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Re: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

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  • syed-mohsin naquvi
    As Kamal Abdali saheb has mentioned briefly, there is ample literature avilable on this topic which no one can deny. In fact, last July there was an exhibition
    Message 1 of 13 , Oct 31, 2009
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      As Kamal Abdali saheb has mentioned briefly, there is ample literature avilable on this topic which no one can deny. In fact, last July there was an exhibition here in New Jersey on thsi very topic.  BBC has run a series on its TV on tehtopic of WHAT THE WEST LEARNED FROM THE MIDDLE EAST.
       
      The book mentioned here: Durant Will's "Story of Civilization",  is actually Will Durant.
       
      Thank you.
       
      Sincerely,
       
      Syed-Mohsin Naquvi
      ---------------------------------------------

      --- On Sat, 10/31/09, Kamal Abdali <k.abdali@...> wrote:

      From: Kamal Abdali <k.abdali@...>
      Subject: Re: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries
      To: Writers_Forum@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Saturday, October 31, 2009, 2:41 PM

       
      Sorry to take issue with nearly every point Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb makes in this message.

      1.  "… no scientific historian pinpoints exactly what  the Muslim scientists contributed…".  There are hundreds of books and thousands of articles with that specific information. Sarton's encyclopedic "Introduction to the History of Science", published around 1930, comes to mind as a first reference. Among more recent books, you have Sezgin's encyclopedic 13-volume "Geschichte des Arabischen Schrifttums" in German, partially translated in English as "History of Arabic Sciences". Sezgin directed the Institute of Arabic-Islamic Sciences in Frankfurt which also housed other eminent scholars. One of these, David A King, has alone written about 15 books and about 200 papers describing and analyzing Muslim contributions to mathematics and astronomy. Other currently working scholars include Berggren of Simon Fraser University who has written many papers on the subject. An authentic and very informative nontechnical overview is in Durant Will's "Story of Civilization", Vol 4, Book 2, specially Chaps 12 "Thought and Art in Eastern Islam", Chap 13 "Western Islam", and Chap 15 "The Grandeur and Decline of Islam". This is just a minuscule sample of scholarly work. There is also a huge amount of popular work, which is sometimes subjective or exaggerated. But a reliable and readable recent book is Morgan's "Lost History: The Enduring legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists".

      2. The translation of Greek texts was started in Baghdad, and the bulk of this work was done in the Middle East and Central Asia. Andalusians are credited more for their scholarly work than their translation activities.

      3. I hope that Khan Saheb is not repeating the view that Muslims simply transmitted the Greek knowledge to the West, and at best just guarded the knowledge while Europe was in its Dark Ages slumber. This Eurocentric view has been debunked by many scholars who actually analyzed the scientific record. Translation of scientific sources from an alien language requires a high degree of motivation, and spurs the people to then further advance the knowledge. This is borne out by the production of much original Muslim work beyond the translated texts. BTW, the Eurocentric view has also attempted to dismiss or diminish East Asian scientific contributions.

      4. I am puzzled by the sentence "Islam perfected the art of empire building, harems, debauchery, killing, and assassination…". The question in the discussion is whether or not Muslims contributed to science. Why confuse the issue with irrelevant observations? Even the most superficial reading of history makes it clear that is possible for a nation or civilization to commit terrible things to others or to their own people, and yet make significant contributions to science. If one wants to discuss whether Islam created, improved, or perfected those undesirable things, then perhaps there should be another discussion thread for it.

      5. "pedaram sultaan bood". Finally, here is an observation with which I wholeheartedly agree. The contribution of one's earlier generations is something to be undertaken as an impassive, objective, and historical study. The glory of the past is no excuse for inaction today.

      Kamal Abdali

      On Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 20:08, Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@yahoo. co.uk> wrote:
       
             With due respect, in spite of all these claims, no scientific historian pin points exactly what the Muslim scientists
      contributed to the field of science.  Of course, it is quite well known that Andalusian philosophers and thinkers
      acquired the knowledge of classical Greek and translated the work of Greek philosophers and scientists, Aristotle
      and Plato.  Aristotle actually cast a very long shadow (his scientific hypotheses  are in actuality are quoted as facsimiles
      by the Koran to support its arguments) and his thinking (and writing) influenced all fields of science, until with the discovery
      of the microscope, it was proven wrong.
            Both Arabs and Indians claim the discovery of concept of zero [who copied who is a matter of conjuncture] .
            It is very true that Australasian acted as a bridge between the Greeks and the European to start the age of renaissance,
      but whereas the Europeans by their work and efforts (in spite of wars) perfected the "age of reasoning,"   Islam perfected
      the art of empire building, "harems," debauchery, killing and assassinations to reach the brink of the abyss we find ourselves
      standing on.
           Not withstanding the above: "pedrum sultan bood, tura chay!"  (if our forefathers were the kings, what are we?)
       


      From: syed abedin <dilsesoofi@yahoo. com>
      To: bilkulsimple@ yahoo.com
      Sent: Wed, 28 October, 2009 18:59:23
      Subject: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

       
      Mir M Ali sent this video to me and I am sending it to you, because ::
      This is really an eye opening video showing the scientific contributions of muslims in history.In fact it is revealing the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries. You can watch many more videoes along with this one , which are a must to show to the younger generation who is unaware of the past remarkable scientific achievements of muslims.Please watch these videoes and forward this to others....







    • Akhtar Ali Khan
      With due respect, Kamal Abdali sahib, I do appreciate your comments on my submission. After all, in an intelligent dialogue, each of us should be free to
      Message 2 of 13 , Nov 1, 2009
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               With due respect, Kamal Abdali sahib,  I do appreciate your comments on my submission.  After all, in an
        intelligent dialogue, each of us should be free to offer our opinion. 
                Whereas I do acknowledge that Arabs served as a bridge between ancient Greeks and the Europeans,  their
        discoveries or inventions, in my opinion,  had insignificant or practically no impact upon most fields of science [most reviews and blogs provide credit  to "Muslim scientists" in almost all fields of scince ---identical to the blog cited by our mutual
        friend, Syed Mohsin Naqvi sahib, there are blogs that claim discovery of the structure of atoms, genetic code and
        even hydrogen bomb by the Arabs and Muslims   --- these are the same individuals who failed to honour and acknowledge the
        contribution by Pakistan's Noble Laureate in Theoretical Physics, Dr. Abdul Salaam, just because he was an Ahmadi].
               Further, my thesis is that discoveries and inventions are made by scientists (because of their dedication to science)
        and not because of their religion [I have seldom seen, except for on one or two occasions, brags about "Christian scientists,"
        "Jewish scientists," Baha'i scientists," etc.]
               The discoveries that had impact on modern science were those credited to Aristotle (provided a starting point
        to refute his thesis), phoneticians (who invented alphabet --- while Indians, Chinese and Japanese still use symbols)
        and Indians (who invented zero).  Of course,  Arabs and Muslims as they ruled for centuries, must have had many thinkers and
        scientists (like the alchemist and philosopher poet Omer Khayyam) who upgraded ancient theories, but suggesting that every
        theory known to modern science was developed by "Muslim scientists" is an absurd claim, if not a bad joke.
               See, for example, the following claim:  European "Renaissance. The imprint of the Arab-Islamic culture was predominant, noticeable and effective in many scientific, intellectual and cultural fields. Arab and Muslim scholars invented the numerical system; the figure Zero; the decimal system; the theory of evolution-one hundred years before Darwin; pulmonary circulation -three centuries before Harvey. They discovered gravity and the relationship between weight, speed and distance  severa1 centuries before Newton; they measured the speed of light, calculated the angles of reflection and refraction, computed the circumference of the earth, and determined the dimensions of heavenly bodies. They invented astronomical instruments, discovered high seas, and laid down the foundations of chemistry" [http://www.islamset.com/islam/culture/impact_of.html].  Each discovery is cited without any reference to the origin.
               In my opinion, a single lie is sufficient to abolishes the whole truth.  Unfortunately, we Muslims have cried wolf too many times.
              
        Regards

        From: Kamal Abdali <k.abdali@...>
        To: Writers_Forum@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sat, 31 October, 2009 14:41:07
        Subject: Re: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

         

        Sorry to take issue with nearly every point Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb makes in this message.

        1.  "… no scientific historian pinpoints exactly what  the Muslim scientists contributed…".  There are hundreds of books and thousands of articles with that specific information. Sarton's encyclopedic "Introduction to the History of Science", published around 1930, comes to mind as a first reference. Among more recent books, you have Sezgin's encyclopedic 13-volume "Geschichte des Arabischen Schrifttums" in German, partially translated in English as "History of Arabic Sciences". Sezgin directed the Institute of Arabic-Islamic Sciences in Frankfurt which also housed other eminent scholars. One of these, David A King, has alone written about 15 books and about 200 papers describing and analyzing Muslim contributions to mathematics and astronomy. Other currently working scholars include Berggren of Simon Fraser University who has written many papers on the subject. An authentic and very informative nontechnical overview is in Durant Will's "Story of Civilization", Vol 4, Book 2, specially Chaps 12 "Thought and Art in Eastern Islam", Chap 13 "Western Islam", and Chap 15 "The Grandeur and Decline of Islam". This is just a minuscule sample of scholarly work. There is also a huge amount of popular work, which is sometimes subjective or exaggerated. But a reliable and readable recent book is Morgan's "Lost History: The Enduring legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists".

        2. The translation of Greek texts was started in Baghdad, and the bulk of this work was done in the Middle East and Central Asia. Andalusians are credited more for their scholarly work than their translation activities.

        3. I hope that Khan Saheb is not repeating the view that Muslims simply transmitted the Greek knowledge to the West, and at best just guarded the knowledge while Europe was in its Dark Ages slumber. This Eurocentric view has been debunked by many scholars who actually analyzed the scientific record. Translation of scientific sources from an alien language requires a high degree of motivation, and spurs the people to then further advance the knowledge. This is borne out by the production of much original Muslim work beyond the translated texts. BTW, the Eurocentric view has also attempted to dismiss or diminish East Asian scientific contributions.

        4. I am puzzled by the sentence "Islam perfected the art of empire building, harems, debauchery, killing, and assassination…". The question in the discussion is whether or not Muslims contributed to science. Why confuse the issue with irrelevant observations? Even the most superficial reading of history makes it clear that is possible for a nation or civilization to commit terrible things to others or to their own people, and yet make significant contributions to science. If one wants to discuss whether Islam created, improved, or perfected those undesirable things, then perhaps there should be another discussion thread for it.

        5. "pedaram sultaan bood". Finally, here is an observation with which I wholeheartedly agree. The contribution of one's earlier generations is something to be undertaken as an impassive, objective, and historical study. The glory of the past is no excuse for inaction today.

        Kamal Abdali

        On Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 20:08, Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@yahoo. co.uk> wrote:
         

               With due respect, in spite of all these claims, no scientific historian pin points exactly what the Muslim scientists
        contributed to the field of science.  Of course, it is quite well known that Andalusian philosophers and thinkers
        acquired the knowledge of classical Greek and translated the work of Greek philosophers and scientists, Aristotle
        and Plato.  Aristotle actually cast a very long shadow (his scientific hypotheses  are in actuality are quoted as facsimiles
        by the Koran to support its arguments) and his thinking (and writing) influenced all fields of science, until with the discovery
        of the microscope, it was proven wrong.
              Both Arabs and Indians claim the discovery of concept of zero [who copied who is a matter of conjuncture] .
              It is very true that Australasian acted as a bridge between the Greeks and the European to start the age of renaissance,
        but whereas the Europeans by their work and efforts (in spite of wars) perfected the "age of reasoning,"   Islam perfected
        the art of empire building, "harems," debauchery, killing and assassinations to reach the brink of the abyss we find ourselves
        standing on.
             Not withstanding the above: "pedrum sultan bood, tura chay!"  (if our forefathers were the kings, what are we?)
         


        From: syed abedin <dilsesoofi@yahoo. com>
        To: bilkulsimple@ yahoo.com
        Sent: Wed, 28 October, 2009 18:59:23
        Subject: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

         

        Mir M Ali sent this video to me and I am sending it to you, because ::
        This is really an eye opening video showing the scientific contributions of muslims in history.In fact it is revealing the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries. You can watch many more videoes along with this one , which are a must to show to the younger generation who is unaware of the past remarkable scientific achievements of muslims.Please watch these videoes and forward this to others....







      • syed-mohsin naquvi
        Dear Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb,   I think this discussion is now going off tracks. Lets us look at it:   (1) No one is claiming that the Muslim scientists
        Message 3 of 13 , Nov 1, 2009
        • 0 Attachment
          Dear Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb,
           
          I think this discussion is now going off tracks. Lets us look at it:
           
          (1) No one is claiming that the Muslim scientists achieved everything only because they were Muslims. They achieved whatever they achieved only because they were dedicated scientists, they were curious, they loved knowledge and they worked hard. Because of their Islamic faith they did everything as an act of worship to Allah (IBADAT). That added to their zeal, selflessness and humility -- that was the secret of their success.
           
          (2) THis topic came up only because some people began denying that Muslim scientists ever did anything. I for one, admire every scientist and inventor whatever his/faith or religious preference may be.
           
          (3) The western writers of the 18th and 19th centuries have mounted a concerted effort to deny any work done by Muslim scholars and those form South ASian countries including Indians. The theory that is being pushed is that the period of 16th to 18th centuries was the time of the Scientific  and Intellectual Revolution and that was purely a western (European) phenomenon. That is a blatant lie and it is no better than the Pakistanis not accepting DR. Abdul Salam as a Muslim.
           
                 I agree with you 100%, the act of desecrating the gravesite plaque of Abdul Salam -- it was done by order of the local district magistrate - was a despicable act. The gravestone had read: THE FIRST MUSLIM NOBEL LAUREATE OF PAKISTAN. The word Muslim w as erased by that order.  That, I think, was a black day in Pakistan 's history.
           
