No Nobels for the Muslim world

Published: October 6, 2011
The writer was a human resource consultant and is currently based in New York

The writer was a human resource consultant and is currently based in New York [email protected]

The names of the Nobel Prize winners for 2011 were announced this week in Stockholm, Sweden. That there was no winner from the Muslim world did not surprise anyone.

The Prize has been awarded since 1901, to some of the brightest minds of the world for their intellectual achievements in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and, since 1969, Economic Sciences. Over 700 persons from different parts of the world have received the Nobel Awards in the last 110 years. (I am not including the Peace Award because that is not awarded for intellectual achievement.)

Barring four exceptions, none of the winners have been from the Muslim world. The exceptions were: Abdus Salam from Pakistan, in Physics, 1979; Naguib Mahfouz from Egypt, in literature, 1988; Ahmed Hassan Zewail, an Egyptian-American, in Chemistry, 1999; and Orhan Pamuk from Turkey, in literature, 2006. Ironically, except Ahmed Zewail, who is a US citizen, the Muslim world did not give the due recognition or respect to their best and the brightest. In fact, they were treated unfairly. Naguib Mahfooz, was stabbed in the neck by religious extremists. Orhan Pamuk was put on trial by the Turkish government for “insulting Turkishness”, because he talked of Kurdish and Armenian deaths in Turkey. Abdus Salam was virtually disowned by his country because of his faith.

We are frequently reminded of the great contributions the Muslim scholars and scientists made in the past, and how it was through their works the West became acquainted with Aristotle, Greek knowledge and other scientific discoveries and inventions. Simultaneously, we also hear the lament about the Muslim world’s current inability to make any advances in science and other fields of learning despite having nearly one fourth of the global population and immense oil and mineral wealth.

This is true. The period between the 8th and 12th century, was a golden period of learning and advancement in the Muslim world. But what happened then? Why did it lose interest in seeking and promoting knowledge?

Various explanations are offered. Some blame the Mongols, some the colonisation by the West, some the lack of education and some attribute the decline to the Muslims having deviated from the ‘true path’. There are conspiracy theories, too. While the ‘true path’ is difficult to define and conspiracy theories are an excuse for avoiding the truth, the other factors, however, are not the cause but the consequence of the decline that had already set in. So, the question is, why the decline?

One thought provoking explanation comes from Professor Norman F. Cantor (died 2004), a specialist in the medieval history at NYU. He discusses the question, at some length, in his classic book, The Civilization of the Middle Ages. According to him, Islam, in the early centuries, maintained a separation between the religious authorities on the one hand and philosophers and scientists, or speculative thinkers, on the other. The former derived their knowledge of theology and ethics from the Holy Quran and the traditions of the Holy Prophet (Pbuh), without having the compulsion to conform to the scientific beliefs. On the other side, “the speculative thinkers did not have to worry immediately about the compatibility of reason and revelation or whether they would lose their jobs for preaching heresy. Therefore, they could afford to be especially bold”.

While this was the golden age of the Muslim world, the West was going through the Dark Ages. It did not have this separation between the clergy and temporal scholars; learning and research was carried out under the umbrella of the church. And it was difficult to question the established beliefs.

However, towards the latter part of the 12th century, things began to change. The religious leaders in the Muslim world felt that the traditional religion was in danger of subversion by the speculative thinkers. They, with the cooperation of the state, proceeded to silence the expression of rational thought. And, in the words of Cantor, “after 1200, scientific thought in the Islamic world was dead”. If the Muslim world hopes to revive scientific thought and produce great scholars and scientists — and Nobel laureates — it will have to create a learning environment free of fear and fatwas, where one could think speculatively and question freely.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2011.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (97)

  • Abbas from the US
    Oct 6, 2011 - 10:11PM

    So how many Muslims agree with the teachings of evolution accepted by the scientific world. Even in America and parts of the West where the right wing Christianity dominates the argument is to teach creationism along side evolution which has been introduced in educational books.

    I was thinking about the same situation a few days ago when the first prizes in Physics, Medicine were announced, all the Nobel prizes happened to be from the Western world than finally it struck me that Israel with its current small population of about 7 million had a nobel prize winner Dan Shectman for Chemistry.

    All those who love to express admiration of the decline of the West, need to stop and think. if by some remote chance a Nobel prize does go to someone from the Muslim world. The first question that will be raised will be is this person a believing Muslim by standards applied by the state examples of Parmuk, Mahfouz Najib and our very own Salam, whose identity as Muslim will be questioned and it is better no one terms it a Masjid lest the custodians of religion are provoked.

    Definately time fo a change, and only the young can produce it, the current older generation is a lost cause.


  • SC
    Oct 6, 2011 - 10:12PM

    I agree totally.


  • faraz
    Oct 6, 2011 - 10:15PM

    Most of us are working on a new kind of ‘science’ in which verses of holy text are used to explain scientific phenomenon that have been already discovered by scientists and researchers. I am sure many are busy finding a verse that could somehow show that Neutrinos can travel faster than light.


  • fahim
    Oct 6, 2011 - 10:18PM

    we are busy chanting ummah and khilafat with Zaid Hamid and like… as useless creatures, we are only contributing to the population growth of world. There is absolutely zero contribution to world from our side, other than more trouble, hate, violence…


  • TightChuddi
    Oct 6, 2011 - 10:24PM

    I heard Zaid Hamid saying once if the mongols had not ransacked the library of Bagdhad then muslims would have launched the first man on moon 100 years before Neil Armstrong. I did not whether to laugh or cry at this statement. Please advise.


