Channel: Jamal Badawi
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But never sent the Merciful, the creator and Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings of public servant and Mr. Mohammed forever mean. Today we have our 10th program in our series dealing with the economic system of Islam. We'll be continuing with our topic of Muslim contributions to civilization. More specifically, we'll be looking at the fields of geography, agricultural industry, and commerce. I'm your host, Tamar Rashid. And I have joining me on the program as usual, Dr. Jabbar a better way by the Jamal Assalamu alaikum. Welcome to another episode of black horizons, Islam focus.
We always take a few minutes at the beginning of our program to highlight the main points that we touch on in our previous program. Could I ask you to quickly summarize the main points that we talked about? Last week, we were dealing with the field of medicine. Okay. We'll talk a little bit about the contribution of Muslim medicine. And first, we tried to show the relationship between Islamic teaching and interest in medicine and how they are intertwined. We also reviewed the contribution some of the major contributions of Muslim physicians
to medicine, all the way from the eighth century, down to nearly 13th century. And we indicated how the works of many famous names such as the center and razzes, and our customers, became or can continue to be very crucial and very important references for medicine.
In some cases, as late as the 18th century,
we talked a little bit towards the end also about the hospitals how they were run, and how the physical and physical care and hygiene conditions were really comparable to what you might consider as the standard of today. In addition to that, too, we can also add just a little bit of remarks since we're on the topic that they used to have very rigorous standards also for who practices medicine. In fact, it's said that,
in the beginning of the 11th century, a patient died in Baghdad, which is now in Iraq, as a result of a mistake by a physician and declared if at that time order that all physicians should be re examined. And it is noted that as many as 860, medical doctors were re examined. And since that became a tradition in many
College of Medicine in Baghdad, Cairo, Cordova and other places, to have very rigorous rigorous examinations for doctors before they practiced medicine.
And in fact, even within Islamic law, they developed a whole body of literature dealing with the responsibility of the doctors in case of, of a mistake. Dealing with subjects such as what is the responsibility of the doctor to practice medicine, if he's the only one available that's becomes a very sacred duty that he cannot say it's my right it's a duty if he's the only one available to, to look after people who are sick. The fact that a person should be qualified and that goes back to the days of the Prophet when prophetic tradition even say that the person who treats others without being capable, he's responsible for his deeds. It depends also on the intention, whether the doctor
really intended hurt, whether he followed the normal standard practices in medicine, and whether he took the permission of the patient. So even in the law, more medicine was an issue which was also
part of the study of medicine.
Now coming to today's program, and the contributions of the Muslim community to the field of geography.
Could you perhaps explain for us how contributions in this particular area of geography were related to the teachings of Islam seminars to the development also of medicine and then for that matter, astronomy and mathematics Also, if you find that somehow related to the Islamic teaching, for example, Muslim have to pray five times every day with the first directing towards the Kaaba, the holy Kaaba, they
How was the first house to worship Gods built by Prophet Abraham, which is now in Arabia?
Well, that requires the ability to find directions and that required mathematics as much as require some knowledge of geography to
every Muslim is required once in a lifetime, if he's able to, to go to Mecca, for pilgrimage, and that requires knowledge of astronomy to lead him on the way they didn't have the desert lenses liners we have today, he would have to know something also about geography so that he wouldn't get lost on the way. So Islamic teaching, in a way, provided the impetus and inducement for people to try and understand this field. Another aspect is that Islam, by its nature is directed towards the entire mankind, it's a universal faith of God. And Muslims have the duty to carry the message of Islam to other parts of the world. Many Muslims feeling this sense of duty, active both as missions
and colors invite us to Islam when they visited so many parts of the world.
Some historians say that the first to write about China were Muslim geographers as early as the ninth century.
It was narrated in a previous program how Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him,
encouraged people to learn and said seek knowledge even if you have to travel to China. And how the Quran itself even encourages people to see raphel artwalk in the expanse of the earth, and try to learn and explore. And that of course, provided this investment to try to find out and explore the world around them. In fact, it's not an exaggeration to say that at least,
Muslims contributed a great deal to what led to the discovery of the New World, or Americas, if not even preceding Columbus. Now that's a branching point, which I'm sure is true the curiosity of many of our viewers. Could you perhaps elaborate a little bit on that and explain?
Well, for example, Ernest runnin,
French author, wrote in his book about
one great famous writers immersed in English ever wrote, The book is called avarice and other racism.
