Muslim scientists: On the shoulders of giants

Published: August 28, 2011

Ibn-e-Sina

Al Khwarizmi Al Battani Ibn-e-Sina Al Haytham or Al Basri Ibn-e-Khaldun

Given the state of science in the Muslim world today, one could be forgiven for imagining that Muslim scientists have made no contributions to the accumulated knowledge of the world. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Ibn-e-Sina

COUNTRY: Iran

INTEREST: Medicine, Astronomy, Chemistry, Geology, Psychology, Theology, Logic, Mathematics and Poetry

WORKS: Ibn-e-Sina, known in the west as Avicenna, memorised the Qur’an and a great deal of Arabic poetry by the age of ten. At the age of thirteen, he began to study medicine and mastered the subject in just three years after which he began treating patients.

His most famous work is the 14-volume Al-Qanun fit Tibb that served as a chief guide for medical science in the West from the 12th to the 17th century. The book is known for the discovery of contagious and sexually transmitted diseases, the introduction of quarantine to limit the spread of infectious diseases and the introduction of experimental medicine.

His most important mathematical work is the 20-volume Kitab al-Shifa (The Book of Healing) in which he included astronomy and music as branches of mathematics.

LEGACY: Ibn-e-Sina is considered the most famous Muslim scientist. He is remembered in the West as a major figure who made important contributions to medicine and eventually the European Renaissance.

In his honour, a lunar crater on the far side of the moon has been named after him. In March 2008 it was announced that all new directories of education institutions for health care professionals worldwide would now be called Avicenna Directories.

Al Khwarizmi

 

COUNTRY: Iraq  (Baghdad)

INTEREST: Mathematics, Astronomy and Geography

WORKS: Al Khwarizmi and his colleagues were scholars at the House of Wisdom in Baghdad where their tasks involved the translation of Greek scientific manuscripts and studying mathematics, geometry and astronomy. He wrote that given an equation, collecting the unknowns on one side of the equation is called al-Jabr and collecting the knowns on the other side of the equation is called al- Mukabalah. It is the title of this book that became the foundation of the modern word ‘Algebra’.

Al Khwarizmi also helped introduce Arabic numerals, the decimal position system, and the concept of zero. He was principally responsible for spreading the Indian system of numeration throughout the Middle East and Europe.

His masterpiece,  Zij Al Hind Sind (astronomical tables of Sind and Hind) marked the turning point in the field of Islamic astronomical research. It contains tables for the movements of the sun, the moon and the five planets known at the time. Al Khwarizmi also composed a major work on geography listing latitudes and longitudes, cities, mountains, seas, islands, geographical regions, and rivers.

His minor works cover topics such as the astrolabe, the sundial and the Jewish calendar.

LEGACY: Al Khwarizmi is considered the Father of modern Algebra. It was he who developed the sine, cosine and trigonometric tables, which were later translated in the West.

His work in the field of geography became the basis for the development of a world map.

Al Battani

 

COUNTRY: Born in Harran in Upper Mesopotamia (Turkey)

INTEREST: Astronomy and Mathematics

WORKS: Al Battani, like his father Al Hattani, was skilled in making astronomical instruments.

His major work is the 57-chapter Kitab-al-Zij, in which he determines the length of the solar year as being 365 days, 5 hours, 46 minutes and 24 seconds. The book also describes the division of the celestial sphere into the signs of the zodiac and into degrees. Moreover, it discusses the construction of a sundial and a number of astronomical instruments. Al Battani also catalogued 489 stars.

In mathematics, Al Battani produced a number of trigonometric relationships.

LEGACY: His work in observing the stars and scrutinising their motions led to a number of discoveries in the field. The renaissance Astronomer Copernicus mentioned his indebtedness to Al Battani and quoted him in the book that initiated the Copernican Revolution. He is also quoted by Tycho Brahe, Riccioli, Kepler and Galileo, among others.

The crater Albategnius on the Moon is named after him.

 

Ibn-e-Khaldun

 

COUNTRY: Tunisia

INTEREST: Sociology, History, Economics, Philosophy and Theology

WORKS: Ibn-e-Khaldun is the originator of modern sociology and politics; he gave political science a whole new outlook.

He wrote a world history preamble with the first volume aiming to analyse all historical events. This volume, written in 1377, known as Muqaddimah or Prolegomena, was based on Khaldun’s unique scientific approach towards the subject and became a masterpiece in literature on the philosophy of history and sociology. The last volume deals largely with the events of his own life and is known as Al-Tasrif. This was also written in a scientific manner and initiated a new analytical tradition in the art of writing autobiographies.

Unlike most of the earlier writers interpreting history largely in a political context, he emphasised environmental, sociological, psychological and economic factors governing historical events.

