islamic, social, cultural
HomeHome  CalendarCalendar  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  MemberlistMemberlist  UsergroupsUsergroups  RegisterRegister  Log in  

Share | 

 The Religion of ISLAM 2

Go down 

Posts : 2243
Join date : 2011-06-29

PostSubject: The Religion of ISLAM 2   Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:31 am

The greatest of all Muslim physicians, however, was Ibn Sina who was called "the prince of physicians" in the West. He synthesized Islamic medicine in his major masterpiece, al-Qanun fi'ltibb (The Canon of Medicine), which is the most famous of all medical books in history. It was the final authority in medical books in history. It was the final authority in medical matters in Europe for nearly six centuries and is still taught wherever Islamic medicine has survived to this day in such land as Pakistan and India. Ibn Sina discovered many drugs and identified and treated several ailments such as meningitis but his greatest contribution was in the philosophy of medicine. He created a system of medicine within which medical practice could be carried out and in which physical and psychological factors, drugs and diet are combined.

After Ibn Sina, Islamic medicine divided into several branches. In the Arab world Egypt remained a major center for the study of medicine, especially ophthalmology which reached its peak at the court of al-Hakim. Cairo possessed excellent hospitals which also drew physicians from other lands including Ibn Butlan, author of the famous Calendar of Health, and Ibn Nafis who discovered the lesser or pulmonary circulation of the blood long before Michael Servetus, who is usually credited with the discovery.

As for the western lands of Islam including Spain, this area was likewise witness to the appearance of outstanding physicians such as Sa'd al-Katib of Cordoba who composed a treatise on gynecology, and the greatest Muslim figure in surgery, the 12th century Abu'l-Qasim al-Zahrawi (the Latin Albucasis) whose medical masterpiece Kitab al-tasrif was well known in the West as Concessio. One must also mention the Ibn Zuhr family which produced several outstanding physicians and Abu Marwan 'Abd al-Malik who was the Maghrib's most outstanding clinical physician. The well known Spanish philosophers, Ibn Tufayl and Ibn Rushd, were also outstanding physicians.

Islamic medicine continued in Persia and the other eastern lands of the Islamic world under the influence of Ibn Sina with the appearance of major Persian medical compendia such as the Treasury of Sharaf al-Din al-Jurjani and the commentaries upon the Canon by Fakhr al-Din al-Razi and Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi. Even after the Mongol invasion, medical studies continued as can be seen in the work of Rashid al-Din Fadlallah, and for the first time there appeared translations of Chinese medicine and interest in acupuncture among Muslims. The Islamic medical tradition was revived in Safavid period when several diseases such as the first time and much attention was paid to pharmacology. Many Persian doctors such as 'Ayn al-Mulk of Shiraz also traveled to India at this time to usher in golden age of Islamic medicine in the subcontinent and to plant the seed of the Islamic medical tradition which continues to flourish to this day in the soil of that land.

The Ottoman world was also an arena of great medical activity derived from the heritage of Ibn Sina. The Ottoman Turks were especially known for the creation of major hospitals and medical centers. These included not only units for the care of the physically ill, but also wards for patients with psychological ailments. The Ottomans were also the first to receive the influence of modern European medicine in both medicine and pharmacology.

In mentioning Islamic hospitals it is necessary to mention that all major Islamic cities had hospitals; some like those of Baghdad were teaching hospitals while some like the Nasiri hospital of Cairo had thousands of beds for patients with almost any type of illness. Hygiene in these hospitals was greatly emphasized and al-Razi had even written a treatise on hygiene in hospitals. Some hospitals also specialized in particular diseases including psychological ones. Cairo even had a hospital which specialized in patients having insomnia.

