Channel: Jamal Badawi
The name of God and ever since the Merciful, the creator and Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings upon His Servant and Messenger Mohammed forever means I greet you with a greeting that is very common in Islam. greetings of peace. Assalamu aleikum. I'm your host Hama Rashid. Today we have our sixth program in our series dealing with the economic system of Islam. We'll be continuing with the second portion of our of the topic production and productivity. I have joining me on the program is usual. Dr. Jamal Baddeley of St. Mary's University of Jamal assalamu. aleikum wa.
Very quickly summarize and highlight the main points that we talked about last week in our first
program dealing with the topic of production productivity.
Our basic approach was that instead of just coming in terms of productivity in terms of curves, and, you know, theory of the firm,
instead of getting to this abstract areas, we started from the ideological foundation of production and productivity in Islam, which we felt would be quite interesting and relevant. And we indicated that the basis for productivity in Islam is not merely economic survival, but also seeking the pleasure of God
by responding to his directors in the Quran, to explore the universe and benefit from it and harness it.
We have quoted quite extensively from the Quran showing that exploitation of various resources is something that is commendable. We are commanded, actually, that we talked about varieties of agricultural water resources, fishery, animal resources. And beyond that, we said that the Quran even goes beyond this to encourage people
to explore the various laws in nature created by God, trying to understand the various phenomena and benefits from it. If a person cannot at all, he has them for his benefit.
Well, I I think we have a very interesting program for our viewers this afternoon. To get into our topic today in our previous programs, you've clarified Islam's attitude towards progress in general. But I'd like to ask you how Islam views science in particular. Okay, well,
the first thing to start with is to give some kind of definition of science without getting into complexes basically, when people speak of science. They speak of the knowledge of natural phenomena, the rational explanation of existence
on the basis of observation, which could be confirmed by experimentation and criticism. Basically, that's what you know, science refers to it's not just a speculation,
as far as the study of natural phenomenon, this is, this was already covered in the previous program. However, let me get to the basic or crucial elements in science, basically, observation, and experimentation. Let's look at the question of observation.
When we talk about observation, we're assuming that you have to use the sensors and you have to use reason also, in order to understand and connect this observation.
As far as the sensors are concerned, it is interesting to notice that in the Quran, there is frequent exhortation
on the use of census which is one foundation of the scientific approach. Many times we read in the Quran for example, a fella is now a philosopher on top they look or see, don't they hear? You talk about something really.
Down to Earth, seeing experimenting, watching things.
In fact, the Quran even describes people who are turning away from truth as a someone that's among the worst people in the sight of God are those who are deaf and blind, not physically Of course in people in who are avoiding using their natural faculties. In the Quran, also,
it describes or even threatens that in the Hellfire, there will be lots of people who have ears with the
Which they don't hear an eyes with which they don't see again, not physically but refusing to use this capabilities describing the believers in the Quran also, when Latina Cairo, the ayah, Tara beam, Mahabharata Hassan Manwani and those who, if they are reminded with the science of the gut, the signs again means observing, watching, seeing what is in the universe, when they are reminded with this science. They do not just for that at deaf and blind. So in all of this, and these are only a few examples of many that you could easily find in the Quran, provide for this impetus of using the senses and trying to understand the universe instead of speculation. When I was talking
about observation, how about experimentation? Well, experimentation by its nature,
presumes that you have some observations. In other words, observation would stimulate you to put what you observe under some test and experimentation. But beyond that, even you find that in the Quran, there are lots of hints, many of them but again for the shortness time and just give a few examples, which could be easily construed to refer to the use of experimentation to understand things around us. Take, for example, Chapter 16, and the Quran in verse 69. It speaks there about honey,
and it seems fitting she found the nest that in honey, there are cured or there is cure for mankind, that cure of diseases. Well, this is a clear reference that there are certain medicinal value and honey. Well, in order for the audience of the Quran, the one who receives that message from God through the Quran, to make sense of that, then he or she would have to study chemistry, in order to find out what are those ingredients in honey, that that provides this medicinal value.
In another chapter in the Quran in chapter 57, verse 25, for example, it speaks about God creating the iron, and it says, an iron there is strength and benefits employed for mankind. So, here again, is an investment to experiment and study the properties of iron, so that you can make the various benefits out of it or derive these various uses and manipulation of that method. And that applies not only to iron, obviously, this is only an example. But metallurgical studies pertaining to any other metal would fall under that so you get against physics and get chemistry.
