An introduction to the “Islamic Science” issue..
European science merged the Greek traditions with Roman practicality, and added a layer of something that was new and unique to
Even in military technology — which the Arabs had an interest in mastering —
The West ended up with the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the Scientific Revolution and the Islamic world got chronic underdevelopment, a pervasive religious obscurantism, Al Qaeda and the trust fund states of the
"Another person who wanted Islam to win and wipe out Christianity was Adolf Hitler. Those who want a second opinion can start with reading the online essay by Bat Ye'or and Andrew G. Bostom: "There were rarely periods of peace in the Amirate of Cordova (756-912), nor later. Al-Andalus represented the land of jihad par excellence. Every year, sometimes twice a year, raiding expeditions were sent to ravage the Christian Spanish kingdoms to the north, the Basque regions, or
The Portuguese had been liberated in 1249 under King Afonso III.
The concept " Holy War" was originally alien to Chris and was imported to
Bernard Lewis himself writes that people during this "golden age of tolerance" were executed for criticizing Islam. Isn't that a bit disturbing, given that al-Andalus is now supposed to serve as the blueprint for our coexistence with Islam, according to our authorities and much of our media?
" The problem is that Islam gets too little criticism, not too much.
The French writer Remi Brague explains this in his interesting book :: "It is now fashionable to hurl at European culture the adjective 'eurocentric.'
One such example is the Spanish Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas, who in the sixteenth century chastised his countrymen for abuses against natives in the
According to Nicholas Ostler in the Mughal rulers in India, largely of Turkish origins but influenced by Persian culture, had never made the same connection: "The new Muslim masters, despite their independent knowledge of Arabic, Persian and Turkish, did not distinguish themselves for their linguistic scholarship."
Edward Said has accused Westerners of creating negative myths about others, but some of the most stubborn myths are directed against our own ancestors, not against "the Other." As Edward Grant puts it in Science and Religion, 400 B.C. to A.D. 1550: From Aristotle to Copernicus:: "Perhaps the most powerful illustration of bias against the Middle Ages concerns Christopher Columbus' voyage of discovery to the New World in 1492.
Many came to believe that the most significant achievement of
David Levering Lewis in God's Crucible mocks the state of learning in medieval Europe, yet largely ignores the
The availability of paper in the Arab empire greatly enhanced the diffusion of knowledge and made large library holdings possible. Paper – made from bark, linen, and hemp rather than the papyrus of pressed reeds of the Egyptians – would have an impact on Muslims similar to that of the printing press on Europeans seven hundred years later." There is some truth in this. by Julia Smith is a much better book on the Early Middle Ages in
Stocking a library of this size was extremely expensive." Before paper, the principal alternative to animal skins was Egyptian papyrus. As J. M. Roberts states in "From pre-dynastic times it was used for historical record and as early as the 1st Dynasty the invention of papyrus – strips of reed-pith, laid criss-cross and pounded together into a homogeneous sheet – provided a convenient medium for its multiplication.
This invention had much greater importance for the world than hieroglyph; cheaper than skin (from which parchment was made) and more convenient (though more perishable) than clay tablets or slates of stone, it was the most general basis of correspondence and record in the Near East until well into the Christian era, when the invention of paper reached the Mediterranean world from the Far East (and even paper took its name from papyrus). Soon after the appearance of papyrus, writers began to paste sheets of it together into a long roll; thus the Egyptians invented the book, as well as the material on which it could first be written and a script which is an ancestor of our own.
It may be our greatest debt to the Egyptians, for a huge proportion of what we know of antiquity comes to us directly or indirectly via papyrus." Papyrus grows only in warmer climates and there was a limit to how much papyrus you could actually produce. The establishment of the Library of Alexandria required large amounts of it. When another library was established in Pergamon in the 2nd century BC, parchment was perfected as an alternative and was named after that city. This was by no means the first time that animal skins had been used as writing materials, but their importance was enhanced. There are several types of parchment, for instance vellum, made from calf skin (or goat skin). Because parchment was expensive it was sometimes reused. The only surviving copies of 2 works of the Greek mathematician Archimedes, who lived in the 3rd century BC, were copied from papyrus rolls onto parchment and copied again by generation of scribes, until a Byzantine priest in the 13th century reused the parchment for a prayer book, which was discovered in a Greek Orthodox monastery in 1906 by Johan Ludwig Heiberg. The reconstruction of the original text has revealed that Archimedes was working with understandings of the concept of "infinity" which would not be rivalled until Englishman Newton and German mathematician Leibniz invented calculus 2000 years alter. The fascinating story can be read in
The invention of paper is one of China's greatest gifts to mankind. The knowledge of paper-making spread west via the M.E., North-Africa and finally
Huff suggests that the library resources of the M.E. were initially clearly superior not only to Europe but even to those of
He mentions that the Catholic Church banned polygamy and imposed restrictions on divorce in order to establish monogamy as the norm: "The difference in the position of women was indeed one of the most striking contrasts between Christianity and Muslim practice, and is mentioned by almost all travelers in both directions. Christians, of all churches and denominations, prohibits polygamy and concubinage. Islam, like most other non-Christian communities, permits both
....Muslim visitors to Europe speak with astonishment, often with horror, of the immodesty and frowardness of Western women, of the incredible freedom and absurd deference accorded to them, and of the lack of manly jealousy of European males confronted with the immorality and promiscuity in which their womenfolk indulge."
David Levering Lewis expands on this with regards to another subject: " Chess, a favorite pastime of Harun al-Rashid, would be taken up by Andalusians in the 820s. Precisely when chess underwent its startling revolution on the
As Paul Fregosi says in :: "Western colonization of nearby Muslim lands lasted 130y, from 1830s-1960s. Muslim colonization of nearby European lands lasted 1300 years, from 600s-mid-1960s. Yet, strangely, it is the Muslims…who are the most bitter about colonialism and the humiliations to which they have been subjected; and it is the Europeans who harbor the shame and the guilt. It should be the other way around." The Age of Exploration during the 15th and 16th centuries was undertaken in order to get away from Muslims and re-establish contact with the civilizations of