Islamic medical authorities were also always concerned with the significance of pharmacology and many important works such as the Canon have whole books devoted to the subject. The Muslims became heir not only to the pharmacological knowledge of the Greeks as contained in the works of Dioscorides, but also the vast herbal pharmacopias of the Persians and Indians. They also studied the medical effects of many drugs, especially herbs, themselves. The greatest contributions in this field came from Maghribi scientists such as Ibn JulJul, Ibn al-Salt and the most original of Muslim pharmacologists, the 12th century scientist, al-Ghafiqi, whose Book of Simple Drugs provides the best descriptions of the medical properties of plants known to Muslims. Islamic medicine combined the use of drugs for medical purposes with dietary considerations and a whole lifestyle derived from the teachings of Islam to create a synthesis which has not died out to this day despite the introduction of modern medicine into most of the Islamic world.

The vast expanse of the Islamic world enabled the Muslims to develop natural history based not only on the Mediterranean world, as was the case of the Greek natural historians, but also on most of the Eurasian and even African land masses. knowledge of minerals, plants and animals was assembled from areas as far away as the Malay world and synthesized for the first time by Ibn Sina in his Kitab al-Shifa' (The Book of Healing). Such major natural and human history. Al-Biruni likewise in his study of India turned to the natural history and even geology of the region, describing correctly the sedimentary nature of the Ganges basin. He also wrote the most outstanding Muslim work on mineralogy.

As for botany, the most important treatises were composed in the 12th century in Spain with the appearance of the work of al-Ghafiqi. This is also the period when the best known Arabic work on agriculture, The Kitab al-falahah, was written. The Muslims also showed much interest in zoology especially in horses as witnessed by the classical text of al-Jawaliqi, and in falcons and other hunting birds. The works of al-Jahiz and al-Damiri are especially famous in the field of zoology and deal with the literary, moral and even theological dimensions of the study of animals as well as the purely zoological aspects of the subject. This is also true of a whole class of writings on the "wonders of creation" of which the book of Abu Yahya al-Qazwini, the Aja'ib al-makhluqat (The Wonders of Creation) is perhaps the most famous.

Likewise in geography, Muslims were able to extend their horizons far beyond the world of Ptolemy. As a result of travel over land and by sea and the facile exchange of ideas made possible by the unified structure of the Islamic world and the hajj which enables pilgrims from all over the Islamic world to gather and exchange ideas in addition to visiting the House of God, a vast amount of knowledge of areas from the Pacific to the Atlantic was assembled. The Muslim geography of practically the whole globe minus the Americas, dividing the earth into the traditional seven climes each of which they studied carefully from both a geographical and climactic point of view. They also began to draw maps some of which reveal with remarkable accuracy many features such as the origin of the Nile, not discovered in the West until much later. The foremost among Muslim geographers was Abu 'Abdallah al-drisi, who worked at the court of Roger II in Sicily and who dedicated his famous book, Kitab al-rujari (The Book of Roger) to him. His maps are among the great achievements of Islamic Science. It was in fact with the help of Muslim geographers and navigators that Magellan crossed the Cape of Good Hope into the Indian Ocean. Even Columbus made use of their knowledge in his discovery of America.

The very name alchemy as well as its derivative chemistry come from the Arabic al-Kimiya'. The Muslims mastered Alexandrian and very early in their history, produced their greatest alchemist, Jabir ibn Hayyan (the Latin Geber) who lived in the 8th century. Putting the cosmological and symbolic aspects of alchemy aside, one can assert that this art led to much experimentation with various materials and in the hands of Muhammad Ibn Zakariyya' al-Razi was converted into the science of chemistry. To this day certain chemical instruments such as the alembic (al-'ambiq) still bear their original Arabic names and the mercury-sulphur theory of Islamic alchemy remains as the foundation of the acid-base theory of chemistry. Al-Razi's division of materials into animal, vegetable and mineral is still prevalent and a vast body of knowledge of materials accumulated by Islamic alchemists and chemists has survived over the centuries in both East and West. For example the use of dyes in objects of Islamic art ranging from carpets to miniatures or the making of glass have much to do with this branch of learning which the West learned completely from Islamic sources since alchemy was not studied and practiced in the West before the translation of Arabic texts into Latin in the 11th century.