Now, in the Quran, frequently also we get reference to the creation of the human, and that the biggest sign of the existence of God and His compassion, as the Quran puts it, in yourselves by observing or studying yourself. Again, this is a clear reference to attempts to study biology and anatomy to find out this marvelous thing that God has created.
You can refer even to me as giving a hint to the study of anthropology. For example, some verses in the Quran says LLM Yesudas are done, they work on the earth, and find out what was the destiny of those that is nations before them, you will get physical anthropology you get all kinds of exploration trying to find out what happened to previous missions. These are all experimental things. Indeed, to sum it up, in one reference in the Quran in chapter two,
when it talks about the creation of mankind of Adam, it says that God taught him and Smith, Aquila, and asmat. It literally means names, but as many interpreters of local unexpanded it means that God taught Adam, the nature of all things, which was something extra, that even engines themselves did not have access to. So knowledge of the nature of things are nature of creation, that God has given us a clear stimulus for for the study and understanding of the property of those aspects. So from this, it seems to be quite clear that Islam hadn't and your spirit, a spirit which replaced the spirit of speculation, that was predominant in the past, was something which is based on firm
knowledge which is provable, which is subject to experimentation. Indeed, as the Quran puts it, in one verse, in a bundle I open even I'd have to share that conjecture, or speculation is no good substitute for, for truth or something which is based on firm
knowledge. So it's called
Third, I think to conclude from this that
among the greatest contribution of Islam to humanity, is this
idea of experimental approach.
I'm sure that many of our viewers would be surprised to win, I hear your answer, because I think most people when they think about the experimental approach, and normally think of it is originating with Roger bacon, right?
How would you respond to anybody who would suggest that bacon was sort of the father of, of this whole experimental approach? Okay, maybe you can put things in their proper historical perspectives. Roger bacon was born, it's believed in 2014. So we're talking about the 13th century.
Islam and the revelations of the crime that he cited already were in the sixth century. All right. So we're really talking here about 600 years or so before Roger bacon was born, that all these concepts were already ingrained and calculated in the minds of many Muslim scientists. And it's not just the theory, but during this century is also there were valuable contributions made by Muslim scientists all over the world to be this experimental approach and contribution to science based on experiment, and experimentation.
That's why you find that some of the fair's historians and writers seem to clearly disagree with giving credit
of the experimental approach to Roger bacon.
One writer, for example, Robert default, in his book, The Making of humanity, he strongly reject this notion of giving credit to bacon, for the introduction of the scientific method. And in fact, he says that bacon was simply one of the apostles of Muslim science to Christian Europe.
In fact, in one issue of Encyclopedia Britannica,
and I quote this, it says that it is, beyond all doubt that Roger bacon
was profoundly versed in Arabian learning, they use the term urban here actually should be Muslim learning, but the sometimes user changeable interchangeably, that is should be reversed in Muslim learning, and derived from it many of the gems of his philosophy. So this is not an opinion given by Muslims, I think you'll find many
Western scholars who come to the same conclusion that Roger bacon really was a student of
Islamic science and the new experimental methodology introduced by Islam is kind of civilization. But I'd like to turn now to some discussion of how this manifests itself in practical terms, I think you've given ample evidence that the Quran strongly supports the college's progress and scientific exploration, but what a practical effect of these teachings have and and when was that effect, felt, one to start with, we can say that the the scientific progress the new revival of science and the introduction of this scientific method started right from the Quran itself, which generated this new spirit of research, sort of rebellion against the old approach of rigidity and dogmatism and just
imitation rather than trying to find out for oneself.
But this kind of progress seem to have manifested itself quite early also, in the under the AMA, we are Umayyad dynasty. Now, aside from whatever deviations the Umayyad dynasty committed in terms of the system of government, but it is fair also to say that during the dynasty, there were lots of pirates, lots of scientists, and in the interests of the cliffs themselves in their own courts.
There were lots of those scientists, which included those who are Muslims as well as those who were Christians and Jews as well. So it was like an open approach of encouragement.
