Channel: Jamal Badawi
Name is Gabi and ever since the Merciful, the creator and Sustainer of the universe Peace and blessings upon the seventh semester man Muhammad forever. I mean, today we have a labyrinth program in our series dealing with the economic system of Islam. We'll be continuing our discussion of productivity and production in looking at contributions of Muslims to various fields. I'm your host, Hannah Rashid and I have joined me as usual on the program. Dr. Jamal batteria sojourners University brother, Jamal Assalamu alaykum money from sidama. Let's take a few minutes at the beginning of our programs to the back and highlight the main points that we touched on in our previous program.
Because I had to do that first very quickly. Sure. In the test program, we looked briefly into the contributions of Muslims to geography, and how that was encouraged by the various teaching of Islam like prayers, fasting and pilgrimage, which necessitated some knowledge of geography. And we'll discuss discuss the contribution of Muslims to the discovery of the New World. And we said that even if Muslim did not come to the Americas before Columbus, which is possible, at least they contributed the use of the compass.
We talked about the discovery that the Earth was a sphere around as early as the ninth century and measuring the circumference, very accurate, very close to what we have today.
We mentioned also that there were works and maps for several centuries remained as the primary authoritative source on the subject for both in Europe and other parts of the world.
And then we look at some other applied areas like agriculture, and the way Muslims introduced a variety of foods, other plans, the improvement of the irrigation methods, in manufacturing will discuss the brilliance in particular areas such as textiles, or various types of leather, as well as the paper manufacturing, which was related to of course, the spread of Science and Learning. And finally, the developments in trade. And the very sophisticated banking system that they had quite early in history before. The West has known this. various techniques
are now in several of our last programs, we've been concerning ourselves principally with the contribution of Muslims to the field of science. So I'd like to move away from the field of science and examine some contributions in some of the other fields. And I wonder if perhaps I could ask you, first of all, you give some indication of contributions in the area of political science or sociology, or political science, we find that as early as the first part of the 10th century, a famous writer by the name of Al farabi, wrote a book about the idea and city, if you will, and as highlighted by MIT and Muslim contribution to civilization summarize it. He say that he perceived of
a perfectly organized state as one which assures all its citizens,
perfect government and happiness after death. This is a very novel type of thought. But a more practical level, beyond this, you know, normative type of theoretical, desirable situation.
A very famous book was written by analogy, I happen to be fortunate enough to have a copy of the technology lived in the late part of the 10th century and early 11th century. It's called subterranea. Lastly, something like book of roads of power, in which an hour did not only concern himself merely with the discussion of the theory or political theory
can affect the system of government and Islam. But even beyond that, to discuss the variety of political, social, and legal institution, in that state and how they operate,
correctly, perceived and applied standards
and the subject of sociology, perhaps the most famous sociologist, perhaps in the world, the man says
Don't have to in the, in the latter part of the 14th century, in just a few years in the early 15th century,
Jacques leisler in his book,
Arab civilization, which was written in French, in fact,
as one of the greatest historians of all times.
was the sort of representation of the first time somebody wrote about not just history, but philosophy of history, combining both comprehensiveness and philosophical reflections on history
for a long time, for quite a bit of time, before the models strategy developed, we find that
very careful study
of humans society,
how did human society evolve?
What kind of explanation can be offered to explain the progress of history and his famous book, an academy of which I have a copy also that they showed in a previous program?
One can find some deep reflections on history,
some examination of civilization, how the different types of livings nomadic or certain life affect the thinking and attitudes of people? How does it affect the kind of industries learning
that might be more prominent in a given civilization, it's really an interesting book. Many writers also referred to him as perhaps a father of economics too. Because in the area of economics, long before Adam Smith,
he said something really interesting, he said that the state should act as a target.
And that means that whatever revenue, the government gets, by way of taxation, should be put back in circulation as soon as possible, just like a turtle tries to use his his income. He also
advocated the lowering of taxes and making reasonable moderate, in order to encourage the individual incentive for productivity, to encourage entrepreneurial type of
activities. He went in discussing also the various monopolies and what is the role of government? He sounds like talking about modern economics?
What is the role of government in that respect? One of his interesting remarks is that the rest of the nation is really basically in its human resources, or it hears the term population. But that's the other term we use now is management of human resources, for example.