Islam inherited the millennial experience in various forms of technology from the peoples who entered the fold of Islam and the nations which became part of Dar al-islam. A wide range of technological knowledge, from the building of water wheels by the Romans to the underground water system by the Persians, became part and parcel of the technology of the newly founded order.

Muslims also imported certain kinds of technology from the Far East such as paper which they brought from China and whose technology they later transmitted to the West. They also developed many forms of technology on the basis of earlier existing knowledge such as the metallurgical art making the famous Damascene swords, and art which goes back to the making of steel several thousand years before on the Iranian Plateau. Likewise Muslims developed new architectural techniques of vaulting, methods of ventilation, preparations of dyes, techniques of weaving, technologies related to irrigation and numerous other forms of technology, some of which survive to this day.

In general Islamic civilization emphasized the harmony between man and nature as seen in traditional design of Islamic cities. Maximum use was made of natural elements and forces, and men built in harmony with, not in opposition to nature. Some of the Muslim technological feats such as dams which have survived for over a millennium, domes which can withstand earthquakes, and steel which reveals incredible metallurgical know-how, attest to the exceptional attainment of Muslims in many fields of technology. In fact it was a vastly superior technology that first impressed the Crusaders in their unsuccessful attempt to capture the Holly Land and much of this technology was brought back by the Crusaders to the rest of Europe.

One of the major achievements of Islamic civilization is architecture which combines technology and art. The great masterpieces of Islamic architecture from the Cordoba Mosque and the Dome of Rock in Jerusalem to the Taj Mahal in India display this perfect wedding between the artistic principles of Islam and remarkable technological know-how. Much of the outstanding medieval architecture of the West is in fact indebted to the techniques of Islamic architecture. When one views the Notre Dame in Paris or some other Gothic cathedral, one is reminded of the building techniques which traveled from Muslim Cordoba northward. Gothic arches as well as interior courtyards' of so many medieval and Renaissance European structures remind the viewer of the Islamic architectural examples from which they originally drew. In fact the great medieval European architecture can also be directly experienced in the Moorish style found not only in Spain and Latin America, but in the southwestern United States as well.


The oldest university in the world which is still functioning is the eleven hundred-year-old Islamic University of Fez, Morocco, known as the Qarawiyyin. This old tradition of Islamic learning influenced the West greatly through Spain. In this land where Muslims, Christians and Jews lived for the most part peacefully for may centuries, translations began to be made in the 11th century mostly in Toledo of Islamic works into Latin often through the intermediary of Jewish scholars most of whom knew Arabic and often wrote in Arabic. As a result of these translations, Islamic thought and through it much of Greek thought became known to the West and Western schools of learning began to flourish. Even the Islamic educational system was emulated in Europe and to this day the term chair in a university reflects the Arabic Kursi (literally seat) upon which a teacher would sit to teach his students in the Madrasah (school of higher learning). As European civilization grew and reached the high Middle Ages, there was hardly a field of learning or a form of art, whether it was literature or architecture, where there was not some influence of Islam present. Islamic learning became in this way part and parcel of Western civilization even if with the advent of the Renaissance, the West not only turned against its own medieval past put also sought to forget the long relation it had with the Islamic world, one which was based on intellectual respect despite religious opposition.

"Most surely man is in loss, except those who believe and do good, and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin of each other patience" (Qurna, Surah CIII:2-3).