In fact, during the regime or the the return of the omega three to find that lots of
physical evidence was left to show the great deal of progress that was achieved. For example, during the the Khilafat or roll up the medic. The mosque of Ahmed, which is in Jerusalem now was ordered to be built and during the reign of his son and rallied to basic control variable
Important signs also I left the AMA we are Umayyad mosque and Damascus and the Medina mosque in Medina now, Arabia. However, we can say that the, the Golden Age really of this Islamic scientific progress was during the apartheid dynasty which ranged somewhere between the eighth to the 13th century, specifically from 750 to 1258, in the Christian era. And parallel to that almost was also the Umayyad dynasty and spin,
survived or even longer period of time from the eighth to the 15th century, from 755 to 1492.
For five centuries, as one French writer by the name of jack rice large put it he said that Islam with its strengths, its learning, and superiors civilization
dominated the world for at least five centuries. And that's quite interesting, because many people, for example, think now about the superpowers and their influence or mark on the world. But we'll be talking about basically what the last century or so. So talking about five continuous centuries, with the Muslims carrying the banner of civilization throughout the world,
I think many of our viewers would be surprised to learn of the Islamic presence and in Spain that perhaps is a topic for another program
on addition to to the progress that wasn't take place took place in Spain and so on, whether other centers of learning and research to sustain the progress that you've just finished scribing. Okay, well, from day one, like they say, just from the very beginning, the mosque, or the place, quote, unquote, took place of worship, as most people would interpret that as being much more than just a place of worship, the concept of mosques and Islam has been much more than that. So you could say that every mosque was basically also a place of learning or center of learning on the local level. Many historians also report that when the civilization was flourishing,
every city, almost every major city had a public library. So that sounds like a decent concept, but public libraries was something quite common under Islamic civilization.
Many historians also report of endowments made for colleges,
of bursaries established for students, and in general about the grades and respected position given to anyone with some knowledge with some specially you know, scientific knowledge or other useful areas of investigation. However, among the basic and very strong and famous areas or centers of learning, in addition to this local and city type of
levels, there was the the vital hikma out of English, the house of learning or wisdom, which was established in Baghdad as early emergent as the ninth century, ninth century, under the caliphate of moon. This was like a complex of so many activities that were going on. It was like an academy, essential library, and translation centers as well.
This was one measures
step in terms of the propagation of learning and scientific approach.
The bite of hikma, this house of learning was also the Genesis or was responsible for the establishment later of the famous Baghdad School,
which are whose influence I should say continued until the 15th century, there's about 600 years nearly
of scientific activities, that is basically in the East portion of the Muslim world at this time. In the West,
the most important thing you alluded earlier to Spain also was Toledo, which was a very, very
important translation center, in which
many of the works of Muslims and Arabic was translated into Latin, in order to be introduced to the to the Western world at later times, which was in fact responsible for the Renaissance.
It is even said that and this centers in Toledo almost all kinds of disciplines were studied astronomy, mathematics, medical science, chemistry, botany, philosophy.
In fact, the one of the interesting thing I noticed that they say that one of the Pope's who, reputed to be the first French Pope, adopting the name letter of Sylvester the second,
he spent three years in Toledo, learning from Muslim scholars and Muslim scientists.
Now, I think many of our viewers would appreciate some additional information on the connection between Islamic civilization and the European Renaissance. To start with, could you give us some idea of what the situation in Europe was like when the Islamic civilization began to take root? What do you start with suffice to assert the term usually used by historians and scholars to refer to this period?
There are two terms one, medieval times are Middle Ages, which of course is objectionable because they seem to imply somehow that the history of the world is the history of Europe. So for them that was just a medieval time of decay, then followed by Renaissance, which, of course, is rather
ethnocentric septic, really, looking at one particular part of the world? The history of the world is not the history of Europe alone, there's no question about it.
But the other term also used for it, which is a misnomer. Also, if you want to generalize it to the rest of the world, they call it the Dark Ages. When Dark Ages for Europe, yes. But back ages elsewhere, that was not necessarily true. In fact, there was a flourishing civilization, side by side, with the State of Decay that Europe has fallen into at this particular period. Usually, this so called Dark Ages, I mean, if applied to the European continent, extended for quite a bit of time, usually, they estimate between the fifth and 10th centuries, almost 500 years.
Again, what was the state it's better to refer even to your thin, non Muslim historian, even what they see as the situation out of Europe at this time. And messengers chapters in the book science and civilization, for example, he speaks quite
in detail about the highest stage of
or highly savage state in which the people in Europe live, that system is Savage.
