Islam Influence of Islamic Civilization on our modern world ...

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by Auzer, Jul 6, 2012.


  1. Auzer

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    These are few things that Islamic Civilization gave to the humanity.Without them , our daily life would've been incomplete....

    1- Coffee
    :
    The story goes that an Arab named Khalid was tending his goats in the Kaffa region of southern Ethiopia, when he noticed his animals became livelier after eating a certain berry. He boiled the berries to make the first coffee. Certainly the first record of the drink is of beans exported from Ethiopia to Yemen where Sufis drank it to stay awake all night to pray on special occasions. By the late 15th century it had arrived in Mecca and Turkey from where it made its way to Venice in 1645. It was brought to England in 1650 by a Turk named Pasqua Rosee who opened the first coffee house in Lombard Street in the City of London. The Arabic qahwa became the Turkish kahve then the Italian caffé and then English coffee.

    2-Modern Optics and pin-hole camera :


    The ancient Greeks thought our eyes emitted rays, like a laser, which enabled us to see. The first person to realise that light enters the eye, rather than leaving it, was the 10th-century Muslim mathematician, astronomer and physicist Ibn al-Haitham. He invented the first pin-hole camera after noticing the way light came through a hole in window shutters. The smaller the hole, the better the picture, he worked out, and set up the first Camera Obscura (from the Arab word qamara for a dark or private room). He is also credited with being the first man to shift physics from a philosophical activity to an experimental one.

    3- Modern Chess :


    A form of chess was played in ancient India but the game was developed into the form we know it today in Persia. From there it spread westward to Europe - where it was introduced by the Moors in Spain in the 10th century - and eastward as far as Japan. The word rook comes from the Persian rukh, which means chariot.

    4- Attempts at human flight :


    A thousand years before the Wright brothers a Muslim poet, astronomer, musician and engineer named Abbas ibn Firnas made several attempts to construct a flying machine. In 852 he jumped from the minaret of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba using a loose cloak stiffened with wooden struts. He hoped to glide like a bird. He didn't. But the cloak slowed his fall, creating what is thought to be the first parachute, and leaving him with only minor injuries. In 875, aged 70, having perfected a machine of silk and eagles' feathers he tried again, jumping from a mountain. He flew to a significant height and stayed aloft for ten minutes but crashed on landing - concluding, correctly, that it was because he had not given his device a tail so it would stall on landing. Baghdad international airport and a crater on the Moon are named after him.

    5- Modern Soaps and Shampoos :



    Washing and bathing are religious requirements for Muslims, which is perhaps why they perfected the recipe for soap which we still use today. The ancient Egyptians had soap of a kind, as did the Romans who used it more as a pomade. But it was the Arabs who combined vegetable oils with sodium hydroxide and aromatics such as thyme oil. One of the Crusaders' most striking characteristics, to Arab nostrils, was that they did not wash. Shampoo was introduced to England by a Muslim who opened Mahomed's Indian Vapour Baths on Brighton seafront in 1759 and was appointed Shampooing Surgeon to Kings George IV and William IV.

    6- Start of (experimental) Chemistry :



    Distillation, the means of separating liquids through differences in their boiling points, was invented around the year 800 by Islam's foremost scientist, Jabir ibn Hayyan, who transformed alchemy into chemistry, inventing many of the basic processes and apparatus still in use today - liquefaction, crystallisation, distillation, purification, oxidisation, evaporation and filtration. As well as discovering sulphuric and nitric acid, he invented the alembic still, giving the world intense rosewater and other perfumes and alcoholic spirits (although drinking them is haram, or forbidden, in Islam). Ibn Hayyan emphasised systematic experimentation and was the founder of modern chemistry.

    7 - One of the most important mechanical inventions in the history of humankind : Translation of rotary motion into linear motion ..


    The crank-shaft is a device which translates rotary into linear motion and is central to much of the machinery in the modern world, not least the internal combustion engine. One of the most important mechanical inventions in the history of humankind, it was created by an ingenious Muslim engineer called al-Jazari to raise water for irrigation. His 1206 Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices shows he also invented or refined the use of valves and pistons, devised some of the first mechanical clocks driven by water and weights, and was the father of robotics. Among his 50 other inventions was the combination lock.


    8- Pointed arch in Modern Architecture ..



    The pointed arch so characteristic of Europe's Gothic cathedrals was an invention borrowed from Islamic architecture. It was much stronger than the rounded arch used by the Romans and Normans, thus allowing the building of bigger, higher, more complex and grander buildings. Other borrowings from Muslim genius included ribbed vaulting, rose windows and dome-building techniques. Europe's castles were also adapted to copy the Islamic world's - with arrow slits, battlements, a barbican and parapets. Square towers and keeps gave way to more easily defended round ones. Henry V's castle architect was a Muslim.

    9- Surgical Instruments :


    Many modern surgical instruments are of exactly the same design as those devised in the 10th century by a Muslim surgeon called al-Zahrawi. His scalpels, bone saws, forceps, fine scissors for eye surgery and many of the 200 instruments he devised are recognisable to a modern surgeon. It was he who discovered that catgut used for internal stitches dissolves away naturally (a discovery he made when his monkey ate his lute strings) and that it can be also used to make medicine capsules. In the 13th century, another Muslim medic named Ibn Nafis described the circulation of the blood, 300 years before William Harvey discovered it. Muslims doctors also invented anaesthetics of opium and alcohol mixes and developed hollow needles to suck cataracts from eyes in a technique still used today.

    10- Windmill :


    The windmill was invented in 634 for a Persian caliph and was used to grind corn and draw up water for irrigation. In the vast deserts of Arabia, when the seasonal streams ran dry, the only source of power was the wind which blew steadily from one direction for months. Mills had six or 12 sails covered in fabric or palm leaves. It was 500 years before the first windmill was seen in Europe.