At the height of European colonial expansion in the 19th century, most of the Islamic world was under colonial rule with the exception of a few regions such as the heart of the Ottoman empire, Persia, Afghanistan, Yemen and certain parts of Arabia. Bus even these areas were under foreign influence or, in the case of the Ottomans, under constant threat. After the First World War with the breakup of the Ottoman empire, a number of Arab states such as Iraq became independent, others like Jordan were created as a new entity and yet others like Palestine, Syria and Lebanon were either mandated or turned into French colonies. As for Arabia, it was at this time that Saudi Arabia became finally consolidated. As for other parts of the Islamic world, Egypt which had been ruled by the descendants of Muhammad Ali since the 19th century became more independent as a result of the fall of the Ottomans, Turkey was turned into a secular republic by Ataturk, and the Pahlavi dynasty began a new chapter in Persia where its name reverted to its eastern traditional form of Iran. But most of the rest of the Islamic world remained under colonial rule.

It was only after the Second World War and the dismemberment of the British, French, Dutch and Spanish empires that the rest of the Islamic world gained its independence. In the Arab world, Syria and Lebanon became independent at the end of the war as did Libya and shaykdoms around the Gulf and the Arabian Sea by the 1960's. The North African countries of Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria had to fight a difficult and, in the case of Algeria, long and protracted war to gain their freedom which did not come until a decade later for Tunisia and Morocco and two decades later for Algeria. Only Palestine did not become independent but was partitioned in 1948 with the establishment of the state of Israel.

In India Muslims participated in the freedom movement against British rule along with Hindus and when independence finally came in 1947, they were able to create their own homeland, Pakistan, which came into being for the sake of Islam and became the most populated Muslim state although many Muslims remained in India. In 1971, however, the two parts of the state broke up, East Pakistan becoming Bangladesh. Farther east still, the Indonesians finally gained their independence from the Dutch and the Malays theirs from Britain. At first Singapore was part of Malaysia but it separated in 1963 to become an independent state. Small colonies still persisted in the area and continued to seek their independence, the kingdom of Brunei becoming independent as recently as 1984.

In Africa also major countries with large or majority Muslim populations such as Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania began to gain their independence in the 1950's and 1960's with the result that by the end of the decade of the 60's most parts of the Islamic world were formed into independent national states. There were, however, exceptions. The Muslim states in the Soviet Union failed to gain their autonomy or independence. The same holds true for Sinkiang (called Eastern Turkestan by Muslim geographers) while in Eritrea and the southern Philippines Muslim independence movements still continue.

While the world of Islam has entered into the modern world in the form of national states, continuos attempts are made to create closer cooperation within the Islamic world as a whole and to bring about greater unity. This is seen not only in the meetings of the Muslim heads of state and the establishment of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries) with its own secretariat, but also in the creation of institutions dealing with the whole of the Islamic world. Among the most important of these is the Muslim World League (Rabitat al-Alam Al-Islami) with its headquarters in Makkah, Saudi Arabia has in fact played a pivotal role in the creation and maintenance of such organizations.

Muslims did not wish to gain only political independence, They also wished to assert their own religious and cultural identity. From the 18th century onward Muslim reformers appeared upon the scene who sought to reassert the teachings of Islam and to reform society on the basis of Islamic teachings. One of the first among this group was Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, who hailed from the Arabian peninsula and died there in 1792. This reformer was supported by Muhammad ibn al-Sa'ud, the founder to the first Saudi State. With this support Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab was able to spread his teachings not only in Arabia but even beyond its borders to other Islamic lands where his reforms continue to wield influence to this day.

In the 19th century Islamic assertion"took several different forms ranging from the Mahdi movement of the Sudan and the Sanusiyyah in North Africa which fought wars against European colonizers, to educational movements such as that of Aligarh in India aiming to reeducate Muslims. In Egypt which, because of al-Azhar University, remains to this day central to Islamic learning, a number of reformers appear, each addressing some aspect of Islamic thought. Some were concerned more with law, others economics, and yet others the challenges posed by Western civilization with its powerful science and technology. These included Jamal al-Din al-Afghani who hailed originally from Persia but settled in Cairo and who was the great champion of Pan-Islamism, that is the movement to unite the Islamic world politically as sell as religiously. His student, Muhammad 'Abduh, who became the rector of al-Azhar, was also very influential in Islamic theology and thought. Also of considerable influence was his Syrian student, Rashid Rida, who held a position closer to that of 'Abd al-Wahhab and stood for the strict application of the Shari'ah.