And he mentioned in that book about letters, that was written by Christopher Columbus in Haiti, dated October 14 98.
And that letters, Columbus admits that one of the sources that led him to theorize that there is a new world was the writing of oven toys are everywhere See, this is just again an adaptation of Avarice or ignores the Muslim scientist and philosopher of the 20th century.
he considered that as one of the impetus, so the inducements for him to seek this knowledge. Some authors, however, claimed even that it is quite possible that Muslims came and discovered the Americas before Columbus.
In fact, it was found that some tribes, that's, you know, indigenous tribes before Columbus, in Mexico, had many Arabic words, in those daily usage. And but
some believe that some tribes used to speak Arabic, actually in Mexico, which comes back from a Muslim background. But the least to be said, is what Columbus himself admits, that was Muslim writing that led him to, to the new world, if not actually Muslim, coming before Columbus. And the least also to say, perhaps, is that Muslims realize that the earth is a sphere around, and that was quite crushing, again, in how Columbus
made his trip to the Americas. I'm sure when you mentioned made mention the fact that they contribute to the discovery that they tweak the curiosity of our viewers, but I'm probably probably even more curious about the fact that Muslims have been to America, perhaps even before, even before commerce is a possibility. But is there any Is there any evidence to substantiate that? to substantiate that point? And how far back did you do? Did Muslims make this discovery on the ground or sphere? Well, it appears that this even took place before even the ninth century.
I'll give you first some quotations and references to the Quran that seem to imply that the earth is round and one would not be too far off assuming that some Muslims at least if not all, some could understand or get some hint from this references in trouble
279 verse 30 in the Quran, it talks about the earth and it says well about the Delica Haha, the earth after that, God, the HA HA HA HA was interpreted most commonly to me and made it expanse or spread it out so that we can easily walk on it. In fact, if you refer to the Arabic English lexicon
by Edward w named, he indicates that the heart also an Arabic means through or casts, impelled or not as propelled, as the stone is cast away. And that's an interesting reference, as the stone is cast away something properly, which might give a hint of the origin of the earth being possibly part of a heavenly body that just part of that spread. But besides that, when you talk about something like a stone, which is propelled when you're really talking about something that cannot be flattened, you talk about something which is,
you know, more round, rounded or spherical in nature. But there are certain verses in the Quran that's even more obvious than that which some people sometimes misunderstood in the past, often.
In several references in the Quran, it talks about the earth being metal,
usually translated spread out.
Like, for example, in chapter 13, verse 315, verse 19, and chapter 15, verse seven, and all of this, the term metadata, or mud is used
The Shadow indicates that this versus In fact, there's a clear evidence and a clear hint that this is wrong. Why? Because it means that whether you go to the North Pole, the South Pole, or to the equator, anywhere in the world, there's still
spread out before you. Now if the earth was a square, or triangle, or anything of that sort, then you work and you reach the edge me forms to a point. But the fact that the Quran says that there is always a spirit before you regardless where you go, it means that it's got to be, it's got to be round. It's really, in the Quran. Also, in chapter 36, a very strange expression is used, you come with Allahu Allah, Allah Maha God, you can't wish nights over the day. Now, the word you cover in Arabic means something like wrapping something around a bone.
It talks also about the day and night that none of them precedes the other, which again, gives a hint that day and night can exist simultaneously. But they cannot precede each other because of this cycle of day and night. And all of these references seem to be a clues. Hint For many, the nursery is round. But whether this teaching were really interpreted as such, or did influence the thinking of Muslim scientist, suffice to say that as early as the ninth century during the caliphate have known
that one himself made a geodetic measurement, that's measurement using also astronomy principles.
He made that measurement of the earth. And he gave its circumference notice, here's the term the circumference of the Earth at 24,000 miles. Two interesting remarks here. See, when he's talking about the circumference of the Earth, then he's talking about
around Yeah, exactly. Not to mention.
The other interesting thing also, is that the the measurement that he gave, are always very, very close, it's just to maybe a couple of 100 miles off from measurements that's done with the most sophisticated
scientific tools available to us today.
In addition to this, so we find that
in contrast, I should say to this, we find that according to Draper,
Europe, at the time when Europe was insisting that the earth is flat, Muslims were already teaching their students geography and the schools using globes as an illustration of this teaching.
The same kind of conclusion was arrived at by another historian of science, George sarton. In his second volume, first part, and page 44, he says, and I quote him, needless to say, that all the Arabic Kenyans Muslim geographers believed in the sphericity of the earth that the earth is round.
This was definitely not really a guess.
I mean, the evidence provided
so far is quite clear. But even more explicitly, we find that in the writings of a great Muslim geographer by the name of idrisi, who lived in the 12th century, and we caught him again.
He says that Earth is round, like a spheres. And waters adhere to it through a natural equilibrium, which suffers no variations.
Now, that's amazing, because it's not on the top of earth as a sphere. But he seemed to have some understanding also of gravity.
Like some Western historians say that it might have not necessarily been the Newton's Apple, that led him to the discovery of gravity that the concept was already known hundreds of years before.
The Muslim scientists are now other other notable contributions to the field of geography besides the discovery that the earth is round. Well, there are several, for example, in the in the 19th century, and that meant the same sort of who did the measurement of the circumference of the earth.
He ordered also the drawing of a very large map of the world. So as we mentioned before, a great mathematician of the ninth century, he wrote also a book called spirit on earth or the face of the earth,
which contains several maps.
In the ninth century, also a very important work published under the title and menelik, one mosaddek, which means roads and provinces. That book according to your surgeon, is and I quote, an important source of historical topography of the caliphate.
And this book was translated as late as the 19th century. For example, in French,
similar in importance also is a book by an Jacobi of the ninth century, because it could have been put down on the book of countries, which according to certain again in the his first volume,
was full of topographical and economic details.
In the 10th century, there were many other famous geographers In fact, Sartre mentioned nearly 10 of them, and just suffice to mention the most famous of them, Al massarotti,
who is regarded by certain as one of the greatest geographers of all times, not just of the Middle Ages, or medieval times, so called
and substances that his work in geography can be regarded really as an encyclopedia, an encyclopedia, which is arranged in geographical order.
This kind of contribution continued a long time afterwards. For example,
in the next 500 years, prominence of Muslim geographers was quite clear. Abdul Latif of the 12th century,
wrote a great deal about typography and idrisi. The one we mentioned before also of the 12th century, lived in Sicily, Muslim Sicily. And he was particularly good in the so called cartography or drawing of house maps. And your quote, another famous author, wrote a book called not German, or Dictionary of
which, according to certain, again, is an immense compilation of geographical facts listed in alphabetical orders. Others, including works on physical geography, archaeology, and human geography. Even some of the fields that many people regard as relatively more advanced, like mathematical geography.
We'll find that in the 13th century, a great Muslim geographer by the name Apple has of Albert Hassan and Morocco, he wrote a book called Jana Nevada,
which included among other things, coordinates of 130 different places in the world, which showed understanding of both mathematics and,
and geography. And just to conclude about that last authority, certain jobs certain the second volume for the first part, it says that no medieval writers has taken equal pains to explain the scientific methods, and industries. So this is again, just a glimpse of the subject. For now, on our last several programs, we've concentrated mainly on the contribution to the fields of science, I'm sure that there have been contributions in other areas as well, for example, in the area history and sociology, political science, literature, that kind of thing. But in the remaining part of our program today, what I'd like to do is to examine the application of the progress and start first of
all by asking you about its impact on the field of agriculture. Well, in agriculture, we find that
Muslims were able to describe many plants. One single author, for example, if no one in the end of the 12th century was able to describe 585 different plants to explain the cultivation of several things, particular fruits, and many people believe that the gardens of Spain today and its fruit trees cause a great deal to the Muslim civilization.
As we mentioned before, in other subjects, Islamic teaching was also connected with that, for example, many Muslim scientists are on their way to pilgrimage to Mecca, of course they have to travel on the road, we're able to study a lot on the way, one of them by the name of Apple, our best and aveti surprisingly, our best the botanist
he used to go around the the cost of Africa and the Red Sea on his way to pilgrimage and collect valuable information about different kinds of plants.
They were able also to apply that in a practical way in the area of irrigation. They excelled in the use of organic fertilizers. And, in fact, they improved a great deal also on the breed of cattle they introduced the silkworm
according to john Draper's.
He also believes that many of the valuable fruits that we have in the West in different parts were introduced actually by Muslim, they travel around they take things from one place to the other. And he mentioned mangoes, the peaches, people also add the introduction of apricots in some places in Sicily, the introduction of the sugarcane and rice ores to Western civilization.
The introduction of bananas
and other flowers like lilac, Jasmine tulips, or more Morning Glory, roses, were all things that Muslims have introduced in so many different places.
And in fact, the,
in Spain, for example, during the Moorish Empire, Muslims were able to use artificial lakes to raise fish for food. So, as far as agriculture is concerned, it's really one of the greatest areas of contribution which was benefit was not only limited to Muslims, but to various countries where they ruined or certain for some time,
harbor progressing in industry, industry likewise, of course, if you have all this scientific development chemistry in other fields and you have this progress in agriculture, one would expect a parallel type of progress and industry to that among the most important things were the manufacturing or the fabrics
and more particularly things like silk, cotton,
leather, for example, like in Cordoba,
mining, they were quite good in mining, metallurgy, manufacturing of glass particularly in Syria, manufacturing of steel, as in Damascus, and also in Toledo, many people still remember this, you know, Toledo blades, part of the of the Muslim efforts also,
because of the knowledge of soft chemistry, they were able to apply it not only in medicines, as we mentioned in the previous program, but they applied that also in the extraction of incense, the atoms of roses,
but also because of the great interest in learning, they devoted lots of attention to the manufacturing or production of paper. Of course, you would not expect this great libraries and volumes without a local paper industry to go with it. It is narrated that the first factory to produce paper or paper mill was established in Baghdad and the towards the end of the eighth century. 794.
And many historian also say that the term dream You know, this ream of paper, comes from the the Spanish lasma
Ma, which is based on the rectum rosmah, which is bundled.
Nando. In his book Eric contribution to civilization gives an interesting story as how Muslims learned about printing. And he says that during the conquest of Samarkand in 707.
Some of the world prisoners knew about printing so Muslims instead of dealing with
The word captives as other people do, they learned that from them and benefited everybody from them. And they started spreading, printing as well as paper making,
when I read was The extent of the involvement of the Muslim community in, in trade. Well, of course, the the invention by the Muslims of the mariner camp campus, because of the knowledge of physics definitely reflect a great deal of interest in trade.
Many of the terms that we have in commerce today comes from Arabic terms. Tariffs come from tariqa.
Massage mahasin is an Arabic word which means word, what houses and you know, and then in the French language, it's magazine,
the same kind of derivation. Some historians say that in one occasion, there was the word as many as 850 commercial vessels, Muslim vessels back in the port of Canton, and China 850 at one time,
that shows the huge commercial movement that was going on.
The progress in trade and commerce was quite wide, all the way from the the shores of China and India, all the way to Madagascar, Madagascar in Arabic and the African coast, from the Black Sea to the interior of Asia. There is no wonder then that we find some books even as early as the 10th century viable person about the principles of trade and commerce. So even writing on the subject was there as an evidence of the economic freedom under Islamic rule. We find that many people migrated from France to Muslim Spain because it was under Muslim rule. So there was more freedom. Many people migrated from Italy to Muslim Sicily, which was of course close.
In fact, one contemporary economist
by the name of Camille Catarina,
she shirts a little paper, which she presented in the sixth annual conference on history of economics, and the University of Illinois in Champaign in May of 1979.
And she mentioned that the subject really is has not been explored enough. And there are amazing evidence of Muslim strides in this area. Could you we'd have a lot of time, but could you perhaps share with us some of the some of what she found out and what very briefly, for example, she says that there's clear evidence that Muslims are quite advanced and they have a very good they have a very good system of money and banking.
She mentioned coins that were found all the way from Scandinavia to Suriname. And she noted even that one of the kings of
Mercia, which was part of the inner part of Britain,
had coins, gold coins struck. And once on one side, it has the Muslim testimony, I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah on the other side, the it has his name offer, or FIFA RX RX. And she said that the banking among Muslims in the Muslim under Muslim regime reached a level in Islam not to be attained in the west for several years afterwards. The term check comes from the Arabic suck. And she mentioned surprising enough that there have been cases of Muslim people in the past, using a very elaborate banking systems even letter of credit, rather than carrying cash all the way from one place to the other.
Well, that's very interesting information. We unfortunately don't have time to pursue this any further in today's program. We want to thank you for watching and I'll catch you back next week when we'll continue with our series. Thank you for watching. I Stein, welcome peace beyond you