So he was really amazing in terms of the kind of philosophical reflection that you made, which would relate both to philosophy of history and to the question that you're raising also, sociology. No one does. I recollect reading,
Stephen, it made by the famous British historian
and attorney, he said that perhaps he is the greatest historian who ever lived in terms of his inflection and contributions, right. But we know that much of what we know the history of certain parts of the globe, we owe to the contributions that have been made by Islamic historians. You've just made some comment about prominent historians, I want to perhaps I could have you expand a little bit more in terms of the contributions to the field of history that were made by by Muslims. And their contribution does not just to begin with, when I just mentioned him, because of his philosophy of history type of emphasis. But as early as the early part of the eighth century, you'll
find many Muslim historians will extend like our word Mr. Berg.
The famous sister and Agnes have heard about the life of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Many of these historians seem to have been more interested in the preservation and decoding of facts and events, without the application of too much of interpretation or judgment, and attitude which emerged later on among Western historians. However, this is too much of a generalization because many of the Muslim historians also showed a great deal of critical judgment in their approach. Among the most famous historians, Islamic literature people like every one of them, the latter part of the ninth century, he wrote a universal Chronicle, which is regarded as the most brilliant work and
massarotti about the simple
Also who was both a geographer we mentioned him previously. He was also a historian and he wrote a vast work called the men like history of the world, composed of 20. Big volumes. But unfortunately, this word lost in demand and history.
It means carry,
perhaps in the latter part of the 10th century, because he died in the early part of the 11th century, wrote about the experience of nations.
And his attention was directed to the political, philosophical and economic, political philosophy and economic problems of people.
Among the most famous also whose works are still available, equipment as well as, in the first half of the 13th century, Europe also invested a chronicle of the world covering up to his own time from the beginning of creation, until 1231. According to George Sutton, he considers it
as one of the best
historians of the medieval times or Middle Ages, so called. And he describes him as being far ahead of his contemporaries, whether in the Muslim world or elsewhere. And Macquarie, who died in the 17th century, wrote quite extensively about Muslims in Spain, in Muslim Spain, and the intense intellectual activities, the day to day life during this glorious period. And these are only few examples of the magnitude of contribution to this field affects the science of biology. So the science of biography, I should say, has been actually introduced by Muslims through the
meticulous research about the verification of the sake of the process.
oftentimes, I've encountered too many people who have visited the Muslim world, and they've been very much fascinated with the art and the architecture that they find their examples would be the the Blue Mosque in Turkey, I believe, the Taj Mahal in India. Could you perhaps comment on the contributions in this area? Well, it is interesting to note is that they have art and architecture, there is a combination of diversity and unity, of course, with diverse was the vastness of the Muslim world and the variety of Muslim countries in every continent from all backgrounds and cultures, you may see some measures of diversity, which shows that Muslims did not go to destroy
culture that existed, but rather to cause some kind of fusion and closeness and purify consciousness, perhaps from some of the things which are contrary to the teachings of Islam, but not really destroy the culture set. So there's some diversity because of this background in different areas. However, it is interesting to notice also that there is a basic unity in art and architecture wherever you go, which is definitely influenced by the teaching of Islam.
Unfortunately, many of these monuments have been totally destroyed, like, for example, Baghdad, which is now an era after the Hidalgo Mongols invasion, many of these great monuments were totally destroyed. That was in 1258. In Spain, also the city of Zara, which was totally finished them and there is no trace of it, as far as I know at the present time.
However, we can still attend now even some to some reflection of this great progress in architecture.
We can see that for example, in Spain in Alhambra and Alcazar in Seville,
the influence of Islamic architecture and move to Europe through a variety of ways or through different gates, it went through Spain, it went through Sicily to Italy. It also penetrated the France through a scepter mania, because Muslims as you know reached France, also southern France and Britain for quite some time. Until now, we still can find
some remains of the mosaic in the Islamic pattern, which is found even in many churches in O'Byrne, which is a province in nips.
The effector influence of the design of the mosque of Cordova in Spain
seemed to have had a great influence on the Nazi dam, the p p y
and the various ashes their architecture, architecture with the Allies Of course, these terms like to foil arcs, multi level arcs, how to type of arcs are all c n
Lucas in this church is to the design that is in the Cordova mosque. One of the most fascinating thing that it is said that in on one of the doors on the Cathedral of the PvP right
there is a decoration there with Arabic inscriptions saying Masha Allah, Masha Allah, which is the Muslim term, something like it is the word of God or something of that sort. That's the Arabic term.
