Muslims Contribution To Science
- From: "I bear witness that there is no deity worthy to be worshipped but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger." <muslim.with.mission@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2011 11:22:45 -0700 (PDT)
Muslims Contribution To Science
Lost of Christians left christianity & the reason was clearly : It
contradicts science ! What about Muslims ? Here you can read a breif
information about Muslims & Science in the past ..
Muslims have always had a special interest in astronomy. The moon and
the sun are of vital importance in the daily life of every Muslim. By
the moon, Muslims determine the beginning and the end of the months in
their lunar calendar. By the sun the Muslims calculate the times for
prayer and fasting. It is also by means of astronomy that Muslims can
determine the precise direction of the Qiblah, to face the Ka'bah in
Makkah, during prayer. The most precise solar calendar, superior to
the Julian, is the Jilali, devised under the supervision of Umar
Khayyam. The Qur'an contains many references to astronomy.
"The heavens and the earth were ordered rightly, and were made
subservient to man, including the sun, the moon, the stars, and day
and night. Every heavenly body moves in an orbit assigned to it by God
and never digresses, making the universe an orderly cosmos whose life
and existence, diminution and expansion, are totally determined by the
Creator." [Qur'an 30:22]
These references, and the injunctions to learn, inspired the early
Muslim scholars to study the heavens. They integrated the earlier
works of the Indians, Persians and Greeks into a new synthesis.
Ptolemy's Almagest (the title as we know it is Arabic) was translated,
studied and criticized. Many new stars were discovered, as we see in
their Arabic names - Algol, Deneb, Betelgeuse, Rigel, Aldebaran.
Astronomical tables were compiled, among them the Toledan tables,
which were used by Copernicus, Tycho Brahe and Kepler. Also compiled
were almanacs - another Arabic term. Other terms from Arabic are
zenith, nadir, albedo, azimuth.
Muslim astronomers were the first to establish observatories, like the
one built at Mugharah by Hulagu, the son of Genghis Khan, in Persia,
and they invented instruments such as the quadrant and astrolabe,
which led to advances not only in astronomy but in oceanic navigation,
contributing to the European age of exploration.
Muslim scholars paid great attention to geography. In fact, the
Muslims' great concern for geography originated with their religion.
The Qur'an encourages people to travel throughout the earth to see
God's signs and patterns everywhere. Islam also requires each Muslim
to have at least enough knowledge of geography to know the direction
of the Qiblah (the position of the Ka'bah in Makkah) in order to pray
five times a day. Muslims were also used to taking long journeys to
conduct trade as well as to make the Hajj and spread their religion.
The far-flung Islamic empire enabled scholar-explorers to compile
large amounts of geographical and climatic information from the
Atlantic to the Pacific.
Among the most famous names in the field of geography, even in the
West, are Ibn Khaldun and Ibn Batuta, renowned for their written
accounts of their extensive explorations. In 1166, Al-Idrisi, the well-
known Muslim scholar who served the Sicilian court, produced very
accurate maps, including a world map with all the continents and their
mountains, rivers and famous cities. Al-Muqdishi was the first
geographer to produce accurate maps in color. It was, moreover, with
the help of Muslim navigators and their inventions that Magellan was
able to traverse the Cape of Good Hope, and Da Gama and Columbus had
Muslim navigators on board their ships.
Seeking knowledge is obligatory in Islam for every Muslim, man and
woman. The main sources of Islam, the Qur'an and the Sunnah (Prophet
Muhammad's traditions), encourage Muslims to seek knowledge and be
scholars, since this is the best way for people to know Allah (God),
to appreciate His wondrous creations and be thankful for them. Muslims
were therefore eager to seek knowledge, both religious and secular,
and within a few years of Muhammad's mission, a great civilization
sprang up and flourished. The outcome is shown in the spread of
Islamic universities; Al-Zaytunah in Tunis, and Al-Azhar in Cairo go
back more than 1,000 years and are the oldest existing universities in
the world. Indeed, they were the models for the first European
universities, such as Bologna, Heidelberg, and the Sorbonne. Even the
familiar academic cap and gown originated at Al-Azhar University.
Muslims made great advances in many different fields, such as
geography, physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, pharmacology,
architecture, linguistics and astronomy. Algebra and the Arabic
numerals were introduced to the world by Muslim scholars. The
astrolabe, the quadrant, and other navigational devices and maps were
developed by Muslim scholars and played an important role in world
progress, most notably in Europe's age of exploration.
Muslim scholars studied the ancient civilations from Greece and Rome
to China and India. The works of Aristotle, Ptolemy, Euclid and others
were translated into Arabic. Muslim scholars and scientists then added
their own creative ideas, discoveries and inventions, and finally
transmitted this new knowledge to Europe, leading directly to the
Renaissance. Many scientific and medical treatises, having been
translated into Latin, were standard text and reference books as late
as the 17th and 18th centuries.