  • Oct 6, 2011 - 10:32PM

    Aziz saheb,You are RT,I will prove you wrong,why Islamic world is stuck in mud,and it is not likely get lose,why?,I’m 100% sure this thought will not be published if “TRIbune” did,then People will be mad at me.Islamic world has stoped asking any question,when it comes to Sciptures and the founder,it off limits.You do not even tolerate a 13 year old for mis-spelling,how any one can do critical speculative thinking?It is a historical fact,London had population of 30,000,at the time of Henery the 8th.London,along with Paris was largest city in Europe.To day United Kindom is 50 million with all Pakistani,Indians ands all other immigrant.It took 500 years to reach 50 ,from 4 million from 1550ad.To day if you take away all immigrant from Saudi Arabia which is 4 million,the Saudi’s are around 4 million if I believe the correct figure.To day there are less than 6 centers which can boast more than 300,000 people,Jidda being the largest.The population of people who live in Makka and madina,who are local are less than 750,000.Now this is 14 century after the the Prophet(PBUH),how do you expect in 632 AD,150,000 people came to hear his last sermon?That too,in the days when there was no amplifier,or mike,the largest stadium in Brazil,does not hold over,100,000.and they have large amplifiers and huge screen to see the action in all 4 corners.If i said more people than(30 million) in Brazil came to watch Pele,no body will believe it,but even if some one said ,he did,no one will get fatawa or killed for blasamy,has any one dared to say may be the at last sermon there were not 150,000 makkans/madina people?Only the other day a very respected Pakistani columnist quoted that figure.This is only one simple example of the travesty,and no one can dare to say otherwise.That why ,there never will be tollerance and free speech in Islamic world,I wish it is otherwise,but “IT IS WHAT IT IS”Forget about advances in science and liturature.


  • Abhi
    Oct 6, 2011 - 11:37PM

    you need to go to another blog about cousine marriage and read the comments to understand the reason for decline of science.


  • Bling Bling
    Oct 6, 2011 - 11:52PM

    what a brilliant piece, sir!


  • MD
    Oct 7, 2011 - 12:07AM

    Religion is nothing but a belief system where there is no place for rational thinking, you are expected to believe everything that has been told to you without asking questions and science can never progress without asking questions regarding what you see, feel, perceive or observe. Europe, could not come out of the dark ages till it threw the yoke of religiosity and the dogmas associated with it. Once free of irrational beliefs and narrow mindedness, Europe/West made unbelievable progress in almost every field you can imagine and went on to rule the rest of the world for centuries and even today reigns supreme in the world of technology and thereby world economy.
    Only three non-western powers India, China and Japan, for the first time during the past few centuries, could emerge as challengers to the western supremacy in the world, that too only after shedding and reforming their religious, cultural & traditional dogmatic mindset. This must be a lesson to the rest of the world, particularly to the Muslim world, which still tends to takes refuge in the so called glorious era of the past and continues to reel under the old, worn out, irrelevant and make believe world-view of their own making.
    Therefore, there shouldn’t be any surprises, if there are no or few Muslim names in the old or recent lists of Noble Laureates.
    However, having said that, I believe, one can follow religion to search and attain his/her spiritual peace while retaining the rationality and the inherent human trait to pose questions.
    The only condition is that you must never let your own god interfere with any other person, because that person, too has his/her own god!


  • Ali Tanoli
    Oct 7, 2011 - 12:17AM

    @ Mr AZIZ,
    Can u tell us what are bases for getting noble prizes or the guys u mentioned above why
    got noble in there fields most of knows why but i dont wanna say here in ET because its
    gonna be little affencive for seculars value holders peoples.


  • meekal ahmed
    Oct 7, 2011 - 12:19AM

    Excellet AA, especially your last paragraph.

    I hope you have seen the BBC Documentary “When the Moors Ruled Europe”. Very inspiring but sad.


  • Sundeep
    Oct 7, 2011 - 12:24AM

    Well in my honest opinion, Muslim world is still living its medieval days. They haven’t touched the modernity yet. Most of the Muslims seek answers from 6th century. When in doubt its better to refer to Quran for clarification. Every justification is in there, then why bother with science and knowledge?


  • Anand
    Oct 7, 2011 - 12:32AM

    You seem to have forgotten that Mohammad Yunus, the economist and Shirin Ebadi, the lawyer from Iran and Yasser Arafat, also have won the Nobel Prize. So it’s really 7 in total, unless I’m missing someone else.


  • Anand
    Oct 7, 2011 - 12:35AM

    I agree with the overall thrust of the article, but you’ve omitted a few other muslim Nobel prize winners. Shirin Ebadi (Iran), Mohammad Yunus (Bangladesh), Yasser Arafat (Palestine).


  • John B
    Oct 7, 2011 - 12:44AM

    Ya right.

    “have to create a learning environment free of fear and fatwas, where one could think speculatively and question freely.”

    It will take another hundred years. The author is living in NY for a while. He only has to look at the comments posted by literate people from Muslim world ( whatever that may be) on blasphemy, sharia, burqa, beard, etc.


  • Arindom
    Oct 7, 2011 - 1:01AM

    By your own account, even the four laureates you mention cannot be termed as “Muslim Nationals” – they achieved what they did INSPITE of being Muslims and were persecuted / disowned by their own- hence Musllims cannot take credit for their achievements…..


  • Khawar Sohail
    Oct 7, 2011 - 1:01AM

    The Pakistani physics Nobel Prize winner, Abdus Salam, would stress to audiences that one-eighth of the Qur’an is a call for Muslims to seek Allah’s signs in the universe and hence that science is a spiritual as well as a temporal duty for Muslims. Perhaps the most widely used argument one hears is that the Prophet Muhammad had exhorted his followers to “seek knowledge even if it is in China,” which implies that a Muslim is duty-bound to search for secular knowledge.