Even in the British Museum, there is a cross, an Irish cross that dates back to the ninth century. And ironically, in the middle of that chorus, it says Bismillah, In the name of Allah,
which is an interesting reflection that even in religious objects, the influence of Islamic architecture has been some interests and so clear.
from our discussions in these last several programs, it would seem that
there was a very keen interest in learning in the Islamic community.
A claim has been made sometimes that when Muslims conquered Egypt, they're responsible for burning the famous library at Alexandria. Is there any truth to that? suggestion? Not really. That's an odd story. Now, that's many historians feel it doesn't have too much credibility, neither on historical grounds nor on logical grounds. Let me refer you to, for example, one of the most respected non Muslim studies, Judge Sutton, and his introduction to the history of science. And in Volume One,
on page 466, he says about that story and record, this story is entirely unproved, the first mention of it occurs only after an interval of six inches. So the first mention six inches after the alleged alleged burning in the account of Egypt, threatened by Abdul Latif, in the first half of the 16th century, moreover, to prove the dimension of destroyed that famous library, it would be necessary for us to prove that is it still existed in the seventh century.
And this is really very bad for that system, very doubtful. It is very probable that a good part of it has been destroyed by the Christians, many centuries.
before. So in terms of the historicity of the matters, and there are lots of more evidence in the topic by itself. I mean, there are lots of additional evidence that this, historically, is not it's not correct, that what even gives credence to this kind of
directory is that the story is that logically speaking, why should we do that? Why do we have seen immense interest in learning over hundreds of years, and the respect that was according to science learning, and scientists, including as you find the many differences written by non Muslims, the kind of tolerance that was shown to scientists from Arab walks of life from all religious backgrounds, they find refuge and protection under Islamic rules. In fact, the library is where you might say the Jews have a standard civilization not to be burned, but to be benefited from.
Let's turn now to some discussion of those libraries and asked if you could give us a description of what in some
overview of what
libraries were like. This libraries were basically of two types, private and public. The private libraries were quite common and quite widespread. And many historians said that there was hardly any famous scientists are a scholar, who did not have his own personal library. Some of them has multi 1000
type of volumes 10,000, more or less.
Public Libraries, however, were mostly attached to mosques, places of worship, or big schools, major schools.
And if you look at the description, it's very difficult to distinguish actually, between them and this libraries and today's libraries. And they have something extra even you don't find, even into those libraries.
description for example, that they had the different rooms, or halls, each one are located for one subject, terms of classification,
that they have the shelves on the wall where the books are placed, and that they have special rooms for reading,
rooms for copying. that there were full time people sometimes copying to make more copies of the same references
that they had rooms even allocated for food.
And places for sleeping, especially for scholars who traveled from faraway places to come. And that also shows that they were apparently some contributions or charity paid to sustain those libraries to help students of learning who might not be able to afford the food, then
accommodation, which is something that we don't find Today, many historian even say that
in many of these libraries, they were also free supplies of ink, paper, and pens.
Some of this library is so huge that even by today's criteria, where printing has become so popular and so widespread, they were still quite huge. Let me give you a few examples of the magnitude of this libraries, and the Deadwood Heckman library in Cairo during the days of hacking, but amarilla that's in the early part of the 11th century. It is said that it had 1.6 million volumes
in the beta of Heckman in Baghdad in the eighth century, was also a huge library as well. In the library of Anakin and Alicia or Muslim Spain. There was something like point 4 million volumes.
The Benny Ahmad library in Tripoli, which is now in Lebanon,
there was as many there was as many as 1 million
volumes, and 180 copyist for time copies. So you're really talking about something that's
far ahead of its time. Now, what has happened to these massive volumes of books, are they are they still in existence there? What is your fate? Well, unfortunately, most of these treasures were either lost or ruined.
And sometimes we hear about great works, voluminous works only by their title, as they are referred to in some other secondary references. While there may be a few cases, one has to be objective, and that were some of the reasons of torture losses might be because of internal problems within the Muslim community itself. But by far, the greatest and most major losses of these treasures came because of extraneous external forces. Just to give you a few examples of this, when the Hanako and the Mongols attacked and invaded Baghdad, as you know, this was the most savage type of attack.
They threw enough books and volumes in the Tigris River, that was sufficient to make the river overflow. And to constitute a bridge. She Hawaii and huge rivers was enough to make a bridge word Knights used to go on the back of their horses back and forth from one end to the other. Historians say that for for quite a long time, the waters in the Tigris River were black and because of the amount of ink in the books that were dumped in the river.