It is interesting to note that Islam so strongly urges mankind to
study and explore the universe. For example, the Holy Qur'an states:
"We (Allah) will show you (mankind) Our signs/patterns in the horizons/
universe and in yourselves until you are convinced that the revelation
is the truth." [Qur'an, 14:53]
This invitation to explore and search made Muslims interested in
astronomy, mathematics, chemistry, and the other sciences, and they
had a very clear and firm understanding of the correspondences among
geometry, mathematics, and astronomy.
The Muslims invented the symbol for zero (The word "cipher" comes from
Arabic sifr), and they organized the numbers into the decimal system -
base 10. Additionally, they invented the symbol to express an unknown
quantity, i.e. variables like x.
The first great Muslim mathematician, Al-Khawarizmi, invented the
subject of algebra (al-Jabr), which was further developed by others,
most notably Umar Khayyam. Al-Khawarizmi's work, in Latin translation,
brought the Arabic numerals along with the mathematics to Europe,
through Spain. The word "algorithm" is derived from his name.
Muslim mathematicians excelled also in geometry, as can be seen in
their graphic arts, and it was the great Al-Biruni (who excelled also
in the fields of natural history, even geology and mineralogy) who
established trigonometry as a distinct branch of mathematics. Other
Muslim mathematicians made significant progress in number theory.
In Islam, the human body is a source of appreciation, as it is created
by Almighty Allah (God). How it functions, how to keep it clean and
safe, how to prevent diseases from attacking it or cure those
diseases, have been important issues for Muslims.
Prophet Muhammad himself urged people to "take medicines for your
diseases", as people at that time were reluctant to do so. He also
said: "God created no illness, but established for it a cure, except
for old age. When the antidote is applied, the patient will recover
with the permission of God."
This was strong motivation to encourage Muslim scientists to explore,
develop, and apply empirical laws. Much attention was given to
medicine and public health care. The first hospital was built in
Baghdad in 706 AC. The Muslims also used camel caravans as mobile
hospitals, which moved from place to place.
Since the religion did not forbid it, Muslim scholars used human
cadavers to study anatomy and physiology and to help their students
understand how the body functions. This empirical study enabled
surgery to develop very quickly.
Al-Razi, known in the West as Rhazes, the famous physician and
scientist, (d. 932) was one of the greatest physicians in the world in
the Middle Ages. He stressed empirical observation and clinical
medicine and was unrivaled as a diagnostician. He also wrote a
treatise on hygiene in hospitals. Khalaf Abul-Qasim Al-Zahrawi was a
very famous surgeon in the eleventh century, known in Europe for his
work, Concessio (Kitab al-Tasrif).
Ibn Sina (d. 1037), better known to the West as Avicenna, was perhaps
the greatest physician until the modern era. His famous book, Al-Qanun
fi al-Tibb, remained a standard textbook even in Europe, for over 700
years. Ibn Sina's work is still studied and built upon in the East.
Other significant contributions were made in pharmacology, such as Ibn
Sina's Kitab al-Shifa' (Book of Healing), and in public health. Every
major city in the Islamic world had a number of excellent hospitals,
some of them teaching hospitals, and many of them were specialized for
particular diseases, including mental and emotional. The Ottomans were
particularly noted for their building of hospitals and for the high
level of hygiene practiced in them.
The word ISLAM has a two-fold meaning: peace, and submission to God.
This submission requires a fully conscious and willing effort to
submit to the one Almighty God. One must consciously and
conscientiously give oneself to the service of Allah. This means to
act on what Allah enjoins all of us to do (in the Qur'an) and what His
beloved Prophet, Muhammad (pbuh) encouraged us to do in his Sunnah
(his lifestyle and sayings personifying the Qur'an).
Once we humble ourselves, rid ourselves of our egoism and submit
totally to Allah, and to Him exclusively, in faith and in action, we
will surely feel peace in our hearts. Establishing peace in our hearts
will bring about peace in our external conduct as well.
Islam is careful to remind us that it not a religion to be paid mere
lip service; rather it is an all-encompassing way of life that must be
practiced continuously for it to be Islam. The Muslim must practice
the five pillars of the religion: the declaration of faith in the
oneness of Allah and the prophet hood of Muhammad (pbuh), prayer,
fasting the month of Ramadan, alms-tax, and the pilgrimage to Makkah;
and believe in the six articles of faith: belief in God, the Holy
Books, the prophets, the angels, the Day of Judgment and God's decree,
whether for good or ill.
There are other injunctions and commandments which concern virtually
all facets of one's personal, family and civic life. These include
such matters as diet, clothing, personal hygiene, interpersonal
relations, business ethics, responsibilities towards parents, spouse
and children, marriage, divorce and inheritance, civil and criminal
law, fighting in defense of Islam, relations with non-Muslims, and so
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