    11- Fountain Pen :


    The fountain pen was invented for the Sultan of Egypt in 953 after he demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes. It held ink in a reservoir and, as with modern pens, fed ink to the nib by a combination of gravity and capillary action.

    14- Modern Numeral System :


    The system of numbering in use all round the world is probably Indian in origin but the style of the numerals is Arabic and first appears in print in the work of the Muslim mathematicians al-Khwarizmi and al-Kindi around 825.



    14-b Invention of Modern Algebra and Algorithms :

    Algebra was named after al-Khwarizmi's book, Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah, much of whose contents are still in use. The work of Muslim maths scholars was imported into Europe 300 years later by the Italian mathematician Fibonacci. Algorithms and much of the theory of trigonometry came from the Muslim world. And Al-Kindi's discovery of frequency analysis rendered all the codes of the ancient world soluble and created the basis of modern cryptology.

    15- Three-Course meal :


    Ali ibn Nafi, known by his nickname of Ziryab (Blackbird) came from Iraq to Cordoba in the 9th century and brought with him the concept of the three-course meal - soup, followed by fish or meat, then fruit and nuts. He also introduced crystal glasses (which had been invented after experiments with rock crystal by Abbas ibn Firnas - see No 4).


    16- Modern Day Carpets :

    Carpets were regarded as part of Paradise by medieval Muslims, thanks to their advanced weaving techniques, new tinctures from Islamic chemistry and highly developed sense of pattern and arabesque which were the basis of Islam's non-representational art. In contrast, Europe's floors were distinctly earthly, not to say earthy, until Arabian and Persian carpets were introduced. In England, as Erasmus recorded, floors were "covered in rushes, occasionally renewed, but so imperfectly that the bottom layer is left undisturbed, sometimes for 20 years, harbouring expectoration, vomiting, the leakage of dogs and men, ale droppings, scraps of fish, and other abominations not fit to be mentioned". Carpets, unsurprisingly, caught on quickly.

    17- Concept of modern day "Cheques" :


    The modern cheque comes from the Arabic saqq, a written vow to pay for goods when they were delivered, to avoid money having to be transported across dangerous terrain. In the 9th century, a Muslim businessman could cash a cheque in China drawn on his bank in Baghdad.


    17- Military Gun Powder :


    Though the Chinese invented saltpetre gunpowder, and used it in their fireworks, it was the Arabs who worked out that it could be purified using potassium nitrate for military use. Muslim incendiary devices terrified the Crusaders. By the 15th century they had invented both a rocket, which they called a "self-moving and combusting egg", and a torpedo - a self-propelled pear-shaped bomb with a spear at the front which impaled itself in enemy ships and then blew up.

    18- Concept of Gardens being the place of 'beauty and meditation' ..


    Medieval Europe had kitchen and herb gardens, but it was the Arabs who developed the idea of the garden as a place of beauty and meditation. The first royal pleasure gardens in Europe were opened in 11th-century Muslim Spain. Flowers which originated in Muslim gardens include the carnation and the tulip.

    Source : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/how-islamic-inventors-changed-the-world-469452.html



    (The complete article can be read in the above source)


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    As I am a frequent reader on the subjects like 'History of Scientific Development' etc , I found this source to be very interesting and authentic. It doesn't take the credit of others, like it mentions that numbers "originated" in India and gun powder was invented by Chinese etc , and at the same time , it explains how Muslim inventors took these basic inventions to a whole new level and gave great benefits to the humanity.

    Islamic Lands were once the bacon of scientific research , innovation , tolerance , philosophy, and inventions. Out of 1400 years of its history , Islam remained the global dominant force for ~ 1100 years..that is ..71% of its ENTIRE history...No other civilization in human history can match this success ratio ... Muslims were economically , militarily , politically , and scientifically way "superior" to the rest of the world... I wonder what happened after 18th century? Why Muslims of today are so backward compared to others ? What I can understand is that The Ottoman Empire , Islamic Super Power of the world at that time , missed the industrial revolution. Europe got modernized and industrialized and Muslim Powers didn't. This caused Muslim Global Domination to fell and Europeans took over that role---The rest is history ....

    I hope Muslims regain their past role and start working towards science , research , technology , innovation , knowledge production , and political stability... I hope that Muslim world come out of their dogmatic tribal beliefs and start working towards development , instead of caring about girl's Hijabs , girl's virginity , blasphemy issues , dreams of Caliphate etc etc ....

    Anyways ... I hope you guys will like the information presented. I found it interesting , hence shared it here...

    Peace:mundabhangra:




     
    #1 Auzer, Jul 6, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012
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  2. Searching

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    This is big misconception. Algebra was first invented in India. It was scholars like Aryabhatta who made headway into it much before the Arabs.
    This knowledge was taken to Arabia later.
    Later the Europeans learnt about it through the Arabs and that is where it became known to the world.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_algebra#Indian_algebra
     
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  3. Searching

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    To say that numbers originated in India but Algebra or Arithmetic were invented by Arabs is false and taking away credit from where it should be given.

    Another thing that I don't understand is the glorification of Islam (since the topic is named Influence of Islamic Civilization on our modern world ...) in the above mentioned inventions. Yes the inventors were Muslims but what is the role Islam in all this?

    One never sees glorification of Christianity or Judaism for the scientific discoveries made in the west. Mind it, most of the scientific work has taken place there.
     
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  4. Auzer

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    Wikipedia isn't a good source. It is as biased and unauthentic as it gets.

    Secondly , no one "invented" Algebra. Algebra doesn't have 'one' definite origin. Babylonians , Greeks , Indians , Arabs etc etc ALL contributed to the vast branch of Mathematics , known as "Algebra" ... 'Algebra' , or "problem solving" , is in human instinct. Originally , 'Algebra' or 'Problem solving' , is in use for 4000 years...It was started by Babylonians , as far as our present history goes...