          By the way, you wrote: <<<phoneticians (who invented alphabet  >>>
           
          Actually it was the Phoenicians who had invented the first alphabet. Phoneticians are people who work on the science of phonetics. Phoenicians were the tribe who were the precursor of the Jewish people. The time of the Phoenicians is estimated to be around 1000 BC. The time of the Jewish people (and therefore the period of HAzrat Musa) was around 700 BC. But Allah knows best. Soem biblical chronologists date HAzrat Musa's time as 1250 BC. That creates a clash with the dating of the Phoenicians inventing teh Alphabet in 1000 BC, which is what historical linguists claim. But that is yet another story.
           
          The works of Jabir bin Hayyan and those of Ibn al-Haytham are well documented. People have done their Ph.D's on the life and works of those two Muslim scientists.
           
          THank you.
           
          Sincerely,
           
          Syed-Mohsin Naquvi
          ==========================================

           

          --- On Sun, 11/1/09, Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@...> wrote:

          From: Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@...>
          Subject: Re: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries
          To: Writers_Forum@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Sunday, November 1, 2009, 10:38 AM

           
                 With due respect, Kamal Abdali sahib,  I do appreciate your comments on my submission.  After all, in an
          intelligent dialogue, each of us should be free to offer our opinion. 
                  Whereas I do acknowledge that Arabs served as a bridge between ancient Greeks and the Europeans,  their
          discoveries or inventions, in my opinion,  had insignificant or practically no impact upon most fields of science [most reviews and blogs provide credit  to "Muslim scientists" in almost all fields of scince ---identical to the blog cited by our mutual
          friend, Syed Mohsin Naqvi sahib, there are blogs that claim discovery of the structure of atoms, genetic code and
          even hydrogen bomb by the Arabs and Muslims   --- these are the same individuals who failed to honour and acknowledge the
          contribution by Pakistan's Noble Laureate in Theoretical Physics, Dr. Abdul Salaam, just because he was an Ahmadi].
                 Further, my thesis is that discoveries and inventions are made by scientists (because of their dedication to science)
          and not because of their religion [I have seldom seen, except for on one or two occasions, brags about "Christian scientists,"
          "Jewish scientists," Baha'i scientists," etc.]
                 The discoveries that had impact on modern science were those credited to Aristotle (provided a starting point
          to refute his thesis), phoneticians (who invented alphabet --- while Indians, Chinese and Japanese still use symbols)
          and Indians (who invented zero).  Of course,  Arabs and Muslims as they ruled for centuries, must have had many thinkers and
          scientists (like the alchemist and philosopher poet Omer Khayyam) who upgraded ancient theories, but suggesting that every
          theory known to modern science was developed by "Muslim scientists" is an absurd claim, if not a bad joke.
                 See, for example, the following claim:  European "Renaissance. The imprint of the Arab-Islamic culture was predominant, noticeable and effective in many scientific, intellectual and cultural fields. Arab and Muslim scholars invented the numerical system; the figure Zero; the decimal system; the theory of evolution-one hundred years before Darwin; pulmonary circulation -three centuries before Harvey. They discovered gravity and the relationship between weight, speed and distance  severa1 centuries before Newton; they measured the speed of light, calculated the angles of reflection and refraction, computed the circumference of the earth, and determined the dimensions of heavenly bodies. They invented astronomical instruments, discovered high seas, and laid down the foundations of chemistry" [http://www.islamset .com/islam/ culture/impact_ of.html].  Each discovery is cited without any reference to the origin.
                 In my opinion, a single lie is sufficient to abolishes the whole truth.  Unfortunately, we Muslims have cried wolf too many times.
                
          Regards

          From: Kamal Abdali <k.abdali@acm. org>
          To: Writers_Forum@ yahoogroups. com
          Sent: Sat, 31 October, 2009 14:41:07
          Subject: Re: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

           
          Sorry to take issue with nearly every point Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb makes in this message.

          1.  "… no scientific historian pinpoints exactly what  the Muslim scientists contributed…".  There are hundreds of books and thousands of articles with that specific information. Sarton's encyclopedic "Introduction to the History of Science", published around 1930, comes to mind as a first reference. Among more recent books, you have Sezgin's encyclopedic 13-volume "Geschichte des Arabischen Schrifttums" in German, partially translated in English as "History of Arabic Sciences". Sezgin directed the Institute of Arabic-Islamic Sciences in Frankfurt which also housed other eminent scholars. One of these, David A King, has alone written about 15 books and about 200 papers describing and analyzing Muslim contributions to mathematics and astronomy. Other currently working scholars include Berggren of Simon Fraser University who has written many papers on the subject. An authentic and very informative nontechnical overview is in Durant Will's "Story of Civilization", Vol 4, Book 2, specially Chaps 12 "Thought and Art in Eastern Islam", Chap 13 "Western Islam", and Chap 15 "The Grandeur and Decline of Islam". This is just a minuscule sample of scholarly work. There is also a huge amount of popular work, which is sometimes subjective or exaggerated. But a reliable and readable recent book is Morgan's "Lost History: The Enduring legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists".

          2. The translation of Greek texts was started in Baghdad, and the bulk of this work was done in the Middle East and Central Asia. Andalusians are credited more for their scholarly work than their translation activities.

          3. I hope that Khan Saheb is not repeating the view that Muslims simply transmitted the Greek knowledge to the West, and at best just guarded the knowledge while Europe was in its Dark Ages slumber. This Eurocentric view has been debunked by many scholars who actually analyzed the scientific record. Translation of scientific sources from an alien language requires a high degree of motivation, and spurs the people to then further advance the knowledge. This is borne out by the production of much original Muslim work beyond the translated texts. BTW, the Eurocentric view has also attempted to dismiss or diminish East Asian scientific contributions.

          4. I am puzzled by the sentence "Islam perfected the art of empire building, harems, debauchery, killing, and assassination…". The question in the discussion is whether or not Muslims contributed to science. Why confuse the issue with irrelevant observations? Even the most superficial reading of history makes it clear that is possible for a nation or civilization to commit terrible things to others or to their own people, and yet make significant contributions to science. If one wants to discuss whether Islam created, improved, or perfected those undesirable things, then perhaps there should be another discussion thread for it.

          5. "pedaram sultaan bood". Finally, here is an observation with which I wholeheartedly agree. The contribution of one's earlier generations is something to be undertaken as an impassive, objective, and historical study. The glory of the past is no excuse for inaction today.

          Kamal Abdali

          On Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 20:08, Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@yahoo. co.uk> wrote:
           
                 With due respect, in spite of all these claims, no scientific historian pin points exactly what the Muslim scientists
          contributed to the field of science.  Of course, it is quite well known that Andalusian philosophers and thinkers
          acquired the knowledge of classical Greek and translated the work of Greek philosophers and scientists, Aristotle
          and Plato.  Aristotle actually cast a very long shadow (his scientific hypotheses  are in actuality are quoted as facsimiles
          by the Koran to support its arguments) and his thinking (and writing) influenced all fields of science, until with the discovery
          of the microscope, it was proven wrong.
                Both Arabs and Indians claim the discovery of concept of zero [who copied who is a matter of conjuncture] .
                It is very true that Australasian acted as a bridge between the Greeks and the European to start the age of renaissance,
          but whereas the Europeans by their work and efforts (in spite of wars) perfected the "age of reasoning,"   Islam perfected
          the art of empire building, "harems," debauchery, killing and assassinations to reach the brink of the abyss we find ourselves
          standing on.
               Not withstanding the above: "pedrum sultan bood, tura chay!"  (if our forefathers were the kings, what are we?)
           


          From: syed abedin <dilsesoofi@yahoo. com>
          To: bilkulsimple@ yahoo.com
          Sent: Wed, 28 October, 2009 18:59:23
          Subject: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

           
          Mir M Ali sent this video to me and I am sending it to you, because ::
          This is really an eye opening video showing the scientific contributions of muslims in history.In fact it is revealing the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries. You can watch many more videoes along with this one , which are a must to show to the younger generation who is unaware of the past remarkable scientific achievements of muslims.Please watch these videoes and forward this to others....








        • Kamal Abdali
          Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb, I agree with you that there are many baseless or exaggerated claims, and just like you I pay no attention to the Web sites or
          Message 4 of 13 , Nov 1, 2009
          • 0 Attachment
            Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb,

            I agree with you that there are many baseless or exaggerated claims, and just like you I pay no attention to the Web sites or publications that make nonsensical assertions. But that fact should not dissuade us from recognizing or appreciating the merits of genuine claims. A discovery is a beautiful thing, and to see its historical context is fascinating. The rather long period spanning from the 8th to the 13th century CE was a time of vigorous intellectual activity in the Muslim civilization. The history of the intellectual contributions of the Muslim civilization is a well investigated area, and its important discoveries are thoroughly documented. The civilization's decay started around the late13th century and the activity basically dried out by the end of 15th. Of course, the period of their downward slope largely coincides both with the political disintegration of Muslims and the political as well as intellectual growth in the West.

            The scholars of this civilization were ethnically diverse, and while the religion of the majority of these scholars was Islam, yet among them there were quite a few Christians (of many sects), Jews, Magians, etc. Moreover, the scholars did go out to learn from the people outside the Muslim areas, in particular India, but the teachers in those foreign lands are traditionally not included in the Mulsim civilization.

            The claim that all or most that is known today was discovered by any one particular group is, of course, not borne out by the historical record. Nor are the narrow-minded explanations that the discoveries resulted from certain people's beliefs, hidden hints in their sacred texts, or their superior gene pools. To give an example from a different religious group, there is a very popular book "Vedic Mathematics … one line solutions to all mathematical" by a certain Jagadguru. The methods given in the book are claimed to be discoveries from the Vedas. Most of the book is about tricks for rapid arithmetical calculations, some of them quite ingenious. There is also the discussion of rules for geometry, trigonometry, calculus, etc. Now this book gives a Sanskrit couplet whose letters encode the first 32 decimal digits of Pi (with errors, by the way). The author claims that the couplet has within itself a "master key" to determine the digits of Pi to any precision, but he doesn't explain the key. It is virtually impossible that the key is there, because there is no known closed-form formula to determine the decimal digit of Pi in an arbitrary position.

            Many simple-minded claims stem from the ignorance about the quantitative nature of scientific laws. Gravitation is a popular target of sweeping statements. There are people who think that the mystical idea of universal love or attraction (e.g, in sacred texts and poetry) is the same as the law of gravitation, not realizing that it is only the mathematical relationship in it that makes the law of gravitation worthwhile.

            A lot of unworthy claims are driven by people who seek credit emotionally for their nation, ethnic group, religion, and so on. This is not confined to Muslims. Nor are they the worst offenders. On the Internet there seems to be a race, for attributing great discoveries to themselves, among Muslims, Indians, Jews, Chinese, Africans, and even some indigenous groups. I must say that they do occasionally hit upon hitherto unknown or hidden facts, and they do provide, fanatically or not, some counterbalance to the West appropriating all the credit to itself! Within Europe there used to be hot debates about who invented what. There is the famous Newton vs. Leibnitz debate about the calculus. What the British call Boyle's law was known as ( I think) Mariot's law in France. Much of such controversies resolved themselves a century ago. But one that doesn't seem to go away is the invention of radio. In the English speaking world, the credit goes to Italy's Marconi, but several Eastern European nations are adamant that the precedence belongs to their nationals.

            Let us come back to the Muslim civilization. While your list correctly enumerates many wrong claims of discoveries, a few of the claims are actually true and well-documented: laws of reflection and refraction of light enunciated by Ibn al-Haitham, the measurement of the earth's circumference by Albiruni and others (the Muslim measurement was not the first, being preceded by work around the 4th century, but were quite accurate), significant advances in astronomical instruments (increasing both their versatility and precision, and making tools fit for observation as well as analog calculation) by a cast of many characters.

            I was amazed to see a paper by Berggren showing that Albiruni described the central azimuthal projection about 8 centuries before the next claimant. Map projections are used to draw plane maps of the world, and are basically given by functions that are mathematical correspondences between points on the globe and those on a planar region. There are hundreds of map projections with various properties. The most familiar is the Mercator projection which shows the world as a rectangle. One projection gaining popularity (for a number of reasons that I will skip) is the central azimuthal projection which can show the globe as a disk. If you ponder for a moment, you'll realize the challenge. You can flatten half of the globe's surface into a disk, but how are you going to get both hemispheres onto the same disk? Albiruni invented this projection in order to portray the whole sky within a plane circle. Berggren's paper includes with his analysis the Arabic source text of Albiruni's pamphlet on the subject together with its English translation. The work is unbelievable until you see it. Remember, however, that Albiruni can't give you equations for the map functions because the formalism for expressing such equations weren't developed until centuries later. But he gives you the equivalent by ingenious geometrical constructions.

            I can't entirely agree that the discoveries of that civilization have had no impact. Of course, the earlier a discovery happens, the more it gets subsumed in later ones, and becomes unrecognizable as a separate entity. But some iconic examples of impact are: the prevalence of Arabic-based star names, the most important word and concept in computer science-- "algorithm", and trigonometry which, in its modern formulation, is essentially the one developed by the classical Muslim scholars. (To be boringly specific, the older concepts were in terms of circular arcs and lengths. The Muslim scientists re-expressed the concepts as ratios of sides of right-angled triangles, just as we know them today. This tremendously simplified the discipline, and made it an indispensable tool for science and engineering.)