Among the most famous of these thinkers is Muhammad Iqbal, the outstanding poet and philosopher who is considered as the father of Pakistan.

Moreover, as Western influence began to penetrate more deeply into the fiber of Islamic society, organizations gradually grew up whose goal was to reform society in practice along Islamic lines and prevent its secularization. These included the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan al-Muslimin) founded in Egypt and with branches in many Muslim contries, and the Jama'at-I Islami of Pakistan founded by the influential Mawlana Mawdudi. These organizations have been usually peaceful and have sought to reestablish an Islamic order through eduction. During the last two decades, however, as a result of the frustration of many Muslims in the face of pressures coming from a seculatized outside world, some have sought to reject the negative aspects of Western thought and culture and to return to an Islamic society based completely on the application of the Shari'ah.

Today in every Muslim country there are strong movements to preserve and propagate Islamic teachings. In countries such as Saudi Arabia Islamic Law is already being applied and in fact is the reason for the prosperity, development and stability of the country. In other countries where Islamic Law is not being applied, however, most of the effort of Islamic movements is spent in making possible the full application of the Shari'ah so that the nation can enjoy prosperity along with the fulfillment of the faith of its people. In any case the widespread desire for Muslims to have the religious law of Islam applied and to reassert their religious values and their own identity must not be equated with exceptional violent eruptions which do exist but which are usually treated sensationally and taken out proportion by the mass media in the West.

In seeking to live successfully in the modern world, in independence and according to Islamic principles, Muslim countries have been emphasizing a great deal the significance of the role of education and the importance of mastering Western science and technology. Already in the 19th century, certain Muslim countries such as Egypt, Ottoman Turkey and Persia established institutions of higher learning where the modern sciences and especially medicine were taught. During this century educational institutions at all levels have poliferated throughout the Islamic world. Nearly every science ranging from mathematics to biology as well as various fields of modern technology are taught in these institutions and some notable scientists have been produced by the Islamic world, men and women who have often combined education in these institutions with training in the West.

In various part of the Islamic world there is, however, a sense that educational institutions must be expanded and also have their standards improved to the level of the best institutions in the world in various fields of learning especially science and technology. At the same time there is an awareness that the educational system must be based totally on Islamic principles and the influence of alien cultural and ethical values and norms, to the extent that they are negative, be diminished. To remedy this problem a number of international Islamic educational conferences have been held, the first one in Makkah in 19tt, and the foremost thinkers of the Islamic world have been brought together to study and ponder over the question of the relation between Islam and modern science. This is an ongoing process which is at the center of attention in many part of the Islamic world and which indicates the significance of educational questions in the Islamic world today.

Because of the presence of the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah in its midst, Saudi Arabia is the heartland and center of the Islamic world and its development is of great significance for the Islamic world as a whole. It is, therefore, necessary to deal with it separately albeit briefly. Already in the 18th century, the Sa'ud family in Najd in alliance with 'Adba al-Wahhab and their followers became a political power to be reckoned with. In the early 19th century the newly established Saudi power created by Muhammad ibn Sa'ud united much of Arabia and even influenced other parts of the Muslim world. The Ottomans, wary of the rise of this new and independent power, asked Muhammad Ali, the ruler of Egypt, to crush the new movement. After several campaigns, Muhammad Ali succeeded and the first Saudi state ended. A second Saudi state was established briefly in 19th century. Finally toward the end of the century 'Abd al-Aziz ibn Sa'ud, an exceptionally gifted military leader and statesman, succeeded against considerable odds to overcome external and internal opposition, especially of the Rashid family, to recapture Riyadh with a small number of men in 1902 and from there to extend his power over the rest of Najd and finally the Hijaz and Asir. By 1926 he had gained control of Makkah, Jeddah and Madinah and was recognized as the king of the vast area which henceforth became known as Saudi Arabia. The Saudi family rules to this day in that land, considering itself first and foremost as Khadim al-Haramayn, that is, servant of the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.