  • Ali Tanoli
    Oct 7, 2011 - 1:02AM

    Noble prize for Obama shows crediblity of this trophy and how its works and also inventor
    the swidish after making land mines he got guilty so start it this balony to clean his sins.


  • Mj
    Oct 7, 2011 - 1:39AM

    A simple answer is that the Muslim world is going through its dark ages, which isn’t so surprising considering that the hijri year is 1432.


  • Ashamed
    Oct 7, 2011 - 1:46AM

    Listening to the wild claims of some Pakistani politicians and so called analysts, like Zaid Hamid, on television one could be mistaken for thinking that everything in world had been due to the work of muslims!


  • Rationalist
    Oct 7, 2011 - 2:13AM

    You say “The period between the 8th and 12th century, was a golden period of learning and advancement in the Muslim world.”

    It was more a period of dismantling the regimes of already existing neighbouring advanced civilizations and then claiming the already existing cultural achievements of those civilizations as “Islamic”. That is the real truth. Can you handle it?


  • Sajid I.
    Oct 7, 2011 - 2:56AM

    @Ali Tanoli:

    Obama didn’t get the Nobel Prize for intellectual contribution…you definitely don’t know what science, literature, and economics is. You are either very uneducated, or ill-educated. If only you could see what contribution Nobel Prize winners have had on our lives, but you won’t see that with that kind of a small and narrow mind.

    I simply don’t understand why you keep on coming to Tribune pages when you definitely are a Zarb-e Momin person, this ain’t a place for you man….(tell theze words to Abdur Rehman Gillani too)


  • Ch Allah Daad
    Oct 7, 2011 - 3:32AM

    Excellent article.
    @Hariharmani, I do not dispute your figures, but one thing I would like to explain. In old days, there was an excellet system to address huge crowds. According to the need, some people would stand in crowd at different points and repeat each word of the speaker with full voice. Still this practice could be observed during prayers.


  • Nirvan
    Oct 7, 2011 - 4:22AM

    The muslim world produced some great thinkers. The library in Alexandria, the architecture from Turkey and Spain East to the Taj Mahal.
    Islam has been hijacked by the illiterate who equate learning with anti-religious sentiment, Like Mao-tse-tung and Pol pot.
    I hope there are no Pakistanis feeling remorse that Al Qaeda Khan, the rogue pakistani nuclear scientist and father of the islamic bomb deserved the N prize.


  • Geronimo
    Oct 7, 2011 - 4:36AM

    And you also failed to mention that Jews which are 1/80th of Muslim population (80 Muslims for every one jew), they have received 112 Nobels in mainly physics, chemistry and literature.

    For those like Ali Tonoli who believe the prizes are all a conspiracy, please do some quality research and understand that 50% of the latest innovations and technologies in medicine, imaging and cosmetic industries come out of the tiny state of Israel..!

    So before we start shouting conspiracy against muslims, do understand that Nobel prizes (outside of the Peace prize) are judged on the merits and only the best of the innovations, research and literary pieces make it to the final round of pre-selections.

    Muslims stopped contributing towards science and philosophy and literature ages ago. This is our dark-age period currently.

    We are our own worst enemies. Hats off to those that have gone off to win Nobel prizes and contributed to humanity.



  • Sajid I.B
    Oct 7, 2011 - 5:36AM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    You don’t even know the spelling of Nobel (you write noble) man why do you waste your typing time and our reading time on Tribune? You are probably in competition with Abdul Rehman Gillani for the most sense-less comments!


  • Praful Shah
    Oct 7, 2011 - 5:45AM


    Before Islam invaded India, there were two universities established prior to any unviersities in the world. One was Nalanda in east, other was Taxsila in west in 5th century AD. There thousand of teachers and students. Both were burned to ground icluding the books. The fire burnt for months destroying all books. One can see remains in Bihar India.


  • Aziz Akhmad
    Oct 7, 2011 - 7:20AM

    @Anand: I excluded the Peace Awards because they are not awarded for intellectual achievement. I did mention this in the beginning of the article.


  • Pessimistic Paki
    Oct 7, 2011 - 8:15AM

    Well written.
    Dr Abdus Salam used his faith in a positive manner (to work hard, excel and try and improve the lot of Pakistan and other third world countries), unlike some individuals who use it to instigate and promote violence.


  • Jameel
    Oct 7, 2011 - 8:40AM

    @Aziz Akhmad:

    @Anand: I excluded the Peace Awards
    because they are not awarded for
    intellectual achievement.

    In that case Anand should get the Peace Award.


  • Sarvesh
    Oct 7, 2011 - 10:02AM

    @Praful Shah,

    There were not two but eight great learning centers in India, whom Muslims invaders razed to ground, burned their libraries and killed learners for not accepting Islam. Main university of India were Taxila university, Nalanda university, Vikramshila University, Odantpuri university, Somapura university, Jaggadala university, Vallabhi University and Snaskrit college of visladeva. No, wonder India had ceased to produce brilliant minds after Bhaskracharya in 13th century. After a period of around six centuries India could Produce another great mathematician Ramanujan who was acknowledged to be the finest mathematical mind of 19th century by Riemann another American great Mathematician.


