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Posts Tagged ‘Islam’

In the book The Universe by Isaac Asimov he writes about the parallax by which distance of a planetary body could be measured. One observer may sight the moon in the horizon while for the second observer it is overhead. In such a case the base of the triangle is the equal to the radius of the earth and the angle at the moon is the ‘equatorial horizontal parallax.’That is 57.04 minutes of arc. In other words from your known position in the earth and in relation to another you zero in whether it be the moon or truth or whatever. In the post ‘Web of knowledge’ I mentioned that the pure impulses of the baby are clouded over gradually by ways of the world that bear upon it. However the only way we can get at the reality of our moral sense is in relation to others. An anchorite may retreat from the world and yet he shall not take away the hold of the world. Like the saints of yore who even in a desert shall face temptation each according to his or her choosing. The fellow who from the fleshpots of Sin City went to the wilderness saw hills so smooth and it reminded him of the bosom of the harlots he had in the past fondled. You may imagine the kind of temptations he would have to face from that point on. Experience of the world is not be run away from but to be used as an ally to make your stand.
How many well meaning men and women adopt a monastical life and over a period of time are lured away into secret vices? Where lay the fault? It was not the cloisters but their own experience in contact with others led them astray.
ii
Suppose the blades of a fan are painted in primary colors and when the fan is switched on you do not see the same colors. Your mind has rearranged the individual colors into white. Similarly in Christian theology we speak of the Son, the Spirit and God as one. In Islam there is only one God. Think of the way two religions view the divine aspects of truth. One may aver one is obedient. But obedient to what? For some it would mean saying yes to the words mechanically without even entering into the spirit of the word. It is like one looking at his image in a mirror and forgetting it as soon as the back is turned.
There are three aspects of truth. Does a person submit to acknowledge his errors? The first step to break a bad habit is to accept it is a bad habit. Truth delivers one from repeating the same mistakes. It is a prelude to forgiving and dismissing it as of the past. Thus submissive nature is an aspect of Truth to gain an higher ground. Once freed from the past is it not prudent to substitute the place vacated with positive habits? Creative nature allowed the woman with a physical ailment to touch the hem of the garment of Jesus. She got her healing because her trust prompted to be creative in her mind what she ought to be as a result.
Submissive nature of the Son is one aspect; Regenerative Power of the Hoy Spirit is another aspect of Truth. Truth like God the Father completes the trinity. With which creative nature of Truth is made obvious. These three are all in one and co-equal.
Do I have a problem with the trinity of God? Oh no. It is the rule of three. Even among the crowd I know I am complete. A three plaited cord is not easily broken.
benny

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Imam arrested in Pakistan blasphemy case, stirring tensions-Reuters of Sept 2,2012
A Christian girl who was arrested under Pakistan’s controversial anti-blasphemy law may have moved a step closer to freedom on Sunday after police detained a Muslim cleric on suspicion of planting evidence to frame her.
Still, Rimsha Masih, whose arrest last month angered religious and secular groups worldwide, may be in danger if she returns from jail to her village.
Some Muslim neighbors insist she should still be punished, and said the detained imam was a victim.

Here is a news that makes anyone in the right senses wonder what it is to live in Pakistan? Pakistan is a failed state where law and order is non existent. From the time Islam went a-conquering they relied on each believer to do the only thing that brought the man on the top some peace and security. They were encouraged to spy on one another and report everything suspicious so law could nip the trouble in the bud. So law is meant law of the ruler. Thus we have seen in Libya where Moammar Gaddafi laid the law so he and his family could have peace and security. For extra security he had foreign mercenaries brought in. History of Islam is replete with examples how the powers that be relied on mob rule. If three witnesses come forward to damn a mentally deficient girl of blasphemy she can be summarily executed in the most heinous manner. This is what we have seen here. In Russia the other day we have seen how some girl’s punk group Pussy Riot was dealt for ‘blasphemy’. The Church leaders publicly interceded for clemency since the clergy is like shepherds and they are on earth to plead for mercy and understanding. In Pakistan all the religious schools (madrassas) are working overtime for only one thing. To descend to the lowest level of the rabble who may take away lives of all those they find as different. In their eyes Christians are different, women are different and mentally challenged are different. So they must be brought to heel over the trivial reasons in most cases. For example ‘Under Muslim Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy law, the mere allegation of causing offence to Islam can mean death. Those accused are sometimes killed by members of the public even if they are found innocent by the courts.
“Pour petrol and burn these Christians,” said Iqbal Bibi, 74, defending the imam on the steps of the mosque where he preaches in Masih’s impoverished village of Mehr Jaffer’. These religious fanatics cannot see worth in their only one Nobel Prize winner,they cannot even appreciate what is fair play. ‘This is not cricket but matter of human dignity and brotherly love. How can such a nation made up of brutes ever succeed? This will not raise the GDP of the nation;nor will it make Pakistan come anywhere within the top hundred among the Happiest nations. I am compelled to think religion was man’s biggest mistake since it gave the brutes among mankind to pontificate and judge from some madman’s incoherent outpourings. These brutes in their specially cut robes explain away these as ‘sacred text and doctrines and so on.’
benny

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Muslim convert from New York was sentenced on Friday to 11-1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to threatening the writers of the satirical “South Park” television show for their depiction of the Prophet Mohammad and to other criminal charges.
Jesse Curtis Morton, 33, who is also known as Younus Abdullah Muhammed, was put on three years of probation after he completes his prison term. The sentence was handed down in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, the U.S. Justice Department said.
Morton, who ran a website that encouraged Muslims to engage in violence against enemies of Islam, pleaded guilty in February to making threatening communications, using the Internet to put others in fear and using his position as leader of the Revolution Muslim organization’s Internet sites to conspire to commit murder.
“Jesse Morton sought to inspire Muslims to engage in terrorism by providing doctrinal justification for violence against civilians in the name of Islam,” U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said.
“His crimes not only put people’s lives forever in danger, but they also chilled free expression out of fear of retaliation by violent terrorists,” MacBride said in a statement.

I hold no truck with those who incite passion and terror, and those who beat the memory of the dead prophet. The Muslim convert changed his father’s faith for another. Ok, fine for one to get rid of unwanted baggage. Instead of feeling relieved that he came into a man’s estate, he saddled himself with another. What is the worth of religion in the way practiced these days by Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in Yemen, Pakistan,Kabul and in Nigeria? Hatred and pure nonsense whereas the prophet stood for something nobler. If Islam is a religion of peace what he did was wrong and senseless. He followed some idiots who take the name of Prophet and took the wrong road to urge violence. Only look at the needless slaughter of children and women! Just because terrorists want to create terror among ordinary folks or media attention they don’t mind killing their brethren as well. On that account itself they have repudiated their prophet’s words. So the fellow who threatened South Park writers merely was a tool to further the cause of terrorists.
Why should comedians harp on Mohammed? He is dead and there is no merit in poking fun at one who for great many is a revered figure. I am unashamedly a follower of Christ and yet I can admire him for the noble purpose he made his life’s work. Go make fun of the living, for a change. If you ridicule the hollow sounding political nit- wits who are ‘ready to fix the economy or immigration problem’ by some magic formula the jabs may have some effect. Prophet Mohammed, let him rest. He whether the west likes it not was a great prophet. If you study his life without prejudice and objectively you shall find he wanted to purify both Christian and Jewish religion of his time. He stood for something noble just as George Washington stood for something in terms of politics. Just as with all religion Prophet Mohammed was ill- served by his followers who were all jockeying for control, call it self interest. Now what benefit you can get by ridiculing him? It is just like beating a dog or a donkey after the beast has served you all its life. Even if you were to do this now you will be taken by the hand of law for cruelty to animals.
The new converts may not know for a believer despises such converts for their inability to be true to their belief.
From history you can see how these blind believers who dared not think themselves brought upon them the backwardness they merited. Now they can only bury in the Word and blindly fool around like puppets for some mad Ayatollahs and clerics. They lost Jerusalem just because of their inability to co-exist with their neighbors or go with the trends that made the homeless Jews to find a homeland in the 20th Century.
benny

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outline: Silk road carried trade,exchange of ideas, culture,religion- ups and downs

Trade along the route was adversely affected by the strife which built up between the Christian and Moslem worlds. The Crusades brought the Christian world a little nearer to Central Asia, but the unified Moslem armies under Saladin drove them back again. In the Fourth Crusade, the forces of Latin Christianity scored a triumph over their Greek rivals, with the capture of Constantinople (Istanbul). However, it was not the Christians who finally split the Moslem world, but the Mongols from the east.
Whilst Europe and Western Asia were torn by religious differences, the Mongols had only the vaguest of religious beliefs. Several of the tribes of Turkestan which had launched offensives westwards towards Persia and Arabia, came to adopt Islam, and Islam had spread far across Central Asia, but had not reached as far as the tribes which wandered the vast grasslands of Mongolia. These nomadic peoples had perfected the arts of archery and horsemanship. With an eye to expanding their sphere of influence, they met in 1206 and elected a leader for their unified forces; he took the title Great Khan. Under the leadership of Genghis Khan, they rapidly proceeded to conquer a huge region of Asia. The former Han city of Jiaohe, to the west of Turfan, was decimated by the Mongols as they passed through on their way westwards. The Empire they carved out enveloped the whole of Central Asia from China to Persia, and stretched as far west as the Mediterranean. This Mongol empire was maintained after Genghis’ death, with the western section of the empire divided into three main lordships, falling to various of his descendents as lesser Khans, and with the eastern part remaining under the rule of the Great Khan, a title which was inherited from by Kublai Khan. Kubilai completed the conquest of China, subduing the Song in the South of the country, and established the Yuan dynasty.
The partial unification of so many states under the Mongol Empire allowed a significant interaction between cultures of different regions. The route of the Silk Road became important as a path for communication between different parts of the Empire, and trading was continued. Although less `civilised’ than people in the west, the Mongols were more open to ideas. Kubilai Khan, in particular, is reported to have been quite sympathetic to most religions, and a large number of people of different nationalities and creeds took part in the trade across Asia, and settled in China. The most popular religion in China at the time was Daoism, which at first the Mongols favoured. However, from the middle of the thirteenth century onwards, buddhist influence increased, and the early lamaist Buddhism from Tibet was particularly favoured. The two religions existed side by side for a long period during the Yuan dynasty. This religious liberalism was extended to all.
Any history on the Silk Road would be incomplete without mention of Marco Polo. As a member of a merchant family from Venice he took the route. Starting in 1271, at the age of only seventeen, he trekked across Persia, and then along the southern branch of the Silk Road, via Khotan, finally ending at the court of Kubilai Khan at Khanbalik, the site of present-day Beijing, and the summer palace, better known as Xanadu.
postscript:
Mongol invasion was a turning point in the history of the region. Islam will fall back from what they had gained: all the turbulence,-force released by falling edifices of old beliefs, cultures muddied by trades, wars was for their taking. There was the Black Death that hit as far as Europe. Two thirds of Europe will succumb to it. History would never be the same. Islam will make a giant leap backwards and would never be the same.
(ack:http://www.ess.uci.edu/~oliver/silk.html;www.silk-road.com)
(To be Cont’d)

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II
trade carried ideas,culture route-religions,Buddhism, Christianity and Islam

This region along the Silk Road was taken over by Alexander the Great of Macedon, who finally conquered the Iranian empire, and colonised the area in about 330 B.C., superimposing the culture of the Greeks. Although he only ruled the area until 325 B.C., the effect of the Greek invasion was quite considerable.

By the third century B.C., the area had already become a crossroads of Asia, where Persian, Indian and Greek ideas met. This `crossroads’ region, covering the area to the south of the Hindu Kush and Karakorum ranges, now Pakistan and Afghanistan, was overrun by a number of different peoples. After the Greeks, the tribes from Palmyra, in Syria, and then Parthia, to the east of the Mediterranean, took over the region. They had adopted the Greek language and coin system in this region, introducing their own influences in the fields of sculpture and art.
The most significant commodity carried along this route was not silk, but religion. Buddhism came to China from India this way, along the northern branch of the route. The Eastern Han emperor Mingdi is thought to have sent a representative to India to discover more about this strange faith, and further missions returned bearing scriptures, and bringing with them monks and it is pertinent to note that the Himalayan Massif, an effective barrier between China and India made Buddhism in China more derived from the Gandhara culture by the bend in the Indus river, rather than directly from India.
Christianity also made an early appearance on the scene. The Nestorian sect was outlawed in Europe by the Roman church in 432 A.D., and its followers were driven eastwards. From their foothold in Northern Iran, merchants brought the faith along the Silk Road, and the first Nestorian church was consecrated at Changan in 638 A.D. This sect took root on the Silk Road, and survived many later attempts to wipe them out, lasting into the fourteenth century.
The height of the importance of the Silk Road was during the Tang dynasty, with relative internal stability in China after the divisions of the earlier dynasties since the Han. The 754 A.D. census showed that five thousand foreigners lived in the city; Turks, Iranians, Indians and others from along the Road, as well as Japanese, Koreans and Malays from the east. Many were missionaries, merchants or pilgrims, but every other occupation was also represented. Rare plants, medicines, spices and other goods from the west were to be found in the bazaars of the city. After the Tang, however, the traffic along the road subsided.
It was at this time that the rise of Islam started to affect Asia, with the Moslems playing the part of middlemen. The sea route to China was explored at this time, and the `Sea Silk Route’ was opened, eventually holding a more important place than the land route itself.
But the final shake-up that occurred was to come from a different direction; the hoards from the grasslands of Mongolia.
(to be continued)