With oil discovered in the late 30's in Saudi Arabia, the country became transformed rapidly from a predominantly Bedouin society to a country with major urban centers, ports, a vast network of highways, and the most modern communications systems. From the 1950's to the 1970's more financial rescuers were used in the building of Saudi Arabia than in any other country during a comparable period. The result was a vast transformation of the land and the life of its inhabitants, while at the same time Islamic Law has continued to be strictly observed and Islam continues to be the guiding principle of society.

Besides the adaptation of modern technology and the creation of major industries which include not only the oil industry but petrochemicals and electronics, Saudi Arabia has concentrated upon the training of its human resources and educational development. Major universities have been established starting in the 1960's and today the country boasts of not only such religious universities as the Umm al-qura in Makkah, the Islamic University of Madinah, and Imam Muhammad ibn Sa'ud Islamic University in Riyadh, but also the King Sa'ud University in Riyadh with 35,000 students, the King 'Abdal-'Aziz University in Jeddah, and the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals of Dharan, all of which provide excellent programs in the sciences and technology. Saudi Arabia also has an extensive program of sending students to America and Europe, mostly in technical fields. Some of these students have also participated in scientific and technological research in the West. The first Muslim astronaut was in fact from Saudi Arabia. This pioneer, Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, flew in the shuttle Discovery in 1985 and launched the first Arab satellite. Important Islamic research institutions have also been established in Saudi Arabia to encourage scientific and scholarly activity. These include the King Faisal Islamic Foundation which provides major annual awards in the medical and scientific fields and the King Abd al-Aziz Scientific City which sponsors a wide range of original scientific research.

The Saudis have also spent much of their oil wealth in welfare and health projects both within Saudi Arabia and throughout the Islamic world. Their concern for Islamic matters is shown not only in the building of numerous mosques and the support of Islamic programs throughout the world, but most of all in their care for the pilgrims who come annually to perform the rites of hajj from all over the world. Thanks to modern methods of transportation, the number of pilgrims has increased from a few tens of thousands fifty or sixty years ago to some two million today. To care for the greatest annual assembly on earth is a stupendous task which the Saudis have carried out successfully over the years. They have built a special airport in Jeddah for the pilgrims, the building being one of the masterpieces of contemporary architecture, and have expanded greatly the areas of the sanctuary (human) of both Makkah and Madianh. The treatment of the problems of the hajj represent perhaps the best example of the Saudis' attempt to apply the possibilities of modern technology to specifically Islamic needs. It symbolizes the intention of Saudi Arabia to make use of modern science and technology white reaming a profoundly Islamic society.

The Islamic world remains today a vast land stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with an important presence in Europe and America, animated by the teachings of Islam and seeking to assert its own identity. Despite the presence of nationalism and various secular ideologies in their midst, Muslims various secular ideologies in their midst, Muslims wish to live in the modern world but without simply imitating blindly the ways followed by the West. The Islamic world wishes to live at peace with the West as well as the East but at the same time not to be dominated by them. It wishes to devote its resources and energies to building a better lift for its people on the basis of the teachings of Islam and not to squander its resources in either internal or external conflicts. It seeds finally to create better understanding with the West and to be better understanding each other better that they can serve their own people more successfully and also contribute to a better life for the whole of humanity.

Back to top Go down
View user profile
The Religion of ISLAM 2
Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
» The Deen (Religion) of Islam by Sheikh Muhammad Salih Ibn al-Uthaymeen
» The Second Pillar of Islam: The Prayer
» 30 Dec 09 - Noor al Islam charity dinner - Walthamstow London UK
» He reverted to Islam then died !
» The Third Pillar of Islam: Compulsory Charity

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Jump to: