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The Intellectual Endowments of the Muslims Upon the Modern Western World


In the Muslim world, the awe-struck admiration of the West resembles a spiritual, psychological, mental, intellectual, civilizational, and historical sickness. This ailment has shattered the Muslim individual and collective identity into pieces. The extent of this sickness is such that it blinds Muslims to any skill in themselves and any flaw in the West. The Muslim community sees the West as a sun and the Muslim Ummah as just a speck of dust, when in reality, whatever the West is today is due to the contributions of Muslims. Particularly in its intellectual sphere, it bears the stamp of Muslim intellectual thought and civilization. However, the awareness of this is not common. The purpose of this article, now published in the form of a booklet, is to make this knowledge common among Muslims. It aims to show that in the past, Muslims influenced the West in the same way that Muslims today are influenced by the West. The importance of this article lies in its references, which are all from the writings of Western intellectuals. This means that Western intellectuals themselves have started to acknowledge that all the development in the West is due to Muslim contributions. If the Muslims and their civilization had not existed, the West could not have become what it is today. I am sure that as the information in this booklet becomes common knowledge, Muslims will start to come out of their inferiority complex. They will begin to understand their own worth and, with the consciousness of their great past, will construct a great present and future.

In my 28 years of creative life, I have written on thousands of topics, but I have avoided writing on one topic despite demands and requests. This topic is: The intellectual endowments of Muslims upon the modern Western world. The reason for avoiding this topic is that the most significant and important knowledge in Islamic civilization is theology. Theology includes knowledge of God’s being and attributes as well as His commandments. The success of Muslims in this world and the hereafter depends on this knowledge. However, the problem with the modern West is that it has elevated the knowledge of science and technology to the highest level. As soon as we start discussing the notion that all of the modern West’s scientific and technological advancements are owed to Muslims, we begin the process of giving undue importance to science and technology. Islam is not against science and technology, but in the civilizational cosmos of Islam, science and technology are considered secondary knowledge. Islam encourages the study of the material world and the phenomena of the universe, but in its view, material facts and cosmic phenomena should be regarded as signs of the “Truth” and should bring people closer to their Creator and Master. However, modern Western science neither acknowledges God nor adheres to religion. Hence, linking modern science to the intellectual tradition of Muslims is not without danger. Unfortunately, there are writers among us who, while believing that modern science and technology are the exclusive glory of the West, continuously curse and abuse Muslims, stating that Muslims have no standing before the West. They say, “You have no science, no technology. You neither invent anything nor innovate, and on top of that, you criticize the West. Aren’t you ashamed?” Reading such writings has always made my blood boil, but since I do not consider the progress of science and technology to be of particular importance, I have avoided discussing this topic. However, Javed Chaudhry, Hassan Nisar, and Muhammad Bilal Ghauri have crossed the limits in insulting Islamic civilization and Muslims, which has compelled me to take up the pen on this subject and discuss the intellectual, scientific, technological, and cultural endowments of Muslims to the modern West. But before delving into the main topic, let’s see how Javed Chaudhry, Hassan Nisar, and Muhammad Bilal Ghauri have insulted Islamic civilization and Muslims.

Javed Chaudhry writes: “Look at the misfortune of the Islamic world today, we cannot even protect the Kaaba without European guns, tanks, cannons, bullets, and American warplanes. Our educational state is such that not a single university from the Islamic world is in the list of the top 100 universities in the world. All the research papers produced by the entire Islamic world amount to only half of the research produced in one city in the US, Boston. The rulers of the entire Islamic world go to Europe and America for treatment, they want to spend the last part of their lives in Europe, America, Canada, and New Zealand. Ninety percent of the world’s history is in Islamic countries, but ninety percent of the affluent people from the Islamic world go to Western countries for tourism. In the last five hundred years, we have not given the world a single medicine, weapon, new philosophy, food, good book, new sport, or good law. If we had at least invented a good shoe in these five hundred years, our obligation would have been fulfilled. In a thousand years, we have not been able to create a clean toilet. We have not even made socks, slippers, and clothes that are cool in summer and warm in winter. If we had at least made paper, a printing machine, and ink for the publication of the Quran, our honor would have been saved. We even get the cloth for the Kaaba’s covering from Italy. We even buy the sound system for the holy mosques of Mecca and Medina (haramain-shariifain) from Jewish companies. Even Zamzam water is extracted by infidel companies. Our prayer beads and prayer mats come from China, and our Ihram and shrouds are made on German machines. Whether we admit it or not, it is a fact that the 1.5 billion Muslims of the world are nothing more than consumers. Europe invents and creates blessings, brings them to the Islamic world, and we use them, and then we glare at the inventors and creators. Believe me, the year Australia and New Zealand refuse to provide sheeps to Saudi Arabia, Muslims will not be able to perform sacrificial rituals during Hajj. And the day Europe and America stop selling cars, planes, and computers to the Islamic world, we will be confined to our homes, unable to venture out into the city. This is who we are, and this is our worth.” (Javed Chaudhry’s column. Daily Express, March 4, 2018)

Now, observe Hassan Nisar’s nonsense. In one of his TV programs, the recording of which is available on YouTube, commenting on a statement by a “Maulana,” he said: “Man, for God’s sake, let these ‘Maulanas’ allow Muslims to live. Let them live. Let our children compete with the West. Have mercy. What kind of revenge are they taking from us? The disaster and ruin of Muslims began when ‘Maulana Islam’ said, ‘We don’t need the printing press.’ We went centuries back. The first medical college, Maulana said no, this is un-Islamic. They say this flush system is non-Islamic; the toothbrush (all these were brought by the West). Understand this. Not a single well-digger (meaning Muslims); the hand pump was brought by the white man. Have mercy on us. When they fall ill, they rush to the hospital. Have you made even a single medicine, any surgical instruments or machines? Aren’t you ashamed? It’s better to die than this. Going to the hospital means you have placed yourself at the mercy of the West. All those tests, etc. … You sit on a plane to earn the rewards of Hajj and Umrah, then at least give 5 percent of the reward to those who facilitated you. It used to take lifetimes to travel for Hajj and Umrah, and no one knew if they would return or not. Now our mosques are mostly air-conditioned, and we peacefully perform our prayers. They gave us electricity through which this conversation is happening and reaching millions of people. From rail to car, you sit on them, and cruises too. From bicycles to satellites, the West has given us everything, from poultry to hybrid seeds, from TV to supercomputers, smartphones to blood transfusions. We have no shame. From injections, which were mocked by the Mullahs, to loudspeakers, which were called Satanic instruments. From Disprin to liver transplants. I pray for their health. May they keep moving and walking; may it never come to a liver transplant. Fear God, from robots to going to Mars. We don’t have anything. Show me one contribution of Muslims to humanity in the present era. You are living your lives at their (West) mercy. Turkey, the Ottoman Empire, that ruled over three continents, ruined us. They turned Muslims so backward.

