The world’s civilization was based on the sciences and culture of Muslims. At the beginning of the Renaissance, Europeans and others transferred everything that fell under their hands from Islamic sciences and knowledge into their languages. There were centers of civilizational radiation, such as Andalusia and Sicily, where Europeans used to receive knowledge at the hands of Arab and Muslim scholars.
Richard Cook, American lawyer, politician, and former Governor of Texas, says:
“Europe owes a lot to Arab Spain. Cordoba was a shining lamp for science and civilization in a period when Europe was still mired in filth and primitiveness. Islamic rule in Spain made it the only country that escaped from the dark ages”.
The French writer Gustave Le Bon in his book “The Civilization of the Arabs,” talks about the universality of Islamic civilization, saying:
“The merit of Arabs and Muslims in the field of civilization was not limited to themselves, as they had a great impact in the East and West, as they owe them in their civilization. This influence is specific to them alone. They are the ones who refined by their moral influence the barbarians”.
An Arab Christian once told me:
While the west was busy with the steam engine discovery, Muslims were busy collecting Sahih Al Bujari. ( The traditions of Prophet Muhammad)
Taqi al-Din al-Shami is the inventor of the first steam engine and the discoverer of steam power as a moving force. He put the first model of the steam engine in 1552. Years later, he made the first steam turbine around 80 years before the Italian Branca and the steam engine 140 years before the Europeans.
Even James Watt’s model of the first steam engine, its elements and components are found in” Al-Jazari “and “Taqi Al-Rased “and “Al-Muradi Al-Andalusi,” who are Muslim scholars.
When the Muslim Arabs reached the peak of civilization, the West was still discussing the final result of the famous conference: Is a woman a human or an animal? Some of them said: She is a demon.
In France, in 673, a European conference was held on determining the legal nature of a woman, whether she is a human or an animal. If she is a human, does she benefit from all rights? After vigorous discussions, they unanimously stated that women are human beings, but they do not benefit from rights!
By the Islamic civilization’s preoccupation with collecting the authentic sayings and actions of the Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, and its preoccupation with memorizing the Noble Qur’an has done well with its Creator. It has thus, preserved a religion that puts the Creator relationship and His creatures in the right place.
The Islamic civilization has dealt with the Creator well and put the relation between Him and His creations in its correct standard. In contrast, other human civilizations have mistreated how they dealt with their Creator.
Some people have worshiped others apart from Him. Other people disbelieved in Him. They have dealt in ways far from what He deserves in Glory and Grace.
A true Muslim doesn’t mix between matters. He knows how to establish a balance between ideologies and sciences, along with differentiating between:
Civilization elements are represented in the ideological and mental evidence, morals, and ethics.
Civil elements are represented in scientific discoveries and industrial achievements.
The Muslim deals with them in a framework of faith and morals.
- The Greek civilization believed in God but denied His oneness and described Him as a god who does not benefit or harm.
- The Persian civilization before Islam worshipped the sun, prostrated to fire, and sainted it.
- Hindus stopped worshipping the Creator and worshipped created gods, incarnated in the trinity composed of the three gods: Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, who preserves the universe; and Shiva, who destroys the universe.
- Buddhism denied the Creator and worshipped a created god (Buddha).
- The Sabian civilization were people of the book (have divine revelation), but then denied their Lord and worshipped the stars and planets, except for some Muslim monotheistic groups that are mentioned in the Qur’an.
- The civilization of the pharaohs had peaked in monotheism during the time of king Akhenaten. Yet, civilization still symbolized God in some of His creations, like the sun, which was the main symbol of God for them. After that, disbelieving in God also reached its peak in the time of Moses; peace be upon him when the Pharaoh claimed to be God and the only legislator.
- The Arabic civilization stopped worshipping God and worshipped idols instead.
- Christianity denied the oneness of God, and worshipped Jesus, peace be upon him, along with his mother. They believed in the trinity represented in three coeternal consubstantial persons or hypostases: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- The Roman civilization denied the Creator before Christianity and gave partners to Him in Christianity by worshipping idols and symbols of power.
- The Jewish civilization rejected God and chose a god of its own. They also worshipped the calf and gave the Creator human attributes in their book.
While these civilizations have decayed, the previously explained Christian and Jewish turned into an atheist, communistic and capitalistic civilizations. These two civilizations dealt with God and life based on an ideological and intellectual context considered backward-minded, brutal, and characterized by immortality. However, they have peaked in civil, industrial, and scientific developments, which are not the basis for assessing a nation’s development.
The correct civil development standards that should be used to assess nations depend on mental evidence and how these nations deal with God, life, Man, and the universe.
A proper civil development should lead to God’s correct way and His relationship with His creations, putting this relation at its appropriate level.
We conclude that the Islamic civilization is the only truly developed civilization because it merely achieved this required balance.