  • S
    Oct 7, 2011 - 10:19AM

    @Praful Shah, and all other “friendly” neighbors: Enough already about the Islamist Invasion of India, and how it was the end of the world for the region! It is true that India was “invaded” by Arabs, but it’s also true that South Asia, over the centuries, has been invaded by Greeks, Afghans, Persians, Arabs, Turks, Mongols and the British, ALL of whom have had bad, good, and sometimes terrible consequences. If you never let go of this “outsiders-came-and-ate-us” complex, we can never get beyond the past. Ever heard of the term Dravidian? I bet they’re not too happy about the North Indian/Aryan usurpation of “Indian” identity by fair-skinned northerners either. I could argue it was their land before the outsiders came and took over. Then why continue to pick out “Muslim/Arab” invaders as the scourge of society who plundered India’s riches? Peace :)


  • OhLaLa
    Oct 7, 2011 - 10:30AM

    @ Author and Commentors
    What a pointless article, laying the entire blame on Muslims not trying hard enough to be worthy of the prize. Not enough Muslims have one the Nobel Prize? Well.. so have not enough Blacks, Women, Hispanics and All other coloured people, won the Nobel Prize. A disproportional major number of receipents happen to be either Israeli or Jewish. And no I’m not being Anti-semitic, but seriously has anyone seen the Nobel Prize distribution map online? Majority of the prizes are in the Northern Hemisphere specifically in only the G-8 countries. 32 out of 50 awards for economics-sciences category have gone to just one country – United States and just 1 to India, and zero to China and Brazil Are you seriously trying to say not enough breakthroughs have comes from these countries? This itself should tell you that the prize is joke, a backslapping exercise by Western Countries.
    Also the Nobel Prize Committee lost all credibility when it awarded Obama a prize only nine-months in office, while he was still untested and the US was involved in two ongoing wars abroad. Seriously people CRITICAL THINKING is what needed before you jump the Muslim bashing wagon.


  • Hassan Masud
    Oct 7, 2011 - 11:15AM

    We should try owning up to our fellow intellectuals like the four that you mentioned above, even if they have any faith related issues with other people at large. Their faith should not be a concern for us. They are not our ideals for their faith, rather their intellectual capacity and their scientific contributions should be our guiding lights. Otherwise, who knows, there might be many Muslim scholars and scientists in our Golden Age taht you mentioned, who may not be exactly how we wish them to be regarding their Ismalic faiths.

    Nobel Prizes should NOT be our main focus for intellectual thought and work. However, they should serve to highlight the cause for science in our regions. Their importance is critical for widespread interest in higher sciences among Muslims,


  • jagjit sidhoo
    Oct 7, 2011 - 11:38AM

    @TightChuddi: It depends if you are a Pakistani or not.If you are a Pakistani you should cry because he has a large following who think everything he says is the gospel truth, if not LOL


  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Oct 7, 2011 - 11:42AM

    I wonder why Honorable Dr. Zakir Naik is being continuiously overlooked by the Nobel committee while he could easily get a Nobel for literature or peace or physics or chemistry or medicine.

    I say that ghazwa-e-Sweden is in order. Let me just check with Honorable Zaid Hamid if there exists any prophecy for that.


  • vickram
    Oct 7, 2011 - 11:46AM

    You forgot to mention that this time also one Israeli scientist got a Nobel prize….


  • ahmed
    Oct 7, 2011 - 12:21PM

    Well it’s true that muslims have not done in the sciences or innovation but Nobel prize would hardly be the right gage for that. A quick example. Who could be a bigger innovator than steve jobs in recent times and who could have had a greater impact on so many in the world. Did he win a nobel? nope. In fact, hardly anyone could even identify the names of those who won nobel last year. We need to focus on innovation for sure. I’ll rather take impact of Azim Premji, for example, any day over a prize for the sake of it. If we can create tons of jobs and impact people’s lives then we’d be fine.


  • Naseer
    Oct 7, 2011 - 12:25PM

    Agreed Sir.Recommend

  • Naeem
    Oct 7, 2011 - 12:31PM

    Sir, do you think, that the world you are refering to, is it Muslim ?? I beg your pardon. If these guys are muslims, then the ones living in 8th-12th centuries were not. I dont think that we can find any community which can be defined as muslims.

    Perhaps the so called non muslim communities are more Muslim, than the ones, you are referring to. I am so sad about this state of affairs.


  • Haris Javed
    Oct 7, 2011 - 1:41PM

    Sir Aziz Akhmad, will you please tell me specifically how this happened? (supported by some concrete facts if any.)
    They, with the cooperation of the state, proceeded to silence the expression of rational thought.”


  • Yousafzai
    Oct 7, 2011 - 1:57PM

    @Sajid I.B. – you are going to have a heart attack man. Calm down!

    @All – can you all stop the blame game and share with us, what YOU have done so far for education, science and technology in the Muslim World?


  • Gul bahadur
    Oct 7, 2011 - 2:07PM

    The Committee for Nobel ,if ever decides to award a reward for Butchery,we will definitely be awarded one every year.


  • Bambbaayyaa
    Oct 7, 2011 - 2:29PM

    I really wonder why there are so many Israelis .??
    May be they are intteligent ??? If the world says so … they must be naa…


  • Faisal
    Oct 7, 2011 - 2:30PM

    Correction, Abdus Salam was an ahmedi, not a muslim.


  • sara
    Oct 7, 2011 - 2:32PM

    wouldnt agree with the analysis in the article. in the muslim world, the muslims excelled in science while europe was plunged in the dark ages BECAUSE of non-separation of religious and scientific knowledge in that time for the muslims. unlike christianity, islam not just encourages education, innovation, and curiosity, it makes it compulsory…..there is a hadith that says that acquiring knowledge is the DUTY of every muslim regardless of gender, the first word of the quran revealed to prophet mohammad was a direct order to “read!”. there is a quranic verse (not sure of the details) asking man to study such things as the orbit of the planets, and there is an entire chapter in the quran dedicated to pinpointing man to the wonders hidden in the depths of the seas and the earth, to use them for his own benefit. muslims have lost it b/c weve somehow started to believe that a secular education goes against our religion.