            Kamal Abdali



            On Sun, Nov 1, 2009 at 11:38, Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@...> wrote:
             

                   With due respect, Kamal Abdali sahib,  I do appreciate your comments on my submission.  After all, in an
            intelligent dialogue, each of us should be free to offer our opinion. 
                    Whereas I do acknowledge that Arabs served as a bridge between ancient Greeks and the Europeans,  their
            discoveries or inventions, in my opinion,  had insignificant or practically no impact upon most fields of science [most reviews and blogs provide credit  to "Muslim scientists" in almost all fields of scince ---identical to the blog cited by our mutual
            friend, Syed Mohsin Naqvi sahib, there are blogs that claim discovery of the structure of atoms, genetic code and
            even hydrogen bomb by the Arabs and Muslims   --- these are the same individuals who failed to honour and acknowledge the
            contribution by Pakistan's Noble Laureate in Theoretical Physics, Dr. Abdul Salaam, just because he was an Ahmadi].
                   Further, my thesis is that discoveries and inventions are made by scientists (because of their dedication to science)
            and not because of their religion [I have seldom seen, except for on one or two occasions, brags about "Christian scientists,"
            "Jewish scientists," Baha'i scientists," etc.]
                   The discoveries that had impact on modern science were those credited to Aristotle (provided a starting point
            to refute his thesis), phoneticians (who invented alphabet --- while Indians, Chinese and Japanese still use symbols)
            and Indians (who invented zero).  Of course,  Arabs and Muslims as they ruled for centuries, must have had many thinkers and
            scientists (like the alchemist and philosopher poet Omer Khayyam) who upgraded ancient theories, but suggesting that every
            theory known to modern science was developed by "Muslim scientists" is an absurd claim, if not a bad joke.
                   See, for example, the following claim:  European "Renaissance. The imprint of the Arab-Islamic culture was predominant, noticeable and effective in many scientific, intellectual and cultural fields. Arab and Muslim scholars invented the numerical system; the figure Zero; the decimal system; the theory of evolution-one hundred years before Darwin; pulmonary circulation -three centuries before Harvey. They discovered gravity and the relationship between weight, speed and distance  severa1 centuries before Newton; they measured the speed of light, calculated the angles of reflection and refraction, computed the circumference of the earth, and determined the dimensions of heavenly bodies. They invented astronomical instruments, discovered high seas, and laid down the foundations of chemistry" [http://www.islamset.com/islam/culture/impact_of.html].  Each discovery is cited without any reference to the origin.
                   In my opinion, a single lie is sufficient to abolishes the whole truth.  Unfortunately, we Muslims have cried wolf too many times.
                  
            Regards

            From: Kamal Abdali <k.abdali@...>
            To: Writers_Forum@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Sat, 31 October, 2009 14:41:07
            Subject: Re: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

             

            Sorry to take issue with nearly every point Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb makes in this message.

            1.  "… no scientific historian pinpoints exactly what  the Muslim scientists contributed…".  There are hundreds of books and thousands of articles with that specific information. Sarton's encyclopedic "Introduction to the History of Science", published around 1930, comes to mind as a first reference. Among more recent books, you have Sezgin's encyclopedic 13-volume "Geschichte des Arabischen Schrifttums" in German, partially translated in English as "History of Arabic Sciences". Sezgin directed the Institute of Arabic-Islamic Sciences in Frankfurt which also housed other eminent scholars. One of these, David A King, has alone written about 15 books and about 200 papers describing and analyzing Muslim contributions to mathematics and astronomy. Other currently working scholars include Berggren of Simon Fraser University who has written many papers on the subject. An authentic and very informative nontechnical overview is in Durant Will's "Story of Civilization", Vol 4, Book 2, specially Chaps 12 "Thought and Art in Eastern Islam", Chap 13 "Western Islam", and Chap 15 "The Grandeur and Decline of Islam". This is just a minuscule sample of scholarly work. There is also a huge amount of popular work, which is sometimes subjective or exaggerated. But a reliable and readable recent book is Morgan's "Lost History: The Enduring legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists".

            2. The translation of Greek texts was started in Baghdad, and the bulk of this work was done in the Middle East and Central Asia. Andalusians are credited more for their scholarly work than their translation activities.

            3. I hope that Khan Saheb is not repeating the view that Muslims simply transmitted the Greek knowledge to the West, and at best just guarded the knowledge while Europe was in its Dark Ages slumber. This Eurocentric view has been debunked by many scholars who actually analyzed the scientific record. Translation of scientific sources from an alien language requires a high degree of motivation, and spurs the people to then further advance the knowledge. This is borne out by the production of much original Muslim work beyond the translated texts. BTW, the Eurocentric view has also attempted to dismiss or diminish East Asian scientific contributions.

            4. I am puzzled by the sentence "Islam perfected the art of empire building, harems, debauchery, killing, and assassination…". The question in the discussion is whether or not Muslims contributed to science. Why confuse the issue with irrelevant observations? Even the most superficial reading of history makes it clear that is possible for a nation or civilization to commit terrible things to others or to their own people, and yet make significant contributions to science. If one wants to discuss whether Islam created, improved, or perfected those undesirable things, then perhaps there should be another discussion thread for it.

            5. "pedaram sultaan bood". Finally, here is an observation with which I wholeheartedly agree. The contribution of one's earlier generations is something to be undertaken as an impassive, objective, and historical study. The glory of the past is no excuse for inaction today.

            Kamal Abdali

            On Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 20:08, Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@yahoo. co.uk> wrote:
             

                   With due respect, in spite of all these claims, no scientific historian pin points exactly what the Muslim scientists
            contributed to the field of science.  Of course, it is quite well known that Andalusian philosophers and thinkers
            acquired the knowledge of classical Greek and translated the work of Greek philosophers and scientists, Aristotle
            and Plato.  Aristotle actually cast a very long shadow (his scientific hypotheses  are in actuality are quoted as facsimiles
            by the Koran to support its arguments) and his thinking (and writing) influenced all fields of science, until with the discovery
            of the microscope, it was proven wrong.
                  Both Arabs and Indians claim the discovery of concept of zero [who copied who is a matter of conjuncture] .
                  It is very true that Australasian acted as a bridge between the Greeks and the European to start the age of renaissance,
            but whereas the Europeans by their work and efforts (in spite of wars) perfected the "age of reasoning,"   Islam perfected
            the art of empire building, "harems," debauchery, killing and assassinations to reach the brink of the abyss we find ourselves
            standing on.
                 Not withstanding the above: "pedrum sultan bood, tura chay!"  (if our forefathers were the kings, what are we?)
             


            From: syed abedin <dilsesoofi@yahoo. com>
            To: bilkulsimple@ yahoo.com
            Sent: Wed, 28 October, 2009 18:59:23
            Subject: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

             

            Mir M Ali sent this video to me and I am sending it to you, because ::
            This is really an eye opening video showing the scientific contributions of muslims in history.In fact it is revealing the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries. You can watch many more videoes along with this one , which are a must to show to the younger generation who is unaware of the past remarkable scientific achievements of muslims.Please watch these videoes and forward this to others....








          • Kamal Abdali
            Correction: circular arc = circular chords in the last paragraph of my message below. ... Correction:  circular arc = circular chords in the last
            Message 5 of 13 , Nov 2, 2009
            • 0 Attachment
              Correction:  "circular arc" => "circular chords" in the last paragraph of my message below.

              On Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 02:49, Kamal Abdali <k.abdali@...> wrote:
              Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb,

              I agree with you that there are many baseless or exaggerated claims, and just like you I pay no attention to the Web sites or publications that make nonsensical assertions. But that fact should not dissuade us from recognizing or appreciating the merits of genuine claims. A discovery is a beautiful thing, and to see its historical context is fascinating. The rather long period spanning from the 8th to the 13th century CE was a time of vigorous intellectual activity in the Muslim civilization. The history of the intellectual contributions of the Muslim civilization is a well investigated area, and its important discoveries are thoroughly documented. The civilization's decay started around the late13th century and the activity basically dried out by the end of 15th. Of course, the period of their downward slope largely coincides both with the political disintegration of Muslims and the political as well as intellectual growth in the West.

              The scholars of this civilization were ethnically diverse, and while the religion of the majority of these scholars was Islam, yet among them there were quite a few Christians (of many sects), Jews, Magians, etc. Moreover, the scholars did go out to learn from the people outside the Muslim areas, in particular India, but the teachers in those foreign lands are traditionally not included in the Mulsim civilization.

              The claim that all or most that is known today was discovered by any one particular group is, of course, not borne out by the historical record. Nor are the narrow-minded explanations that the discoveries resulted from certain people's beliefs, hidden hints in their sacred texts, or their superior gene pools. To give an example from a different religious group, there is a very popular book "Vedic Mathematics … one line solutions to all mathematical" by a certain Jagadguru. The methods given in the book are claimed to be discoveries from the Vedas. Most of the book is about tricks for rapid arithmetical calculations, some of them quite ingenious. There is also the discussion of rules for geometry, trigonometry, calculus, etc. Now this book gives a Sanskrit couplet whose letters encode the first 32 decimal digits of Pi (with errors, by the way). The author claims that the couplet has within itself a "master key" to determine the digits of Pi to any precision, but he doesn't explain the key. It is virtually impossible that the key is there, because there is no known closed-form formula to determine the decimal digit of Pi in an arbitrary position.

              Many simple-minded claims stem from the ignorance about the quantitative nature of scientific laws. Gravitation is a popular target of sweeping statements. There are people who think that the mystical idea of universal love or attraction (e.g, in sacred texts and poetry) is the same as the law of gravitation, not realizing that it is only the mathematical relationship in it that makes the law of gravitation worthwhile.

              A lot of unworthy claims are driven by people who seek credit emotionally for their nation, ethnic group, religion, and so on. This is not confined to Muslims. Nor are they the worst offenders. On the Internet there seems to be a race, for attributing great discoveries to themselves, among Muslims, Indians, Jews, Chinese, Africans, and even some indigenous groups. I must say that they do occasionally hit upon hitherto unknown or hidden facts, and they do provide, fanatically or not, some counterbalance to the West appropriating all the credit to itself! Within Europe there used to be hot debates about who invented what. There is the famous Newton vs. Leibnitz debate about the calculus. What the British call Boyle's law was known as ( I think) Mariot's law in France. Much of such controversies resolved themselves a century ago. But one that doesn't seem to go away is the invention of radio. In the English speaking world, the credit goes to Italy's Marconi, but several Eastern European nations are adamant that the precedence belongs to their nationals.

              Let us come back to the Muslim civilization. While your list correctly enumerates many wrong claims of discoveries, a few of the claims are actually true and well-documented: laws of reflection and refraction of light enunciated by Ibn al-Haitham, the measurement of the earth's circumference by Albiruni and others (the Muslim measurement was not the first, being preceded by work around the 4th century, but were quite accurate), significant advances in astronomical instruments (increasing both their versatility and precision, and making tools fit for observation as well as analog calculation) by a cast of many characters.

              I was amazed to see a paper by Berggren showing that Albiruni described the central azimuthal projection about 8 centuries before the next claimant. Map projections are used to draw plane maps of the world, and are basically given by functions that are mathematical correspondences between points on the globe and those on a planar region. There are hundreds of map projections with various properties. The most familiar is the Mercator projection which shows the world as a rectangle. One projection gaining popularity (for a number of reasons that I will skip) is the central azimuthal projection which can show the globe as a disk. If you ponder for a moment, you'll realize the challenge. You can flatten half of the globe's surface into a disk, but how are you going to get both hemispheres onto the same disk? Albiruni invented this projection in order to portray the whole sky within a plane circle. Berggren's paper includes with his analysis the Arabic source text of Albiruni's pamphlet on the subject together with its English translation. The work is unbelievable until you see it. Remember, however, that Albiruni can't give you equations for the map functions because the formalism for expressing such equations weren't developed until centuries later. But he gives you the equivalent by ingenious geometrical constructions.

              I can't entirely agree that the discoveries of that civilization have had no impact. Of course, the earlier a discovery happens, the more it gets subsumed in later ones, and becomes unrecognizable as a separate entity. But some iconic examples of impact are: the prevalence of Arabic-based star names, the most important word and concept in computer science-- "algorithm", and trigonometry which, in its modern formulation, is essentially the one developed by the classical Muslim scholars. (To be boringly specific, the older concepts were in terms of circular arcs and lengths. The Muslim scientists re-expressed the concepts as ratios of sides of right-angled triangles, just as we know them today. This tremendously simplified the discipline, and made it an indispensable tool for science and engineering.)

              Kamal Abdali



              On Sun, Nov 1, 2009 at 11:38, Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@...> wrote:
               

                     With due respect, Kamal Abdali sahib,  I do appreciate your comments on my submission.  After all, in an
              intelligent dialogue, each of us should be free to offer our opinion. 
                      Whereas I do acknowledge that Arabs served as a bridge between ancient Greeks and the Europeans,  their
              discoveries or inventions, in my opinion,  had insignificant or practically no impact upon most fields of science [most reviews and blogs provide credit  to "Muslim scientists" in almost all fields of scince ---identical to the blog cited by our mutual
              friend, Syed Mohsin Naqvi sahib, there are blogs that claim discovery of the structure of atoms, genetic code and
              even hydrogen bomb by the Arabs and Muslims   --- these are the same individuals who failed to honour and acknowledge the
              contribution by Pakistan's Noble Laureate in Theoretical Physics, Dr. Abdul Salaam, just because he was an Ahmadi].
                     Further, my thesis is that discoveries and inventions are made by scientists (because of their dedication to science)
              and not because of their religion [I have seldom seen, except for on one or two occasions, brags about "Christian scientists,"
              "Jewish scientists," Baha'i scientists," etc.]
                     The discoveries that had impact on modern science were those credited to Aristotle (provided a starting point
              to refute his thesis), phoneticians (who invented alphabet --- while Indians, Chinese and Japanese still use symbols)
              and Indians (who invented zero).  Of course,  Arabs and Muslims as they ruled for centuries, must have had many thinkers and
              scientists (like the alchemist and philosopher poet Omer Khayyam) who upgraded ancient theories, but suggesting that every
              theory known to modern science was developed by "Muslim scientists" is an absurd claim, if not a bad joke.
                     See, for example, the following claim:  European "Renaissance. The imprint of the Arab-Islamic culture was predominant, noticeable and effective in many scientific, intellectual and cultural fields. Arab and Muslim scholars invented the numerical system; the figure Zero; the decimal system; the theory of evolution-one hundred years before Darwin; pulmonary circulation -three centuries before Harvey. They discovered gravity and the relationship between weight, speed and distance  severa1 centuries before Newton; they measured the speed of light, calculated the angles of reflection and refraction, computed the circumference of the earth, and determined the dimensions of heavenly bodies. They invented astronomical instruments, discovered high seas, and laid down the foundations of chemistry" [http://www.islamset.com/islam/culture/impact_of.html].  Each discovery is cited without any reference to the origin.
                     In my opinion, a single lie is sufficient to abolishes the whole truth.  Unfortunately, we Muslims have cried wolf too many times.
                    