LEGACY: Ibn Khaldun’s books have been translated into many languages, both in the East and the West, and have inspired subsequent development of these sciences.Muqaddimah is considered to be superior to Machiavelli’s The Prince in the sphere of political science. British historian Arnold J Toynbee called it “a philosophy of history which is undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever yet been created by any mind in any time or place.”

Khaldun’s methodology of recording history also laid the groundwork for the observation of the role of state, communication, propaganda and systematic bias in history, leading to the development of historiography.

Al Haytham or Al Basri

 

COUNTRY: Basra, Iraq (then Persia)

INTEREST: Physics, Anatomy, Astronomy, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine, Psychology and Philosophy.

WORKS: Al Haytham wrote on a theory of light, a theory of vision, astronomy, mathematics, geometry and a number theory.

The seven volume work on optics, Kitab al-Manazir, is Ibn Al-Haytham’s most important contribution. It was translated into Latin as Opticae Thesaurus Alhazeni in 1270. He also made a thorough examination of the passage of light through various media and discovered the laws of refraction. He dealt at length with the theories of various physical phenomena like shadows, eclipses and the rainbow and described accurately the various parts of the eye and gave a scientific explanation for the process of vision. His studies of optics led him to propose the use of a camera obscura.

In mathematics, he developed analytical geometry by establishing a linkage between algebra and geometry.

LEGACY: Al Haytham is considered the Father of modern Optics. The Latin translation of his main work, Kitab-al-Manazir, has exerted great influence on Western science, especially on the works of Roger Bacon and Johannes Kepler.

The crater Alhazen on the moon is named in his honour, as is the asteroid ‘59239 Alhazen’.

Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, August 28th,  2011.

Reader Comments (78)

  • narayana murthy
    Aug 28, 2011 - 1:44PM

    DEAR Ovais Mangalwalla,

    How come Abdus Salaam is not mentioned? Perhaps, I already know the answer.

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  • Muzaffar
    Aug 28, 2011 - 2:13PM

    A very thought provoking article and somewhat what is needed as lot of historical facts/ information about Muslim minds are not part of history and the credit is taken by the later so called giants. For interested minds do see http://www.1001inventions.com.

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  • Ali Hasan
    Aug 28, 2011 - 2:53PM

    All of this is well and good but how do romantic notions of past glory help us today? So far as the “ummah” is concerned, they only seem to provide a means of arrogance and a false sense of self-worth.

    Completely similar is the case with the muslim period of rule in Spain. Many a Pakistani gets starry-eyed when talking about the great days of yore when “we” ruled the magnificent kingdom.

    What is utterly more important by orders of magnitude is where we are now and our spotty, next to none positive contribution to the world in the recent past. There’s a reason we so quickly jump back multiple centuries to relive our glory days, because that’s just how far back they are.

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  • mz
    Aug 28, 2011 - 3:30PM

    @narayana murthy
    neither dr. abdul qadeer is mentioned…
    get out of your narrow-minded-ness..
    article is about old scientists, not new ones

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  • faraz
    Aug 28, 2011 - 4:01PM

    Ibn Sina was declared a heretic by the leading cleric of that era Imam Ghazali

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  • Aug 28, 2011 - 4:09PM

    A wake-up call

    My late son was doing his PhD in Applied Mathematics. Before hiis death last October I was going through his papers. At the end of the paper, there was a long list of references of the authors and their books or papers on that particular subject. There were only a couple Muslim authors among them was son’s Professor/Supervisor. In the past Muslims occupied a prestigious position in sciences. Al Khawarzimi, Omar al Khayam and many more. Through the columns of your esteemed newspaper, I appeal to the Muslim youth to strive hard and excel in basic sciences without which the dream of Muslims advancement will be futile.Recommend

  • Disco Molvi
    Aug 28, 2011 - 4:36PM

    Here is a name you’ve omitted, Ovais Mangalwalla either by mistake or forgetfulness, though I hope it’s not due to prejudice.

    Abdus Salam

    COUNTRY: Pakistan

    INTEREST: Physics

    WORKS: Won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979 along with Sheldon Lee Glashow and Steven Weinberg, for his work on the electroweak unification of the electromagnetic and weak forces.

    Has the distinction of being the first Pakistani and the first MUSLIM to receive the prize in the field of science. (Nobel peace prizes are a dime a dozen)

    Was a science advisor to the Govt of Pakistan from 1960-1974.

    Was THE founding director of Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO).

    Played an integral role in Pakistan’s development of peaceful nuclear energy use, and directed the research on development of nuclear weapons in 1972.Recommend

  • an indian
    Aug 28, 2011 - 4:51PM

    most of these scientists achievements are hyped up. take them with a pinch of salt.