Naked legs and no Hijab or alcohol, no more. Edison gave his life to give us more than a thousand inventions. Why don’t they think so? In their minds, Westerners are also creations… they are creations of my Lord. The Quran tells us a wisdom: “Indeed, you will prevail if you are believers.” The one who always prevails is the one closest to the believer. And we are liars. Nothing pure is found here; while there (in the West), the concept of adulteration doesn’t even exist. We have counterfeit factories. People loot the country and go abroad. Oh, what do you do? And you curse the West! On what basis are we a nuclear power? From where do you claim to be a nuclear power? This was an accessory, a tool in World War II, this weapon was already used. It was conceived and made before that, then it was used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So we are a nuclear power? Tanks, modern weapons, where are they from? Who are these people? The Westerners. Oh, prepare your children to compete with the Westerners. Prepare your children, or our children will be trampled under their feet. What is happening to us. Oh, where do you go for higher education? You don’t have a decent higher education institution in your entire country. This question is intended to destroy my blood pressure. Maulana, fear God. Be afraid. Saying such things means you do not believe in the Day of Judgment. There will be no justice, this means. Westerners… Westerners have the highest level of morality and ethics. I am saying this. Two fatwas against me. And at every step, your elections are false, you are saying it yourself. Your assemblies are fake. Our elections are fraud. Your prime minister, your everything is wrong. Their everything is right. Then Westerners… Oh, imitate them. Live, why are you ruining us. (Posted on YouTube on September 9, 2018)

Muhammad Bilal Ghauri mocked the claim of Hindus in his column that they had made great achievements in science and technology in the distant past. This was not an opportunity to throw mud at Muslims, but how could he, being an admirer of Nawaz Sharif, not mock Islamic civilization and Muslims? Hence, Muhammad Bilal Ghauri wrote under the title “India Can Be Defeated”:

“In our country too, many researchers have worked diligently in this regard. There are such unique individuals who, after every invention or discovery, find a reference that so-and-so in the university of Cordoba, Toledo, or Seville had presented this theory many centuries ago. Many of our religious scholars and researchers have proven in their writings that the modern scientific inventions and research happening today were already done by Muslims many centuries ago. Compared to India, our right of preemption on science and research is much stronger. For example, we have proven that before the Wright brothers, Ibn Firnas invented the flying machine. Five hundred years before Galileo, Ibn Hazm had proven that the earth is round. Our list of ownership is much longer than that of India. But if the government supports it, we can move forward with even more enthusiasm. If historical references are found and a claim is filed, at least the fraud and deception of these infidels can be exposed. If an annual Pakistan Congress is held here like in India, and not only prominent religious scholars but also intellectuals promoting such alternative narratives are invited, then surely India can be defeated in this field very soon.” (Daily Jang, January 10, 2019)

When we reviewed the “words of wisdom” of Javed Chaudhry, Hassan Nisar, and Bilal Ghauri together, an old poem came to mind:

جعفر از بنگال صادق از دکن

ننگِ ملت، ننگِ دیں، ننگِ وطن

(Jafar from Bengal, Sadiq from Deccan,
A shame for the community, the religion, and the country)

Some people believe that the highest symbol of Islamic civilization’s development is Muslim Spain, Granada, and Cordoba. However, those who say this are not aware of the true spirit of Islam and its original identity. The highest point of Muslim civilization is not Granada and Cordoba, but Medina. The Medina of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the Medina of the Rightly Guided Caliphs. The Medina of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) because he himself said that his era is the best. And the era of the Rightly Guided Caliphs because the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that after his era, the best era is the one that will come after him. It is evident that during the era of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the Rightly Guided Caliphs, there was no development in science or technology. During that time, the state of Muslim “civilization” was such that when Hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) arrived in Egypt to receive the keys of Egypt, the governor of Egypt said that the people of Egypt are “refined” and your clothes are dusty; it would be good if you changed your clothes. Upon hearing this, Hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) replied that our honor is because of Islam, not because of our clothes. Hazrat Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) once drew Hazrat Umar’s attention to this matter. She said that until the conquest of Khyber, we used to eat dates and drink water. But now our empire has expanded, and we have many financial resources. Foreign ministers and ambassadors come to meet you, so it would be good if you stopped wearing patched clothes. Upon hearing this, Hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said that he could not abandon the way of his two companions, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him). This was the “real civilization” of the Muslims. This was the “real development” of the Muslims. Compared to this, the civilization and development of Muslim Spain, Baghdad, and Delhi were nothing. But since for Javed Chaudhry, Hassan Nisar, Bilal Ghauri, and people like them, science and technology, medicine, hospitals, and lifestyle are everything, we are “forced” to mention the “civilization” and “development” of Muslims in these sectors. So where should the discussion begin?

Robert Briffault’s book Making of Humanity has been mentioned in my brother Umar Ibrahim’s columns, but he has quoted very little from it. For treating people like Javed Chaudhry, Hassan Nisar, and Bilal Ghori, it is essential to make maximum use of this book. Additionally, Michael Hamilton Morgan’s remarkable work Lost History is such a valuable resource on this topic that it should be mentioned repeatedly. Briffault writes:

“There was indeed something of the old pagan, Hellenic joy of life in the spirit of that new splendour which arose like the fantastic creation of a jinni at the beck of the Khalifs, and spread its glinting opulence and delicate wizardry over the civilization of the Thousand and One Nights. A hedonism refined withal and tempered by the superb gravity of the Bedawin, and a philosophic seriousness mindful while it quaffed the cup that it was but a small matter, and a frail tenure resting upon the caprice of kismet. The incorruptible treasures and delights of intellectual culture were accounted by the princes of Baghdad, Shiraz and Cordova, the truest and proudest pomps of their courts. But it was not as a mere appanage of princely vanity that the wonderful growth of Islamic science and learning was fostered by their patronage. They pursued culture with the personal ardour of an overmastering craving. Never before and never since, on such a scale, has the spectacle been ‘witnessed of the ruling classes throughout the length and breadth of a vast empire given over entirely to a frenzied passion for the acquirement of knowledge. Learning seemed to have become with them the chief business of life. Khalifs and Emirs hurried from their diwans to closet themselves in their libraries and observatories; they neglected their affairs of state — which they in general sorely mismanaged — to attend lectures and converse on mathematical problems ‘”with men of science; caravans laden with manuscripts and botanical specimens plied from Bokhara to the Tigris, from Egypt to Andalusia; embassies were sent to Constantinople and to India for the sole purpose of obtaining books and teachers; a collection of Greek authors or a distinguished mathematician was eagerly demanded as the ransom of an empire. To every mosque was attached a school; wazirs vied with their masters in establishing public libraries, endowing colleges, ‘founding bursaries for impecunious students. Men of learning, irrespectively of race or religion, took precedence over all others; honours and riches were showered upon them, they were appointed to the government of provinces; a retinue of professors and a camel train of books accompanied the Khalifs in their journeys and expeditions.

It was under the influence of the Arabian and Moorish revival of culture, and not in the fifteenth century, that the real Renaissance took place. Spain, not Italy, was the cradle of the rebirth of Europe. After steadily sinking lower and lower into barbarism, it had reached the darkest depths of ignorance and degradation when the cities of the Saracenic world, Baghdad, Cairo, Cordova, Toledo, were growing centres of civilization and intellectual activity. It was there that the new life arose which was to grow into a new phase of human evolution. From the time when the influence of their culture made itself felt, began the stirring of a new life.”

(Making of Humanity, Robert Briffault,  pages 187 to 189/ Urdu Translation by Abdul Majeed Salik, pages 252 to 254)

Now see the intellectual splendor of Muslims in the 11th century:

“Late in the reign of the Umayyad caliphs of Spain, the Great Mosque of Cordoba begun by Abd al-Rahman I will be enlarged and embellished, and a new royal retreat called Medina Azahara outside Cordoba will be built. At its peak in the 11th century, Cordoba will be the most advanced city in Europe with a population of half a million, boasting of some 300 baths, 300 mosques, 50 hospitals, and a high public literacy expressed in libraries, public and private, with more books than in all the rest of Europe.”

(Lost History, By Michal Hamilton Morgan page 69)

Michael Hamilton Morgan states that the 11th-century population of Cordoba was only 500,000, yet it had 300 mosques, 50 hospitals, and 300 baths. More importantly, a single city in the Muslim world had more books than all of Europe. Do you know what the population of Europe was at that time? 40 million.

It is essential to inform the intellectual and mental slaves of the West that the influence of Islamic civilization on modern Western civilization was neither superficial nor minor. This influence was so significant, profound, and multifaceted that Briffault had to write:

“It is highly probable that but for the Arabs modern European civilization would never have arisen at all; it is absolutely certain that but for them, it would not have assumed that character which has enabled it to transcend all previous phases of evolution. For although there is not a single aspect of European growth in which the decisive influence of Islamic culture is not traceable, nowhere is it so clear and momentous as in the genesis of that power which constitutes the paramount distinctive force of the modern world and the supreme source of its victory — natural science and the scientific spirit.

