| Islam, the Greeks and the Scientific Revolution, part 1
| Monday, May 30, 2016
India has a long-standing mathematical tradition and the Hindu numerical
system is one of its most important contributions to world culture.
was slowly introduced in Western Europe during the Middle Ages, gained
momentum after the Italian mathematician Fibonacci in 1202 published his
book Liber Abaci and reached wide acceptance during the Renaissance.
Europeans learned about Indian numerals via Arabs, which is why they
were mistakenly called Arabic numerals in the West.
They were superior
to Roman numerals in several ways, the revolutionary concept of zero
being one of them. There is no doubt that this numerical system reached
the West via the Islamic world, but we should remember that since the
Middle East is situated between India and Europe, any ideas from India
by necessity had to pass through that region to reach Europe.
sure how much credit we should give Islam for this geographical
accident. Al-Razi was a talented Persian physician and chemist who lived in the
ninth and early tenth century. He combined Greek, Indian and Persian
traditions, and relied on clinical observance of patients in the
Hippocratic tradition. He also commented, and criticized, the works of
philosophers such as Aristotle. Some of his writings were translated
As Ibn Warraq writes in his book Why I Am Not a Muslim,
“Perhaps the greatest freethinker in the whole of Islam was al-Razi,
the Rhazes of Medieval Europe (or Razis of Chaucer), where his prestige
and authority remained unchallenged until the seventeenth century. “Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The
savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe.
Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.”
A Danish man
who lived in Iran before the Revolution in 1979 noticed that if he
suggested to his Muslim friends that he would like to enjoy some privacy
for while, they thought he was crazy. The very notion of “privacy” was
alien to them because it implies that you are an autonomous individual
with needs of your own. A Muslim is simply an organic part of the Umma,
the Islamic community. This lack of individualism and individual liberty
is one of the main reasons why Muslims lost out to other cultures.
On the other hand, I believe the West has in recent decades gone too
far in making individualism the sole basis of our culture. When a nation
is reduced to nothing more than an atomized collection of individuals,
with no ties to the past and no obligations to future generations,
mounting a defense of a lasting society becomes difficult, if not
Read it all here...........................
|posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 5:04 AM