Monday, 6 April 2009

Was the Islamic Golden Age due to pure Islamic teaching?

More information about the heretical Mu’tazilite

Having in the previous post examined the prophetic (negative) view on Islam’s future made by Muhammad himself, and the vicious cycle that derives directly from Islamic theology itself. Now let’s see if there was a period (after the early conquests) of development, and when and why did it happen?

Before starting, just a little glimpse about the underdevelopment of the Islamic world:

Muslim countries spend on R&D (researches and development) only 0.4% of their GDP while Cuba, not a technological giant, spends 1.26% and Japan 2.9% of its enormous GDP on scientific researches. In Saudi Arabia, the richest of all the Arab countries, more than 25% of University graduates are the specialists in theology, and quite seriously investigate serious problems as “the nature of hermaphrodites and what part of heritage the hermaphrodites have to get: the one of a woman-or the one of a man”. The total GDP of the entire Arab world is close to $504-552 billion, which is roughly 1.8 to 2 times the gross state product of the State of

There was a moment of Glory of Islam, and Muslims have demonstrated to the world that they can create things to be remembered and admired by the future generations!

The Islamic Golden Age has been during the 8th and 12th centuries. And just look at the most important names! Omar Khayam (1048-1122), Al-Zahrawi (936-1013), Al-Khowarizmi (780-850); Al-Biruni (973-1050), Al-Kindi (801-873), Al-Battani (850-929 CE), Ibn-Sina alias Avicenna, Ibn-Rusd alias Averroe (973-1037), Abdallah al-Ma'arri (973-1057), Omar Khayam (1048-1122), Ibn-Rushd (1128-1198) and Jalaluddin Rumi (Birth 1207)  (About these people, you will get an extra post later on).

There is something very interesting about that period of the Islamic Golden Age - from the time preceding and following that period.

The Golden Age of Islam strangely coincides in time with the birth and development of the Islamic doctrine called Mutazili, originated during the period of 'Abbasid Caliphate' (749-847 AD).

Mutazili means the
deserter of Islam! This theological doctrine originated in the 8th century in al-Basrah, Iraq, when Wasil Ibn Atta after a theological discussion left to the people the teaching lessons of al-Hassan al-Basri. Thus, Ibn Atta and his followers were labelled by these opponents "Mutazili" which means "deserter of Islam". The Mutazili theology expanded on the logic and rationalism of Greek philosophy, seeking to combine them with Islam, and show that they were inherently compatible.

And what questions were raised and openly debated by Muslims theologians and scholars at that time? For example,
they calmly discussed, whether the Qur’an was created or if it was eternal. And do you know the conclusion of the discussion? The Mu’tazilite scholars decided that the Qur’an had been created by Muhammad that it was not the Word of God. And nobody cut their heads, hands, feet and other important and not so important parts off their bodies. Among other questions openly, and without fear, discussed by the Islamic scholars at that time was whether or not evil was created by God, the issue of Predestination vs. Free Will, whether God's attributes in the Qur'an were to be interpreted allegorically or literally, and whether sinning believers would have eternal punishment in Hell. You may have thought that the Islamic leaders of that time ran around with swords in hand to cut off the heads of the heretics ? Nothing of the kind. The doctrine that the Qur’an was not the Word of God but was created by Muhammad, which amounts to absolute heresy as per Classical Islam, was promoted by the, then Abbasid Caliph Haroon al-Rasheed (763-809), and was made the official court belief by his son, the great Caliph al-Mamun. Caliph al-Mamun even instituted inquisition-style persecution, called Mihna in Arabic meaning Ordeal (833-848), for those who would not accept the Mutazili ideology instead of Qur’anic Islam.

Imagine: until the 12th century the Muslims quite tolerantly accepted the idea that the Qur’an had been created by Muhammad, and did not run like a horde of amok-driven hashish-smokers, to kill anyone who would dare to say this. And the Caliphate of Haroon Al Rasheed and his son The Great Caliph al-Mamun are still remembered by the people for its freedom of thought and for that unbelievable push it gave to the sciences, literature, arts, technologies.

But then Mu’tazilite belief system had a weak point; it was actively promoted by the Islamic Caliphs and was popular amongst the educated and intellectual elites
but did not reach the common mass. The dogmatic pro-Qur’an Muslims (today eventually called fundamentalists) used this weak point. The dogmatic Qur’anic or Sunni Islam slowly started to dominate the Muslim thoughts and later Imam al-Ghazali (d. 1111), the famous Ahadith-collector, provoked riots by challenging the rational thinking of Mu’tazilite belief since it could not prove the reality of Allah.

Famous intellectuals, such as Ibn-Sina (
Avicenna), Ibn-Rusd (Averroe), al-Ma'arri and Omar Khayam were called heretics or apostates by the Islamic zealots, such as Imam Ghazali.

Subsequently, Mutazili started losing ground to the assaults of the Fundamentalist Muslims and finally lost patronage of the rulers and high officials.

By the 13
th Century, Mutazili was dead - and with that ended the so-called Golden Age of Islam. Fundamentalist Sunni Islam put an end to the development of Islamic World and led it to stagnation, poverty and backwardness.


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