  • Yousafzai
    Oct 7, 2011 - 2:33PM

    I know the author has excluded the Peace Prize – here comes a Muslima!

    @Gul – An award for Whingers as well.


  • Ahmed
    Oct 7, 2011 - 2:37PM

    This is our middle age where every part of our life is bound by islam(islam used as a weapon to obstruct everything) ,this started around 1200-1300AD when Al-ghazzali’s work “Incoherence of the Philosophers” was widely received in the muslim world and which ultimately gradually killed the scientific and reasoning thought of the muslim world. The European world also had their middle ages when the church had dominated every part of their life. Our renaissance will not happen until we learn to keep a distance and harmony between the religion and scientific reasoning


  • ukmuslim
    Oct 7, 2011 - 3:48PM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    allah save pakistan, if ill-literate craetures like this reside in pakistan.


  • Pundit
    Oct 7, 2011 - 4:00PM


    I suggest Muslim Nobel Prizes be immediately initiated.


  • vickram
    Oct 7, 2011 - 4:10PM

    Who plunged the Europe into dark ages in the first place?


  • trueman
    Oct 7, 2011 - 4:17PM

    Can you tell me exactly why Steve jobs be given Nobel price. For inventing iPod ?
    He has invented nothing, he just re-invented others work and marketed it well. You don’t get Nobel for that. for that matter Azim Premji. They are business men and not exactly people whom Nobel wanted to put his money on.

    It will be intriguing to find out why Israelis are successful so much despite of being in such small numbers?


  • Oct 7, 2011 - 5:02PM

    Mahbub ul Haq?


  • Oct 7, 2011 - 5:16PM

    @Sarvesh: Thanks very much for your passing on your research work to us,prior to coming to Usa,I had only heard about the great Ramanajum,who passed away in his early low 30’s,but going to the musium of mathamatic, in Boston,I learned some more about this great son of sub-continent,but it took England and Trinnty college to recognise this great mind,othewise his theory of numbers and he would have died unknown,to all haters of West,it is all not negetive about West,thank the very mouse and computer we use to the genius of Steve Jobs who passed away less than 4 days ago,can not we stop hating and just ger along?There is much good in our common humanity,if just pause to look ,”SEARCH,THOU YOU SHALL FIND’


  • Oct 7, 2011 - 5:31PM

    For your information,he has managed to come to “GOOD ,OLD,US OF A.Does it make you cry or weep,I cry and some more,then burst out in laughter and then go watch some “SINFIELD’,show about nothing,where blockhead rein supreme.I made your day,and mine too.Jay -HO.H.Mani,USARecommend

  • Oct 7, 2011 - 5:44PM

    Steve Jobs was not an inventor,that is true,there is no nobel,for business and marketing,you are very insightful,people mistake original thought such done by Sir Issec Newton,Enstein with Bill Gates,Steve Jobs and Premji,no doubt,these are great people who have made profound difference to our life and humanity,they are respected and their fame fame will last for long time,they would not be forgotten.What is wealth,?Steve could not buy one extra day on earth,that should tell us the value of life and cherish life above everything,but do we?may be when it is too late,just think of it when you next support terrorist and who blow up others and rob others of life.Food for thought.


  • Ali Tanoli
    Oct 7, 2011 - 6:14PM

    @Sajid I.B,
    English is not my forefather language i dont care if i make mistakes.Recommend

  • Mirza
    Oct 7, 2011 - 6:32PM

    Marriages with first cousins and double cousins must be stopped in Muslim countries. In-breeding does not produce Nobel Laureates. We have to start respecting basic scientific principles for a change.


  • Abbas from the US
    Oct 7, 2011 - 6:52PM

    @Ali Tanoli:

    We may be disagreement but please dont hesitate to express your views. This is a good forum to get to hear views across the spectrum.


  • Jameel
    Oct 7, 2011 - 7:02PM


    Correction, Abdus Salam was an ahmedi,
    not a muslim.

    Is that why he was brilliant?


  • Ali Tanoli
    Oct 7, 2011 - 7:28PM

    @ Abbas
    Thank u brother.


  • Muhammad Ahsan Khan
    Oct 7, 2011 - 7:29PM

    @ Dear All

    A Muslim Scientist does not do an Islamic Science nor a Jew and a Christian do any Jewish or Christian Science. All of them do the same

    Prof. Abdus Salam (Muslim?) shared his Nobel Prize with two other non-Muslims (Jew and/or Christian) Scientists. All three shared the same theory (Science) irrespective of their religions.

    Please avoid to make an amalgam of Religion and Science. These are two different subjects and they stay separately. There is no Scientific Religion nor a Religious Science.


    The origin of any Religion is Belief. The existence of Supreme Divinity is entirely based on Belief on (blind faith). The proof and reason of His existence is never asked nor challenged by a Believer.

    The Science, on the contrary, has nothing to do with Belief and Absolute Truth. It is based on Reason, Logic and Doubt. In science we study the natural pheThis golden period was not because of Islam. It was in spite of Islam nomena due to natural cause. The creator  remains out of the scientific domain. The science is entirely the brain-child of the human mind. There is no revelation from God nor any Divine Enlightenment.

    « The period between the 8th and 12th century, was a golden period of learning and advancement in the Muslim world.

    This golden period was not because of Islam. It was in spite of Islam

    “Religion is regarded by the common people True, by the wise as False and by the rulers as Useful.”

    These were the WISE Muslim scholars who created the Golden Period
    of ISLAM without any help from any religion.