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  • Aadersh
    Aug 28, 2011 - 5:36PM

    @An Indian I can feel the smell…Stop jealousy & try to appreciate..
    & Yeah the list of Muslim Scientist goes on from Jabir bin Hayan to AQ Khan Muslims have got tremendous achievements…

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  • VoK
    Aug 28, 2011 - 6:24PM

    @mz:
    maybe the title “Muslim scientists: On the shoulders of giants” is misleading. It should have been “Ancient Muslim scientists: On the shoulders of giants”

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  • Nadeem Ahmed
    Aug 28, 2011 - 6:27PM

    Very well written article. Thanks

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  • Richard Hode
    Aug 28, 2011 - 6:34PM

    @an indian:

    A foolish statement, indian. Your hatred of Moslems does not invalidate their accomplishments.

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  • freeman
    Aug 28, 2011 - 6:39PM

    @an indian:
    My dear use brain. I do not beleive on your comments still A pinch of salt is enough for the whole dish to make it tasty.

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  • tanoli
    Aug 28, 2011 - 6:45PM

    In the west Avicenna considerd jew of iraq and funny thing they forget he memorizes holy
    quran and jews hate quran more than any body else and one thing atleast still west accept
    is that they learn A B C of education from muslims and specially muslim spain.

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  • Ravi
    Aug 28, 2011 - 6:50PM

    What ever these muslim scientists did was rather achieved by indian scientists 2000 years before them.
    Astronomy, Vedic Mathematics , Ayurveda, Yoga , Astrology , Psychology were already in the hindu traditions 20 centuries before the first muslim opened his eyes.
    All the present marshal arts like kung-fu , karate and many others find their roots into an ancient marshal arts developed by hindus and it’s still alive in parts of kerala…
    So why so fuss????
    And i ask a very fundamental question here west is miles ahead of muslims all walks of life why don’t muslims look at them and make them ideals in engineering and technical research just like every body else does…

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  • tanoli
    Aug 28, 2011 - 6:52PM

    How come not one well figure writer dont write any article for E,T.i dont understand that.

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  • tanoli
    Aug 28, 2011 - 7:39PM

    @ Ravi
    Wake up man african peoples also say same thing what u saying and if it is true then
    why westren world dont want to say about this yes ine thing in west do say is Yoga ,kama sutra and also poverty when ever name india comes in mind.

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  • tanoli
    Aug 28, 2011 - 7:49PM

    Kung fu india hahahahahahahahha Ravi ji thanks

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  • Haleem
    Aug 28, 2011 - 8:11PM

    Where did ET get the make belief pictures of the by gone scientists? Not very scientific.

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  • Shehryar Khan
    Aug 28, 2011 - 8:27PM

    Does it really matter who achieved it first or who achieved it last? Does it really matter if you get the credit or not. If you had done it for humanity and generations to come, such a topic shall not have been aroused. I expect more from TNT than such articles. Those who do good to humanity do not seek any credits, they live a life of modesty. Recommend

  • AK
    Aug 28, 2011 - 8:54PM

    @Ravi….you are good at sarcasm.

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  • Someone
    Aug 28, 2011 - 8:55PM

    @an Indian: I think its rather you that needs to be taken with a “pinch of salt.”

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  • CB Guy
    Aug 28, 2011 - 9:15PM

    @ an indian: very well put, obviously correcting ancient notion about anatomy and working of eye or Muslims being the father of Algebra or chemistry (not mentioned here) or the laboratory method (again not mentioned) of the inventors of acid are all flukes or over hyped. grow up dude, you will actually be a better asset to your country rather then being a hateful liability.Recommend

  • Roflcopter
    Aug 28, 2011 - 9:31PM

    Jealous Indians are hilarious.

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  • stop exageration
    Aug 28, 2011 - 9:40PM

    @ ravi

    yeah v culd see the excellent centuries old indian engineering during the commonwealth games ..
    they had psychology frm last 20 centuries but still its the most depressed nation in the world,,,,…
    so nx tym do place a comment wd sme facts in it ..

    sorry ravi dont get offended bt u ppl exagerate a lot,,,,,this does nt wrk in the 21st century…

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  • Usmann Rana
    Aug 28, 2011 - 10:02PM

    Oh well, where’d Abdus Salam Go?
    Shame on you for not including the FIRST Nobel Laureate from Muslim world.

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  • Qayum
    Aug 28, 2011 - 10:22PM

    What is invented by Dr. Abdul Qadeer???????? Any reference from any standard scientific journal??? in last 30 years or so. Being administrator of an organization does not make him scientist.

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  • Jamel
    Aug 29, 2011 - 1:37AM

    @mz:

    neither dr. abdul qadeer is mentioned…

    Is dr qadir a scientist? what did he discover/create of his own?

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  • Ahmed Malik
    Aug 29, 2011 - 4:28AM

    @Ravi: Indians were busy making mahabharat and ramayan stories at that time, Indian civilization started when Muslims came here, architecture, food, dresses everything good that Sub-continent has was started when Muslims came here. Local indians were so powerless that they were ruled by foreign Muslim rulers for over 1000 years and the by Britishers for 200 years.