              Regards

              From: Kamal Abdali <k.abdali@...>
              To: Writers_Forum@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Sat, 31 October, 2009 14:41:07
              Subject: Re: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

               

              Sorry to take issue with nearly every point Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb makes in this message.

              1.  "… no scientific historian pinpoints exactly what  the Muslim scientists contributed…".  There are hundreds of books and thousands of articles with that specific information. Sarton's encyclopedic "Introduction to the History of Science", published around 1930, comes to mind as a first reference. Among more recent books, you have Sezgin's encyclopedic 13-volume "Geschichte des Arabischen Schrifttums" in German, partially translated in English as "History of Arabic Sciences". Sezgin directed the Institute of Arabic-Islamic Sciences in Frankfurt which also housed other eminent scholars. One of these, David A King, has alone written about 15 books and about 200 papers describing and analyzing Muslim contributions to mathematics and astronomy. Other currently working scholars include Berggren of Simon Fraser University who has written many papers on the subject. An authentic and very informative nontechnical overview is in Durant Will's "Story of Civilization", Vol 4, Book 2, specially Chaps 12 "Thought and Art in Eastern Islam", Chap 13 "Western Islam", and Chap 15 "The Grandeur and Decline of Islam". This is just a minuscule sample of scholarly work. There is also a huge amount of popular work, which is sometimes subjective or exaggerated. But a reliable and readable recent book is Morgan's "Lost History: The Enduring legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists".

              2. The translation of Greek texts was started in Baghdad, and the bulk of this work was done in the Middle East and Central Asia. Andalusians are credited more for their scholarly work than their translation activities.

              3. I hope that Khan Saheb is not repeating the view that Muslims simply transmitted the Greek knowledge to the West, and at best just guarded the knowledge while Europe was in its Dark Ages slumber. This Eurocentric view has been debunked by many scholars who actually analyzed the scientific record. Translation of scientific sources from an alien language requires a high degree of motivation, and spurs the people to then further advance the knowledge. This is borne out by the production of much original Muslim work beyond the translated texts. BTW, the Eurocentric view has also attempted to dismiss or diminish East Asian scientific contributions.

              4. I am puzzled by the sentence "Islam perfected the art of empire building, harems, debauchery, killing, and assassination…". The question in the discussion is whether or not Muslims contributed to science. Why confuse the issue with irrelevant observations? Even the most superficial reading of history makes it clear that is possible for a nation or civilization to commit terrible things to others or to their own people, and yet make significant contributions to science. If one wants to discuss whether Islam created, improved, or perfected those undesirable things, then perhaps there should be another discussion thread for it.

              5. "pedaram sultaan bood". Finally, here is an observation with which I wholeheartedly agree. The contribution of one's earlier generations is something to be undertaken as an impassive, objective, and historical study. The glory of the past is no excuse for inaction today.

              Kamal Abdali

              On Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 20:08, Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@yahoo. co.uk> wrote:
               

                     With due respect, in spite of all these claims, no scientific historian pin points exactly what the Muslim scientists
              contributed to the field of science.  Of course, it is quite well known that Andalusian philosophers and thinkers
              acquired the knowledge of classical Greek and translated the work of Greek philosophers and scientists, Aristotle
              and Plato.  Aristotle actually cast a very long shadow (his scientific hypotheses  are in actuality are quoted as facsimiles
              by the Koran to support its arguments) and his thinking (and writing) influenced all fields of science, until with the discovery
              of the microscope, it was proven wrong.
                    Both Arabs and Indians claim the discovery of concept of zero [who copied who is a matter of conjuncture] .
                    It is very true that Australasian acted as a bridge between the Greeks and the European to start the age of renaissance,
              but whereas the Europeans by their work and efforts (in spite of wars) perfected the "age of reasoning,"   Islam perfected
              the art of empire building, "harems," debauchery, killing and assassinations to reach the brink of the abyss we find ourselves
              standing on.
                   Not withstanding the above: "pedrum sultan bood, tura chay!"  (if our forefathers were the kings, what are we?)
               


              From: syed abedin <dilsesoofi@yahoo. com>
              To: bilkulsimple@ yahoo.com
              Sent: Wed, 28 October, 2009 18:59:23
              Subject: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

               

              Mir M Ali sent this video to me and I am sending it to you, because ::
              This is really an eye opening video showing the scientific contributions of muslims in history.In fact it is revealing the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries. You can watch many more videoes along with this one , which are a must to show to the younger generation who is unaware of the past remarkable scientific achievements of muslims.Please watch these videoes and forward this to others....









            • Akhtar Ali Khan
              My dear Naqvi sahib, I think most readers missed my point. I am a Muslim [and I am very proud to come from a family who serves Imam Ali (Gods blessings on
              Message 6 of 13 , Nov 2, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                        My dear Naqvi sahib,  I think most readers missed my point.  I am a Muslim [and I am very proud to come from
                a family who serves Imam Ali (Gods blessings on his sacred face)] and I would be very proud of any scientific achievements by
                my brother Muslims.  However, I do not believe in these "whole-sale" claims,  and I want definite proof.  My problem is that
                Muslim history itself works against these claims.
                1.    For example, the Prophet (prior to revealing himself as the Prophet) was a business agent for Lady Khadija.  He took on her behalf
                mechandise to Syria (and other places).  How did he keep the records?:  I suggest "by counting or measuring and then recording."
                I guess he must have counted, for example, 100 camels, 400 bags of dates,etc (and not as "one big measure of dates, a flock of camels
                and a small measure of honey").  Thus, it would appear that invention of figures and alphabet is pre-Islamic.  Similarly,  many inventions
                claimed to be Islamic, appear to have been worked out by non-Muslims.
                2.    I do not believe that "Science" has a religion:  all inventions and discoveries were made by scientists, irrespective of their
                religion.  Most of them actually claimed to be atheists.
                2.     A number of people have mention to me the work of Ibnul Haytham.  However, I find that he was repeating what was
                already known (a laboratory exercise).  Nothing more.
                3.     I am sorry but the word "phoneticians" was a spelling error, for which I apologise.

                Regards


                From: syed-mohsin naquvi <mnaquvi@...>
                To: Writers_Forum@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Sun, 1 November, 2009 22:12:24
                Subject: Re: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

                 

                Dear Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb,
                 
                I think this discussion is now going off tracks. Lets us look at it:
                 
                (1) No one is claiming that the Muslim scientists achieved everything only because they were Muslims. They achieved whatever they achieved only because they were dedicated scientists, they were curious, they loved knowledge and they worked hard. Because of their Islamic faith they did everything as an act of worship to Allah (IBADAT). That added to their zeal, selflessness and humility -- that was the secret of their success.
                 
                (2) THis topic came up only because some people began denying that Muslim scientists ever did anything. I for one, admire every scientist and inventor whatever his/faith or religious preference may be.
                 
                (3) The western writers of the 18th and 19th centuries have mounted a concerted effort to deny any work done by Muslim scholars and those form South ASian countries including Indians. The theory that is being pushed is that the period of 16th to 18th centuries was the time of the Scientific  and Intellectual Revolution and that was purely a western (European) phenomenon. That is a blatant lie and it is no better than the Pakistanis not accepting DR. Abdul Salam as a Muslim.
                 
                       I agree with you 100%, the act of desecrating the gravesite plaque of Abdul Salam -- it was done by order of the local district magistrate - was a despicable act. The gravestone had read: THE FIRST MUSLIM NOBEL LAUREATE OF PAKISTAN. The word Muslim w as erased by that order.  That, I think, was a black day in Pakistan 's history.
                 
                By the way, you wrote: <<<phoneticians (who invented alphabet  >>>
                 
                Actually it was the Phoenicians who had invented the first alphabet. Phoneticians are people who work on the science of phonetics. Phoenicians were the tribe who were the precursor of the Jewish people. The time of the Phoenicians is estimated to be around 1000 BC. The time of the Jewish people (and therefore the period of HAzrat Musa) was around 700 BC. But Allah knows best. Soem biblical chronologists date HAzrat Musa's time as 1250 BC. That creates a clash with the dating of the Phoenicians inventing teh Alphabet in 1000 BC, which is what historical linguists claim. But that is yet another story.
                 
                The works of Jabir bin Hayyan and those of Ibn al-Haytham are well documented. People have done their Ph.D's on the life and works of those two Muslim scientists.
                 
                THank you.
                 
                Sincerely,
                 
                Syed-Mohsin Naquvi
                ============ ========= ========= ========= ===

                 

                --- On Sun, 11/1/09, Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@yahoo. co.uk> wrote:


                From: Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@yahoo. co.uk>
                Subject: Re: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries
                To: Writers_Forum@ yahoogroups. com
                Date: Sunday, November 1, 2009, 10:38 AM

                 
                       With due respect, Kamal Abdali sahib,  I do appreciate your comments on my submission.  After all, in an
                intelligent dialogue, each of us should be free to offer our opinion. 
                        Whereas I do acknowledge that Arabs served as a bridge between ancient Greeks and the Europeans,  their
                discoveries or inventions, in my opinion,  had insignificant or practically no impact upon most fields of science [most reviews and blogs provide credit  to "Muslim scientists" in almost all fields of scince ---identical to the blog cited by our mutual
                friend, Syed Mohsin Naqvi sahib, there are blogs that claim discovery of the structure of atoms, genetic code and
                even hydrogen bomb by the Arabs and Muslims   --- these are the same individuals who failed to honour and acknowledge the
                contribution by Pakistan's Noble Laureate in Theoretical Physics, Dr. Abdul Salaam, just because he was an Ahmadi].
                       Further, my thesis is that discoveries and inventions are made by scientists (because of their dedication to science)
                and not because of their religion [I have seldom seen, except for on one or two occasions, brags about "Christian scientists,"
                "Jewish scientists," Baha'i scientists," etc.]
                       The discoveries that had impact on modern science were those credited to Aristotle (provided a starting point
                to refute his thesis), phoneticians (who invented alphabet --- while Indians, Chinese and Japanese still use symbols)
                and Indians (who invented zero).  Of course,  Arabs and Muslims as they ruled for centuries, must have had many thinkers and
                scientists (like the alchemist and philosopher poet Omer Khayyam) who upgraded ancient theories, but suggesting that every
                theory known to modern science was developed by "Muslim scientists" is an absurd claim, if not a bad joke.
                       See, for example, the following claim:  European "Renaissance. The imprint of the Arab-Islamic culture was predominant, noticeable and effective in many scientific, intellectual and cultural fields. Arab and Muslim scholars invented the numerical system; the figure Zero; the decimal system; the theory of evolution-one hundred years before Darwin; pulmonary circulation -three centuries before Harvey. They discovered gravity and the relationship between weight, speed and distance  severa1 centuries before Newton; they measured the speed of light, calculated the angles of reflection and refraction, computed the circumference of the earth, and determined the dimensions of heavenly bodies. They invented astronomical instruments, discovered high seas, and laid down the foundations of chemistry" [http://www.islamset .com/islam/ culture/impact_ of.html].  Each discovery is cited without any reference to the origin.
                       In my opinion, a single lie is sufficient to abolishes the whole truth.  Unfortunately, we Muslims have cried wolf too many times.
                      
                Regards

                From: Kamal Abdali <k.abdali@acm. org>
                To: Writers_Forum@ yahoogroups. com
                Sent: Sat, 31 October, 2009 14:41:07
                Subject: Re: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

                 
                Sorry to take issue with nearly every point Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb makes in this message.

                1.  "… no scientific historian pinpoints exactly what  the Muslim scientists contributed…".  There are hundreds of books and thousands of articles with that specific information. Sarton's encyclopedic "Introduction to the History of Science", published around 1930, comes to mind as a first reference. Among more recent books, you have Sezgin's encyclopedic 13-volume "Geschichte des Arabischen Schrifttums" in German, partially translated in English as "History of Arabic Sciences". Sezgin directed the Institute of Arabic-Islamic Sciences in Frankfurt which also housed other eminent scholars. One of these, David A King, has alone written about 15 books and about 200 papers describing and analyzing Muslim contributions to mathematics and astronomy. Other currently working scholars include Berggren of Simon Fraser University who has written many papers on the subject. An authentic and very informative nontechnical overview is in Durant Will's "Story of Civilization", Vol 4, Book 2, specially Chaps 12 "Thought and Art in Eastern Islam", Chap 13 "Western Islam", and Chap 15 "The Grandeur and Decline of Islam". This is just a minuscule sample of scholarly work. There is also a huge amount of popular work, which is sometimes subjective or exaggerated. But a reliable and readable recent book is Morgan's "Lost History: The Enduring legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists".

                2. The translation of Greek texts was started in Baghdad, and the bulk of this work was done in the Middle East and Central Asia. Andalusians are credited more for their scholarly work than their translation activities.

                3. I hope that Khan Saheb is not repeating the view that Muslims simply transmitted the Greek knowledge to the West, and at best just guarded the knowledge while Europe was in its Dark Ages slumber. This Eurocentric view has been debunked by many scholars who actually analyzed the scientific record. Translation of scientific sources from an alien language requires a high degree of motivation, and spurs the people to then further advance the knowledge. This is borne out by the production of much original Muslim work beyond the translated texts. BTW, the Eurocentric view has also attempted to dismiss or diminish East Asian scientific contributions.

                4. I am puzzled by the sentence "Islam perfected the art of empire building, harems, debauchery, killing, and assassination…". The question in the discussion is whether or not Muslims contributed to science. Why confuse the issue with irrelevant observations? Even the most superficial reading of history makes it clear that is possible for a nation or civilization to commit terrible things to others or to their own people, and yet make significant contributions to science. If one wants to discuss whether Islam created, improved, or perfected those undesirable things, then perhaps there should be another discussion thread for it.

                5. "pedaram sultaan bood". Finally, here is an observation with which I wholeheartedly agree. The contribution of one's earlier generations is something to be undertaken as an impassive, objective, and historical study. The glory of the past is no excuse for inaction today.

                Kamal Abdali

                On Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 20:08, Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@yahoo. co.uk> wrote:
                 
                       With due respect, in spite of all these claims, no scientific historian pin points exactly what the Muslim scientists
                contributed to the field of science.  Of course, it is quite well known that Andalusian philosophers and thinkers
                acquired the knowledge of classical Greek and translated the work of Greek philosophers and scientists, Aristotle
                and Plato.  Aristotle actually cast a very long shadow (his scientific hypotheses  are in actuality are quoted as facsimiles
                by the Koran to support its arguments) and his thinking (and writing) influenced all fields of science, until with the discovery
                of the microscope, it was proven wrong.
                      Both Arabs and Indians claim the discovery of concept of zero [who copied who is a matter of conjuncture] .
                      It is very true that Australasian acted as a bridge between the Greeks and the European to start the age of renaissance,
                but whereas the Europeans by their work and efforts (in spite of wars) perfected the "age of reasoning,"   Islam perfected
                the art of empire building, "harems," debauchery, killing and assassinations to reach the brink of the abyss we find ourselves
                standing on.
                     Not withstanding the above: "pedrum sultan bood, tura chay!"  (if our forefathers were the kings, what are we?)
                 


                From: syed abedin <dilsesoofi@yahoo. com>
                To: bilkulsimple@ yahoo.com
                Sent: Wed, 28 October, 2009 18:59:23
                Subject: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

                 
                Mir M Ali sent this video to me and I am sending it to you, because ::
                This is really an eye opening video showing the scientific contributions of muslims in history.In fact it is revealing the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries. You can watch many more videoes along with this one , which are a must to show to the younger generation who is unaware of the past remarkable scientific achievements of muslims.Please watch these videoes and forward this to others....









              • Dr. S.M. Ghazanfar
                Here is a newspaper article from UK that substantially complements what Kamal Sahib has so eloquently described below..... ... How Islamic inventors changed
                Message 7 of 13 , Nov 2, 2009
                • 0 Attachment
                  Here is a newspaper article from UK that substantially complements what Kamal Sahib has so eloquently described below.....
                  ---------

                  How Islamic inventors changed the world 

                  (From The Independent, UK)

                  From coffee to cheques and the three-course meal, the Muslim world has given us many innovations that we take for granted in daily life. As a new exhibition opens, Paul Vallely nominates 20 of the most influential- and identifies the men of genius behind them

                  Published: 11 March 2006

                  1 The story goes that an Arab named Khalid was tending his goats in the Kaffa region of southern Ethiopia, when he noticed his animals became livelier after eating a certain berry. He boiled the berries to make the first coffee. Certainly the first record of the drink is of beans exported from Ethiopia to Yemen where Sufis drank it to stay awake all night to pray on special occasions. By the late 15th century it had arrived in Mecca and Turkey from where it made its way to Venice in 1645. It was brought to England in 1650 by a Turk named Pasqua Rosee who opened the first coffee house in Lombard Street in the City of London. The Arabic qahwa became the Turkish kahve then the Italian caffé and then English coffee.

                  2 The ancient Greeks thought our eyes emitted rays, like a laser, which enabled us to see. The first person to realise that light enters the eye, rather than leaving it, was the 10th-century Muslim mathematician, astronomer and physicist Ibn al-Haitham. He invented the first pin-hole camera after noticing the way light came through a hole in window shutters. The smaller the hole, the better the picture, he worked out, and set up the first Camera Obscura (from the Arab word qamara for a dark or private room). He is also credited with being the first man to shift physics from a philosophical activity to an experimental one.

                  3 A form of chess was played in ancient India but the game was developed into the form we know it today in Persia. From there it spread westward to Europe - where it was introduced by the Moors in Spain in the 10th century - and eastward as far as Japan. The word rook comes from the Persian rukh, which means chariot.

                  4 A thousand years before the Wright brothers a Muslim poet, astronomer, musician and engineer named Abbas ibn Firnas made several attempts to construct a flying machine. In 852 he jumped from the minaret of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba using a loose cloak stiffened with wooden struts. He hoped to glide like a bird. He didn't. But the cloak slowed his fall, creating what is thought to be the first parachute, and leaving him with only minor injuries. In 875, aged 70, having perfected a machine of silk and eagles' feathers he tried again, jumping from a mountain. He flew to a significant height and stayed aloft for ten minutes but crashed on landing - concluding, correctly, that it was because he had not given his device a tail so it would stall on landing. Baghdad international airport and a crater on the Moon are named after him.

                  5 Washing and bathing are religious requirements for Muslims, which is perhaps why they perfected the recipe for soap which we still use today. The ancient Egyptians had soap of a kind, as did the Romans who used it more as a pomade. But it was the Arabs who combined vegetable oils with sodium hydroxide and aromatics such as thyme oil. One of the Crusaders' most striking characteristics, to Arab nostrils, was that they did not wash. Shampoo was introduced to England by a Muslim who opened Mahomed's Indian Vapour Baths on Brighton seafront in 1759 and was appointed Shampooing Surgeon to Kings George IV and William IV.

                  6 Distillation, the means of separating liquids through differences in their boiling points, was invented around the year 800 by Islam's foremost scientist, Jabir ibn Hayyan, who transformed alchemy into chemistry, inventing many of the basic processes and apparatus still in use today - liquefaction, crystallisation, distillation, purification, oxidisation, evaporation and filtration. As well as discovering sulphuric and nitric acid, he invented the alembic still, giving the world intense rosewater and other perfumes and alcoholic spirits (although drinking them is haram, or forbidden, in Islam). Ibn Hayyan emphasised systematic experimentation and was the founder of modern chemistry.

                  7 The crank-shaft is a device which translates rotary into linear motion and is central to much of the machinery in the modern world, not least the internal combustion engine. One of the most important mechanical inventions in the history of humankind, it was created by an ingenious Muslim engineer called al-Jazari to raise water for irrigation. His 1206 Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices shows he also invented or refined the use of valves and pistons, devised some of the first mechanical clocks driven by water and weights, and was the father of robotics. Among his 50 other inventions was the combination lock.

                  8 Quilting is a method of sewing or tying two layers of cloth with a layer of insulating material in between. It is not clear whether it was invented in the Muslim world or whether it was imported there from India or China. But it certainly came to the West via the Crusaders. They saw it used by Saracen warriors, who wore straw-filled quilted canvas shirts instead of armour. As well as a form of protection, it proved an effective guard against the chafing of the Crusaders' metal armour and was an effective form of insulation - so much so that it became a cottage industry back home in colder climates such as Britain and Holland.

                  9 The pointed arch so characteristic of Europe's Gothic cathedrals was an invention borrowed from Islamic architecture. It was much stronger than the rounded arch used by the Romans and Normans, thus allowing the building of bigger, higher, more complex and grander buildings. Other borrowings from Muslim genius included ribbed vaulting, rose windows and dome-building techniques. Europe's castles were also adapted to copy the Islamic world's - with arrow slits, battlements, a barbican and parapets. Square towers and keeps gave way to more easily defended round ones. Henry V's castle architect was a Muslim.

                  10 Many modern surgical instruments are of exactly the same design as those devised in the 10th century by a Muslim surgeon called al-Zahrawi. His scalpels, bone saws, forceps, fine scissors for eye surgery and many of the 200 instruments he devised are recognisable to a modern surgeon. It was he who discovered that catgut used for internal stitches dissolves away naturally (a discovery he made when his monkey ate his lute strings) and that it can be also used to make medicine capsules. In the 13th century, another Muslim medic named Ibn Nafis described the circulation of the blood, 300 years before William Harvey discovered it. Muslims doctors also invented anaesthetics of opium and alcohol mixes and developed hollow needles to suck cataracts from eyes in a technique still used today.

                  11 The windmill was invented in 634 for a Persian caliph and was used to grind corn and draw up water for irrigation. In the vast deserts of Arabia, when the seasonal streams ran dry, the only source of power was the wind which blew steadily from one direction for months. Mills had six or 12 sails covered in fabric or palm leaves. It was 500 years before the first windmill was seen in Europe.

                  12 The technique of inoculation was not invented by Jenner and Pasteur but was devised in the Muslim world and brought to Europe from Turkey by the wife of the English ambassador to Istanbul in 1724. Children in Turkey were vaccinated with cowpox to fight the deadly smallpox at least 50 years before the West discovered it.

                  13 The fountain pen was invented for the Sultan of Egypt in 953 after he demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes. It held ink in a reservoir and, as with modern pens, fed ink to the nib by a combination of gravity and capillary action.

                  14 The system of numbering in use all round the world is probably Indian in origin but the style of the numerals is Arabic and first appears in print in the work of the Muslim mathematicians al-Khwarizmi and al-Kindi around 825. Algebra was named after al-Khwarizmi's book, Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah, much of whose contents are still in use. The work of Muslim maths scholars was imported into Europe 300 years later by the Italian mathematician Fibonacci. Algorithms and much of the theory of trigonometry came from the Muslim world. And Al-Kindi's discovery of frequency analysis rendered all the codes of the ancient world soluble and created the basis of modern cryptology.

                  15 Ali ibn Nafi, known by his nickname of Ziryab (Blackbird) came from Iraq to Cordoba in the 9th century and brought with him the concept of the three-course meal - soup, followed by fish or meat, then fruit and nuts. He also introduced crystal glasses (which had been invented after experiments with rock crystal by Abbas ibn Firnas - see No 4).

                  16 Carpets were regarded as part of Paradise by medieval Muslims, thanks to their advanced weaving techniques, new tinctures from Islamic chemistry and highly developed sense of pattern and arabesque which were the basis of Islam's non-representational art. In contrast, Europe's floors were distinctly earthly, not to say earthy, until Arabian and Persian carpets were introduced. In England, as Erasmus recorded, floors were "covered in rushes, occasionally renewed, but so imperfectly that the bottom layer is left undisturbed, sometimes for 20 years, harbouring expectoration, vomiting, the leakage of dogs and men, ale droppings, scraps of fish, and other abominations not fit to be mentioned". Carpets, unsurprisingly, caught on quickly.

                  17 The modern cheque comes from the Arabic saqq, a written vow to pay for goods when they were delivered, to avoid money having to be transported across dangerous terrain. In the 9th century, a Muslim businessman could cash a cheque in China drawn on his bank in Baghdad.

                  18 By the 9th century, many Muslim scholars took it for granted that the Earth was a sphere. The proof, said astronomer Ibn Hazm, "is that the Sun is always vertical to a particular spot on Earth". It was 500 years before that realisation dawned on Galileo. The calculations of Muslim astronomers were so accurate that in the 9th century they reckoned the Earth's circumference to be 40,253.4km - less than 200km out. The scholar al-Idrisi took a globe depicting the world to the court of King Roger of Sicily in 1139.

                  19 Though the Chinese invented saltpetre gunpowder, and used it in their fireworks, it was the Arabs who worked out that it could be purified using potassium nitrate for military use. Muslim incendiary devices terrified the Crusaders. By the 15th century they had invented both a rocket, which they called a "self-moving and combusting egg", and a torpedo - a self-propelled pear-shaped bomb with a spear at the front which impaled itself in enemy ships and then blew up.

                  20 Medieval Europe had kitchen and herb gardens, but it was the Arabs who developed the idea of the garden as a place of beauty and meditation. The first royal pleasure gardens in Europe were opened in 11th-century Muslim Spain. Flowers which originated in Muslim gardens include the carnation and the tulip.

                  "1001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim Heritage in Our World" is a new exhibition which began a nationwide tour this week. It is currently at the Science Museum in Manchester. For more information, go to www.1001inventions.com.


                  ---------------------------------------
                  Dr. S.M. Ghazanfar
                  Professor of Economics (Emeritus, 2002; Dept.Chair, '79-81, '93-01;
                  	Director, Int'l Studies Program, '89-93; Adj.Prof (2003-08)
                  University of Idaho, ALB 219
                  Moscow, Idaho 83843 (USA)
                  Phones: 208-885-7144(O); 208-882-7619(H); FAX 208-885-5347
                  Homepage: www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~ghazi


                  Kamal Abdali wrote:
                   
                  Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb,

                  I agree with you that there are many baseless or exaggerated claims, and just like you I pay no attention to the Web sites or publications that make nonsensical assertions. But that fact should not dissuade us from recognizing or appreciating the merits of genuine claims. A discovery is a beautiful thing, and to see its historical context is fascinating. The rather long period spanning from the 8th to the 13th century CE was a time of vigorous intellectual activity in the Muslim civilization. The history of the intellectual contributions of the Muslim civilization is a well investigated area, and its important discoveries are thoroughly documented. The civilization's decay started around the late13th century and the activity basically dried out by the end of 15th. Of course, the period of their downward slope largely coincides both with the political disintegration of Muslims and the political as well as intellectual growth in the West.

                  The scholars of this civilization were ethnically diverse, and while the religion of the majority of these scholars was Islam, yet among them there were quite a few Christians (of many sects), Jews, Magians, etc. Moreover, the scholars did go out to learn from the people outside the Muslim areas, in particular India, but the teachers in those foreign lands are traditionally not included in the Mulsim civilization.

                  The claim that all or most that is known today was discovered by any one particular group is, of course, not borne out by the historical record. Nor are the narrow-minded explanations that the discoveries resulted from certain people's beliefs, hidden hints in their sacred texts, or their superior gene pools. To give an example from a different religious group, there is a very popular book "Vedic Mathematics … one line solutions to all mathematical" by a certain Jagadguru. The methods given in the book are claimed to be discoveries from the Vedas. Most of the book is about tricks for rapid arithmetical calculations, some of them quite ingenious. There is also the discussion of rules for geometry, trigonometry, calculus, etc. Now this book gives a Sanskrit couplet whose letters encode the first 32 decimal digits of Pi (with errors, by the way). The author claims that the couplet has within itself a "master key" to determine the digits of Pi to any precision, but he doesn't explain the key. It is virtually impossible that the key is there, because there is no known closed-form formula to determine the decimal digit of Pi in an arbitrary position.

                  Many simple-minded claims stem from the ignorance about the quantitative nature of scientific laws. Gravitation is a popular target of sweeping statements. There are people who think that the mystical idea of universal love or attraction (e.g, in sacred texts and poetry) is the same as the law of gravitation, not realizing that it is only the mathematical relationship in it that makes the law of gravitation worthwhile.

                  A lot of unworthy claims are driven by people who seek credit emotionally for their nation, ethnic group, religion, and so on. This is not confined to Muslims. Nor are they the worst offenders. On the Internet there seems to be a race, for attributing great discoveries to themselves, among Muslims, Indians, Jews, Chinese, Africans, and even some indigenous groups. I must say that they do occasionally hit upon hitherto unknown or hidden facts, and they do provide, fanatically or not, some counterbalance to the West appropriating all the credit to itself! Within Europe there used to be hot debates about who invented what. There is the famous Newton vs. Leibnitz debate about the calculus. What the British call Boyle's law was known as ( I think) Mariot's law in France. Much of such controversies resolved themselves a century ago. But one that doesn't seem to go away is the invention of radio. In the English speaking world, the credit goes to Italy's Marconi, but several Eastern European nations are adamant that the precedence belongs to their nationals.

                  Let us come back to the Muslim civilization. While your list correctly enumerates many wrong claims of discoveries, a few of the claims are actually true and well-documented: laws of reflection and refraction of light enunciated by Ibn al-Haitham, the measurement of the earth's circumference by Albiruni and others (the Muslim measurement was not the first, being preceded by work around the 4th century, but were quite accurate), significant advances in astronomical instruments (increasing both their versatility and precision, and making tools fit for observation as well as analog calculation) by a cast of many characters.

                  I was amazed to see a paper by Berggren showing that Albiruni described the central azimuthal projection about 8 centuries before the next claimant. Map projections are used to draw plane maps of the world, and are basically given by functions that are mathematical correspondences between points on the globe and those on a planar region. There are hundreds of map projections with various properties. The most familiar is the Mercator projection which shows the world as a rectangle. One projection gaining popularity (for a number of reasons that I will skip) is the central azimuthal projection which can show the globe as a disk. If you ponder for a moment, you'll realize the challenge. You can flatten half of the globe's surface into a disk, but how are you going to get both hemispheres onto the same disk? Albiruni invented this projection in order to portray the whole sky within a plane circle. Berggren's paper includes with his analysis the Arabic source text of Albiruni's pamphlet on the subject together with its English translation. The work is unbelievable until you see it. Remember, however, that Albiruni can't give you equations for the map functions because the formalism for expressing such equations weren't developed until centuries later. But he gives you the equivalent by ingenious geometrical constructions.

                  I can't entirely agree that the discoveries of that civilization have had no impact. Of course, the earlier a discovery happens, the more it gets subsumed in later ones, and becomes unrecognizable as a separate entity. But some iconic examples of impact are: the prevalence of Arabic-based star names, the most important word and concept in computer science-- "algorithm", and trigonometry which, in its modern formulation, is essentially the one developed by the classical Muslim scholars. (To be boringly specific, the older concepts were in terms of circular arcs and lengths. The Muslim scientists re-expressed the concepts as ratios of sides of right-angled triangles, just as we know them today. This tremendously simplified the discipline, and made it an indispensable tool for science and engineering. )

                  Kamal Abdali



                  On Sun, Nov 1, 2009 at 11:38, Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@yahoo. co.uk> wrote:
                   
                         With due respect, Kamal Abdali sahib,  I do appreciate your comments on my submission.  After all, in an
                  intelligent dialogue, each of us should be free to offer our opinion. 
                          Whereas I do acknowledge that Arabs served as a bridge between ancient Greeks and the Europeans,  their
                  discoveries or inventions, in my opinion,  had insignificant or practically no impact upon most fields of science [most reviews and blogs provide credit  to "Muslim scientists" in almost all fields of scince ---identical to the blog cited by our mutual
                  friend, Syed Mohsin Naqvi sahib, there are blogs that claim discovery of the structure of atoms, genetic code and
                  even hydrogen bomb by the Arabs and Muslims   --- these are the same individuals who failed to honour and acknowledge the
                  contribution by Pakistan's Noble Laureate in Theoretical Physics, Dr. Abdul Salaam, just because he was an Ahmadi].
                         Further, my thesis is that discoveries and inventions are made by scientists (because of their dedication to science)
                  and not because of their religion [I have seldom seen, except for on one or two occasions, brags about "Christian scientists,"
                  "Jewish scientists," Baha'i scientists," etc.]
                         The discoveries that had impact on modern science were those credited to Aristotle (provided a starting point
                  to refute his thesis), phoneticians (who invented alphabet --- while Indians, Chinese and Japanese still use symbols)
                  and Indians (who invented zero).  Of course,  Arabs and Muslims as they ruled for centuries, must have had many thinkers and
                  scientists (like the alchemist and philosopher poet Omer Khayyam) who upgraded ancient theories, but suggesting that every
                  theory known to modern science was developed by "Muslim scientists" is an absurd claim, if not a bad joke.
                         See, for example, the following claim:  European "Renaissance. The imprint of the Arab-Islamic culture was predominant, noticeable and effective in many scientific, intellectual and cultural fields. Arab and Muslim scholars invented the numerical system; the figure Zero; the decimal system; the theory of evolution-one hundred years before Darwin; pulmonary circulation -three centuries before Harvey. They discovered gravity and the relationship between weight, speed and distance  severa1 centuries before Newton; they measured the speed of light, calculated the angles of reflection and refraction, computed the circumference of the earth, and determined the dimensions of heavenly bodies. They invented astronomical instruments, discovered high seas, and laid down the foundations of chemistry" [http://www.islamset .com/islam/ culture/impact_ of.html].  Each discovery is cited without any reference to the origin.
                         In my opinion, a single lie is sufficient to abolishes the whole truth.  Unfortunately, we Muslims have cried wolf too many times.
                        
                  Regards

                  From: Kamal Abdali <k.abdali@acm. org>
                  To: Writers_Forum@ yahoogroups. com
                  Sent: Sat, 31 October, 2009 14:41:07
                  Subject: Re: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

                   
                  Sorry to take issue with nearly every point Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb makes in this message.

                  1.  "… no scientific historian pinpoints exactly what  the Muslim scientists contributed…".  There are hundreds of books and thousands of articles with that specific information. Sarton's encyclopedic "Introduction to the History of Science", published around 1930, comes to mind as a first reference. Among more recent books, you have Sezgin's encyclopedic 13-volume "Geschichte des Arabischen Schrifttums" in German, partially translated in English as "History of Arabic Sciences". Sezgin directed the Institute of Arabic-Islamic Sciences in Frankfurt which also housed other eminent scholars. One of these, David A King, has alone written about 15 books and about 200 papers describing and analyzing Muslim contributions to mathematics and astronomy. Other currently working scholars include Berggren of Simon Fraser University who has written many papers on the subject. An authentic and very informative nontechnical overview is in Durant Will's "Story of Civilization", Vol 4, Book 2, specially Chaps 12 "Thought and Art in Eastern Islam", Chap 13 "Western Islam", and Chap 15 "The Grandeur and Decline of Islam". This is just a minuscule sample of scholarly work. There is also a huge amount of popular work, which is sometimes subjective or exaggerated. But a reliable and readable recent book is Morgan's "Lost History: The Enduring legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists".

                  2. The translation of Greek texts was started in Baghdad, and the bulk of this work was done in the Middle East and Central Asia. Andalusians are credited more for their scholarly work than their translation activities.

                  3. I hope that Khan Saheb is not repeating the view that Muslims simply transmitted the Greek knowledge to the West, and at best just guarded the knowledge while Europe was in its Dark Ages slumber. This Eurocentric view has been debunked by many scholars who actually analyzed the scientific record. Translation of scientific sources from an alien language requires a high degree of motivation, and spurs the people to then further advance the knowledge. This is borne out by the production of much original Muslim work beyond the translated texts. BTW, the Eurocentric view has also attempted to dismiss or diminish East Asian scientific contributions.

                  4. I am puzzled by the sentence "Islam perfected the art of empire building, harems, debauchery, killing, and assassination…". The question in the discussion is whether or not Muslims contributed to science. Why confuse the issue with irrelevant observations? Even the most superficial reading of history makes it clear that is possible for a nation or civilization to commit terrible things to others or to their own people, and yet make significant contributions to science. If one wants to discuss whether Islam created, improved, or perfected those undesirable things, then perhaps there should be another discussion thread for it.

                  5. "pedaram sultaan bood". Finally, here is an observation with which I wholeheartedly agree. The contribution of one's earlier generations is something to be undertaken as an impassive, objective, and historical study. The glory of the past is no excuse for inaction today.

                  Kamal Abdali

                  On Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 20:08, Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@yahoo. co.uk> wrote:
                   
                         With due respect, in spite of all these claims, no scientific historian pin points exactly what the Muslim scientists
                  contributed to the field of science.  Of course, it is quite well known that Andalusian philosophers and thinkers
                  acquired the knowledge of classical Greek and translated the work of Greek philosophers and scientists, Aristotle
                  and Plato.  Aristotle actually cast a very long shadow (his scientific hypotheses  are in actuality are quoted as facsimiles
                  by the Koran to support its arguments) and his thinking (and writing) influenced all fields of science, until with the discovery
                  of the microscope, it was proven wrong.
                        Both Arabs and Indians claim the discovery of concept of zero [who copied who is a matter of conjuncture] .
                        It is very true that Australasian acted as a bridge between the Greeks and the European to start the age of renaissance,
                  but whereas the Europeans by their work and efforts (in spite of wars) perfected the "age of reasoning,"   Islam perfected
                  the art of empire building, "harems," debauchery, killing and assassinations to reach the brink of the abyss we find ourselves
                  standing on.
                       Not withstanding the above: "pedrum sultan bood, tura chay!"  (if our forefathers were the kings, what are we?)
                   


                  From: syed abedin <dilsesoofi@yahoo. com>
                  To: bilkulsimple@ yahoo.com
                  Sent: Wed, 28 October, 2009 18:59:23
                  Subject: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

                   
                  Mir M Ali sent this video to me and I am sending it to you, because ::
                  This is really an eye opening video showing the scientific contributions of muslims in history.In fact it is revealing the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries. You can watch many more videoes along with this one , which are a must to show to the younger generation who is unaware of the past remarkable scientific achievements of muslims.Please watch these videoes and forward this to others....








                • syed-mohsin naquvi
                  Dear Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb,   Thank you for your message.   I will address just one point from your message.  
                  Message 8 of 13 , Nov 2, 2009
                  • 0 Attachment

                    Dear Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb,

                     

                    Thank you for your message.

                     

                    I will address just one point from your message.

                     

                    <<2.     A number of people have mention to me the work of Ibnul Haytham.  However, I find that he was repeating what was
                    already known (a laboratory exercise).  Nothing more.
                    >>

                     

                    Why do you rely on “some people’s” statements? You are a very resourceful person and I am sure you have access to good university libraries. All you have to do is look at the books. I mentioned one such book on Ibn-ul-Haytham in my previous post. Here are a few more:

                    (1)   Al Deek, Mahmoud (2004), "Ibn Al-Haitham: Master of Optics, Mathematics, Physics and Medicine", Al Shindagah (November-December 2004), http://www.alshindagah.com/novdec2004/ibn.html

                    (2)   Gorini, Rosanna (October 2003), "Al-Haytham the man of experience. First steps in the science of vision", Journal of the International Society for the History of Islamic Medicine

                     

                     

                    Here is a description of his BOOK OF OPTICS, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alhazen

                     

                     

                    Ibn al-Haytham's most famous work is his seven volume Arabic treatise on optics, Kitab al-Manazir (Book of Optics), written from 1011 to 1021.[55] It has been ranked alongside Isaac Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica as one of the most influential books in physics[25] for introducing an early scientific method, and for initiating a revolution in optics[26] and visual perception.[27]

                    Optics was translated into Latin by an unknown scholar at the end of the 12th century or the beginning of the 13th century.[56] It was printed by Friedrich Risner in 1572, with the title Opticae thesaurus: Alhazeni Arabis libri septem, nuncprimum editi; Eiusdem liber De Crepusculis et nubium ascensionibus.[57] Risner is also the author of the name variant "Alhazen"; before Risner he was known in the west as Alhacen, which is the correct transcription of the Arabic name.[58] This work enjoyed a great reputation during the Middle Ages. Works by Ibn al-Haytham on geometric subjects were discovered in the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris in 1834 by E. A. Sedillot. Other manuscripts are preserved in the Bodleian Library at Oxford and in the library of Leiden.