Islam: an incubating environment for science:
But the steam engine remains a Western one. Islam is a repulsive environment for scientists. The Muslim scholars who laid down the rules of mechanics and the rest of the sciences were all expiated by religious scholars, starting from “Al-Kindi” to “Ibn Sina” and “Ibn Al-Haytham” to “Thabit bin Qurra” to “Al-Farabi ” and “Ibn Rushd”.
The discoveries of Muslim scholars were approved during the Middle Ages. The Muslim scholars used to worship God with their knowledge and come close to Him without showing any contradiction between material science and religion. Instead, many Muslim scholars were scholars in religious sciences and men of knowledge simultaneously. There is no conflict between the discovery of universal laws and the worship of the Creator, Who set these laws.
This fact is attested by those water wheels used to rotate mills and cane presses, press grains and seeds, and raise water for irrigation.
Muslims have used the energy of water and air on a large scale. There was a close relationship between theoretical sciences and their technical applications in practical life, including the design of cities, irrigation facilities, dams, buildings, machinery, and others.
In the era of Islamic civilization, engineers and technicians followed the scientific method in their work, started drawing plans under challenging cases, and then made a miniature model of what they intended to implement.
“J.G. Crowther”, who was one of the founders of science journalism, says in his book “The Story of Science,”:
“It was normal after they were assured of their military strength and their beliefs of faith – meaning Muslims – to turn to constructing wonderful cities and studying the culture of the civilization that testified to them. The Muslim Arabs were a new nation without a previous scientific heritage, so they read the intellectual heritage of the ancients with open minds without backgrounds hindering them. Therefore, other cultures (Latin, Greek, Hindi, and Chinese) were all equal to them. One of the results of this mentality of thirst for knowledge among Muslims is that they have already become the true founders of the universality concept in knowledge. It is one of the most important features of modern science.”
But forgery and falsification of facts and violation of the principle of scientific honesty in transmission occurred. The discoveries and inventions were attributed to the uninitiated. Let alone the books that were stolen, destroyed, or burned during the fall of the Islamic countries. This is similar to what the Tatars did in Baghdad and the Crusaders in Andalusia and elsewhere.
A Christian Arab once told me:
Look at the backwardness of Muslims and the spread of atheism in Muslim countries.
I said to him:
You are talking about individuals. According to global statistics and international recognition, Islam is the fastest-growing religion.
However, some Muslims’ turning away from their true religion and inability to spread Islamic principles appropriately have increased the percentage of atheists and skeptics in recent decades.
People in the West advanced with science and knowledge when they left the wrong beliefs based on the distorted religion and took the method of science and logic. Still, with their approach to science in a proper way, they lost the values, morals, and purpose of their existence by neglecting to embrace the correct religion.
He said: How do non-religious countries develop and religious countries go down although God loves the latter (religious countries)?
I told him: Does the school headmaster reward his son who failed with a success certificate because he is his son?
Some rules and norms must be followed. Based on these sets, we define who succeeds and fails.
However, this does not affect the fact that the headmaster loves his son more than anyone else. Indeed, he (the son) is who carries his name (headmaster) and will be his only heir.
I also told him:
The universe is like a school; it has its laws and norms.
By applying the universal laws, the disbelievers achieved materialistic and technological progress. They established sound political systems and robust educational and pedagogical systems with methodological standards.
This materialistic progress is only for those who apply the Divine norms; this proves that worldly success doesn’t favor a white or a black.
“justice” is one of God’s names and injustice is one of the ugliest acts God warned us, humans, from committing, but a disbeliever still won’t be given the reward of the Hereafter, which is only for God’s servants and lovers.
French writer Gustave Le Bon says:
“The Arabs are the ones who taught the world how freedom of thought is compatible with the integrity of religion.”
The French writer Gustave Le Bon also says:
“The civilization of the Arab Muslims has introduced the brutal European nations into the world of humanity, for the Arabs were our teachers, and the universities of the West knew no scientific resource other than the works of the Arabs. The Arabs are the first to teach the world how freedom of thought is compatible with the integrity of religion, so they are the ones who taught the Christian peoples, or tried to teach them tolerance, which is the most precious of human qualities”.
As this French writer witnessed, the so-called conflict between science and religion in Islamic civilization did not appear as an issue; instead, the natural scientists, astronomers, and mathematicians considered themselves in worship.
Islam views life as it should be. People aspire to a balanced religion that meets the indispensable spiritual needs and does not marginalize the material needs of man.
Religion calls for moderation, the principle emphasized by the final heavenly religion. The seal of the Prophets Muhammad came to correct the distortion that previous nations made. This distortion led to distorting the concept of religion and linking it to spirituality only and thus led to the spread of myths, which distract people from religion altogether.
In addition, religion has become exploited to achieve personal goals and objectives and pressure people, which prompted many countries to adopt the so-called “secularism” approach, that is, the separation of religion from the state.
If we wish to recover the glories of the past, it is necessary to correct the situation and rearrange the priorities.
From the book:
A Global Religion