It must be admitted that, in recoil from the general conspiracy of silence of our histories, several writers who have sought to vindicate the claims of Arab culture have somewhat exaggerated the achievements of Arabian science. Against such loose panegyrics it has been objected, that Arab science produced no surpassing genius and no transcending discovery; that it was derived from extraneous sources. That is substantially true, but entirely irrelevant. Arab astronomy did not forestall Copernicus or Newton, though without it there would have been no Copernicus and no Newton. Although the complexity of the Ptolemaic system was repeatedly criticized by Moorish astronomers, although Al-Zarkyal declared the planetary orbits to be ellipses and not circles, although the orbit of Mercury is in

Al-Farani’s tables actually represented as elliptical, although Muhammad Ibn Musa glimpsed in his works on Astral Motion and The Force of Attraction the law of universal gravitation, those adumbrations of the truth were not fruitful of any great reform. The only important facts brought to light by Arabian astronomy, the discovery of the movements of the sun’s apogee by Al-Batani, and of the secondary variations of the moon’s motion by Abu ‘1-Wafa, exercised no perceptible influence upon the course of research, and had to be rediscovered by Tycho. Ibn Sina is said to have employed an air thermometer, and Ibn Yunis certainly did use the pendulum for the measurement of time ; but neither of those devices, which were independently reintroduced by Galileo, can be counted as a contribution to the growth of science.

That, however, is entirely beside the point. The debt of our science to that of the Arabs does not consist in startling discoveries or revolutionary theories; science owes a great deal more to Arab culture, it owes its existence. The ancient world was, as we saw, pre-scientific. The astronomy and mathematics of the Greeks were a foreign importation never thoroughly acclimatized in Greek culture. The Greeks systematized, generalized and theorized, but the patient ways of investigation, the accumulation of positive knowledge, the minute methods of science, detailed and prolonged observation, experimental inquiry, were altogether alien to the Greek temperament. Only in Hellenistic Alexandria was any, approach to scientific work conducted in the ancient classical world. What we call science arose in Europe as a result of a new spirit of inquiry, of new methods of investigation, of the method of experiment, observation, measurement, of the development of mathematics in a form unknown to the Greeks. That spirit and those methods were introduced into the European world by the Arabs.”

(Making of Humanity, Robert Briffault,  pages 190 to 191/ Urdu Translation by Abdul Majeed Salik, pages 256 to 258)

Do people realize the significance of the aforementioned facts? The influence of Islamic civilization on modern Western civilization is such that without it, modern West could not have become what it is today. Briffault clearly stated that although Islamic civilization did not produce Copernicus and Newton, without it, Copernicus and Newton could not have existed, and without them, there would be no modern science in the West.

When the contributions of Islamic civilization are mentioned, some people say, “What did the Muslims really do? They mostly took their knowledge from the Greeks and passed it on to Europe.” However, this statement undermines the extraordinary creative abilities of Muslims. Just read what Robert Briffault says about Muslims:

“They (Muslims) accepted the conclusions of the Greeks as working theories necessary to the pursuit of scientific inquiry, only venturing to criticize or modify them as the expansion of knowledge forced them to adapt them to new facts. They have been reproached with imposing a dogmatic spirit in science upon Europe. Christian Europe had little to learn in the way of dogmatism; and those theories, such as the Ptolemaic system, the geographical doctrine of  ‘climates’, the doctrine of alchemical transmutation, which it received from the Arabs, were not Arabic, but Greek. But the spirit in which the Arabs made use of existing materials was the exact opposite of that of the Greeks. It supplied precisely what had been the weak and defective aspect of Greek genius. For the Greeks it was in theory and generalization that the interest lay, they were neglectful and careless of fact; the Arabian inquirers zeal, on the contrary, was careless of theory, and directed to the accumulation of concrete facts, and to giving to their knowledge a precise and quantitative form. What makes all the difference between fruitful, enduring science and mere loose scientific curiosity, is the quantitative as against the qualitative statement, the anxiety for the utmost attainable accuracy in measurement. In that spirit of objective research and quantitative accuracy the whole of the vast scientific work of the Arabs was conducted.

They accepted Ptolemy’s cosmology, but not his catalogue of stars or his planetary table, or his measurements. They drew up numerous new star catalogues, correcting and greatly amplifying the Ptolemaic one ; they compiled new sets of planetary tables, obtained more accurate values for the obliquity of the ecliptic and the precession of equinoxes, checked by two independent measurements of a meridian the estimates of the size of the earth. They devised for the carrying out of those observations elaborate instruments superior to those of the Greeks and exceeding in accuracy those manufactured in the fifteenth century at the famous Nuremberg factory. Each observer took up the, work independently, sought to eliminate the personal equation, and the method of continuous observation was systematically carried out — some observations extending over twelve years — at the observatories of Damascus, Baghdad, and Cairo. So much importance did they attach to accuracy in their records that those of special interest were formally signed on oath in legal form.

The same objective and quantitative spirit is manifested in all their activities. When Al-Mamun ordered his post -master, Ibn Khurdadbeh, to draw up an account of his dominions and of all the sea and land routes in use — the first of those numerous geographical works of the Arabs which opened a new view of the world1 and a new geography—he insisted that each place should be localized by accurately detertnined longitudes and latitudes. Al-Byruny travelled forty years to collect mineralogical specimens; and his tables of specific weights obtained by differential weighing are found to be correct. Ibn Baitar collected botanical specimens from the whole Muslim world and compared the floras of India and Persia with those of Greece and Spain; his work describing 1,400 plants is pronounced by Meyer “a monument of industry.” Contrast that spirit of scientific minuteness and perseverance in observation with the speculative methods of the ancients who scorned mere empiricism; with Aristotle who wrote physics without performing a single experiment/ and on natural history without taking the trouble to -ascertain the most easily verifiable facts, who calmly states that men have more teeth than women, while Galen, the greatest classical authority on anatomy, informs us that the lower jaw consists of two bones, a statement which is accepted unchallenged till ‘Abd al-Letif takes the trouble to examine human skulls. The Arabs gathered their knowledge from whatever sources were at hand. The bulk of their astronomy and some of their mathematics came from Greek and Hellenistic sources. That ancient science of the Greeks had itself been originally derived from the Babylonians, migrants from Arabia to Mesopotamia, like the Arabs. Thus that ancient science which the latter restored to Europe was itself the achievement of their own ancient cousins from whom the Greeks had once borrowed it. But by a singular good fortune another source of scientific knowledge had become available. In the Gupta Renaissance of the fifth century in India a notable intellectual movement had taken place. Two writers in particular, Aryo-Bhatta and Brahmagupta, had produced important novelties in mathematics. In the hands of the Arabs those new methods became combined with the unwieldy and unpractical methods of the Greek mathematicians, and further elaborated. While the highest mathematical knowledge of the Christian West did not extend beyond a laboured use of the rule of three, and the simplest operations of arithmetic were performed by means of the abacus — the same device of wires and beads that is used in our kindergartens — the Arabs perfected the decimal system of notation by introducing the use of the cipher or zero (Ar. zirr) ; they created Algebra and carried it to the solution of equations of the fourth degree, and trigonometry, substituting sines and tangents for the chord of the Greeks, and thus multiplied a thousandfold the powers of human inquiry.

Not only did the Arabs create those mathematics which were to be the indispensable instrument of scientific analysis, they laid the foundation of those methods of experimental research which in conjunction with mathematical analysis gave birth to modern science. Chemistry, the rudiments of which arose in the processes employed by Egyptian metallurgists and jewellers — combining metals into various alloys and ‘ tinting ‘ them to resemble gold — processes long preserved as a secret monopoly of the priestly colleges, and clad in the usual mystic formulas, developed in the hands of the Arabs into a widespread, organized passion for research which led them to the invention of distillation, sublimation, filtration, to the discovery of alcohol, of nitric and sulphuric acids (the only acid known to the ancients was vinegar), of the alkalis, of the salts of mercury, of antimony and bismuth, and laid the basis of all subsequent chemistry and physical research.”

(Making of Humanity, Robert Briffault,  pages 192 to 195/ Urdu Translation by Abdul Majeed Salik, pages 260 to 262)

Robert Briffault is not the only one who is captivated by the unparalleled intellectual achievements of Muslims. Michael Hamilton Morgan, in his 301-page book titled Lost History, which details the scholarly, scientific, and technical accomplishments of Muslims, writes:

“Over the next four centuries in Baghdad, building on the tradition of al-Mamun and his forebears, new institutions will arise to supplement the House of Wisdom, even to replace it. The first major urban hospital anywhere will go up in the tenth century. Two madrassas are established. They will grow into global universities, the 11th-century Nizamiya and the 13th-century Mustansiriyah Colleges. Mustansiriyah will offer free tuition, medical care, and room and board. Observatories will spring up at Shammasiyah, associated with the House of Wisdom, and in the private homes of freelance astronomers like al-Hasan and the Banu Musa brothers. By the 13th century Baghdad will have 36 public libraries and 100 booksellers.”

(Lost History, By Michal Hamilton Morgan page 60)

Michael writes that in 10th-century Baghdad, a hospital had already been established, and two madrasas had been founded, which later evolved into universities. Baghdad had an astronomical center, 36 public libraries, and 100 bookshops. At that time, Europe had none of these, and whatever it did have was not on par with Baghdad. According to Michael Hamilton, Baghdad at that time had the world’s first think tanks. Additionally, there was a unique system of computing that had no parallel; instead of computers, human minds performed the computing tasks. (Ibid. page 68)

Today, ignorant people like Javed Chaudhry and Hassan Nisar ask Muslims, “What are you compared to the West?” There was a time when the West was nothing compared to us. Just as our youth today head to Western universities, there was a time when European youths and elders would come to Muslim universities. Just as we learn Western languages today, Western people used to learn our languages. Robert Briffault has detailed all these aspects. He writes:

“Arabian knowledge began at an early date to percolate into Christian Europe. If there be any ground of fact in the legend of the alchemical pursuits of St. Dunstan, Arabian lore must have been much more widely diffused in the tenth century than can be shown by surviving records. Under absolute religious tolerance, Christians enjoyed complete freedom in the Spanish Khalifate; they had their own bishop; several monasteries existed in the outskirts of the capital which served as hostels for travellers, and monks were commonly seen in the streets of Cordjova. From all parts of Europe numerous students betook themselves to the great Arab seats of learning in search of the light which only there was to be found. Alvaro, a Cordovan bishop, writes in the ninth century: “All the young Christians who distinguish themselves by their talent, know the language and literature of the Arabs, read and study passionately the Arab books, gather at great expense great libraries of these, and everywhere proclaim with a loud voice how admirable is that literature.” The famous Gerbert of Aurillac brought from Spain some rudiments of astronomy and mathematics, and taught his astonished pupils from terrestrial and celestial1 globes. Though his learning was not deep, and it is probably erroneously, that he is credited with introducing the decimal notation —he still used the Roman abacus — his keen taste for knowledge “stolen from the Saracen,” in William of Malmesbury’s phrase, made him, as Pope Sylvester II, the hero of fantastic Faust legends widely popular throughout the Middle Ages.

During the next two centuries the process of diffusion assumed an extensive scale. An African monk, Constantine, who had acted as secretary to Robert Guiscard, devoted himself with enthusiasm to the translation of Arab textbooks and to introducing the new learning into the mother house of the Benedictines at Monte Cassino, whence the path lay open for its transmission to the far-flung houses of the order. Another Benedictine, Adelhard of Bath, brought with him from Cordova a large collection of books and much doctrine, which he and his nephew actively spread abroad in France and England. From his copy of Euclid all subsequent editions down to 1533 have been published. Daniel de Morlay likewise proceeded to Cordova to learn mathematics and astronomy, published the fruits of his studies and lectured at Oxford. Plato of Tivoli translated AlBatani’s astronomy and other mathematical works. At the end of the twelfth century a young Pisan merchant, Leonardo Fibonacci, while travelling in Algeria and Spain became enamoured of the new mathematical sciences of the Arabs, and after several new journeys issued a translation of Al-Khwarismi’s great work on algebra. He definitely popularized the perfected decimal notation, which became known, with the facilitated arithmetic resulting from it, as algorism, from the Arabian writer’s name. Fibonacci, whose work had a wide influence, must be accounted the founder of modern mathematics in Christian Europe and the first of the long line of Italian mathematicians. Gerard of Cremona was the most industrious among the popularizers of Arab literature; he spent fifty years in the Khalifate of Cordova and brought forth no less than sixty translations, among which the Almagest, and the Astronomy of Al-Haitham. Michael Scot repeatedly visited Cordova for the purpose of obtaining manuscripts and making translations. The influx of students into Spain and the activity of translators went on till the last days of the Khalifate. Arnold of Villeneuve, and Raymond Lully, the friend of Bacon, studied in Spain and taught at Montpellier; Campanus of Novara studied mathematics at Cordova and taught in Vienna; and systematic schools for the translation of Arab textbooks were established in Toledo by Alfonso the Sage.”

(Making of Humanity, Robert Briffault,  pages 198 to 199/ Urdu Translation by Abdul Majeed Salik, pages 267 to 269)

People like Hassan Nisar and Javed Chaudhry also taunt Muslims by saying, “You are 1.6 billion people but you are nothing. Look at the Jews, they are a handful but dominate the whole world.” For their information, even the Jews were taught modern sciences by Muslims. Robert Briffault writes:

“The Jews shared under the complete tolerance of Moorish rule in the cultural evolution of the Khalifate; and as they scattered over Europe, especially after the Almohadean conquest, became the carriers of that culture to the remotest barbaric lands. We find them freely teaching and discussing with the inmates of secluded monasteries whose curiosity for the strange learning prevailed upon their religious prejudices. French and German monks obtain from them the textbooks of the new sciences; and even literary nuns in Thuringian convents, such as the famous Hildegard and Hroswitha, did not disdain to avail themselves of their learning. They established numerous schools, such as that of the ‘Kimhis and of Ben Esra at Narbonne, where Arabian science was popularized and Arabic books translated. Numerous Jews followed William of Normandy to England and enjoyed his protection, building there the first stone burgher houses which may still be seen at Lincoln and St. Edmundsbury, and establishing a school of science at Oxford; it was under their successors at that Oxford school that Roger Bacon learned Arabic and Arabic science. Neither Roger Bacon nor his later namesake has any title to be credited with having introduced the experimental method. Roger Bacon was no more than one of the apostles of Muslim science and method to Christian Europe; and he never wearied of declaring that a knowledge of Arabic and Arabian science was for his contemporaries the only way to true knowledge. Discussions as to who was the originator of the experimental method, like the fostering of every Arab discovery or invention on the first European who happens to mention it, such as the invention of the compass to a fabulous Flavio Gioja of Amalfi, of alcohol to Arnold of Villeneuve, of lenses and gunpowder to Bacon or Schwartz, are part of the colossal misrepresentation of the origins of European civilization. The experimental method of the Arabs was by Bacon’s time widespread and eagerly cultivated throughout Europe; it had been proclaimed by Adelhard of Bath, by Alexander pf Neckam, by Vincent of Beauvais, by Arnold of Villeneuve, by Bernard Silvestris, who entitles his manual Experimentarius, by Thomas of Cantimpre, by Albertus Magnus.

In the hands of Jewish doctors trained in Arab schools, where medical art had been carried far beyond that of the ancients, the practice and teaching of medicine remained throughout the Middle Ages. The pharmacopoeia created by the Arabs is virtually that which, but for the recent synthetic and organotherapic preparations, is in use at the present day; our common drugs, such as nux vomica, senna, rhubarb, aconite, gentian, myrrh, calomel, and the structure of our prescriptions, belong to Arabic medicine. The medical school of Montpellier was founded on the pattern of that of Cordova under Jew doctors. The example was imitated at Padua and later at Pisa, where together with the Canons of Avicenna (Ibn Sina) and the Surgery of Abu ‘l-Kasim, which until the seventeenth century remained the textbooks of medical science throughout Europe, were taught the mathematics and astronomy of the Moors. Those were the nurseries which were one day to bring forth Fallopius, Vesalius, Cardan, Harvey, Galileo.