    Having said that ... there is a reason why almost ALL historians attribute Algebra to the Arabs. Algebra of today is shaped by the Arabs/Persians. Arab (not ethnically , but people under Arabic Empire) Mathematicians contributed the most in the development of this branch of Mathematics. Even the word "Algebra" comes from the book written by an Persian Mathematician. Our modern Algebra comes from the Arabs , not from the Babylonians or Indians ... Techniques used by Arab Mathematicians are still used by humans ...Arabs refined the previous works , improved them , removed mistakes from them, contributed massive contributions in them, and took them to the whole new level.Therefore , in the PRESENT world , Arabs are the one's that deserve the most credit of Algebra. Secular Historians of Science are neutral most of the times , and they won't give credit where it doesn't belong.

    How come? Numbers "originated" in India...but our numeral system was developed by Arabs.. Putting '0' at the bottom and '9' at the top... Our numbers are written in Arabic and not in Sanskrit...why? Because Arabs took numbers from India and developed our numeral system , not Indians. Secondly , Arabs never took others' credit. They themselves called numbers as "Hindsa" ...meaning "From India" ... so they recognized numbers' relation to India.

    And I already explain about Algebra issue... By your methodology , you would have to give all the credit of Europeans to the Muslims because afterall , Europeans got everything from Muslims. But it doesn't work that way... People who make most contributions will get the most credit...

    I also agree with you on this. This "Islamic Inventions" or "Islamic science" blah blah sounds ridiculous ... but it is not me but the history and historians that name it as such. Not Muslim historians but European one's too ...So will Europeans 'glorify' Islam? Not a chance. So what I understand is this :

    Arabs were there for thousands of years...but it was only AFTER Islam that Arabs started this enlightenment..So historically , it was Islam who inspired the desert nomads to create the most enlightened civilization of their time..In the Qur'an and other Islamic Texts , there is a very aggressive emphasis on getting education , research , thinking , observing the universe etc etc..God calls on his followers to "discover the secrets of his vast Universe"..So these texts inspired Arabs to go for scientific search and ingenuity...And Islam was the corner-stone of the Arabic Empire that extended over three-continents starting from the Atlantic and extending all the way to India ...So that civilization was over-all called "Islamic Civilization" as it was inspired by Islam and the inventions were subsequently called 'Islamic Inventions' ..Here one other thing to notice , I think , is that the word "Islamic" can also geography and 'nationality' of the people. Like we'll say "American Inventions" , "Indian inventions" ..Similarly , the inventions from "Islamic-Civilization" would be named as such...

    And West got ahead only AFTER the influence of Christianity/Church was decreased..When Christianity used to play the central role in the society , we were in the 'dark-ages' ...

    But over-all , I agree that use of the word 'Islamic Inventions' is not a very good idea... But the title of the thread is correct...The "influence" of Islamic-Civilization on our modern world ... If you were living in 16th century , you would have called 'Europe' as "Christian Civilization" too ..

    Anyways ...

    Peace:grinningsingh:
     
    #4 Auzer, Jul 7, 2012
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  5. Archived_member15

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    This is wrong brother Auzer ji peacesign
    You are discounting myths about Islamic civilisation by regurgitating ones that unfairly disparage Christian civilisation. The logic of this eludes me. You are decrying the biased accounts of Islamic civilisation from European scholars while simultaneously using the very same out-dated, spurious arguements that anti-Christian propagandists formulated during the Enlightenment to attack the native religion of their cultures and continent.

    Modern historians now discount the "dark ages" idea as a myth. It was invented by Voltaire and Gibbon in the 1700s to slur Christianity and Christian civilisation. They were of course Enlightenment era atheists/irreligious/secularists who idolized ancient Rome. The so-called "Dark Ages" was a time of advancement and believe it or not the Christian religion was a powerful force influencing the foundation of the scientific revolution in Europe and the Renaissance which is why such a revolution took place at all, not because of the rise of secularism or atheism.

    In a recent book, Rodney Stark - the world's best sociologist at the moment - demonstrates that faith in God encouraged Catholic and Protestant Christians in Europe to innovate in scientific endeavours. Not only does he go over the development of technology in the so-called "Dark Ages," and show how the "Enlightenment" picture of Copernican era science is a myth, he studies 52 key early scientists, and shows that more than 60 % were "devout," while only two were skeptics.

    If you would desire references to him and other historians I will happily give them to you in a PM.

    I shouldn't have to even say this because this thread is about Islamic civilisation.

    Please, please don't defend Islam by attacking another religion, I' ve asked you this before. You repay harshness with kindness, love in return for hate, blessing for curse.

    You often speak much truth in your posts brother Auzer but I would appreciate them a lot more if you ceased from defending your religion by running down Christianity.

    There is no need.
     
    #5 Archived_member15, Jul 7, 2012
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  6. Archived_member15

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    Islamic scholars were crucial in the transmission of ancient Greek philosophical texts to the Latin west, through Arabic translations during the time of the Islamic Golden Age under the Abbasids.

    On a personal level, though, I believe that Islamic civilisation's greatest gift to the world was the Sufi movement - the mystical interpretation of the Qur'an which gave us such God-intoxicated luminaries as Rabia al-Basri (Iraq) the saintly Jalaluddin Rumi, Farid al-din Attar of Nishapur, Saadi, Hafiz, Jami (Persia), Ibn Arabi (Spain), Yunus Emre (Turkey), Baba Farid and others in India and many more inspired mystics beside that have had a defining influence on human spirituality.

    In 2000 Rumi was acclaimed as America's favourite poet (granted on the whole through dubious interpretations of actual translations by Coleman Barks who can't actually read Persian (Farsi) however Rumi deserves the accolade and it did make people read his actual writings such as the Masnavi and Fihi ma Fihi which are infinetly better).

    Few sacred poets anywhere in the world, east or west, have been as articulate in conveying with simple, beautiful, lyrical language an experience that defies human expression - union with God or fana (self-annihilation) as the Sufis call it.

    What is your opinion of Sufism brother Auzer ji? kaurhug




    "...Looking at my life, I see that only Love has been my soul’s companion. From deep inside my soul cries out: Do not wait, surrender for the sake of Love...."

    - Rumi (1207-1273), Persian Sufi & mystic poet



    "...Since love has spoken in your soul, reject
    The Self, that whirlpool where our lives are wrecked;
    As Jesus rode his donkey, ride on it;
    Your stubborn Self must bear you and submit -
    Then burn this Self and purify your soul;
    Let Jesus' spotless spirit be your goal.
    Destroy this burden, and before your eyes
    The Holy Ghost in glory will arise..."

    - Farid al-Din Attar (c.1142--c.1220), Persian Sufi & mystic poet


    "...Human beings are members of a whole,
    In creation of one essence and soul.

    If one member is afflicted with pain,
    Other members uneasy will remain.

    If you have no sympathy for human pain,
    The name of human you cannot retain..."

    Saadi (1184 - 1283), Persian mystic & Sufi poet


    The above quote from Saadi became a motto engraved on the entrance of the United Nations headquarters in New York. These most famous lines, which are inscribed in the Hall of Nations in the UN building in New York City, come from his Gulistan
     
    #6 Archived_member15, Jul 7, 2012
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  7. Auzer

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    Well brother can you explain what 'myths' about Islamic Civilization I'm pushing? As far as I know , almost all the information in my OP is authentic (in my readings as well as the view of Historians I read). If there's anything , point it out and it will only increase/improve my knowledge.
    Well I apologize brother if my post offended you. I'm really sorry. I was just trying to kinda explain that why historians use the term "Islamic-Civilization" or "Islamic Science" , when referring to the Arab/Persian civilizations under Islamic rule. Regarding the view about religion and the science in the West , well brother its not my fault nor I was trying to target Christianity here. It is a general Western view point that is taught in schools , public life , and academics...isn't it brother? Western Civilization became "secular" (without God) due to Church's oppression...again I'm not trying to put you down or your beautiful Catholic faith but this is what I have learned in my formal and informal Western studies..

    And pleas share some good articles of the authors you mentioned. It will help me in widening my view....

    Again sorry if I somehow offended you. 0:)
     
  8. Auzer

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    Thanks for the post brother!

    And oh yes! Sufi mystic poets are just amazing. Even though I read their poetry in "English" , I still enjoy it...I wonder how lucky are those people who read their poetry in its pure form (in the language those poet spoke) ...

    My views of Sufism are very positive. Sufism is what made Islam grow in South Asia etc... Sufi Islam holds great oceans of spirituality in it ...Its very peaceful ....

    Many of the members are a of sub-continental origin.... do you guys know about some Punjabi Sufi poets? There are many , I heard.
     
  9. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
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    ARE those Islamic Scholars really respected as solid Muslims by those in control of islam Today ?? i think NOT..IF any one of those Islamic Scholars were to be found in say Saudi Arabia..He would be Caught and Prosecuted as a Heretic/apostate or worse beheaded instead of being glorified....IT was a Totally DIFFERENT ISLAM that existed during the Golden Age of Islam....Todays Islam is not shining at all...juts look at Al Qaida.... suicide bombers and all....very Backward type of religious teachings being propagated all over..Lets have an article about the PRODUCTS of MODERN SLAM...scientists, astronomers whatever >?? How many ???
     
  10. Auzer

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    "Modern Islam" or Islam after 18th century isn't what it used to be....

    Today's Saudi Islam is not Islam but Islam mixed with tribal traditions of Arabia. Islam during 'Golden-Age' is the Islam in its true essence..Even then , there were many problems , but since Islam was a relatively new religion--it was very close to what Prophet revealed.

    Today , Islamic societies all around the world are riddled with political instability , wars , dictatorships , sectarian divide , and what not?

    How many? Well MANY! but its all in the Western world... Muslims , just like Indians , come to the West and when provided with the favorable environment , they perform exceptionally well.... Its about political stability and economic prosperity--once these two critical variables get abundant in the Islamic World , I'm pretty sure that Muslims will start performing better... To be ahead or up-to-date in Knowledge is a religious command in Islam...and Muslims will act on it..even if in a small numbers..but surely they will.
     
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  11. Searching

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    Do you know that Aryabhatta gave correct value of Pi (TT) upto 4 decimal places in fifth centuary i.e before advant of Islam. How come that be done if number systems were not developed? He also calculated length of 1 year.

     
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  12. Auzer

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    Well no one is saying that number systems weren't developed..but... the numeral system Arabs developed is what our PRESENT numeric system is... Greeks also calculated the value of 'Pi' ..Well , the 'Pi' is itself a word came to us from Greeks..So how come Greeks were able to calculate it, to some extent? Different numeric systems existed..like Roman Numerals etc...but they all had limits to their operations...It was Arabic Numerals that revolutionized Mathematics and took it to the 'infinity' ..You can add Arabic Numerals (1-9) infinite number of times..try adding Roman Numerals sometime..you would get stuck!... Even today , we write our numbers as ARABIC numbers 1, 2 , 3 , 4 etc ..and NOT as Sanskrit numbers...

    There is absolutely no doubt about great minds of great land of Indian/Pakistan (Subcontinent) ... The absolute genius of people of Indus is undeniable..but please , it is not a wise idea to challenge historically accepted facts just by citing few wiki lines...There is a clear relation of our present numerals to Indian land..but let us not forget the contributions of Arabs , Persians too...

    Lets call in "Indian-Arab numerals" or "Arab-Indian numerals" ... alright?

    :sippingcoffeemunda:

    Wikipedia edited by Indians in favor of India is never really a good source.

    Does the bold words tell you anything? Even many Indians would call this bias as Indians always refer to numbers as "Indian numbers" and not some "Hindu numbers" ...The editor of this article is probably a zealous young teenager from Nationalistic Republic of India. Very understandable.

    No one is denying the fact that Aryabhatta was a great Mathematician...

    Google isn't a good source.... I prefer reading Books :grinningsingh: Google can give you EVERY opinion...you can find opinions that support YOUR point of view...and this isn't right , I guess. Google becomes too subjective due to its massive size...lol...
     
  13. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
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    very true observations.:redturban:
     
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  14. Archived_member15

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    Brother Auzer ji :sippingcoffeemunda:

    LOL I never said that you were pushing myths about Islamic civilisation, I said that you were "discounting" them (proving them false). You have misunderstood me :motherlylove:

    My point was though the Dark Ages idea is a myth. Its also been discounted by modern historians, although sadly that hasn't filtered down yet to the public, or so it seems. Its an enlightenment falsehood made up by the likes of Voltaire and Gibbons as propaganda for their minority of atheists and secularists in Europe - trying to claim that with them a new age of freedom was dawning free of the constraints and shackles of religion. It was a pious myth, manufactured for obvious intent, that has now been disproved.

    I don't want to turn a thread about Islam into one about Christianity but, if you ask me, then I will oblige.

    Well there is two questions here - the Dark Ages "myth" and the Renaissance and Scientific revolution being "secular".

    I'll focus on the first one for a couple of posts over a few days (I'm busy but I'll fit it in).

    First sociologist Rodney Stark. I'll present in this post a summary of his findings and then elucidate on them in my next post, with quotes and references etc.:



    Capitalism and ideals of freedom developed in the "dark ages":



    The first culture to abolish slavery was "Dark Age" Europe when one could not enslave a fellow European Christian :sippingcoffeemunda:

    In the next post I'm going to dwell on the slavery aspect - moral advancement, which you haven't touched upon yet in this thread (only technological).

    And then I'm going to elucidate some more from historians on the points above and then talk about the myth of "secularism" in the foundation of the scientific revolution.

    Mind you I will not be claiming that because of the strong Christian faith of most of these innovaters and scientists of the Scientific Revolution that this makes their works a "Christian achievement". That is too simplistic and actually wrong - a person's achievements in my opinion stand on their own irrespective of their faith. However their Christian faith was instrumental to their desire to innovate in this regard and was a powerful impulse.

    I will also be looking into the difference between Al-Ghazzali in the Islamic world and Saint Thomas Aquinas in "dark age" Europe - the latter who embraced the works and learning of Ancient Greek philosophers and the former who essentially, around the year 1111, closed the Muslim mind to ancient "pagan" learning because he declared it to be "un-Islamic" and so of no use. This decision drastically changed Islamic civilisation for the worse. It never used Greek philosophy again and this lead to the eventual crumbling of the social fabric of the Islamic world after a fleeting but truly golden age in the ninth century. The extent to which Islam itself caused that ninth century Golden Age is debated just as the extent to which Christianity had to the European Renaissance and the Spanish Golden Age. Some historians call the "Islamic" Golden Age the "North African, Persian and Spanish" etc. Golden Age - meaning that the Arab Empires through conquering brought together vast areas of people and cultures but Islam had little to do with actual innovation and actually helped the demise of innovation when the free-thinking Mutazili Muslims were declared heretics and Orthodoxy was imposed. Others maintain that the intellectual, more free atmosphere of Islamic thought in this time - compared to the time of Ghazzali in the 1000s and ever after - was essential to the achievements of this era.

    I'm not going to engage in this side of the debate though - I leave that too brothers Auzer ji and Searching ji.
     
    #14 Archived_member15, Jul 7, 2012
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  15. Archived_member15

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    Slavery:


    What is technological advancement without moral advancement?


    The Catholic Church had all but eradicated slavery from the Christian populations of Europe by the 1100s. The Catholic Church kept a consistent campaign against race based slavery from 1400s until the 1890s.


    "...The Roman Catholic Church, as an institution, sustained a legal opposition toward slavery. Beginning in the fifteenth century, [particularly], Popes expressed their position in different papal bulls and letters to monarchs..."

    - The Historical encyclopedia of world slavery, Volume 1; Volume 7
    By Junius P. Rodriguez



    Vouthon's Catholic Church and slavery timeline


    * Jesus Christ (the big man Himself [​IMG] ):


    "...And the Lord said: Go out, those who wish to do so, from your bonds..."

    - Saint Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 6.44


    * c.185-254: Origen says that he favours the Jewish practice of freeing all slaves after seven years.


    * c.335-394: Gregory of Nyssa opposes slavery outright:


    "...When someone claims God's property as his own and assigns dominion to his own race, so as to consider himself the lord of men and women, is he not through pride overstepping his own nature and imagining that he is different from those under him?...You condemn human beings - whose nature is free and who possess free will - to slavery
    and you make laws in opposition to God, overturning his law for human nature. As though resisting and fighting against divine decrees, you bring under the yoke of slavery one who was made specifically to be the lord of the earth and appointed ruler by the Creator...Irrational animals are the only slaves of human beings...But in dividing human nature into slaves and lords you have caused it to be enslaved to itself and to own itself...He who knew human nature rightly said that the whole world was not worth being given in exchange for a human soul. Therefore, whenever a human being is for sale, nothing less than the Lord of the Earth is led to the marketplace...'I got me slave-girls and slaves.' For what price, tell me? What did you find in existence worth as much as this human nature? What price did you put on rationality? How many obols did you reckon the equivalent of the likeness of God? How many staters did you get for selling that being shaped by God? God said, Let us make man in our own image and likeness. If he is in the likeness of God, and rules the whole earth, and has been granted authority over everything on earth from God, who is his buyer, tell me? Who is his seller? To God alone belongs this power; or, rather, not even to God himself. For his gracious gifts, it says, are irrevocable. God would not therefore reduce the human race to slavery, since he himself, when we had been enslaved to sin, spontaneously recalled us to freedom. But if God does not enslave what is free, who is he that sets his own power above God's?..."

    - Saint Gregory of Nyssa (Homilies on Ecclesiastes)


    * Circa 400: St. Augustine speaks of the granting of freedom to slaves as a great religious virtue, and declares the Christian law against regarding God's rational creation as property.


    * 400-425: Acacius of Amida opposes slavery


    * 415-493: Saint Patrick, himself a former slave, argues for the abolition of slavery. He particularly is appalled by the treatment of female captives. The Letter to Coroticus is addressed to an Irish chieftan who had taken some of Patrick's converts into slavery. When Coroticus fails to respond to a plea to to set the captives free, Patrick responds by excommunicating Coroticus. Patrick proclaims that one cannot be a Christian and own slaves. The suffering of women slaves moved Patrick deeply; he remarked on their courage and tenacity. He tells us that "slavery is in and of itself horrific". Patrick so rejected the practice of slavery that he calls for Coroticus and his soldiers to make reparations and do penance.


    "...Wherefore, then I plead with you earnestly, ye holy and humble of heart, it is not permissible to court the favour of such people, nor to take food or drink with them, not even to accept alms, until they make reparation to God in hardships, through penance, with shedding of tears, and set free the baptized servants of God and handmaids of Christ, for whom he died and was crucified...Where, then, will Coroticus with his criminals, rebels against Christ, where will they see themselves, they who distribute baptized women as prizes - for a miserable temporal kingdom, which will pass away in a moment?..."

    - Saint Patrick (415-493), Letter to Coroticus


    "...But the greatest is the suffering of those women who live in slavery. All the time they have to endure terror and threats. But the Lord gave His grace to many of His maidens; for though they are forbidden to do so, many of them follow Him bravely..."

    - Saint Patrick (415-493), Confession


    * 500s: While in power Pope Gregory the Great attempts to repress slave-dealing. He wrote: "Since our Redeemer, the Author of all life, deigned to take human flesh, that by the power of His Godhood the chains by which we were held in bondage being broken, He might restore us to our first state of liberty, it is most fitting that men by the concession of manumission should restore to the freedom in which they were born those whom nature sent free into the world, but who have been condemned to the yoke of slavery by the law of nations".


    * 588-650 - Saint Eligius uses his vast wealth to purchase British and Saxon slaves in groups of 50 and 100 in order to set them free.


    * Circa 610: St. Isidore of Seville writes:


    "...I can hardly credit that a friend of Christ, who has experienced that grace, which bestowed freedom on all, would still own slaves...God has made no difference between the soul of the slave and that of the freedman..."

    - Saint Isidore of Seville (c. 560 – 4 April 636)


    * 626 – 680: Saint Bathilde (wife of King Clovis II) becomes famous for her campaign to stop slave-trading and free all slaves

    * 851: Saint Anskar begins his efforts to halt the Viking slave trade

    * 1000s: Church teaches that no Christians are allowed to be slaves to other Christians. That the Church willingly baptized slaves is claimed as proof that they have souls, and so both kings and bishops—including William the Conqueror (1027-1087) and Saints Wulfstan (1009-1095) and Saint Anselm (1033-1109)—forbid the enslavement of Christians. The Protestant Rodney Stark wrtites, "Since, except for small settlements of Jews, and the Vikings in the north, everyone was at least nominally a Christian, that effectively abolished slavery in medieval Europe, except at the southern and eastern interfaces with Islam where both sides enslaved one another's prisoners. But even this was sometimes condemned: in the tenth century, bishops in Venice did public penance for past involvement in the Moorish slave trade and sought to prevent all Venetians from involvement in slavery".


    * 1167: Pope Alexander III condemns slavery and declares it unnatural:


    "...Christian men ought to be exempt from slavery, [moreover] nature having made no slaves, all men have an equal right to liberty..."

    - Pope Alexander III, Papal Bull (concerning the Muslim King of Valencia's enslavement of captives), 1167



    *1100s: According to the historian James Bowden, "[By this time] mainly by the voice of the Church, slavery had been extinguished in western Europe". For the first time in history we have basically an entire continent where no European is permitted to enslave another European.


    * 1200s: "...Saint Thomas Aquinas deduced that slavery was a sin, and a series of popes upheld his position. It is significant that in Aquinas's day, slavery was a thing of the past or of distant lands. Consequently, he gave very little attention to the subject per se, paying more attention to serfdom, which he held to be repugnant.However, in his overall analysis of morality in human relationships, Aquinas placed slavery in opposition to natural law, deducing that all "rational creatures" are entitled to justice. Hence he found no natural basis for the enslavement of one person rather than another, "thus removing any possible justification for slavery based on race or religion." Right reason, not coercion, is the moral basis of authority, for "one man is not by nature ordained to another as an end." Here Aquinas distinguished two forms of "subjection" or authority, just and unjust. The former exists when leaders work for the advantage and benefit of their subjects. The unjust form of subjection "is that of slavery, in which the ruler manages the subject for his own [the ruler's] advantage." Based on the immense authority vested in Aquinas by the Church, the official view came to be that slavery is sinful..." - Rodney Stark


    * 1400s: Unable now, because of the Church, to enslave fellow Christian Europeans, the emerging Spanish and Portugese Empires look abroad to find slaves in other countries. Thus begins the new "racial", "chattel" slave trade of Africans and natives from around the world. The Church condemns this from the very beginning.


    * 1435: Pope Eugene IV condemns the enslavement of native peoples in the newly colonized Canary Islands. His bull Sicut Dudum rebuked European enslavers and commanded that:


    “...All and each of the faithful of each sex, within the space of fifteen days of the publication of these letters in the place where they live, that they restore to their earlier liberty all and each person of either sex who were once residents of the Canary Islands … who have been made subject to slavery. These people are to be totally and perpetually free and are to be let go without the exaction or reception of any money..."


    * 1462: Pope Pius II (1405-1464) announces in a papal encyclical that slavery is a 'great misfortune' and a 'great crime' - meaning that it was not a natural condition for mankind - and encourages individual Catholics to release their slaves.


    * 1464 - 1448: Rodney Stark: "...Pope Pius II (1458 to 1464) and Pope Sixtus IV (1471 to 1484) followed with additional bulls condemning enslavement of the Canary Islanders, which, obviously, had continued. What this episode displays is the weakness of papal authority at this time, not the indifference of the Church to the sin of slavery..."


    * 1519: Bartholomew De Las Casas, a Dominican, now being considered for sainthood, argues against slavery and becomes "The Defender of the Native Americans":


    "...No one may be deprived of his liberty nor may any person be enslaved....”


    * 1514: James Bowden writes: "The rapid development of this atrocious system, under the fostering influences of Spanish and Portugese avarice and cruelty, did not pass without strong and decided censure. It was emphatically denounced by the highest authorities in the Catholic Church and at times by the most powerful men in the state. Pope Leo X declared against slavery at a very early stage of its existence, and he did so under somewhat extraordinary circumstances. The Dominicans, an order of the Church who witnessed the horrors of this cruel bondage, held that it was utterly repugnant to the Gospel, and pleaded for its entire abolition. Another order of the church took a different view and eventually an appeal was made by the contending parties to the Pope, as head of the Church. His reply was a memorable one..."


    And this was his reply:


    "Not only the Christian religion, but nature herself, cries out against slavery"

    - Pope Leo X, 1514


    * 1537: Pope Paul III Pope Paul in the bull Sublimis Deus described the enslavers as allies of the devil and declared attempts to justify such slavery "null and void." Accompanying the bull was another document, Pastorale Officium, which attached a latae sententiae excommunication remittable only by the pope himself for those who attempted to enslave the Indians or steal their goods.


    Pope Paul III wrote:


    "...The exalted God loved the human race so much that He created man in such a condition that he was not only a sharer in good as are other creatures, but also that he would be able to reach and see face to face the inaccessible and invisible Supreme Good...Seeing this and envying it, the enemy of the human race, who always opposes all good men so that the race may perish, has thought up a way, unheard of before now, by which he might impede the saving word of God from being preached to the nations. He (Satan) has stirred up some of his allies who, desiring to satisfy their own avarice, are presuming to assert far and wide that the Indians...be reduced to our service like brute animals, under the pretext that they are lacking the Catholic faith. And they reduce them to slavery, treating them with afflictions they would scarcely use with brute animals... by our Apostolic Authority decree and declare by these present letters that the same Indians and all other peoples - even though they are outside the faith - ...should not be deprived of their liberty... Rather they are to be able to use and enjoy this liberty and this ownership of property freely and licitly, and are not to be reduced to slavery and that whatever happens to the contrary is to be considered null and void. ..." [Ibid., pp.79-81 with original critical Latin text]


    Pope Paul not only condemned the slavery of Indians but also "all other peoples." Furthermore they are to have complete liberty "even though they are outside the faith", not Catholics. The Protestant historian James Bowden writes: "In two separate briefs, Pope Paul III imprecated a curse on any Europeans who should enslave the Indians or any other class of men".


    * 1591: Pope Gregory XIV condemns slavery in the Bull, "Cum Sicuti"


    * 1639: Pope Urban VIII (1623 to 1644), at the request of the Jesuits of Paraguay, issues a bull Commissum nobis reaffirming the ruling by "our predecessor Paul III" that those who reduced others to slavery were subject to excommunication.


    * 1686: the Congregation of the Holy Office (the Roman Inquisition now 'Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith') takes up the matter. On March 20, 1686, it ruled in the form of questions and answers:


    It is asked:

    Whether it is permitted to capture by force and deceit Blacks and other natives who have harmed no one?

    Answer: no.

    Whether it is permitted to buy, sell or make contracts in their respect Blacks or other natives who have harmed no one and been made captives by force of deceit?

    Answer: no.

    Whether the possessors of Blacks and other natives who have harmed no one and been captured by force or deceit, are not held to set them free?

    Answer: yes.

    Whether the captors, buyers and possessors of Blacks and other natives who have harmed no one and who have been captured by force or deceit are not held to make compensation to them?

    Answer: yes


    * 1741: Benedict XIV condemns slavery and the slave trade in the bull Immensa Pastorum


    * 1815: Pope Pius VII - At the Congress of Vienna after the Napoleonic Wars, the pope demanded of the victorious Congress powers the immediate suppression of the slave trade and the outlawing of slavery itself.


    * 1839: Pope Gregory XVI's 1839 bull, In Supremo, reiterated papal opposition to enslaving "Indians, blacks, or other such people" and forbade "any ecclesiastic or lay person from presuming to defend as permissible this trade in blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse". It clearly condemned slavery:


    "...We, by apostolic authority, warn and strongly exhort in the Lord faithful Christians of every condition that no one in the future dare bother unjustly, despoil of their possessions, or reduce to slavery Indians, Blacks or other such peoples..."


    * In the Bull of Canonization of the Jesuit Peter Claver, named the "Slave of the slaves", one of the most illustrious adversaries of slavery, Pius IX spoke of the "supreme villainy" (summum nefas) of the slave trade.


    * In 1888 and again in 1890, Pope Leo XIII forcefully condemned slavery and sought its elimination where it persisted in parts of South America and Africa.