  • It Is Economy Stupid
    Oct 7, 2011 - 7:33PM

    Sir You spoke too soon and assumed that no Muslim will be awarded a Nobel Prize. This morning a Yemeni women (yes a Muslim women) was a co-winner for the Nobel Prize for Peace. Nobel Prize is not won based on religion and is not controlled by CIA, RAW or MOSSAD. For e.g. Nobel Prize for Medicine 2011 was awarded to a Canadian born American who had died three days prior to the announcement and the committee at the time of announcement was not even aware of his death. If you are so much concerned about Nobel Prize for Muslim why not write article about school getting blown up by the extremist and denying Prize for future generations too. You are like your politicians making announcement that Pakistan needs educated labor force to revive the economy and than turn around and make a cut in education budget. Thing do not happen by just wishing.

  • Pasha-Nirasha
    Oct 7, 2011 - 7:51PM

    You’re so right. In-breeding is a serious problem among Muslims as well as certain subcultures in India. Funnily enough, Jews also practice it – although, it has come down over the last 30 years. And yet, Jews have more Nobel laureates than any other in the world. Go figure.


  • Faizan Ahmad
    Oct 7, 2011 - 8:10PM

    Read the line again “(I am not including the Peace Award because that is not awarded for intellectual achievement.)”@Anand:


  • Oct 7, 2011 - 8:17PM

    @Muhammad Ahsan Khan: All religion are as you said:
    You penned good rebuttal,more power to you,I will repeat,what you penned,by many thinkers ,many time over,beginning with Greek philosopher,Eppicorous,namely———-“ALL RELIGION, ARE COMMON MASSES BELIEVED AS TRUE, BY THE WISE AS FALSE ,AND BY RULERS AS USEFUL”


  • Faizan Ahmad
    Oct 7, 2011 - 8:27PM

    @It Is Economy Stupid:
    How many times he has to repeat he is not talking about Nobel PEACE price, and yeah Tawakkul Karman (Yemeni activist) is a Muslim who got NOBLE PEACE PRICE.


  • Oct 7, 2011 - 9:03PM

    Aziz AKhmad saheb,Salam,I do not think you are racist or bigoted person at all,neither you are bemoanning muslims and other minority are not winning nobel,just mearly stating hard facts and a opinion very mildly why?There are many reasons,one is religious dogmas,threat to life and property,and third is lack of deep pockets and funds,and also our culture does not allow us to think out side the box,we pegion hole ourself,if I could pin point,I might win nobel for original thought and concep,if I did!!.I have lived in West for almost 50 years,and I try to observe,analyse,and reflect,and often think or at least try to think out of box..Jews for reasons which are more historical,and since they were never accepted as normal people,they called us folks gentile,and always remained outside.It allowed for good or bad,mostly good, I think very original thinking reflecting minority,just go back to all historical documents,more than 50% of all most all advances,jews have major share.Even the great Philosopher Espenoza and Franj Kalfa were jewish,they died in low 40’s and Steve Jobs had jewish blood.Isreal a tiny country,has more patent than China,India and Islamic world togather,only USA is ahead in patent but USA is 3000 times larger and 100 times in population.There is no denying,there is something about respect for learning in jewish culture,the closest I can think of is tiny minority in south India living in tiny hamlet in Kerala,in Palghat town and near by Suba,called IYERs who are essentially Orthodox Brahmins who do not even inter marry even in same “Gothras’thus keeping their dna seperate,but the modern state of India and Tamilnadu by reservation have decimated them,that is difference between USA and India,one destroys and the other gives asylum to smart people,you have no idea how many south Indian have found shelter in USA,I’m not smart,but I’m one of the lucky South Indian Brahmin who found refuge,in USA.Jews are one of the most liberal and open minded people on earth,if you go to any meditation class or yoga,the most people will be jews and most few would be Muslims,I’m not making this up,how many yoga teaching school in Pakistan and middle East?Sir,if we want to progress,in next 100 years,at a minimum we got to seperate state and church,and keep outward expression of religion to ourself and not wear it on our sleeve or worse place chin.I know my voice and yours are whisling in wind and not likely to be heeded,at least I have the satisfection I live in USA where my life and limb are not going to seperated from my sockets,thankful to small mercy,I count my blessing.Thank you for your column


  • mateen saeed
    Oct 7, 2011 - 9:11PM

    @ Pundit
    I agree, muslim nobel Prizes must be initiated, first most deserving one to be nominated must be Mumtaz Qadri. jury must be headed by Sahibzaba Fazal Karim, Liaqat Balouch, Sarwat Qadri etc.


  • Jameel
    Oct 7, 2011 - 9:12PM

    Sir You spoke too soon and assumed
    that no Muslim will be awarded a Nobel
    Prize. This morning a Yemeni women
    (yes a Muslim women) was a co-winner
    for the Nobel Prize for Peace.

    Here is something about her;

    He noted that Karman, 32, is a
    member of a political party linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist
    sometimes viewed with
    suspicion in the West. Jagland,
    however, called the Brotherhood “an
    important part” of the Arab Spring.

    Nobel Peace Prize

    Wonder how Islamists view Nobel Prize now.


  • Muhammad Ahsan Khan
    Oct 7, 2011 - 9:16PM

    @ Hariharmani

    No it is not from any Greek philosopher but from a Roman Philosopher Seneca the Younger (4 BC – 65 AD): “Religion is regarded by the common people True, by the wise as False and by the rulers as Useful.”