                    I wouldn’t think any one will rate the invention of the Pin-Hole-Camera a restatement of already existing work.

                    And look at the following:

                    Chapters 15–16 of the Book of Optics covered astronomy. Ibn al-Haytham was the first to discover that the celestial spheres do not consist of solid matter. He also discovered that the heavens are less dense than the air. These views were later repeated by Witelo and had a significant influence on the Copernican and Tychonic systems of astronomy.[77]
                    In philosophy, Ibn al-Haytham is considered a pioneer of phenomenology. He articulated a relationship between the physical and observable world and that of intuition, psychology and mental functions. His theories regarding knowledge and perception, linking the domains of science and religion, led to a philosophy of existence based on the direct observation of reality from the observer's point of view.[78]
                    Ibn al-Haytham is considered by some authors to be the founder of experimental psychology, for his pioneering work on the psychology of visual perception and optical illusions.[23][24] In the Book of Optics, Ibn al-Haytham was the first scientist to argue that vision occurs in the brain, rather than the eyes. He pointed out that personal experience has an effect on what people see and how they see, and that vision and perception are subjective.[24]
                    He came up with a theory to explain the Moon illusion, which played an important role in the scientific tradition of medieval Europe . It was an attempt to the solve the problem of the Moon appearing larger near the horizon than it does while higher up in the sky. Arguing against Ptolemy's refraction theory, he redefined the problem in terms of perceived, rather than real, enlargement. He said that judging the distance of an object depends on there being an uninterrupted sequence of intervening bodies between the object and the observer. With the Moon however, there are no intervening objects. Therefore, since the size of an object depends on its observed distance, which is in this case inaccurate, the Moon appears larger on the horizon. Through works by Roger Bacon, John Pecham and Witelo based on Ibn al-Haytham's explanation, the Moon illusion gradually came to be accepted as a psychological phenomenon, with Ptolemy's theory being rejected in the 17th century.[79]
                     
                     
                    Thank you.
                     
                    Sincerely,
                     
                    Syed-Mohsin Naquvi
                    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


                    --- On Mon, 11/2/09, Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@...> wrote:

                    From: Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@...>
                    Subject: Re: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries
                    To: Writers_Forum@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Monday, November 2, 2009, 1:12 PM

                     
                            My dear Naqvi sahib,  I think most readers missed my point.  I am a Muslim [and I am very proud to come from
                    a family who serves Imam Ali (Gods blessings on his sacred face)] and I would be very proud of any scientific achievements by
                    my brother Muslims.  However, I do not believe in these "whole-sale" claims,  and I want definite proof.  My problem is that
                    Muslim history itself works against these claims.
                    1.    For example, the Prophet (prior to revealing himself as the Prophet) was a business agent for Lady Khadija.  He took on her behalf
                    mechandise to Syria (and other places).  How did he keep the records?:  I suggest "by counting or measuring and then recording."
                    I guess he must have counted, for example, 100 camels, 400 bags of dates,etc (and not as "one big measure of dates, a flock of camels
                    and a small measure of honey").  Thus, it would appear that invention of figures and alphabet is pre-Islamic.  Similarly,  many inventions
                    claimed to be Islamic, appear to have been worked out by non-Muslims.
                    2.    I do not believe that "Science" has a religion:  all inventions and discoveries were made by scientists, irrespective of their
                    religion.  Most of them actually claimed to be atheists.
                    2.     A number of people have mention to me the work of Ibnul Haytham.  However, I find that he was repeating what was
                    already known (a laboratory exercise).  Nothing more.
                    3.     I am sorry but the word "phoneticians" was a spelling error, for which I apologise.

                    Regards


                    From: syed-mohsin naquvi <mnaquvi@yahoo. com>
                    To: Writers_Forum@ yahoogroups. com
                    Sent: Sun, 1 November, 2009 22:12:24
                    Subject: Re: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

                     

                    From: Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@yahoo. co.uk>
                    Subject: Re: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries
                    To: Writers_Forum@ yahoogroups. com
                    Date: Sunday, November 1, 2009, 10:38 AM

                     
                           With due respect, Kamal Abdali sahib,  I do appreciate your comments on my submission.  After all, in an
                    intelligent dialogue, each of us should be free to offer our opinion. 
                            Whereas I do acknowledge that Arabs served as a bridge between ancient Greeks and the Europeans,  their
                    discoveries or inventions, in my opinion,  had insignificant or practically no impact upon most fields of science [most reviews and blogs provide credit  to "Muslim scientists" in almost all fields of scince ---identical to the blog cited by our mutual
                    friend, Syed Mohsin Naqvi sahib, there are blogs that claim discovery of the structure of atoms, genetic code and
                    even hydrogen bomb by the Arabs and Muslims   --- these are the same individuals who failed to honour and acknowledge the
                    contribution by Pakistan's Noble Laureate in Theoretical Physics, Dr. Abdul Salaam, just because he was an Ahmadi].
                           Further, my thesis is that discoveries and inventions are made by scientists (because of their dedication to science)
                    and not because of their religion [I have seldom seen, except for on one or two occasions, brags about "Christian scientists,"
                    "Jewish scientists," Baha'i scientists," etc.]
                           The discoveries that had impact on modern science were those credited to Aristotle (provided a starting point
                    to refute his thesis), phoneticians (who invented alphabet --- while Indians, Chinese and Japanese still use symbols)
                    and Indians (who invented zero).  Of course,  Arabs and Muslims as they ruled for centuries, must have had many thinkers and
                    scientists (like the alchemist and philosopher poet Omer Khayyam) who upgraded ancient theories, but suggesting that every
                    theory known to modern science was developed by "Muslim scientists" is an absurd claim, if not a bad joke.
                           See, for example, the following claim:  European "Renaissance. The imprint of the Arab-Islamic culture was predominant, noticeable and effective in many scientific, intellectual and cultural fields. Arab and Muslim scholars invented the numerical system; the figure Zero; the decimal system; the theory of evolution-one hundred years before Darwin; pulmonary circulation -three centuries before Harvey. They discovered gravity and the relationship between weight, speed and distance  severa1 centuries before Newton; they measured the speed of light, calculated the angles of reflection and refraction, computed the circumference of the earth, and determined the dimensions of heavenly bodies. They invented astronomical instruments, discovered high seas, and laid down the foundations of chemistry" [http://www.islamset .com/islam/ culture/impact_ of.html].  Each discovery is cited without any reference to the origin.
                           In my opinion, a single lie is sufficient to abolishes the whole truth.  Unfortunately, we Muslims have cried wolf too many times.
                          
                    Regards

                    From: Kamal Abdali <k.abdali@acm. org>
                    To: Writers_Forum@ yahoogroups. com
                    Sent: Sat, 31 October, 2009 14:41:07
                    Subject: Re: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

                     
                    Sorry to take issue with nearly every point Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb makes in this message.

                    1.  "… no scientific historian pinpoints exactly what  the Muslim scientists contributed…".  There are hundreds of books and thousands of articles with that specific information. Sarton's encyclopedic "Introduction to the History of Science", published around 1930, comes to mind as a first reference. Among more recent books, you have Sezgin's encyclopedic 13-volume "Geschichte des Arabischen Schrifttums" in German, partially translated in English as "History of Arabic Sciences". Sezgin directed the Institute of Arabic-Islamic Sciences in Frankfurt which also housed other eminent scholars. One of these, David A King, has alone written about 15 books and about 200 papers describing and analyzing Muslim contributions to mathematics and astronomy. Other currently working scholars include Berggren of Simon Fraser University who has written many papers on the subject. An authentic and very informative nontechnical overview is in Durant Will's "Story of Civilization", Vol 4, Book 2, specially Chaps 12 "Thought and Art in Eastern Islam", Chap 13 "Western Islam", and Chap 15 "The Grandeur and Decline of Islam". This is just a minuscule sample of scholarly work. There is also a huge amount of popular work, which is sometimes subjective or exaggerated. But a reliable and readable recent book is Morgan's "Lost History: The Enduring legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists".

                    2. The translation of Greek texts was started in Baghdad, and the bulk of this work was done in the Middle East and Central Asia. Andalusians are credited more for their scholarly work than their translation activities.

                    3. I hope that Khan Saheb is not repeating the view that Muslims simply transmitted the Greek knowledge to the West, and at best just guarded the knowledge while Europe was in its Dark Ages slumber. This Eurocentric view has been debunked by many scholars who actually analyzed the scientific record. Translation of scientific sources from an alien language requires a high degree of motivation, and spurs the people to then further advance the knowledge. This is borne out by the production of much original Muslim work beyond the translated texts. BTW, the Eurocentric view has also attempted to dismiss or diminish East Asian scientific contributions.

                    4. I am puzzled by the sentence "Islam perfected the art of empire building, harems, debauchery, killing, and assassination…". The question in the discussion is whether or not Muslims contributed to science. Why confuse the issue with irrelevant observations? Even the most superficial reading of history makes it clear that is possible for a nation or civilization to commit terrible things to others or to their own people, and yet make significant contributions to science. If one wants to discuss whether Islam created, improved, or perfected those undesirable things, then perhaps there should be another discussion thread for it.

                    5. "pedaram sultaan bood". Finally, here is an observation with which I wholeheartedly agree. The contribution of one's earlier generations is something to be undertaken as an impassive, objective, and historical study. The glory of the past is no excuse for inaction today.

                    Kamal Abdali

                    On Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 20:08, Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@yahoo. co.uk> wrote:
                     
                           With due respect, in spite of all these claims, no scientific historian pin points exactly what the Muslim scientists
                    contributed to the field of science.  Of course, it is quite well known that Andalusian philosophers and thinkers
                    acquired the knowledge of classical Greek and translated the work of Greek philosophers and scientists, Aristotle
                    and Plato.  Aristotle actually cast a very long shadow (his scientific hypotheses  are in actuality are quoted as facsimiles
                    by the Koran to support its arguments) and his thinking (and writing) influenced all fields of science, until with the discovery
                    of the microscope, it was proven wrong.
                          Both Arabs and Indians claim the discovery of concept of zero [who copied who is a matter of conjuncture] .
                          It is very true that Australasian acted as a bridge between the Greeks and the European to start the age of renaissance,
                    but whereas the Europeans by their work and efforts (in spite of wars) perfected the "age of reasoning,"   Islam perfected
                    the art of empire building, "harems," debauchery, killing and assassinations to reach the brink of the abyss we find ourselves
                    standing on.
                         Not withstanding the above: "pedrum sultan bood, tura chay!"  (if our forefathers were the kings, what are we?)
                     


                    From: syed abedin <dilsesoofi@yahoo. com>
                    To: bilkulsimple@ yahoo.com
                    Sent: Wed, 28 October, 2009 18:59:23
                    Subject: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

                     
                    Dear Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb,
                     
                    I think this discussion is now going off tracks. Lets us look at it:
                     
                    (1) No one is claiming that the Muslim scientists achieved everything only because they were Muslims. They achieved whatever they achieved only because they were dedicated scientists, they were curious, they loved knowledge and they worked hard. Because of their Islamic faith they did everything as an act of worship to Allah (IBADAT). That added to their zeal, selflessness and humility -- that was the secret of their success.
                     
                    (2) THis topic came up only because some people began denying that Muslim scientists ever did anything. I for one, admire every scientist and inventor whatever his/faith or religious preference may be.
                     
                    (3) The western writers of the 18th and 19th centuries have mounted a concerted effort to deny any work done by Muslim scholars and those form South ASian countries including Indians. The theory that is being pushed is that the period of 16th to 18th centuries was the time of the Scientific  and Intellectual Revolution and that was purely a western (European) phenomenon. That is a blatant lie and it is no better than the Pakistanis not accepting DR. Abdul Salam as a Muslim.
                     
                           I agree with you 100%, the act of desecrating the gravesite plaque of Abdul Salam -- it was done by order of the local district magistrate - was a despicable act. The gravestone had read: THE FIRST MUSLIM NOBEL LAUREATE OF PAKISTAN. The word Muslim w as erased by that order.  That, I think, was a black day in Pakistan 's history.
                     
                    By the way, you wrote: <<<phoneticians (who invented alphabet  >>>
                     
                    Actually it was the Phoenicians who had invented the first alphabet. Phoneticians are people who work on the science of phonetics. Phoenicians were the tribe who were the precursor of the Jewish people. The time of the Phoenicians is estimated to be around 1000 BC. The time of the Jewish people (and therefore the period of HAzrat Musa) was around 700 BC. But Allah knows best. Soem biblical chronologists date HAzrat Musa's time as 1250 BC. That creates a clash with the dating of the Phoenicians inventing teh Alphabet in 1000 BC, which is what historical linguists claim. But that is yet another story.
                     
                    The works of Jabir bin Hayyan and those of Ibn al-Haytham are well documented. People have done their Ph.D's on the life and works of those two Muslim scientists.
                     
                    THank you.
                     
                    Sincerely,
                     
                    Syed-Mohsin Naquvi
                    ============ ========= ========= ========= ===

                     

                    --- On Sun, 11/1/09, Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@yahoo. co.uk> wrote:

                    Mir M Ali sent this video to me and I am sending it to you, because ::
                    This is really an eye opening video showing the scientific contributions of muslims in history.In fact it is revealing the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries. You can watch many more videoes along with this one , which are a must to show to the younger generation who is unaware of the past remarkable scientific achievements of muslims.Please watch these videoes and forward this to others....