That power which has transformed the material and mental world is the product by direct filiation of the science of the astrologers, alchemists, and of the medical schools of the later Middle Ages; and those arose directly and solely as a result of Arabian civilization. Down to the fifteenth century whatever scientific activity existed in Europe was engaged in assimilating Arab learning without greatly adding to it. Prince Henry of Portugal established under Arab and Jewish teachers his great nautical academy at Cape St. Vincent, which prepared the way for Vasco da Gamla, and for the expansion of Europe to the uttermost ends of the earth. The first mathematical treatise printed in Europe (1494) is but a paraphrase and in parts a transcription of Leonardo Fibonacci’s translations by Luca Pacioli, the friend of another Leonardo — Leonardo da Vinci. JIt was from AlBatini’s tables that Regiomontanus constructed the Ephemerides which made the voyage of Columbus possible; Kepler carried out his work by means of the Hakemite tables of Ibn Yunis ; Vesalius translated Al-Razi. The spirit of science passed through the period of the Classical Renaissance without being influenced by it, and developed in seclusion, independently of classicizing influences.

Science is the most momentous contribution of Arab civilization to the modern world, but its fruits were slow in ripening. Not until long after Moorish culture had sunk back into darkness did the giant to which it had given birth rise in his might. It was not science which brought Europe back to life. Other and manifold Influences from the civilization of Islam communicated its first glow to European life.”

(Making of Humanity, Robert Briffault,  pages 198 to 199/ Urdu Translation by Abdul Majeed Salik, pages 269 to 272)

An intriguing aspect of the relationship between Europe and Muslims is that Muslims created the modern world. For a long time, Europe acknowledged this, but then it forgot about Muslims and their contributions, falling into the misconception that it was the sole creator of the modern world. Michael Hamilton Morgan has expressed this in his own words:

Against this now vanished backdrop of an integrated Muslim universe, the various scientists, thinkers, and artists of lost history will play out their roles. They will lay many of the foundations of the modern world. And although, in the early years, non-Muslims in Europe and elsewhere will be in awe of these achievements and will know the players’ names and work, later they will forget the names of the authors and creators, and will come to think that they alone have created the modern world.

(Lost World by Michel Hamilton Morgan, Page 79)

Modern Westerners and their and their mental slaves take great pride in the “individual capability” of the West. They mention Copernicus, Newton, Galileo, and Einstein as if these scientists were, God forbid, prophets. Let’s see the level of individual talent among Muslims. You will observe this story through the words of a Western intellectual, Michael Hamilton Morgan, who wrote about Al-Khwarizmi:

“This mathematician, al-Khwarizmi, creates a system that will provide the key to begin unlocking all planes of the universe. His numbers and new ways of calculating will enable the building of 100-story towers and milelong bridges; calculating the point at which a space probe will intersect with the orbits of one of Jupiter’s moons; the reactions of nuclear physics; the cellular processes of biotechnology and pharmaceutical and marketing research; the calculus of a global economy; the language and intelligence of software; and the confidentiality of a mobile phone conversation.”

(Lost World by Michel Hamilton Morgan, Page 92)

Michael Hamilton Morgan says that the mathematician Al-Khwarizmi’s capabilities were such that his scientific system provided the key to unlocking all the mysteries of the universe. His numbers and modern methods of calculation made it possible to construct 100-story buildings and mile-long bridges. His knowledge is being used to guide spacecraft across the orbit of Jupiter’s moon. His expertise is applied in nuclear physics, biotechnology, pharmaceutical research, and market analysis. According to Michael Hamilton, Al-Khwarizmi’s knowledge is also helping to manage the global economy, calculus, language, software intelligence, and even keeping mobile phone conversations confidential.

What this signifies is that Muslim knowledge didn’t just shape Europe into what it is but continues to influence the 21st century, although we might be unaware of it. If it weren’t for this enduring impact, how could people like Hassan Nisar and Javed Chaudhry thrive, and how could their discussions and columns be filled with such confident ignorance?

It was believed that no greater genius than Al-Khwarizmi would ever emerge, but Ibn al-Haytham appeared, matching Al-Khwarizmi’s brilliance. What did he achieve? Let’s hear it in Michael Hamilton’s words. He writes:

“This young man’s name is ibn al-Haytham, and someday he will rival his predecessor al-Khwarizmi, building on the discoveries of all who have come in the century that separates them. He will author as many as 200 books on various subjects, and he will begin to lay the foundation for mathematical and optical theories that will later enable Galileo and Copernicus to understand the true relationship of the Earth to other heavenly bodies, and the shape of the planet itself.”

(Lost World by Michel Hamilton Morgan, Page 97)

According to Michael Hamilton, Ibn al-Haytham authored “200 books” on scientific subjects. He laid the mathematical foundations within the realm of optical theories that later benefited Galileo and Copernicus. These foundations helped these scientists understand the relationship between the Earth and celestial bodies. Here are three more excerpts from Michael Hamilton’s writings on this topic:

“Five hundred years before Leonardo da Vinci, he delves into things that will later be attributed to the great Italian and to Kepler and Descartes, when in fact they, like some Renaissance and post-Renaissance thinkers are really replicating or building on what the great Muslim scientists had established long ago.” (Ibid. page 104)

Michael says that Ibn al-Haytham worked 500 years before Leonardo da Vinci on things, which were later attributed to da Vinci, Kepler, and Descartes.

“He begins to understand the magnifying power of a lens, a critical discovery that will later help Galileo and Copernicus and Leeuwenhoek to find the stars and to find microbes.” (Ibid. 104)

Ibn al-Haytham was aware of gravity long before Newton. Michael writes:
Reaching out to the very limits of higher physics, he seems to be aware of gravity itself, and he writes about the attraction of masses 600 years before Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton. (Ibid.)

From this, Michael Hamilton Morgan has concluded that Ibn al-Haytham was a scientist of Einstein’s stature. (Page 106)

Regarding the influence and favors of Muslims on Western sciences, Michael Hamilton Morgan writes at one point:

“Muslim astronomic and mathematical calculations will help drive massive computations one day done by thinking machines. Had they never lived, would astronomy and computation have evolved in quite the same way?

Their contributions to modern astronomical knowledge and technology are almost beyond counting. In the field of astronomy alone, they will help develop modern astronomical theory, modern instruments, large international observatories, and a climate of research and discovery that will be the model for Renaissance, Enlightenment, and even 21st-century astronomy.

In star theory, they will articulate important critiques of Ptolemy’s ideas. They will also develop important instruments. As scientific historian David King will one day write,

What only recent research has shown is that … virtually all innovations in [astronomical] instrumentation in Europe up to ca. 1550 were either directly or indirectly Islamic in origin or had been conceived previously by some Muslim astronomer somewhere.” (Ibid. Page 149)

Michael is saying that Muslim astronomical and mathematical calculations paved the way for thinking machines. If it weren’t for Muslims, this would never have happened. Muslims not only contributed to astronomy as a science, but also provided modern instruments, and large international observatories, and created an environment of inquiry and smooth discovery, not just during the Renaissance but during the Enlightenment period. And even during the 21st century. Historian of science David King has made it clear that until 1550, all astronomical instruments in Europe were directly or indirectly ‘Islamic’.

After this, Michael Hamilton has shown that the influences and contributions of Muslims were global. He writes:

“Muslims will develop large observatories carrying out big-budget projects. The influence of the Islamic observatories on China, India, and Europe has been extensively documented. In 1 576 Tycho Brahe s observatory in Denmark will contain instruments very similar to those found in Taqi al-Dins observatory in Istanbul of a few years earlier. China’s royal Beijing observatory will resonate with the Maragheh observatory. India’s five Jantar Mantar observatories, built by Maharajah Jai Singh in the 18th century, will in part re-create the magnificence of Timurid ruler Ulugh Begs observatories of the 15th century in Samarkand. Over several centuries, information flow from Muslim countries to Europe and China and India will shape the nature of these observatories up to the early modern, pre-telescopic period.