    He wrote:


    "...The maternal love of the Catholic Church embraces all people. As you know, venerable brother, the Church from the beginning sought to completely eliminate slavery, whose wretched yoke has oppressed many people. It is the industrious guardian of the teachings of its Founder [Jesus] who, by His words and those of the apostles, taught men the fraternal necessity which unites the whole world. From Him we recall that everybody has sprung from the same source, was redeemed by the same ransom, and is called to the same eternal happiness. He assumed the neglected cause of the slaves and showed Himself the strong champion of freedom. Insofar as time and circumstances allowed, He gradually and moderately accomplished His goal. Of course, pressing constantly with prudence and planning, He showed what He was striving for in the name of religion, justice, and humanity. In this way He put national prosperity and civilization in general into His debt. This zeal of the Church for liberating the slaves has not languished with the passage of time; on the contrary, the more it bore fruit, the more eagerly it glowed... St. Gregory the Great, Hadrian I, Alexander III, Innocent III, Gregory IX, Pius II, Leo X, Paul III, Urban VIII, Benedict XIV, Pius VII, and Gregory XVI stand out. They applied every effort to eliminate the institution of slavery wherever it existed. They also took care lest the seeds of slavery return to those places from which this evil institution had been cut away..."

    - Pope Leo XIII, CATHOLICAE ECCLESIAE, 1890



    * 1965 Pope Paul VI wrote in Gaudium et Spes, “Whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery . . . the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed . . . they are a supreme dishonor to the Creator."
     
    #15 Archived_member15, Jul 7, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012
  16. Archived_member15

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    cheerleader


    “In the name of the Catholic World, I bow with respect before the memory of Rumi.”

    - Pope John XXIII, Message to Turkey, 1958





    My dear brother Auzer ji peacesignkaur

    I am so pleased that you have such a positive view of Sufism.

    The Sufi mystics of the Islamic world have been imensely important to my spiritual development. As you will know, the Guru Granth Sahib ji also contains the writings of some great Punjabi Sufis such as Baba Farid.

    I have met Orthodox Sunni Muslims who have expressed great negativity towards Sufism and it always saddens me, since I feel that they are missing out on great, poetic literature that all Muslims should and deserve to take pride in.

    The Sufi way of expressing the relationship between God and the human soul as lover and Beloved, the emphasis upon interior virtues as opposed to outward religious practices, the daring manner in which these mystics decry ritualistic perversions of religion, the emphasis above all on love and the experience of fana (self-annihilation) in God, as well as the recognition of the Presence of God in all things, has always struck me as the summit of literary genius and as ranking amongst the greatest corpus of sacred poetry ever penned by man.

    Traditional Sunni and Shi'a Islam as practised by the ulema and scholars, with the notable exception of the mystically inclined Al-Ghazzali, has always frowned upon the ideas of union with God, fana, panentheistic tendecies (seeing God in all things) and gone rather more towards a wholly transcedent concept of Divinity, a God who is inexpressible and "other" and a radical understanding of God and creation as completely distinct, coupled with a stringent emphasis on ritualistic practices, the obeying of Shari'ah law, outward forms of prayer etc.

    I have always admired the Sufis for maintaining their distinct understanding of Allah and creation right in the heart of the Islamic world, even with - at times - persecution (my favourite Sufi mystic Attar, was branded a heretic by the ulema and had to flee to another country).

    Sufism was instrumental to the spread of Islam in South Asia as you say. It is sad to see it declining today when it has been so influential in Islamic history, despite its bordering at some times within heterodox fields (Although Sufis like Rumi expressed their dedication to Orthodox Islam).

    May I ask which Sufi poet speaks to you the most?

    It is difficult but I think that Attar is my favourite. The Conference of the Birds is just epic!

    I also have a "thing" for the more heretical thinkers such as Omar Khayyam - that incredible poet who was the most read literary figure from the Islamic world during the late nineteenth and Edwardian eras in the Anglophone world. He wasn't a practising Muslim, in the sense that he did not feel obliged to allegiance himself with any established religion, however he wrote in the same style and spirituality of the greatest of the mainline Sufi poets of Islam and so is ranked among them.

    Rumi is immensely popular today, however he has been abused to a certain extent by the New Age movement (and bogus translations of his writings by the likes of Coleman Barks who can't even read Persian!).

    He has been popular with Catholics though for a long time, as one can see from Blessed Pope John XXIII's accolade of him at the start of this post.

    Louis Massignon, a great Catholic priest and Islamologist of the early 20th century, was devoted to the more controversiaL Islamic mystic Al-Hallaj who was executed by means of crucifixtion, in the exact same manner as his hero Jesus (although of course Muslims don't believe Jesus was crucified), for declaring, "I am the Truth". Massignon expressed the hope that Al-Hallaj, despite being Sufi, would one day be canonized by the Catholic Church as a saint because of his great Christ-like qualities.
     
    #16 Archived_member15, Jul 7, 2012
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  17. Archived_member15

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    “...Tear down the mosque and temple too, break all that divides, but do not break the human heart, as it is there that God resides...”

    - Shaykh Bulleh Shah (1680–1757), Punjabi Sufi poet
     
  18. Ishna

    Ishna Philosophy, yes. Religion, no.
    Writer SPNer

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    Great clip, thanks Naben ji. I had a giggle at the disclaimer though, 'not for broadcast', God bless Youtube. :D

    I think, if we take away religion from this equation, we're left with the fact that humans, when presented with the right environment (prosperity, political stability) are capable of revealing the most wonderful inventions. Humans. We're all blessed with the same basic anatomy, it's not like the Christian's brain is bigger and better than the Muslim's brain (or vice versa). But as Auzer ji said, when the environment is right, advancements occur. Different parts of the world have had different periods of stability. But it all together and we get 'the modern age'.

    Aren't humans just swell sometimes? cheerleader

    (let's not start talking about the invention of weapons of mass destruction and torture devices though... with big brains comes great responsibility...)
     
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