                  • Akhtar Ali Khan
                    Thank you very much for your lengthy and enlightening discourse. I learned a lot and I am sure that I will further explore the field. Nevertheless, I am most
                    Message 9 of 13 , Nov 3, 2009
                    • 0 Attachment
                              Thank you very much for your lengthy and enlightening discourse.  I learned a lot and I am sure that I will
                      further explore the field.  Nevertheless, I am most grateful for your guiding hand.
                      My compliments, Sir.
                      Akhtar


                      From: Kamal Abdali <k.abdali@...>
                      To: Writers_Forum@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Mon, 2 November, 2009 1:49:23
                      Subject: Re: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

                       

                      Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb,

                      I agree with you that there are many baseless or exaggerated claims, and just like you I pay no attention to the Web sites or publications that make nonsensical assertions. But that fact should not dissuade us from recognizing or appreciating the merits of genuine claims. A discovery is a beautiful thing, and to see its historical context is fascinating. The rather long period spanning from the 8th to the 13th century CE was a time of vigorous intellectual activity in the Muslim civilization. The history of the intellectual contributions of the Muslim civilization is a well investigated area, and its important discoveries are thoroughly documented. The civilization's decay started around the late13th century and the activity basically dried out by the end of 15th. Of course, the period of their downward slope largely coincides both with the political disintegration of Muslims and the political as well as intellectual growth in the West.

                      The scholars of this civilization were ethnically diverse, and while the religion of the majority of these scholars was Islam, yet among them there were quite a few Christians (of many sects), Jews, Magians, etc. Moreover, the scholars did go out to learn from the people outside the Muslim areas, in particular India, but the teachers in those foreign lands are traditionally not included in the Mulsim civilization.

                      The claim that all or most that is known today was discovered by any one particular group is, of course, not borne out by the historical record. Nor are the narrow-minded explanations that the discoveries resulted from certain people's beliefs, hidden hints in their sacred texts, or their superior gene pools. To give an example from a different religious group, there is a very popular book "Vedic Mathematics … one line solutions to all mathematical" by a certain Jagadguru. The methods given in the book are claimed to be discoveries from the Vedas. Most of the book is about tricks for rapid arithmetical calculations, some of them quite ingenious. There is also the discussion of rules for geometry, trigonometry, calculus, etc. Now this book gives a Sanskrit couplet whose letters encode the first 32 decimal digits of Pi (with errors, by the way). The author claims that the couplet has within itself a "master key" to determine the digits of Pi to any precision, but he doesn't explain the key. It is virtually impossible that the key is there, because there is no known closed-form formula to determine the decimal digit of Pi in an arbitrary position.

                      Many simple-minded claims stem from the ignorance about the quantitative nature of scientific laws. Gravitation is a popular target of sweeping statements. There are people who think that the mystical idea of universal love or attraction (e.g, in sacred texts and poetry) is the same as the law of gravitation, not realizing that it is only the mathematical relationship in it that makes the law of gravitation worthwhile.

                      A lot of unworthy claims are driven by people who seek credit emotionally for their nation, ethnic group, religion, and so on. This is not confined to Muslims. Nor are they the worst offenders. On the Internet there seems to be a race, for attributing great discoveries to themselves, among Muslims, Indians, Jews, Chinese, Africans, and even some indigenous groups. I must say that they do occasionally hit upon hitherto unknown or hidden facts, and they do provide, fanatically or not, some counterbalance to the West appropriating all the credit to itself! Within Europe there used to be hot debates about who invented what. There is the famous Newton vs. Leibnitz debate about the calculus. What the British call Boyle's law was known as ( I think) Mariot's law in France. Much of such controversies resolved themselves a century ago. But one that doesn't seem to go away is the invention of radio. In the English speaking world, the credit goes to Italy's Marconi, but several Eastern European nations are adamant that the precedence belongs to their nationals.

                      Let us come back to the Muslim civilization. While your list correctly enumerates many wrong claims of discoveries, a few of the claims are actually true and well-documented: laws of reflection and refraction of light enunciated by Ibn al-Haitham, the measurement of the earth's circumference by Albiruni and others (the Muslim measurement was not the first, being preceded by work around the 4th century, but were quite accurate), significant advances in astronomical instruments (increasing both their versatility and precision, and making tools fit for observation as well as analog calculation) by a cast of many characters.

                      I was amazed to see a paper by Berggren showing that Albiruni described the central azimuthal projection about 8 centuries before the next claimant. Map projections are used to draw plane maps of the world, and are basically given by functions that are mathematical correspondences between points on the globe and those on a planar region. There are hundreds of map projections with various properties. The most familiar is the Mercator projection which shows the world as a rectangle. One projection gaining popularity (for a number of reasons that I will skip) is the central azimuthal projection which can show the globe as a disk. If you ponder for a moment, you'll realize the challenge. You can flatten half of the globe's surface into a disk, but how are you going to get both hemispheres onto the same disk? Albiruni invented this projection in order to portray the whole sky within a plane circle. Berggren's paper includes with his analysis the Arabic source text of Albiruni's pamphlet on the subject together with its English translation. The work is unbelievable until you see it. Remember, however, that Albiruni can't give you equations for the map functions because the formalism for expressing such equations weren't developed until centuries later. But he gives you the equivalent by ingenious geometrical constructions.

                      I can't entirely agree that the discoveries of that civilization have had no impact. Of course, the earlier a discovery happens, the more it gets subsumed in later ones, and becomes unrecognizable as a separate entity. But some iconic examples of impact are: the prevalence of Arabic-based star names, the most important word and concept in computer science-- "algorithm", and trigonometry which, in its modern formulation, is essentially the one developed by the classical Muslim scholars. (To be boringly specific, the older concepts were in terms of circular arcs and lengths. The Muslim scientists re-expressed the concepts as ratios of sides of right-angled triangles, just as we know them today. This tremendously simplified the discipline, and made it an indispensable tool for science and engineering. )

                      Kamal Abdali



                      On Sun, Nov 1, 2009 at 11:38, Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@yahoo. co.uk> wrote:
                       

                             With due respect, Kamal Abdali sahib,  I do appreciate your comments on my submission.  After all, in an
                      intelligent dialogue, each of us should be free to offer our opinion. 
                              Whereas I do acknowledge that Arabs served as a bridge between ancient Greeks and the Europeans,  their
                      discoveries or inventions, in my opinion,  had insignificant or practically no impact upon most fields of science [most reviews and blogs provide credit  to "Muslim scientists" in almost all fields of scince ---identical to the blog cited by our mutual
                      friend, Syed Mohsin Naqvi sahib, there are blogs that claim discovery of the structure of atoms, genetic code and
                      even hydrogen bomb by the Arabs and Muslims   --- these are the same individuals who failed to honour and acknowledge the
                      contribution by Pakistan's Noble Laureate in Theoretical Physics, Dr. Abdul Salaam, just because he was an Ahmadi].
                             Further, my thesis is that discoveries and inventions are made by scientists (because of their dedication to science)
                      and not because of their religion [I have seldom seen, except for on one or two occasions, brags about "Christian scientists,"
                      "Jewish scientists," Baha'i scientists," etc.]
                             The discoveries that had impact on modern science were those credited to Aristotle (provided a starting point
                      to refute his thesis), phoneticians (who invented alphabet --- while Indians, Chinese and Japanese still use symbols)
                      and Indians (who invented zero).  Of course,  Arabs and Muslims as they ruled for centuries, must have had many thinkers and
                      scientists (like the alchemist and philosopher poet Omer Khayyam) who upgraded ancient theories, but suggesting that every
                      theory known to modern science was developed by "Muslim scientists" is an absurd claim, if not a bad joke.
                             See, for example, the following claim:  European "Renaissance. The imprint of the Arab-Islamic culture was predominant, noticeable and effective in many scientific, intellectual and cultural fields. Arab and Muslim scholars invented the numerical system; the figure Zero; the decimal system; the theory of evolution-one hundred years before Darwin; pulmonary circulation -three centuries before Harvey. They discovered gravity and the relationship between weight, speed and distance  severa1 centuries before Newton; they measured the speed of light, calculated the angles of reflection and refraction, computed the circumference of the earth, and determined the dimensions of heavenly bodies. They invented astronomical instruments, discovered high seas, and laid down the foundations of chemistry" [http://www.islamset .com/islam/ culture/impact_ of.html].  Each discovery is cited without any reference to the origin.
                             In my opinion, a single lie is sufficient to abolishes the whole truth.  Unfortunately, we Muslims have cried wolf too many times.
                            
                      Regards

                      From: Kamal Abdali <k.abdali@acm. org>
                      To: Writers_Forum@ yahoogroups. com
                      Sent: Sat, 31 October, 2009 14:41:07
                      Subject: Re: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

                       

                      Sorry to take issue with nearly every point Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb makes in this message.

                      1.  "… no scientific historian pinpoints exactly what  the Muslim scientists contributed…".  There are hundreds of books and thousands of articles with that specific information. Sarton's encyclopedic "Introduction to the History of Science", published around 1930, comes to mind as a first reference. Among more recent books, you have Sezgin's encyclopedic 13-volume "Geschichte des Arabischen Schrifttums" in German, partially translated in English as "History of Arabic Sciences". Sezgin directed the Institute of Arabic-Islamic Sciences in Frankfurt which also housed other eminent scholars. One of these, David A King, has alone written about 15 books and about 200 papers describing and analyzing Muslim contributions to mathematics and astronomy. Other currently working scholars include Berggren of Simon Fraser University who has written many papers on the subject. An authentic and very informative nontechnical overview is in Durant Will's "Story of Civilization", Vol 4, Book 2, specially Chaps 12 "Thought and Art in Eastern Islam", Chap 13 "Western Islam", and Chap 15 "The Grandeur and Decline of Islam". This is just a minuscule sample of scholarly work. There is also a huge amount of popular work, which is sometimes subjective or exaggerated. But a reliable and readable recent book is Morgan's "Lost History: The Enduring legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists".

                      2. The translation of Greek texts was started in Baghdad, and the bulk of this work was done in the Middle East and Central Asia. Andalusians are credited more for their scholarly work than their translation activities.

                      3. I hope that Khan Saheb is not repeating the view that Muslims simply transmitted the Greek knowledge to the West, and at best just guarded the knowledge while Europe was in its Dark Ages slumber. This Eurocentric view has been debunked by many scholars who actually analyzed the scientific record. Translation of scientific sources from an alien language requires a high degree of motivation, and spurs the people to then further advance the knowledge. This is borne out by the production of much original Muslim work beyond the translated texts. BTW, the Eurocentric view has also attempted to dismiss or diminish East Asian scientific contributions.

                      4. I am puzzled by the sentence "Islam perfected the art of empire building, harems, debauchery, killing, and assassination…". The question in the discussion is whether or not Muslims contributed to science. Why confuse the issue with irrelevant observations? Even the most superficial reading of history makes it clear that is possible for a nation or civilization to commit terrible things to others or to their own people, and yet make significant contributions to science. If one wants to discuss whether Islam created, improved, or perfected those undesirable things, then perhaps there should be another discussion thread for it.

                      5. "pedaram sultaan bood". Finally, here is an observation with which I wholeheartedly agree. The contribution of one's earlier generations is something to be undertaken as an impassive, objective, and historical study. The glory of the past is no excuse for inaction today.

                      Kamal Abdali

                      On Fri, Oct 30, 2009 at 20:08, Akhtar Ali Khan <naj241@yahoo. co.uk> wrote:
                       

                             With due respect, in spite of all these claims, no scientific historian pin points exactly what the Muslim scientists
                      contributed to the field of science.  Of course, it is quite well known that Andalusian philosophers and thinkers
                      acquired the knowledge of classical Greek and translated the work of Greek philosophers and scientists, Aristotle
                      and Plato.  Aristotle actually cast a very long shadow (his scientific hypotheses  are in actuality are quoted as facsimiles
                      by the Koran to support its arguments) and his thinking (and writing) influenced all fields of science, until with the discovery
                      of the microscope, it was proven wrong.
                            Both Arabs and Indians claim the discovery of concept of zero [who copied who is a matter of conjuncture] .
                            It is very true that Australasian acted as a bridge between the Greeks and the European to start the age of renaissance,
                      but whereas the Europeans by their work and efforts (in spite of wars) perfected the "age of reasoning,"   Islam perfected
                      the art of empire building, "harems," debauchery, killing and assassinations to reach the brink of the abyss we find ourselves
                      standing on.
                           Not withstanding the above: "pedrum sultan bood, tura chay!"  (if our forefathers were the kings, what are we?)
                       


                      From: syed abedin <dilsesoofi@yahoo. com>
                      To: bilkulsimple@ yahoo.com
                      Sent: Wed, 28 October, 2009 18:59:23
                      Subject: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

                       

                      Mir M Ali sent this video to me and I am sending it to you, because ::
                      This is really an eye opening video showing the scientific contributions of muslims in history.In fact it is revealing the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries. You can watch many more videoes along with this one , which are a must to show to the younger generation who is unaware of the past remarkable scientific achievements of muslims.Please watch these videoes and forward this to others....









                    • Akhtar Ali Khan
                      Thank you very much, Naqvi sahib, for your efforts. I am grateful. ________________________________ From: syed-mohsin naquvi To:
                      Message 10 of 13 , Nov 3, 2009
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Thank you very much, Naqvi sahib, for your efforts.  I am grateful.


                        From: syed-mohsin naquvi <mnaquvi@...>
                        To: Writers_Forum@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Mon, 2 November, 2009 23:36:25
                        Subject: Re: [Writers Forum] the muslim origin of most of the western discoveries

                         

                        Dear Akhtar Ali Khan Saheb,

                         

                        Thank you for your message.

                         

                        I will address just one point from your message.

                         

                      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.