.  In Spain, the Catholic re-conquest deprived Islamic science of the great libraries and schools in Cordoba, Seville and Toledo.

3)  Wars and conficts also cut off the lifeblood of science and learning i.e. cash for research and education.  For example, the Ottomans who took over much of the Islamic world in the early 1500s, used their resources to make war, not science. 

4)  In the 1700s, a puritanical brand of Islam (Wahabism or Salafism) took root in today's Saudi Arabia with a doctrine that rejected knowledge acquired after the first 500 years of Islam's glorious existence. 

5)  A major problem is the lack of awareness among Arabs and Muslims about their own scientific heritage.

Eventually, in the U.S. and Europe, science began paying some of its own bills.  Inventions like the telephone, radio, plastics, antibiotics etc. led industries to pour billions into scientific research, while in much of the Arab world science remained dependent on the handouts from kings and sultans. 

Also, numerous experts very correctly cite Arab oil wealth being instrumental in the decline of the Muslim world.  The rulers spend & invest much of their oil money in the U.S. and other foreign lands rather than using it to develop their own nations and educating their people. 
 
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(I had compiled this brief piece with references to various books and info sites more than 4 years ago in writing.  Thus, I am unable to find those exact sources at present to mention to you as references.  My apology for that) 

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N. Truth Seeker
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2007, 04:15:11 am »

An exhilarating reminiscence!  It's comparison with eventual downfall lasting till to date gives a sinking feeling to the heart ..  Sad

Many many thanks for this lovely post zeynab!
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Zeynab
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2007, 02:21:08 am »

you're welcomed pt. 

After I finish reading this piece, I'm reminded to the quote I can't recall who wrote: "In every kind of adversity the greatest affliction of man is to remember that he was once happy." 
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Heba E. Husseyn
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2007, 02:35:47 am »

So so true.  The Noble Quran is the start of renaissance.  And much to my surprise, it's the non-Muslims who are able to discern this fact a lot better than Muslims at present.

I loved this article.  Thanks for putting it here.
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