Similarly, during the crusades, in the invasion of Syria, it is estimated that no less than 3 million volumes were destroyed by the Crusaders in in Andalusia, or Muslim Spain after the defeat of Muslims. in Grenada. It is said that nearly 1 million volumes were burnt in one day by some religious fanatics who could not appreciate the sciences and notice that they could even themselves benefit from
a cut. You know, there are also some narratives that in Sicily, occurred not by the name of Zimmerman's in the 15th century. In one day, he burned 80,000 volumes in a public square, or main square of the city called founder of frantic
and ironically, like Catarina
mentions in her paper. This was about the same time when Columbus set to discover the Americas using Muslim calculations and Muslim compass. So unfortunately, a great deal has been lost, but we still have quite a few that remained.
Now the the evidence that we've been discussing in the last few programs really is overwhelming in terms of showing the remarkable contribution that Muslims have made to civilization. Many people who have been following the series, I'm sure have been asking themselves, why more of this information isn't more widely known. Why are many of the inventions and discoveries that have been made by Muslims? Why have these been attributed to others? What is your view of that? Well, of course, they could be
All kinds of reasons I'm not going to go in detail for example, addressing deliberate attempts to falsify facts of history. There may be cases of that. The cases where writers and propagandists and media try to present Islam as nomadic religion which is fit only for people of the desert. And that following Islam today means that you have to backtrack to the Middle Ages and live like people used to live in the Middle Ages, not even Middle Ages. And it's not make sense where they were bright civilization but even in the European Dark Ages kind of conception. The motive scary some of these motives were colonial somewhere missionary somewhere even atheistic, all of them see an Islam, some
kind of dangerous to their own particular interest and return to Islam also as a kind of
threats to their designs. But
to take out to talk about some other
reasons, which are even accepted by many non Muslim historians like certain For example, He mentioned that when the West matured enough to begin the Renaissance, and to seek more knowledge, they follow three steps one was to acquire Muslim knowledge. Secondly, was to translate it from Arabic, which was the language of science and civilization, to other European languages. And he said in that stage, sometimes concealment took place. And sometimes the works of Muslims were attributed to the translator.
And the third stage, he says, this knowledge were then incorporated in the sources of references in European languages. And he said, again, many times the borrower, the one who borrowed from Muslim thought and Muslim contribution was regarded or was dealt with as if he were the author of this works. That's where some of this might have been deliberate or some might have been just simply because of this mistakes and the transmission.
one can also refer to as,
for example, john Draper's mentioned in the intellectual development and history of the intellectual development of Europe that sometimes fanaticism might be responsible for this concealment. I quote him, for example, in the second volume,
in page 42, and he says, I have to deplore the systematic manner in which the literature of Europe has contrived to put out of sight, our scientific obligation to the mohammedans a better term would that be Muslims? Surely, they cannot be much longer hidden. injustice founded on religious rancor and national conceit cannot be perpetuated forever. And that's like I said in a non Muslim author who at least have some sense of furnace to recognize how these things have been hidden for too long. Similarly, I cannot all say that all writers were biased. Sefton, for example, mentioned that for 350 years, whenever he deals with one half century, seven periods, he said, this is the time of that
is the most prominent scientist or scholar, and he mentioned Muslim names. So for seven periods, or 350 years, the most prominent time were the times of Muslims for 300 years subsequent to that. He says the time of so and so I mentioned three names, one of which is a Muslim named scholar. That means that almost 650 years, there was either exclusive prominence or shared prominence and varieties of various
Well, in a word or two, we only have a minute or so left, I guess, in today's program, what would you consider to be the implications of this review of contributions? Well, first of all, for Muslims, they should not really take it by way of Boston, Boston is not a very mature thing.
nor should they take that by say, by way of saying, alright, our ancestor contributed, so I don't have to do anything now. Enough what has been done, but I think the main point made here is to show in a practical, factual way, how the teaching of the Quran that we mentioned early did really provide this impetus and inducement for progress and development and all areas. And to show that the decline of Muslims in later centuries, which is just beginning to change gradually now, it's not because of Islam, but because of Muslims being truly faithful to their faith. For non Muslims, I think it might help provide some appreciation and mutual respect to Gries above all this rancor and
fanaticism and perhaps, developed a world where both can live together and benefit each other and contribute to a more human civilization. Thank you are getting frantic indications we should wrap. We want to thank you for watching as salaam alaikum, peace be unto you