  • Mirza
    Oct 7, 2011 - 9:22PM

    Jews have a lot more emphasis on education than most other groups. In fact in the US, the Asian Americans are also following the same path and in the near future people would know about that. Be that as it may, there are some rare diseases which are in common among orthodox Jews because of in-breeding. In certain groups their DNA is traced back to only a handful of women. If you do research you can find some skin and blood disorders specific to certain group of Jews.
    Thanks and regards,


  • Menon
    Oct 7, 2011 - 10:31PM



    India’s specifically Hindu contribution in areas of science, mathematics, medicine, art, literature, economy. astrnonomy, astrology and administration is far far greater than everyone else put together and is not surpasseed anyone even today. These are tens’s of thousands of years ahead of the Western Rennaissance. Please Google. These Hindu centers of learning were supressed Muslim invaders. You need to learn history.

    Basic Tenet of Hindu Philosophy (I do not consider Hinduism as a religion) is:

    “Philosophy is thinking about things we live with in the world we live in, sceince is learning about things in the world we live with in the world we live in and religion is living with things in the world we live with in the world we live in” – Annonymous Hindu Quote.

    There is the fundemental diffrence between Abrahamic Religions and Hindu Philosophy in a nut shell.


    Oct 7, 2011 - 11:20PM

    I had posted my comment yesterday on another topic in which I had stated that period between 8th and 12th century was the golden era period for the Muslims but with a difference that SECULARISM was practiced during that period but the same was not published by ET. If Islam and secularism could flourish during Middle ages and even successfully implemented by Muslim states even in the present times, then why the word secular is so much hated in Pakistan ?


  • ahmed
    Oct 7, 2011 - 11:27PM

    Trueman, The example of Steve jobs was to illustrate that Nobel is not the end all for everything. Talking of invention – do you know that 99% of basic inventions lead to nothing? Especially these days most inventions come out of big corporations and not individual researchers. That’s why you tell me any nobel prize winner from past 20 years and tell me how that compares to the one’s I mentioned. For you Ipod may not mean much, but hundreds of millions people around the world with the mac – the first graphical pc that changed the world, the Iod, the Ipad, the Iphone – a revolutionary device and Pixar that changed anamation forever. This is exactly the anti progress mindset that keeps Pakistanis behind. Our elite loves to get these fancy degrees from univs around the world but what do they do with them? nothing. Compare that with india or china. They may not have many nobel prizes but they know how to move forward and to innovate. You would very well know that in the west ‘markets’ are the ultimate king. How useful or unusable something is determined by markets. America’s business is business – sure u know that. I think nobels are good just like acknowledging works of amateur athletes as opposed to professional for example. But make no mistake about it. An invention that the market does not finds useful is quickly reflected in the markets.


  • Nothing but the Truth
    Oct 8, 2011 - 12:00AM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    Of course you make mistakes deliberately. Most people talk about mother tongue, while you use the term “forefather language”. Keep using it and with any luck it may get into common use in about two millennia.


  • Oct 8, 2011 - 1:06AM

    @Nothing but the Truth: This Ali Tanoli character is purely harmless,He tries to communicate,has very poor vocabulary,grammer ,spelling etc,etc,but harmless,he is poorly informed it reminds of Cosmo Krammer in Sinefield,but Sinefield indulges him,and Tribune which has gone up in my admiration,allows him,once some one complained to President Lincoln about the stupidity of Mary Toad Lincoln,the President asked for compassion for her,as he puts up with her 24 hour and counted years he was married to her,so please i appeal to your better Angels in you to cut him some slack,but there is real n**t job,General Secrectary by name Digvijay Singh from India,who writes utter nonsense in Tribune”Pl,PLease.


  • Ahmed
    Oct 8, 2011 - 1:27AM

    The author should check his facts: some yemeni woman is getting the peace prize. i agree that the ‘real’ prizes are not earned by muslim countries because the state of science there is abysmal!


  • trueman
    Oct 8, 2011 - 7:33AM

    I beg to differ, There is no doubt that Steve was an exceptional Marketing Manager and it is true that it is accepted around the world making apple second biggest company in the world in terms of earnings. No one is denying that.

    But then what do i want penicillin or iPod. And what is original in his product, that is life saving. Of course it may have paved way for application that mite have been used around the world which are quiet useful.

    Not every invention will be reflected in the market and it doesn’t have to. They lead to further research and further progression. Not every one is interested in physics as much as in getting an ipod gadget. But that doesn’t mean that invention in physics that do not impact the market are useless or but are far valued than what apple has to offer. Some theories in future leads to life changing equipment. E=mc2 is useless for market but not for physicist or a nuclear scientist.
    So please don’t compare the incomparable. No one is denying Steve his due, but is ipod an essential gadget for the million who use that, i doubt it but he still managed to sell it. And that’s what makes him successful and not the innovation itself.


  • vickram
    Oct 8, 2011 - 9:32AM

    When IG-NOBEL prizes are announced, you will find the names of many muslims !!!


  • Munir kakar
    Oct 8, 2011 - 9:57AM

    I was listening to a mullah in a friday congregation. The topic he had chosen was the source of knowledge or to be more specific epistemology. This philosophical concept was made simplified as he contended that all knowledge has been revealed to human beings. It is beyond the intellectual capacity of mortals to add an iota to it. By implication human beings are commanded to memorize it. That is what we in the muslim world are doing rather efficiently. The mullah further gave his verdict that anything beyond the divine knowledge is merely a skill and do not qualify to be called a branch of knowledge. Thus all physical, biological and social sciences or derived from divine knowledge. What this worldview suggest is that the muslims have to concentrate all their intellectual energies on rote learning. Given such an anti intellectual environment how can we expect to get to the pinnacle of knowledge. Poor Dr Salam; we humiliated you because you won the Noble Prize. Have you had the Dastar-i Fazilat we would have adored you.


  • Pasha-Nirasha
    Oct 8, 2011 - 11:23AM

    I nominate Zaid Hamid for the Ignoble Peace Prize for his Ghazwa-e-Duniya proposal. I hope somebody seconds my nomination.


  • kp
    Oct 8, 2011 - 5:22PM

    @MD: great analysis.we need more beautiful minds like this to move forward.


  • Adeel759
    Oct 8, 2011 - 5:36PM

    @Faisal. You provided the reasonwhy Muslims are unable to achieve Nobel Prize in Science, Math and Economics. Because you want to keep us Busy fighting about who is who.


  • Ali Tanoli
    Oct 8, 2011 - 5:51PM

    @ Fahim
    Childrens of your ummah leaders have quata in westren unversities and yes one more thing
    please all of you can give englesh education to poors of ummah or just like to talk like every year U.N.O peoples talk and in pakistan only 25% peoples can read and write and
    70% dont have food they gonna invent inglish please forgive me guys i am not your type
    and yes i am not very well educated i study in madrasa school and after that i learn english by my own thats the reason i make lot of mistakes i am from very poor family
    background but i am not shame of that and may be i am not send any more message
    from now on….


  • observer
    Oct 8, 2011 - 6:09PM


    Can you tell me exactly why Steve jobs be given Nobel price. For inventing iPod ?

    When did Steve Jobs get the Nobel? Being your usual ill-informed self?


  • mateen saeed
    Oct 8, 2011 - 9:26PM

    Zaid Hamid must be awarded Ignoble award


  • Ducky
    Oct 8, 2011 - 11:03PM

    The lack of Nobel Laureates seems to be an American and Zionist conspiracy against the Muslim world.


  • csmann
    Oct 9, 2011 - 1:19AM


    oh! why not.Any ill in muslim society is an american and zionist conspiracy?it is too easy to blame somebody else for one’s deficiencies.but unless one has insight of being sick,one will never seek treatment ,and get better.
    one of the reasons muslim world does not get nobel-prizes is the ignorant mullahs’ hold over society,thereby converting the youth into it is not only this or past generations,but future generations also are unlikely to get nobels;(if one does , it will be ,as somebody in this thread said,in spite of being muslim)


  • Oct 9, 2011 - 6:42PM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    If I have hurt your feeling,I’m very sorry,You are humble and good guy,your idea are not very well researched,may be you are very young,but your effort to communicate is loudable,but I will urge you,in spirit of your own religion,do not hate others especially who are not of your religion,remember in Kuran it says there is’No compulsion”of othe’rs FAITH,remain a kind person,be good.Do not give up,internet is a great tool for self education if you keep an open mind.Good luck.Hope to hear from you.Cheers.


  • Pasha
    Oct 9, 2011 - 7:13PM

    I recommend “Moise” for the Muslim Nobel Prize. He tirelessly defends the indefensible day after day. Everything that is wrong with the Muslim world is either a Zionist conspiracy, an Indian conspiracy or an American one. His unshakable faith in his beliefs – albeit warped, qualifies him for this most exalted of prizes !!


  • Oct 9, 2011 - 7:27PM

    @Ch Allah Daad: I have been to Gettsburg national cemetery,and been to the exact spot where Lincoln addressed the famous speech,the only reason the speech word per word preserved for us all posterity,is not because people heard it and repeated to the crowd,that is preposterous,it is because the entire 2 minute speech with hand writen correction,by Lincoln himself is preserved at Libary of congress,in Washington d.c and in Springfield Il,so please do not defend the undefendable,the idea 150,000 were there is less than truth,I choose my word carefully,as I believe words are window into our very souls,how and what we think and believe,at least you do not doubt my figures as they are from historical records,and British,or rewrite do not, twist history as we do, facts to suit religion,sects,or caste,they write with warts and all,that is why they have come out of “Dark age”and have become part of the “progressive ‘world. West do not rewrite,or falsify facts. We do not go to Harward and Yale to learn falsified ,delibarate lies. ,
    Sir,I study history and take pride in learning,I would have accepted your contension if it was feacible to repeat to 150,000,leave alone small crowd,then you have to depend on 100 people’s ability and memeory,and remember these were ordinary Beaduin,not highly educated of modern days,case closed.


  • Abbas from the US
    Oct 9, 2011 - 7:31PM

    @Ali Tanoli:

    Don’t be discouraged by people making personal comments.
    I think the ET editorial team instead of not publishing comments that may have a political volitility, or those that draw attention to shortcomings in Pakistani society but are not appreciated by the powers that be, should instead censure personal comments.

    We are all humans with weaknesses and, I like many more on this forum may respond to disagreement with personal comments. But maybe you are not formulating your ideas with the expectations of the other commentrators, but I can read the same sensitivity to the Pakistani suffering within its society, in the points that you make that others do with better formulation.


  • Muhammad Ahsan Khan
    Oct 10, 2011 - 9:55AM

    Dear Aziz Akhmad,

    Your next century is almost in the pocket!



  • Oct 12, 2011 - 9:57AM

    The vast majority of scientists are atheists – even in the religious US, some 80% of scientists are atheists. Progress in science does not mix well with religious dogma. You have to be open minded and accept the truth – not old stories. Take, for example, the age of our planet. Using scientific methods, we can see it is millions of years old. We can see evolution is true and that God did not create humans.


  • Nov 26, 2011 - 7:43PM

    Nice name calling, cornerstone of intellectual discussion.

    Pax Judaica cometh. You can call any name to me but you can’t defend what Ministry of Truth aka news channel told you.


  • Nov 26, 2011 - 7:45PM

    Here is something from BBC an artifact of Pax Britannica . Watch this and tell me who is running the planet?


More in Opinion