He speaks about the lack of personal cleanliness of the abject poverty and the way people dressed and lived in terms of accommodation at the time where life was much more civilized and much more advanced as well in the Muslim world.
An interesting difference also, which is quite an extensive study,
called the history of intellectual development. In Europe, it's composed of two volumes by john Draper.
He talks there again about the science and speaks about spin, and how this contrasted quite clearly with what was going on in Europe. For example, He said that in Europe,
suppression of science was quite normal.
The study of material phenomena was attributed to the world of spirits. He said that if a person for example, he had an accident, or just got fevers,
he ran to the nearest
st shrines, hoping that he will be cured by a miracle at the time again, when in the Muslim world, physicians were busy discovering lots of things about about medicine and dealing with various ailments.
In fact, like,
single drippers also use the term barbaric to describe the kind of life in which Europe has sunk into.
Like I indicated earlier, the This is quite a contrast of what was going on and wonders why the term Dark Ages seem to be overly generalized
announcements about very bad status.
Many people claim that modern science in Europe was simply a restoration of Greek heritage. How would you respond to that? Well, I just found that not from any Muslim perspective, but even referring to non Muslim Western scholars.
That this is not true. It's it's a statement that usually made but it's not it's not correct. For example, in the famous volumes outline of history,
By the late h, g, one.
He said that the Greek
did not have really too much knowledge or information about the past of mankind, that the knowledge of geography was restricted to the Mediterranean area, as well as the frontiers of Persia. And that the state of knowledge was, as he called, based on the geometry, speculations.
And it was very poor in the experimental apparatus. And this is very important that you were very poor, in the matter of experimentation.
The same kind of assessment was given by another writer by the name of a and Whitehead, the book science and the modern world,
in which, again, he agrees with with once on that point, he said that the Greek word were overly theoretical.
The science was basically an offshoot of philosophy, and they're online.
And the same kind of state apply to the Romans also.
But we're not saying however, and I don't think that anyone is implying that there was no contribution whatsoever of either the Greek or Roman civilization, I think that would be unfair to say, but in terms of scientific development, and scientific methodology, it was very, very poor, and not based on experimentation, which is a foundation of modern science. So it might have been good for its time. But as far as foundation of modern science, they were quite poor,
on that score. So I think it's quite erroneous, really to claim that
the European Renaissance was based by enlarge on the simple illustration of the Greek heritage, I don't think this is correct. It was based, very strongly, as many historians admitted, on the already flourishing Islamic civilization with its with its new approach and an outlook.
Are you alluding to that the contribution of Islamic civilization on the European Renaissance earlier either specific historical indicators showing this influence?
Plenty? First of all,
it is a historical fact that
is quite readily admitted that for several centuries, for hundreds of years, the language of the Quran, that's the Arabic language was the international vehicle for scientific development, just like for example, today, where most of the advanced work in technology and science is found, for example, in English, French or German, similar type of languages. At that time, it was the Arabic language that if for any person who wanted really to learn
anything about science, you would have to be versed with the Arabic language, which shows again, that the works with an Arabic are done by Muslims. Not only this, many historians also say that a person who wanted to learn something about sciences, particularly things like, you know, physics, chemistry, medicine, astronomy, mathematics, could not really do it in Europe because of the atmosphere that you're familiar with, and Europe at this time against science.
And based upon that the only place left to them was to go to the Muslim universities, particularly in Muslim Spain, which was pushed closer being part of the European continent. In fact, many of the people who tried to popularize Muslim science in Europe, were given a term Mohammed ins are Muslims. Yes, they were accused of being sympathetic to Mohammed and simply because they follow the same or absorb this new approach scientific approach that Muslim scientists have introduced, in fact, that are different than when we were talking about before. He said he was accused himself of being Mohammedan because of following the path of scientific approach. And for that he spent 14 years in
prison as a result of this. So if you didn't look at it in terms of what actually happened,
there is simply ample evidence that
students from all over the European continents flocked to Muslim universities, particularly in Spain to learn through Muslim science and Muslim scientists brought back this knowledge with them. And that was the spark that later resulted in the European Renaissance.
Brother Jamal, I found this to be a very interesting program.
causes me to wonder why this information has been perhaps not popularized and has really even been suppressed. To a great extent. I want to thank you and I want to thank you, our viewers, invite you back next week when we'll continue our discussion of the economic system of Islam. Thank you for watching. Assalamu alaikum peace be unto you