For centuries, Arabic astronomy will be at the epicenter of global knowledge. Astronomy advanced by Muslim scientists is not only a crucial element of Islamic culture, but it plays a central role in how today we measure the Earth, map the continents and their territories, navigate the oceans, calculate time, measure the year, develop architecture, position places of prayer, and locate cities. Islamic astronomy charts new avenues, poses new questions, develops new techniques, sets new standards, and creates new disciplines.

And from these twinned starting points, God in the numeral and the patterns of the stars, all the other Muslim sciences will ripple outward. Muslim engineering, chemistry, architecture, and medicine will all find some foundation in the numbers and the stars. If nothing else, the love of empirical science espoused by the likes of ibn al-Haytham will enable them all.”

Michael says that Muslims established large observatories and research centers with significant budgets. The astronomical knowledge produced by Muslims influenced not only Europe but also China and India, in this regard great research has been done.  Extensive research has revealed that instruments found in a Danish observatory in 1526 were the same as those in Muslim Turkey. China had a similar experience.

In India, the astronomical observatories known as Jantar Mantar were established by Maharaja Jai Singh in the 18th century, inspired by the astronomical observatories of the Timurid era. Muslim astronomy contributed to the measurement of the Earth, mapping of continents, navigation, determination of time and year, and impacted many other fields, including theology.

Despite Jang’s columnist Bilal Ghauri mocking Islamic civilization and Muslims by claiming that Ibn Firnas flew a glider before the Wright brothers, Michael Hamilton Morgan has revealed that the world’s first parachutist was also Muslim, named Armen Firman (p. 155). He extensively recounts Ibn Firnas’ attempt in 875 AD to fly with an artificial winged aircraft, but due to his failure to attach a tail to the wings, he crash-landed and was severely injured after ten minutes in the air (pp. 157-158). The Wright brothers attempted powered flight on December 17, 1903. In this regard, it can be seen that Ibn Firnas was ahead of the Wright brothers by only 1028 years. This is not something a “foolish Muslim” is writing, but rather a scholar from the West writing in his book, published not by the National Geographic Society in Lahore, but rather in Washington, DC. If Bilal Ghauri has any shame left, he should hide his face.

Michael Hamilton Morgan holds Jabir ibn Hayyan in high esteem. This is because, according to Michael, Jabir is the world’s first chemist (p. 163). Michael has said even greater things about Jabir before, which we consider to be a heresy but the West gives it great importance. According to Michael, Jabir was attempting to create artificial life in his laboratory (p. 162). Michael also states that his impact on Western literature, especially science fiction, has been profound. Jabir wrote “200” books.

Michael attributes 361 books to al-Kindi and claims that his influence continues to be felt even 1200 years later (p. 165). Michael Hamilton Morgan has highlighted the most important thing about al-Kindi, stating that al-Kindi introduced the concept of relativity a thousand years before Einstein (p. 166).

Michael Hamilton Morgan has also spoken of Ibn Sina with love and respect. According to Michael, Ibn Sina wrote only “300” books on various sciences. Ibn Sina gifted the world “700 remedies” alone. This is why the people of Europe considered him the greatest physician in the world for 400 years. In Michael’s words, after Razi, Ibn Sina influenced European medicine the most (p. 190, 193, 194).

Ibn Sina’s greatness is not limited to this alone. He first stated that tuberculosis is infectious. Europe denied this fact for 400 years (p. 195). According to Michael, some of Ibn Sina’s ideas were utilized in modern psychology 900 years later, and they were confirmed by Freud and Carl Jung, eminent psychologists. In this regard, Ibn Sina preceded Freud and Jung by 900 years (p. 197). In this series, Michael Hamilton Morgan narrates an interesting incident from Ibn Sina’s life and his method of treatment. Read in his words:

“There is a story that ibn Sina is visited by a young man in the grips of a strange and undefined sickness. Sensing that it is mind- or soul-based, ibn Sina begins reciting lists of places, addresses, events, and people. Through deduction and monitoring of the patient’s pulse, ibn Sina concludes that the young man is in love with a woman in a particular town. To heal him, ibn Sina prescribes that the young man go find the woman and marry her. He does and is cured.” (p. 197)

Michael Hamilton’s book also mentions the founder of modern surgery. According to Michael, his name is Al-Zahrawi. He was not only a surgeon but also an expert in pediatrics and pharmaceuticals, the science of medicine. He authored a book in 30 volumes. It was such a difficult book that it took Europe 300 years to translate some of its parts (p. 199). However, there is another significant achievement of Al-Zahrawi that Michael Hamilton mentions. According to Michael Hamilton, Al-Zahrawi performed “plastic surgery” 950 years ago (p. 200). Not only this, but he also performed the feat of removing stones from the bladder through a specific surgical technique. He even made dentures for a person (p. 200).

Hassan Nisar claims that when the first medical college was established in Turkey in the 17th or 18th century, “Maulana” declared it to be non-Islamic. Now Hassan Nisar and people like him should listen to this story. Hamilton writes:

“The first known Muslim hospital will be a clinic in Damascus, built at the Umayyad caliphs order sometime between 705 and 715, and largely dedicated to segregating lepers from the general population.

Decades later, in the late eighth century, Haroun al-Rashid will invite a physician from Gundishapur in Persia to open the first bimaristan in Baghdad. In the ninth century, al-Razi will head up the new Audidi hospital in Baghdad. To find the best place to put the new hospital, he will hang raw meat at different places in the city and then recommend putting the hospital where he sees the slowest rate of decay. Once built, the new hospital will have two dozen doctors, including surgeons, eye specialists, and physiologists. By the 12th century, this hospital will be described by visitors as looking “like a great castle.”

By the year 1000, five major hospitals will have been built in Abbasid Baghdad. These hospitals will serve multiple purposes, not unlike modern hospitals containing surgery centers, outpatient clinics, psychiatric wards, convalescent centers, and even nursing homes. And quite often they are free to those in need.

In Egypt, the 13th-century al-Mansuri hospital will have 8,000 beds and an annual revenue of one million dirhams, and it will be distinguished by a policy of treating any patient who arrives, rich or poor. Men and women will be segregated. Separate chapels will give services for Muslims and Christians. Al-Mansuri will also have lecture halls, an in-house pharmacy, and separate wards for surgery, fevers, and eye ailments. The grant establishing the hospital reads:

‘The hospital shall keep all patients, men and women until they are completely recovered. All costs are to be borne by the hospital whether the people come from afar or near, whether they are residents or foreigners, strong or weak, low or high, rich or poor, employed or unemployed, blind or sighted, physically or mentally ill, learned or illiterate. There are no conditions of consideration and payment; none is objected to or even indirectly hinted at for non-payment. The entire service is through the magnificence of Allah, the generous one.'” (page 212)

Hassan Nisar and similar ignorant individuals are informed that later on, two more hospitals were established in Cairo. Medical centers also emerged in Mecca and Medina. In the 14th century, a hospital was established within Granada. Muslims in the Ottoman Turkey and Mughal India also established hospitals in the following years. (Lost History – page 213)

This story does not end here. If there is any soul, heart, or mind within Hassan Nisar, he should also read this story. Michael Hamilton quotes:

“”…at Fez, Morocco, an asylum for the mentally ill had been built early in the 8th century, and insane asylums were built by the Arabs also in Baghdad in 705 A.D., in Cairo in 800 A.D., and in Damascus and Aleppo in 1270 A.D. In addition to baths, drugs, and kind and benevolent treatment given to the mentally ill, musico-therapy and occupational therapy were also employed. These therapies were highly devehped. Special choirs and live music bands were brought daily to entertain the patients by providing singing and musical performances and comic performers as well.”

There are other revolutionary innovations. Pharmacies — dispensing drugs that address symptoms and make people feel better — loom large. The profession is called saydahth in Arabic. Pharmacies spread from Baghdad to other Muslim cities within 50 years of the first opening in the capital at Haroun al-Rashid s hospital. Later royally endowed hospitals have their own dispensaries, which distribute syrups, ointments, powders, and other products that have been made in large in-house labs. All this is overseen by government inspectors, who look at accuracy of measurements and drug purity. Their job is to prevent the use of out-of-date drugs and to protect the public from error or incompetence.

