“Intellectual Achievements of Muslims”
Reviewed By NIGAR ATAULLA
It’s time for an Islamic Renaissance!
Young Muslims must acquire knowledge as an obligation imposed upon them by the
Quran. Follow the ideals of Al-Biruni and Ibn Sina, advises author of the Book, Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed, President, Islamic Research Foundation International, Louisville, Kentucky.
With Quran as their guide and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), the early Muslims reached the zenith of civilization, which lasted over 1000 years. During this period, the Muslims contributed vastly to the enhancement of arts, science, medicine and cultural growth of mankind. The Islamic Empire, For more than 1000 years remained the most advanced and civilized nation in the world. Dr lbrahim B. Syed, an educator and currently Clinical Professor of Medicine (Medical Physics and Nuclear Cardiology) at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, has spent a lifetime, thinking and scripting reams of literature on the status of the Muslim Ummah today. From his treasure of books, comes this brilliant new tome, Intellectual Achievements of Muslims,“ which attempts to answer the reasons for the downfall of Muslims from such glorious heights- from a position of top of the civilization to the bottom! “ One of time major reasons is’ obscurantism, which is the act of obscuring, or striving to prevent enlightenment or to hinder the progress of knowledge,” says Dr. Syed who is also the Founder and President of the Islamic Research Foundation International Inc., in Louisville, Kentucky. No one can deny (that the Muslim Ummah occupies a position which is at the lowest rung of the ladder in the world. The share of Muslims in Nobel Prizes and in the Olympic Games is close to nothing. Muslims’ contribution to literature is marginal; Muslims have been economically exploited and politically subjugated. Muslims number between 1.2 to 1.5 billion, the average literacy rate is between 25 and 35 per cent and in rural areas in Muslim countries, the illiteracy rate among Muslim women is 93 to 97 per cent. Dr. Syed clearly portrays the fact that the western educated Muslims know Das Capital than Quran, Hadith and Fiqh. They know the theology of Thomas Aquinas, but are ignorant of Al-Ghazali. They know everything about Isaac Newton, but have no idea of Al-Biruni. They read the adventures of Marco Polo, but have never heard of the travels of Ibn Batuta. They have read the works of Toynbee, but do not know that Ibn Khaldun is the founder of Sociology and Historiography. They know that William Harvey discovered blood circulation, but do not know the achievements of Ibn Nafis, the forerunner of William Harvey. Packaged elegantly, the most notable feature of the book is the simplicity of language, devoid of cliches and high-sounding vocabulary. It reflects the down-to-earth approach of Dr. Syed who was born in Bellary in Karnataka and completed his initial education in Mysore. While the book elucidates the achievements of Muslim scholars, scientists and intellectuals during medieval times, the author minces no words to explain that Islamic Renaissance means the intellectual growth of the Muslim Ummah-that is young Muslims ought to learn and apply research methodology to interpret the glorious Qur’an and Hadith in the context of modern knowledge. Due credit should be given to Dr Syed for his admirable optimism where he has presented the ‘‘Action Plan” for Muslims across the world. One of them being the acquisition of knowledge, education and science as an obligation imposed upon them by the Qur’an so that they become self-reliant. Illustrating a touching example from the life of Al-Biruni, the author recollects: I spoke of Al-Biruni who flourished in Ghaznah 1000 years ago. The story is told of his death by a contemporary who says: I heard, Al-Biruni was dying, I hurried to his house for a last look. When they told him of my arrival, he opened his eyes and said: Are you so and so? I said: Yes. He said: I am told you know the resolution of a knotty problem in the laws of inheritance in Islam. And he alluded to a well-known puzzle. I said: at his time? And Al-Biruni replied: Don’t you think it is better that I should die, knowing rather than ignorant? With sorrow in my heart, I told him what I knew. Taking my leave, I had not yet crossed the portals of his house, when the lament arose from inside: Al-Biruni was dead.
Dr. Syed’s book is dedicated to the Universal Muslim scientists and scholars of the past, the present and the future and is an eye-opener to the Muslims of today that they need to achieve a balance between Islam and modernity through Ijtehad (creative and independent thinking).
The book is available at: Star Publications Pvt Ltd, 4/5 B, Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi-110002, Tel: 011-325-7220, E-Mail: email@example.com
And the Islamic Circle, 23 Boundary Road, Rose Hill, Mauritius, Tel: 230-464-3247, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Courtesy: The Islamic Voice, September 2002, p.8, Bangalore, India
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