Friday, October 15, 2010

Fjordman: Medieval Muslim Scholars — Their Contributions and Shortcomings

Fjordman’s latest essay has been published at Jihad Watch. Some excerpts are below:

Advances made during the Middle Ages in the Islamic-ruled world were relatively modest even at the best of times and declined to almost nothing thereafter. Those contributions that did exist were made primarily by non-Arabs, and often by unorthodox Muslims who were harassed for their freethinking ways. Their scholarly contributions were primarily based on ancient Greek or other non-Islamic works and rarely moved much beyond these conceptually. They were made predominantly during the early centuries of Islamic rule, while large non-Muslim communities still existed in these countries, and normally in centers of urban culture that predated Islam by thousands of years. The Arabian Peninsula, the cradle of Islam, has contributed next to nothing of value to human civilization throughout Islamic history. Persians, who retained a few links with their pre-Islamic heritage after the conquests, produced some decent scholars, whereas Turks, who identified almost entirely with Islam after their conversion, produced practically none of any significance. If we combine these various factors, a very clear picture emerges: The rather modest - now often exaggerated - contributions made by certain Middle Eastern scholars during the Middle Ages were generally made in spite of Islam, not because of it. Orthodox Muslims rejected the Greek heritage.

On the other hand, while some minor advances were made in spite of Islam, tremendous damage was done to pre-existing non-Muslim cultures from India, Central and Southeast Asia to Europe that was directly caused or inspired by core Islamic religious teachings and texts.

A researcher from Denmark, Tina Magaard, spent years analyzing the original texts of different religions, from Buddhism, Christianity and Judaism to Sikhism. On the basis of a straight-forward reading of them she concluded that the Islamic texts are by far the most warlike among the major world religions. They encourage terror to a greater degree than the original texts of other faiths. “The texts in Islam distinguish themselves from the texts of other religions by encouraging violence and aggression against people with other religious beliefs to a larger degree. There are also straightforward calls for terror. This has long been a taboo in the research into Islam, but it is a fact that we need to deal with,” says Magaard. There are many dozens of verses in the Koran explicitly calling for fighting and armed struggle against people of other faiths. “If it is correct that many Muslims view the Koran as the literal words of God, which cannot be interpreted or rephrased, then we have a problem. It is indisputable that the texts encourage terror and violence. Consequently, it must be reasonable to ask Muslims themselves how they relate to the text, if they read it as it is.”

At the end of the day it is hard to pinpoint exactly what kind of positive cultural, scholarly or artistic contributions, if any, Islam by itself has brought to mankind. The ancient Greeks borrowed the alphabet from the Phoenicians, medical and artistic ideas from the Egyptians and finally mathematics and planetary astronomy from the Mesopotamians; this was one of the most significant external impulses to the Western scientific tradition throughout its history, more fundamental than anything that came out of the Islamic-ruled Middle East.

Generally speaking, in ancient times it was an advantage for Greeks to be close to the Middle East, which partly explains why they were among the first Europeans to create an urban, literate culture. During the Middle Ages, the Middle East gradually went from being a global center of civilization, which it had been for thousands of years, into the global center of anti-civilization it is today. Suddenly, being close to the Middle East was a serious disadvantage. This massive transformation took place after the Islamic conquest, which is hardly coincidental.

Read the rest at Jihad Watch.

5 comments:

Mats said...

Wait. You mean to tell me that Muslims did NOT invent science?!!

Profitsbeard said...

None of this has anything to do with the detail that these figures were "Muslims", since Islam's religious authorities, circa 1000 A.D., decreed that their "God" is an Irrationalistic deity, which means that Mohammedans, as a result of this belief, have a dogmatic contempt for the Scientific Method.

In essence, all non-religious Knowledge is a presumptuous intrusion into Allah's sacred province of Pure Will. (Which is why representational Art is also forbidden, because it usurps Allah's Creativity, and, in the words of Mohammad, demonstrates nothing but human hubris) .

According to Islam, ALL religious knowledge has already been given and is contained within the Koran (the greatest form of paralysis ever to shackle the human mind ) thus, for a Muslim, no other knowledge is necessary in this life.

Science cannot understand Allah. Nothing can.

To try is arrogance.

All reason is a "restraint" upon Allah.

Who is ab-morally free to change the laws of nature at will and to act as capriciously as he pleases.

Allah is not even bound to care about humanity.

There is no covenant, no return of love, from Allah.

He is the apotheosis of Unpredictability which cannot be grasped by humans, only bowed to and obeyed without question.

In fear of eternal torment for failing to grovel sufficiently to this Inscrutability.

That any of these men did anything worthwhile for the species or added something of value to the sciences is un-Islam.

Because Science is anathema to Allah.

Egghead said...

Profitsbeard: EXCELLENT ANALYSIS!

Félicie said...

Here is one comparison. Early Western philosophy vs. "Islamic" philosophy. The first attempted and succeded at integrating Classical philosophy with Christianity. The latter existed in parallel with Islam without intersecting with it. It was of form of Neoplatonism practiced by the Hellenized population of the Middle East, almost none of them an ethnic Arab. One, whois reputed to be an Arab, Al-Kindi, was probably of Indian descent, judging from his name.

ANTI-ISLAMIST said...

All flesh is grass

To all Scandinavien speaking readers of GoV and specially to Fjordman.

Just now the beloved Swedish BABBLE- theme is about the equal
value of any living persons
assertion. It is daily milled about in the media, in the politician's and some cleric's mouths and among all the fools in town and out in the boondocks. Referring to it, multiculturalism,
massimmigration and massimportation of gipsies from all around Europe is motivated and explained. This industrious valueation-BABBLE
originate from the silly-nation of Sweden's constitution, which in part is based on an embarrassing stupid mistranslation from English of a part of the now 60 years old Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in which is talked about human dignity which in Sweden has been transformed to the unintelligible concept of value of humans. Subsequent Swedish
rubber-paragraph-legislation of the kind that elsewhere is used to try to convict Geert Wilders and later on Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff is in Sweden based on the same incomprehensible part of the constitution.

On the following link you can read about it in the probabely most
importent document of the year/decade (?)
http://www.box.net/sha
red/4kcuokgds0

- - -
- download the htm-file (½ second) to your computer and read it there - in this way you get the file UNABRIDGED, in easy-to-read Tahoma typography.