Why are the flagship Muslim medical institutions so advanced relative to Christian Europe? Although the Muslim world then and now is not entirely free of superstition, Muslim society in the golden ages will more often offer medicines that work, as proven in medical trials and observation. Public expectation will quickly follow society’s technological capability. Additionally, the medical profession itself will become well defined and have more of its basis in real science. While many Christian monasteries in Europe will offer hospices that give comfort to the sick and dying, they will not have the resources or technology to treat disease.”

(Ibid. Page 213)

Michael Hamilton mentions in his book the Muslim expert in medicine, Al-Nafis. He was the Dean of the Al-Mansouri Hospital in Cairo. In 1284 CE, he discovered how the heart functions and how blood passes through it to mix with air in the lungs. According to Michael Hamilton, Al-Nafis’s discovery is as important as the invention of zero by Al-Khwarizmi. It was Al-Nafis who mapped out the arteries that supply blood to the heart. (Ibid. Page 214)

Muslims not only transformed the scientific and research landscape of Europe, but they also deeply influenced its cultural, societal, and commercial life. In this context, Robert Briffault writes:

“The industrial and commercial activity of the East, of Moorish Spain and Sicily, created European commerce and manufactures. These gave rise to the wealth and power of the merchant classes, and the commercial cities; the burgher communities became strong enough to defy the feudal powers, and the new force of free republics and communes overthrew the tyranny and lawlessness of the barons. Thus, like culture, political liberty and organization came to Europe with bales of goods from the Levant. Until trade and industry had developed, until burghers had waxed substantial through eastern traffic there were no communes, there were hardly cities. The coast towns of Catalonia and Provence were the first to rise in importance and to life through trade with the Arabs. Free and autonomous republics were established at Marseille, Aries, Nice;. The source whence from earliest days that wealth had grown may be sufficiently gathered from the account given by Theodulf, Bishop of Orleans, of a journey to the South of France as one of Charlemagne’s missi dominici. On his arrival at Marseille, he says, “the people came to us in crowds, men, women, children, old men, loaded with presents, persuaded that they had only to offer them to us in order to obtain their wishes. . . . One offered crystals and orient pearls, . . . another brought a heap of gold pieces on which shone Arabic sentences and characters . . . another said, ‘ I have cloths which come from the Saracens and it is not possible to see aught more richly coloured or more delicately and better wrought . . . another showed me hides of leather from Cordova, some white as snow, others red . . . another offered me carpets.”

The cities of Southern Italy next followed ; Amalfi, Salerno, Naples and Gaeta, rising gradually to wealth and freedom through commerce with their Muslim neighbours of Sicily, and gradually extending their connections in conjunction with Arab traders to Africa and Syria. The Emperor Ludwig II accused Naples of being as Muhammadan as Palermo. Amalfi and the first Italian free cities of Southern Italy entered into alliance with the Muslims of Sicily (875) and actually assisted them when they advanced to the gates of Rome, defying the excommunications of Pope John VIII. And when a crusade was moved against Islam, they refused to bear arms against the people who had helped them to wealth and greatness. Pisa, Genoa, and Venice used the opportunity to outreach Amalfi and Naples. Pisa, which the chronicle of Donizo describes in 1114 as “unclean with” swarming Saracens, “Turks, Lybians and Chaldasans,” who possessed a whole quarter of the city, known as Kinsica, rose, like Genoa, to importance by trade with Saracenic Sardin.”

(Making of Humanity, Robert Briffault,  pages 203 to 204/ Urdu Translation by Abdul Majeed Salik, pages 275 to 277)

Before the Arabs’ “trade favors,” what was the state of poverty in Europe? Please note:

“Such was the destitute condition of Europe prior to the development of that commerce, that, having neither native products nor money to exchange for the wares of the Arabs, the first Italian merchant-adventurers kidnapped the children of neighbouring villages, and paid for their goods with cargoes of human flesh.”

(Ibid. Page 277)

What else did Muslims give to Europe? Read in Robert Briffault’s words:

“The Arabs opened up the land-routes to India, to China, Malacca, and Timbuctoo, the emporium of Central African trade; and sent their caravans to the rich lands beyond the Sahara long before the Portuguese doubled Cape Verde. They held the monopoly of the sea-routes to India, and the Emosaids founded along the eastern coast of Africa a line of trading colonies from the Sudan coast and Socotra to Mombaza, Mozambique, Zanzibar and Madagascar.

They improved the art of shipbuilding, taught Mediterranean seamen to construct lighter sailing-ships or caravels (gdraf), to caulk their boats with tar — still known in Romance languages by the Arabic name of gatran (Fr. goudron, It. caltramc) — to handle sails and cables (Ar. hdbl). Moorish merchants established their fundaks in the Christian ports, plied between the great sea-ports of Andalusia, Valencia, Almeria, and Malaga to those of Provence and the South of France, brought their wares to the markets of Montpellier and Narbonne. Arab dinars are to this day found as far north as the shores of the North Sea and the Baltic in greater abundance than Roman coins or Greek besants. They introduced the system of bills of exchange, and the commerce of the Mediterranean was regulated by the institution of sea-consuls first adopted at Barcelona.

The fine linens, the cottons, the silks, the delicate and gorgeous fabrics of the Saracenic world, satins and sarcenets, Persian taffetas, damasks from Damascus, baudekin from Baghdad, muslin from Mosul, gauzes from Gaza, grenadines from Grenada, moires, crepes and chiffons (not ‘ rag/ but diaphanous chiff from Tripoli), chamlets, karsies, and radzimirs, created a demand for fine raiment among the coarsely clad populations of Europe. In the Nibelung lay Krimhild anachronicly adorns herself with:

‘The Arabian silks white as snow, and those from Zazaman green as the clover leaf . . . from the land of Morocco and also from Lebanon, the best silks that were ever won,’

…The rich dyes of the East were brought to Bruges, where they were used to prepare English wool for the market. The wares of Spain and Majorca led to the establishment of Italian factories for the manufacture of majolica. Sugar factories were transferred from Sicily to Italy and from Spain to the South of France.”

(Making of Humanity, Robert Briffault,  pages 204 to 206/ Urdu Translation by Abdul Majeed Salik, pages 277 to 280)

Hassan Nisar and people like him lament that in Turkey, “Maulanas” did not allow the establishment of a printing press. See what Robert Briffault has to say about it:

“The Arabs introduced three inventions into Europe, each of which was to bring about a world- transforming revolution: the mariner’s compass which was to expand Europe to the ends of the earth ; gunpowder which was to bring to an end the supremacy of the armoured knight; and paper which prepared the way for the printingpress. The revolution effected by the introduction of paper was scarcely less important than that brought about by printing. The extreme scarcity of books was in a large measure due to the scarcity of parchment; we know how the texts of ancient manuscripts were erased again and again to supply materials for writing missals and legends of saints, so that scarcely a manuscript older than the eleventh century survives to-day. The price of books was consequently prohibitive: a Countess of Anjou paid two hundred sheep and five measures each of wheat, rye, and millet for a book of homilies; and as late as the reign of Louis XI, when that king wished to borrow the medical works of Al-Razi from the library of Paris University, he deposited in pledge a quantity of plate, and was moreover obliged to procure a nobleman to join with him as surety in a deed binding him to restore it. The Arabs first adopted the manufacture of paper from silk as practised in China; and silk paper was manufactured at Samarkand and Bokhara; for silk they at first substituted cotton, Damasc paper, and later linen. The linen-paper industry was long a monopoly of Xativa, near Valencia, whence it was introduced into Catalonia and Provence, and later to Treviso and Padua.”