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  • Anwar
    Aug 29, 2011 - 4:37AM

    Muslim scientist have made no significant contribution to this world in the last hundred years. Unfortunately most of the scientific invention done in this world were in the last hundred years.

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  • Sharik Hussain
    Aug 29, 2011 - 5:21AM

    I smell jealousy coming in from across the border.

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  • Homa
    Aug 29, 2011 - 6:29AM

    The various accomplishments of the medieval arabs in astronomy, trigonometry and other sciences were in great part due to their coming into contact with the knowledge of ancient India. The Arab patrons of science commissioned translations of ancient sanskrit texts that became available to them and it was this openness and curiosity that culminated in the brief and fleeting period of scientific temper and discovery in the Arab-Muslim world. A tiny example as a case in point to illustrate the influence of India on medieval Arab science: the modern contemporary numbers/numeric system that the western world refers to as the ‘Arab numerals’ are actually referred to as ‘the Hindu numerals’ in the Arabic language even today.

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  • Ahmed
    Aug 29, 2011 - 9:09AM

    Arabs transmitted knowledge from earlier civilizations such as greece and India. They did of course add to that knowledge, but they were more commonly transmitters rather than originators. For instance, alkhwarizmi’s algebra is mostly stuff discovered earlier by indians and Greeks. (read any scholarly source to learn more, i.e., don’t learn your history from blogs).

    Btw, I have always wondered why we associate with a random Muslim scientist ( such as alkwarizmi) from a random place than with our own more ancient preislamic ancestors who made the original discovery? Think about that. India has completed grabbed our preislamic identity by having itself associated with all preislamic contributions of our ancestors. So much so that the world does not associate us with any cultural antiquity whatsoever and treats us like a bunch of uncouth bearded desert nomads with bazookas (remember afpak?) which we aren’t. Very sad.

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  • Omar Haroon
    Aug 29, 2011 - 10:04AM

    I would like a response to the question posed by Narayana Murthy as well regarding Dr. Salam. Also, to those wondering why Dr. AQ Khan hasn’t been mentioned, I would like to ask them what exactly has he done to be included among the great? If you’re referring to the nuclear bomb whose sole purpose is only to destroy and bring about more misery, then I cannot seriously help but question your own humanity.

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  • Sibghat U. Waeen
    Aug 29, 2011 - 10:41AM

    Science is the collective inheritance of me, you or any other Human being. No one can divide it into lines, borders or blocks of religions, races or nations. How can it be? Wheel is the greatest invention, we agree it unanimously; who has invented it? Was he a Hindu or a Jew etc. Who has given us Fire? Was he Prometheus? Okay he was of course not; then who was He? What was his Religion? Am I not a legal heir of the inventor of Wheel?

    Science or Philosophy do not produce a single work of it “substantially complete in itself” it must have something to stand on it. Carl Sagan said, “if you want to create an apple pie ‘from scratch’ you Have to Create the whole universe first.
    Sibghat

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  • narayana murthy
    Aug 29, 2011 - 1:52PM

    @MZ naively says “neither dr. abdul qadeer is mentioned…
    get out of your narrow-minded-ness..
    article is about old scientists, not new ones”

    Who is this Abdul Qadeer? What has he ever invented? Has he discovered something? Has he won a Nobel prize? Has he won any international awards for his unique contribution to Humanity through science?

    If you are referring to A Q Khan, who stole (literally) European technology to build nuclear bombs for Pakistan and then sold the technology to other countries, violating your own country’s rules, then I will let you do the math.

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  • narayana murthy
    Aug 29, 2011 - 3:10PM

    @Sibghat U. Waeen.

    Your comments are perfect.

    Such articles can get published only in a country like Pakistan.

    If an article titled “Hindu scientists : on the shoulder of giants”, is ever published in a news paper in India, that paper would be deemed communal and would lose its Hindu buyers even before losing its Muslim buyers.

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  • Cynical
    Aug 29, 2011 - 8:17PM

    I do not understand this labeling of scientists on the basis their religious identity.
    Never read or heard about a Christian, Jew, Budhist, Hindu scientist.
    May be there is none.

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  • Rogan
    Aug 30, 2011 - 12:03AM

    What is a “muslim” scientist?!!!! When will Pakis realize that muslim refers to a religious following and not an ethnic identity? All “muslims” are not one people but of different race, culture and ethnicity with nothing in common other than their religious affiliation. Religion is a acquired trait which can be changed almost instantaneously. Harping on the “muslim” issue only exposes and reinforces the reality that Pakis do not have any identity of their own and use an acquired religion to attain a desperate semblance of identity.

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  • Cynical
    Aug 30, 2011 - 3:49AM

    @Rogan
    Your observation is quite accurate.
    It’s actually a ‘herd mentality’ born out of insecurity. A herd always find solace in the security of numbers. The more of ‘Me’, the more of ‘like Me’, the safer I feel.There lies the urge to bring everything under a single denominator, which is ‘religion’. Ask me why?
    Because I am essentially confrontationalist, always at war with the ‘others’ who are not like ‘Me’, and not at rest untill everyone becomes like ‘Me’.

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  • Faraz Talat
    Aug 30, 2011 - 9:35AM

    Oh, how refreshing!
    .
    Remember how we invented sulphuric acid a thousand years ago? Well, our job is done! Now the West can permanently take over the intellectual responsibilities of mankind, build everything from our computers to our buildings. And we’ll just buy it from them with oil that burst forth from beneath our feet by sheer dumb luck!”
    .
    It is pathetic how people like the author attempt to shield themselves from the fact that Muslims have next to no contributions in the era of modern science (compared to Europe, America et al) by consoling themselves that once upon a time we actually did do something useful.

    We need less escapists and more pragmatists and scientists in the Muslim world today.

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  • Faraz Talat
    Aug 30, 2011 - 12:50PM

    As far as the modern world is concerned, there are only two Nobel Prize winning Muslim scientists: Ahmed Zewali and Abdus Salam. And one of them belongs to the Ahmadi sect, which is enthusiastically labelled “unislamic” by Pakistani mullahcracy.

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  • Faraz Talat
    Aug 30, 2011 - 2:17PM

    Here are some facts all Muslims should be aware of:

    Muslims constitute 20% of the world’s population and make only 5% contribution to the research papers published each year.

    USA, Japan and most of the European countries spend 2% or more of their GDP on scientific research, as opposed to the Islamic countries which spend less than 0.5%.

    The number of scientific papers published by 15 most of our most scientifically advanced Islamic countries are matched by publications by Harvard alone!

    So. Do you think we have a bit of a problem in the science area? Or should we continue boasting about how great we used to be thousand years ago.

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  • Cynical
    Aug 30, 2011 - 2:20PM

    @Faraz Talat

    It’s interesting to note that there are 161 (exclding the 9 for peace) Nobel Prize winners who are Jews.

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  • Jon Stable
    Aug 30, 2011 - 5:15PM

    I find it funny that many Pakis have been fed into that “muslims” ruled India for 1000 years. Here is the reality!!! The only Islamist invader who ever ruled India were the Mughals..Babur to Aurangzeb…from 1550 to 1700 AD ie 150 years. All other islamic invaders were mere bandits who came looted and left. The Mughals survived for that long only because Indian subcontinent was very divided and for most part, they preserved India’s heritage. When Aurangzeb started a forced conversion drive, the Marathas rose up and destroyed the Mughals for good.

    India was a great civilization for more than 4000 years even before Islam was born. So the question of it gaining anything from Islam does not arise. In fact, There is no such thing as “islamic culture”. The Arabs never had any culture to begin with. They were nomadic vagabonds for centuries with no indigenous culture of their own. What is claimed to be islamic culture is primarily Persian culture which the Arabs usurped from the ancient Persian civilization born and developed way before Islam was even born or imposed on Iran. If it has to be associated to any religion, it would be the Zoroastrian religion — the indigenous religion of Persia.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli
    Aug 30, 2011 - 8:59PM

    @ Jon stable
    Tell me something if muslims ruled india 150 years only then why there are more muslims
    in indian sub contienent than spain where muslims ruled over four hundred years and moorish of spain or berbers were also very librals specialy with jews who prosicuted for centuries in europe. and Europe learn A,B,C of science from spain muslims too its a bad
    luck of muslim abbasiad of baghdad when uneducated wild mongols (Tatar) distroy all noble
    resreach done by muslims.

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  • from india
    Aug 31, 2011 - 11:52AM

    really nice article … wasn’t aware of many things !!

    however, regarding al-khwarizmi, can somebody plz clarify how he helped introducing zero ?

    as far as i know zero was first invented by brahmagupta in his work “brahmagupta sphiti siddhanta” … later on the king of baghdad invited one indian mathematician (who was already working on the functioning of zero founded by brahmagupta) to visit baghdad and work with arab mathematicians and develop the concept.

    and my indian friends – plz appreciate the valuable work done by these great men … this is not the forum to boast off the works of ancient indian scientists, the entire world knows about them and we need not assert it over here !!

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  • Cynical
    Aug 31, 2011 - 1:22PM

    @Sibghat U. Waeen: u are true and no argument on ur comment.but you have to know that these Westerns always portray other cultures as worst and even claims some inventions that was made in other countries or other cultures as their own invention without showing its root or base……………….. and mostly their medias and people degrade particular people over their contribution and scientific invention as nothing, it causes the articles like this. Anyway I share ur concept about Science……………and that is truth……

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  • Cynical
    Aug 31, 2011 - 1:51PM

    @Ravi: Rvi may I know when Hindus got in India…………..? in my knowledge they Hinduism only have 2000 years history in India they were Aryans and invaded india and eradicated Buddhists finally imposed their casting system on local culture….before that there was no Hindus in India but Buddhism was the main religion here….u can never claim such a long years of history for Indians as Hindus…..anyway………………in the case of science … I would say no one should claim a full credit since it is process of human development and mostly people of today have adapted the basics of modern science from ancient world and they developed its new and advanced form………… there is nothing for any people to boast about their invention……………since it is not fully as their own but adapted from others……and every culture has such history……………… here people talk about Islamic or muslims scientists it is because western educational systems and media always tried to hide the contribution of Muslims and drew the medieval period as dark age for whole world… in fact dark age was only for Europeans but not for other countries………. I truly appreciate their works and development in science but it shouldn’t be a cause to degrade and look at other with bad eye

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  • Gullible Nomore
    Aug 31, 2011 - 8:00PM

    The question becomes, would these scientists have invented/discovered/researched if they weren’t Muslims? The answer is YES!
    It wasn’t as if they were scientists because they were Muslim. It was more that they were scientists who happen to be Muslims.

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  • Jai
    Sep 1, 2011 - 1:24AM

    @ Ali tanoli,
    have you not heard of the spanish inquisition?. Most spanish muslims were reconverted to christianity and those who refused were killed or exiled. That’s the reason there aren’t muslims in spain. muslims made up less than 20% of the Subcontinent population before partition. Islamic states of Pakistan and Bangladesh with official pro Islam policies helped even further. Islamic population has grown in secular India too where as Hindu minorities have been wiped out in Pakistan and Bangladesh. That is how Spain isn’t Islamic but a lot of population in the sub continent is.

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  • Jai
    Sep 1, 2011 - 1:37AM

    It’s always individuals who have made contributions to science. An individual’s achievement isn’t an Islamic, Jewish, Christian or a Hindu achievement. Those who claim some individual’s starlight and want to shine in the reflected glory of others by virtue of belonging to the same religious or ethnic community perhaps have no real achievements of their own to be proud of.

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  • Jai
    Sep 1, 2011 - 1:56AM

    @cynical,
    By your logic Siddharha Gautam “Buddha” would be a non-aryan figure whose religion was displaced by invading aryan hindus. Hinduism is over 5000 years old buddy. Besides, nobody buys the AIT now.

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  • from india
    Sep 1, 2011 - 11:32AM

    @ cynical – i never knew you have attended distorted history classes all throughout your life !!

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  • abhi
    Sep 1, 2011 - 3:50PM

    @Cynical
    Your version of events is hilarious, keep going!`

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  • malik
    Sep 1, 2011 - 4:31PM

    They are Arab scientists and not Muslim scientists. This is clutching at straws !

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  • Cynical
    Sep 1, 2011 - 4:50PM

    @Jai
    @abhi
    @from india

    There are 2 Cynicals posting here.Which one you are replying to?
    It’s clear that someone has hijacked my blog name.
    Complaining to the ET moderator didn’t help

    To clarify I post my 3 earlier comments again.Make up your mind.

    I do not understand this labeling of scientists on the basis their religious identity.
    Never read or heard about a Christian, Jew, Budhist, Hindu scientist.
    May be there is none.

    @Rogan
    Your observation is quite accurate.
    It’s actually a ‘herd mentality’ born out of insecurity. A herd always find solace in the security of numbers. The more of ‘Me’, the more of ‘like Me’, the safer I feel.There lies the urge to bring everything under a single denominator, which is ‘religion’. Ask me why?
    Because I am essentially confrontationalist, always at war with the ‘others’ who are not like ‘Me’, and not at rest untill everyone becomes like ‘Me’.

    @Faraz Talat
    It’s interesting to note that there are 161 (exclding the 9 for peace) Nobel Prize winners who are Jews.

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  • Ali tanoli
    Sep 1, 2011 - 10:22PM

    @ Jai
    Its a long history but i will say in two words only that tragedy happend because of muslims
    it self ummyed and abbasyed.

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  • Sep 2, 2011 - 8:38AM

    I reproduce parts of my article ‘ An Eye Opener’ although not strictly relevant to illustrate what we lack. We rest on our past laurels.
    Much needs to be done if the Muslims are to compete with the advanced societies .I was browsing on the internet about the world’s leading universities A few universities amongst the Muslims countries appear in the ranking of World Universities numbering 4000 (Ranking web of World Universities) . Only two Pakistani Universities viz LUMS (ranking 2062) and Aga Khan (ranking 3709). I cannot describe my agony. It was a feeling of total revulsion. The literacy rate of Pakistan is dismally low.

