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Monday, 17 September 2007

What Islam Did For Us! (i.e. The West)

Not many brothers and sisters are aware that inventions by Muslims throughout the ages have made great contributions to progress in science, medicine, arts - well, almost anything and everything that improved peoples lives. Most of these inventions (in some form) are still around to this day but not surprisingly you have to look very hard find any mention of them!

The founding of Islam brought about a great resurgence in scholarship and scientific investigation. The rise of Islam spawned a highly sophisticated civilisation that was to have a profound influence on the development of European culture, and ultimately, the whole world. Islam was (and still is), from its very inception, a bastion of tolerance, social justice and piety.

While Europe was being crushed and brutalised by the Dark Ages, Islam bloomed. Because the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) enjoined followers to study and to revere wisdom, many Greek sciences were protected and investigated by Muslim scholars. But perhaps more tellingly, under Islamic rule and at the height of the Moorish Empire, the three great monotheistic faiths coexisted in relative harmony, enjoying a high degree of religious tolerance in a flourishing intellectual and artistic milieu.

There have been many books and documentories written by muslims and non-muslims outlying our achievements.

One of the best books to read is ...

What Islam Did For Us
Understanding Islam’s Contribution to Western Civilization
By Tim Wallace-Murphy

Here's a book review

Below are a few documentories recently shown on television
If the links to the video's don't work then please search the titles on You Tube/ Video.Google.com

(1) What the ancients did for us – The Islamic World
BBC documentary - presented: Adam Hart-Davis.
Aired: 16th February 2005

You can view it here on google video

The first "What The Ancients Did For Us" programme explores the Muslim contribution to the western world - in art, architecture, astronomy, medicine, science, and learning. The early Muslims are credited with inventing distillation and could distil just about anything - from alcohol to perfume. Hygiene is very important in the Muslim world so they invented and manufactured soap - centuries before the West - and hundreds of bathhouses were built throughout Muslim cities. They understood the fundamentals of light and how we see, and gave us the camera obscura. They invented algebra and worked out the angle of the tilt of the earth. They built the first windmill, pioneered the concept of the crank rod, and designed the first ever torpedo. Muslim creativity also led to the invention of a unique instrument called the astrolabe – it could find the direction of Mecca, tell the time and, with the help of the stars, navigate you across deserts and oceans. But perhaps most important of all they pursued the cause of knowledge, translating and preserving the works of the ancients and building the world's largest libraries – their 'houses of wisdom'.

(2) When the Moors Ruled in Europe
Channel 4 documentary - presenter: Bettany Hughes
Aired: 5th November 2005

You can view it here on google video

As part of the Channel 4's Hidden Civilisation season exploring Islam's rich and significant contribution to western art and culture, historian Bettany Hughes traces the story of the mysterious and misunderstood Moors, the Islamic society that ruled in Spain for 700 years, but whose legacy was virtually erased from Western history. In 711 AD, a tribe of newly converted Muslims from North Africa crossed the straits of Gibraltar and invaded Spain. Known as The Moors, they went on to build a rich and powerful society. Its capital, Cordoba, was the largest and most civilised city in Europe, with hospitals, libraries and a public infrastructure light years ahead of anything in England at the time. Amongst the many things that were introduced to Europe by Muslims at this time were: a huge body of classical Greek texts that had been lost to the rest of Europe for centuries; mathematics and the numbers we use today; advanced astronomy and medical practices; fine dining; the concept of romantic love; paper; deodorant; and even erection creams. This wasn't the rigid, fundamentalist Islam of some people's imaginations, but a progressive, sensuous and intellectually curious culture. But when the society collapsed, Spain was fanatically re-Christianised; almost every trace of seven centuries of Islamic rule was ruthlessly removed. It is only now, six centuries later, that The Moors' influences on European life and culture are finally beginning to be fully understood.

(3) An Islamic History of Europe
BBC documentary - presenter: Rageh Omaar
Aired: 14 February 2007

You can view it here on google video

In this 90-minute documentary, Rageh Omaar uncovers the hidden story of Europe's Islamic past and looks back to a golden age when European civilisation was enriched by Islamic learning. Rageh travels across medieval Muslim Europe to reveal the vibrant civilisation that Muslims brought to the West. This evocative film brings to life a time when emirs and caliphs dominated Spain and Sicily and Islamic scholarship swept into the major cities of Europe. His journey reveals the debt owed to Islam for its vital contribution to the European Renaissance.

More video's can be found (and watched) at these website turntoislam.com and islamicvideos.net

Useful Websites:
(1) Wikipedia - Inventions in the Muslim world
(2) 1001 inventions.com
(3) Muslim Heritage
(4) Islam For Today

Scientific Miracles in the Holy Quran
(1) 55a.net (The quran miracles encyclopedia)
(2) nooran.org (Commission on Scientific Signs of Qur'an & Sunnah

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