(Making of Humanity, Robert Briffault,  pages 206 to 207/ Urdu Translation by Abdul Majeed Salik, pages 280 to 281)

Today, the Muslim world has become a follower of Western fashion and clothing. We hold the lifestyle of the West dearer than anything else. In this regard, there is no difference between our men and women, except that women have a strong inclination towards adopting Western fashion. But there was a time when Europe was called “barbaric and uncivilized,” and European men and women were crazy about the lifestyle and fashion of Muslims. What was happening in Europe at that time, listen to Briffault’s words:

“The looms of Syria and Spain, of which sixteen thousand were at work in Seville alone, and where a hundred and thirty thousand silk-workers were employed at Cordova, wove the materials for the garments of nobles and the sacramental vestments of Christian prelates ; and it was not an uncommon spectacle to see a bishop celebrating mass with an ‘dyai of the Kuran elegantly embroidered on his chasuble. The women of Europe learnt to wear an Arab kamis (chemise) and jubba (jupe, jupon). The warriors of Christendom were eager to wield blades forged in Damascus, Almeria, or Toledo, and to ride in Cordovan saddles… Rude, illiterate, unwashed robber-barons gave place to men who delighted in poetry and music, and forgathered in tournaments of song. Loose woollen gowns and leather jerkins were exchanged for close-fitting braided pourpoints, first known as gipons (Ar. jubba) and mantels of shimmering silk, the fashion for which gradually extended to Northern Europe. Women joined as equals, as in Moorish Spain, in the intellectual interests and artistic tastes of men. They discarded nunlike habits for fine apparel and jewels, developed a waist and rustled silken trains ; instead of wearing their hair in long plaits they did it up elegantly, a change which came to be known in the North as ‘ cheveux a la Provengale ‘ ; they wore embroidered and jewelled Persian tiaras of cendal (Ar. candal), which in the fourteenth century were exchanged for the sugar-loaf and horned headdresses known as ‘ bonnets a la Syrienne.’ An Arab author, Ibn Jobair, thus describes the appearance of the women of the period : ‘ ‘ They went forth clad in robes of silk the colour of gold, wrapped in elegant mantles, covered with many-coloured veils, shod with gilt shoes, laden with collars^ adorned with kohl and perfumed with attar, exactly in the costume of our Muslim ladies. ” Such dalliance did not fail to call forth the shrill denunciations of monks who, elsewhere supreme arbiters of life, slunk away in impotence before the indifference of the people and the sirventes of the poets. Song and music, which filled the rose-gardens of Andalusia, where every court rang with the sound of romances and quatrains, where poets and musicians formed part of the retinue of every Moorish prince and every Emir, where skill in versification was counted an indispensable accomplishment of every knight and every lady, spread to the adjacent lands of Castile, Catalonia and Provence. Stringed musical instruments, which are throughout the Middle Ages spoken of as ‘mauresques,’ were first introduced into Europe, the lute or laud (Ar. al fud), the viol or violin, known at first as rubeb (Ar. rabab), the psaltery (Ar. santyr), ancestor of the piano, the zither, the tabor, and the guitar (Ar. kuitra).”

(Making of Humanity, Robert Briffault,  pages 206 to 210/ Urdu Translation by Abdul Majeed Salik, pages 284 to 286)

When mentioning music, it’s important to note that in this context, Muslims’ “Saray Gama” was also accepted by the people of Europe just as it was. Western historian J. H. Farmer writes that from the 10th and 11th centuries, Italians were using musical notations from Muslims. In this series, Michael Hamilton gives an example in his book of Arabic and Italian notations as follows:

Arabic alphabet: Mi Fa Sad La Sin Dal Ra
Italian Notes: Mi Fa Sol La Si Do Re

As it is evident, there is no difference between these two notations. This proves that at times, Italian music was influenced by Arabic music. Michael Hamilton states that in the 13th century, Christian king Alfonso created 400 sacred songs for Christians, with the influence of Muslims evident in at least 300 of them. (Lost History – page 240-241)

The unparalleled story of the contributions of Muslims in the West can go back a long way, but we reserve further details of this story for another time. Here, it must be noted that in Pakistan and other Muslim countries, there is a tendency among the mental slaves of the West to speak of the West as if its progress and dominance were destined for the world. This is not the case. First, consider the opinion of Michael Hamilton Morgan in this regard. He writes:

“The Muslims could have led the Age of Discovery and Imperialism that the Christian Europeans undertook instead. This author does not believe there was any inevitability to the rise of the West.” (Ibid. 290)

Michael Hamilton Morgan argues that during the era of exploration and expansion by Christian Europe, Muslims could have also led, because according to Michael, the rise of the modern West was not ‘inevitable’. Michael further writes that the Muslim civilization laid the foundation of the modern West and led the world for centuries thus its decline is tragic. However, Michael is not the only scholar to say that the rise and dominance of the West was not inevitable. The leadership of this rise could have been in the hands of Muslims once again. Robert Briffault also discusses this issue in his book ‘The Making of Humanity’. He writes that the Christian Emperor Frederic was highly influenced by Islamic civilization. In his words:

If the name of any European sovereign deserves to be specially associated with the redemption of Christendom from barbarism and ignorance, it is not that of Charlemagne, the travesty of whom in the character of a civilizer is a fulsome patriotic and ecclesiastical fiction, but that of the enlightened and enthusiastic ruler who adopted Saracenic civilization and did more than any sovereign to stimulate its diffusion.

His brilliant court where, under the stalactite roofs of Moorish halls, and amid oriental gardens adorned with murmuring fountains, and aviaries filled with rare birds, and menageries of strange animals, the gifts of friendly Khalifs, the professors of Arabian science forgathered as honoured guests, and discussed mathematical problems and questions of natural history;, where troubadours from Provence and Moorish minstrels sang to the music of lutes and tabors, and. inspired the first-fruits of Italian poetry; that wonder court, the seat of learning, refinement and beauty, so utterly contrasting with the gloomy, xush-littered halls of other European potentates, which swarmed with” monks and vermin, ignorance and superstition, was an object of astonishment and malicious rage. Among the accusations and denunciations that were hurled against Frederic, it was alleged with horror that he indulged in a daily bath — even on Sundays. He established universities in Naples, Messina, Padua, renovated the old Byzantine medical school of Salerno in accordance with the advances of Arab medicine; encouraged by his patronage Plato of Tivoli and Lorenzo Fibonacci, the founders of European mathematics; gathered Jewish and Arab scholars to undertake translation of every procurable Arabic book; sent his friend Michael Scotus to Cordova to obtain the latest works of Averroes, and distributed copies to every existing school.

The course, not only of political history, but of European development and culture would doubtless have been very different had he, as was his dream, united Europe under a new empire with its capital in Italy. But the opposing forces of ecclesiastical power were as yet too strong. The popes moved heaven and earth’ against the Hohenstaufen Emperor. Gregory IX stirred the Lombard cities to revolt, and rewarded and secured their loyalty by, setting up the Inquisition in their midst, and burning a few hundreds of their citizens — pour encourager les autres. Mendicant monks penetrated into the very palace of the Emperor, threatened and bribed his closest friends, and thrust daggers and poison into their hands.

(Making of Humanity, Robert Briffault,  pages 212 to 213/ Urdu Translation by Abdul Majeed Salik, pages 289 to 290)

When analyzed, Robert Briffault also asserts that the rise and dominance of the West was not inevitable. Even if the West under King Frederic had pursued an ascent to dominance, it would have been under the influence of Islamic civilization. Here again, consider the perspectives of individuals like Hassan Nisar, Javed Chaudhry, Bilal Ghauri, and others. When these ideas are examined within a broader scholarly context, one comes to a singular conclusion about such individuals.

جعفر از بنگال صادق از دکن

ننگِ ملت، ننگِ دیں، ننگِ وطن

(Jafar from Bengal, Sadiq from Deccan,
A shame for the community, the religion, and the country)

But there is another point to be made here. Muslims have indeed achieved extraordinary feats in science and technology, but they remain deeply attached to their religion. While Europe progressed in science and technology, it turned its back on its religion. From this, it is not incorrect to deduce that the religion which led Muslims to heights once before can potentially lead them there again, but if the West continues its decline, there may be no chance for revival except through embracing Islam.

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