    Number of Universities in certain countries
    USA 4084
    Canada 89
    UK 132
    Germany 250
    France 81
    Japan 507
    India 300

    The Prophet of Islam (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon Him) said that it is obligatory on each Muslim , male or female,to seek knowledge. He also said, “ Seek knowledge even if you have go to China”.
    Within a few years of his death , Islam produced men who excelled in every field viz, science, mathematics, anatomy, medicine , astronomy , astrology etc when Europe was in the dark ages. Ibn Haitham , Al Khwarzimi, ,Jabir ibn Hayyan, Omar al Khayam, al Kindi,al Razi, al Farabi, ibn Sina ,al Masudi to name a few. Some of these names have been inscribed in various educational institutions of repute throughout the western world .For eg. At the entrance of Inner Temple the name of the Holy Prophet(Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) as the greatest law giver has been written down.. Similarly , at the entrance of the IBM headquarters in Chicago , the names of the famous mathematicians have been written down. The first five names are of Muslims.
    If you look around your room and your house, none of things visible were invented by any Muslim . India had been invaded and ruled by the Aryans, the Pathans and the Moghuls. No ruler of India had established an educational institute of repute like Oxford and Cambridge Universities of Britain, Harvard and M.I.T in the USA. The university at Krakow boasts of its pride as the first seat of learning in Europe.. In the USA , three thousand new inventions are patented in an hour. If the west had invented arms and horrible weapons, they have also made things which give ease and comfort to mankind.

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  • Sep 2, 2011 - 8:43AM

    When I was a Deputy Secretary in the Cabinet Division looking the civil awards , we used to receive citations of scientists ,doctors and engineers for awards. It was a great pity that a few doctors and engineers who could be counted on only one hand had submitted any research for publication in international journal of repute

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  • Sep 2, 2011 - 8:55AM

    In Pakistan most of the boys and girls particularly those coming from well off families have scant interest in their studies . The only desire is to get well paid jobs and by virtue of the parents influence they manage to get them. Others take pride to clear the examinations by parts. Computers are the latest craze. Seldom a student goes for basic sciences. As a matter of fact very few Pakistanis know what the term ‘basic sciences’ means.

    There are two types of schools and colleges in Pakistan : one for the elite and one for the general public. In the school for the elite , if a teacher admonishes some pupil , the parents of the student rushes to meet the principal. There is a time when one or two cadet colleges were established in Pakistan .Now there is virtual juma bazar of these colleges. While the state is trying to set up new schools, scant regard is being paid on the standards of education and discipline. Tuition, cheating, approaching and bribing the examiners and using one’s influence have become a norm. One of my section officers openly admitted that he qualified Masters in Economics by cheating.
    . In Jawab Shikwa , Iqbal writes :-
    ‘Jin ko aata nahin dunya mein koi huner who tum ho’(Muslims do not have any skill).
    As Iqbal says :

    Who zamane mein muazzaz thay muslaman ho kar
    Aur tum khwar huey taarik Quran ho kar.

    ( The Muslims of the past were honourable )
    ( But we are miserable because we do not follow the Holy Quran)
    .

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  • abhi
    Sep 2, 2011 - 11:26AM

    @Cynical
    I was commenting on the post about Aryan invasion destroying Buddh religion, a very imaginative comment.

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  • Tony Singh
    Sep 2, 2011 - 11:53AM

    Is is not that they are/were scientists who happen to follow a particular religion in private life. What their personal choice of religion got to do with their being scientists? Any explanation?

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  • from india
    Sep 2, 2011 - 11:53AM

    @ Mahfooz ur rehman – India had the first and oldest university in the world , i.e., Nalanda University !! it was founded in the 6th century by the Gupta ruler and was destroyed by Muslim invaders in the late 12th century !!

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  • Hacker
    Sep 2, 2011 - 12:51PM

    @MAHFOOZ UR RAHMAN “No ruler of India had established an educational institute of repute like Oxford and Cambridge Universities of Britain, Harvard and M.I.T in the USA”

    Oh yeah there was a University named Nalanda which is the first University ever built and was destroyed by the invading Muslims just because it did not have a Koran in its Library and the same goes for library of Alexandria of Egypt.

    Your comment about India being ruled by Aryans is non sense, Aryan invasion is already debunked by many Western and Indian scholars.I just wonder which pathan has ever ruled India.As for as Moghuls being ruled for 1000 years refer to this comment by Jon Stable
    Aug 30, 2011 – 5:15PM.

    Right now India does have an institute of learning that is Indian institute of Science which can compete with MIT,Oxford and Cambridge say some 20 years down the line.

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  • Noise
    Sep 2, 2011 - 3:28PM

    Truth is the reason these scientists are forgotten and not studied in detail by Muslims is that the philosophies they followed were very different from current Muslim thinking. Ibn Sina in particular was an Ismaili Shia and a Neoplatonist.

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  • Sep 2, 2011 - 4:26PM

    Emperor Shahjehan wasted an enormous amount of money in building the Taj Mahal in honour of his dead wife . The result high taxes and the resultant impoverishment of India and leading subsequently of its colonisation .In contrast , there was an industrial revolution in Europe in that period . The mughal period of about 300 hundred was marked by rebellions or the building of forts , mosques etc . But not for the welfare of the common man. Nothing was invented before this period nor after

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  • Ali tanoli
    Sep 3, 2011 - 12:50AM

    @ Tony singh
    serdar ji islam is the reason for all those achievments please read the history when christian and jews were presticuting if any body even tell the earth is round.
    @ Hacker
    Mongol, Pathans, mughal, turks they all were central asian from same areas and that
    time they were all part of greater persia we are one indian and pakistani who giving
    them seprate identity. and about Nalanda i dont know may be BJP inventing this history
    because they are famous for these things like Babery masjid was a ram birth pleace
    and all the mosqes of india were hindus temples blah blah blah.

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  • irfan
    Sep 4, 2011 - 1:33PM

    @narayana murthy:
    he is talking about muslims not ahmidis

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  • Tony Singh
    Sep 4, 2011 - 3:52PM

    @Ali tanoli:
    You are just making a statement. I am not asking for an aristotalian logic but an explanation on how their being muslims affect their scientific inventions/discoveries/theories. Does religion help scientists to invent/discover or does it impede that. That is the question I asked. First try to understand the comment and then comment on it. You say they achieved what they achieved because of Islam. Now I ask you to explain what you say.

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  • Ali tanoli
    Sep 4, 2011 - 6:34PM

    @; Tony singh
    There is a book called Quran & Science i its gonna answer all your question. thank u sir.

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  • grain2315
    Sep 4, 2011 - 8:20PM

    to one and all, the thing that you all forget, education is about sharing, does not matter that the person is muslim, hindu, jew, or of another faith, when an idea comes its refined and shared and in the right environment that idea is taken a step further.
    when i read the above commets from educated people i am sorely saddened.
    education opens ones up to new ideas, if the writer missed some of the scientists that does not mean that he is denying them their just dues.

    many ideas came out of india and many ideas came out of china and many ideas came of muslim areas, however the europeans destroyed many things including books the idea of live and let live. when the muslims came to india both sides learned from each other…
    please dont debase these articles , be constructive..

    grain of truth.

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  • abhi
    Sep 4, 2011 - 10:36PM

    @ali Tanoli
    Please read this book (Quran and Science) and claim rest of the Nobel prices.

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  • Naveed
    Sep 5, 2011 - 11:35AM

    most of the Muslim scientists who visited India in the times of Greater Mughals as we quite so often call them, they were bedazzled by the Indians knowledge of Astronomy, Mathematics and medicine. they later capitalized to make the already well kept data and research to formulate their own theories and certain derived theories from the Indian research. we must understand that much part of the Mughal history is distorted and was written according to the wishes of the ruling king of those times. it is a commonly accepted fact by many of the Muslim historians. and I am a Pakistani.

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  • grain2315
    Sep 5, 2011 - 12:34PM

    The question the writer should ask and perhaps its obvious what is it,that has stopped the Muslim countries investing in scientific enquiry?
    why has the Muslim world stopped funding education where have all best Muslim brains gone,
    What was special in the Muslim world that created the environment which led to scientific breakthroughs, WHEN THE REST OF THE WORLD WAS IN THE DARK AGES?
    i am not taking anything away from the southern Indian civilisation’s, their’s is another story.

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  • Cynical
    Sep 6, 2011 - 12:32AM

    @Anwar:
    But it is base came from other world………… anyway…without base there is no science lol…… so basic knowledge is very important to bring ti to another level…..and those who followed those basics should respect those who found that base…………but in the case of Europeans especially biased medias always try to degrade other nations and especially Muslims and Islamic countries..and one of their topic is Science…………..to mock us and they seem to claim even science were invented by them and no science before Europeans came in to light after their dark age…………………..

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  • Noise
    Sep 9, 2011 - 11:00PM

    @grain2315
    The question the writer should ask and perhaps its obvious what is it,that has stopped the Muslim countries investing in scientific enquiry?

    The reason is the rise of Sunni ‘orthodoxy’ and the proclamation by the Ulema ‘karam’ that the doors of ijtihad are closed. Asharite philosophy was adopted by the Sunnis and it argues against philosophy and taking a philosophical approach to religion. Ghazali is credited with ‘disproving’ Ibn Sina and other philosophers and the conservatives took his work as the final word even though Islamic Philosophy continued to develop in Spain (until the reconquista) and Iran. Without philosophy science wont happen. When you stifle freedom of thought, and label as heretics philosophers and thinkers that you disagree with, such a suharwardhi or Ibn Arbi this is the result, the situation we have today. The muslim world has regressed intellectually. In the past you had people like the Mutazalites and the Neoplatonists like Al Farabi and Ibn Sina but now all we get are Wahabis and Al-e-Hadith other third-rate purtian movements

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  • grain2315
    Sep 11, 2011 - 12:30AM

    @Noise:
    your quite right,this was a rhetorical question.

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