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Rise of humans on the earth is a chronicle of mass migrations. Among these a road is surely a consequence of choices people make to reach their destination. In times of famine they sought places where food was in abundance. Later trade between peoples connected by roads. Road is the straight line between two points where geography has a say. In terms of geography we consider unfordable rivers, lakes and insurmountable mountains as features that stretch roads about. Of these we shall look at two roads in particular. These serve as locus for entire history of Europe and Asia to fan out. It brought about changes that none could have realized. Silk Road is one and the other is Appian Way which includes Roman road system as one whole.

The region separating China from Europe and Western Asia has Taklimakan desert, known as `Land of Death’; caravans throughout history have skirted its edges, from one isolated oasis to the next. The land surrounding the Taklimakan is equally hostile. To the northeast lies the Gobi desert, almost as harsh in climate as the Taklimakan itself; on the remaining three sides lie some of the highest mountains in the world. To the South are the Himalaya, Karakorum and Kunlun ranges, which provide an effective barrier separating Central Asia from the Indian sub-continent. Only a few icy passes cross these. Coming from the west or south, the only way in is over the passes.
On the eastern and western sides of the continent, the civilisations of China and the West developed. The western end of the trade route appears to have developed earlier than the eastern end, principally because of the development of the empires in the west, and the easier terrain of Persia and Syria.
In the west, the Greek empire was taken over by the Roman Empire. It is often thought that the Romans had first encountered silk in one of their campaigns against the Parthians in 53 B.C, and realised that it could not have been produced by this relatively unsophisticated people. The Romans obtained samples of this new material, and it quickly became very popular in Rome, for its soft texture and attractiveness. They reputedly learnt from Parthian prisoners that it came from a mysterious tribe in the east, who they came to refer to as the silk people, `Seres’. The Parthians quickly realised that there was money to be made from trading the material, and sent trade missions towards the east just as Rome sent their own agents out to explore the route, and to try to obtain silk at a lower price. In short this trade route to the East was seen by the Romans, as a route for silk rather than the other goods that were traded.

The name `Silk Road’ itself does not originate from the Romans, however, but is a nineteenth century term, coined by the German scholar, von Richthofen. The description of this route to the west as the `Silk Road’ is somewhat misleading. Firstly, no single route was taken; crossing Central Asia several different branches developed, passing through different oasis settlements. The routes all started from the capital in Changan, headed up the Gansu corridor, and reached Dunhuang on the edge of the Taklimakan.
In addition to silk, the route carried many other precious commodities. Caravans heading towards China carried gold and other precious metals, ivory, precious stones, and glass, which was not manufactured in China until the fifth century. In the opposite direction furs, ceramics, jade, bronze objects, lacquer and iron were carried. Many of these goods were bartered for others along the way, and objects often changed hands several times. There are no records of Roman traders being seen in Changan, nor Chinese merchants in Rome, though their goods were appreciated in both places. ( To be Cont’d)

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Syyed Qutb (1906- 1966)
He is regarded as the father of modern fundamentalism and described by his (Arab) biographer as “the most famous personality of the Muslim world in the second half of the 20th century”. Born in Egypt and his stay in the USA clarified his Islam roots,- and for all his anarcho-Islamic position, he dared to think his own thoughts and died in prison for his unflinching stance and he died by hanging for plotting to overthrow the government.
Qutb, is being increasingly cited as the figure who has most influenced late bin-Laden, the al-Qaida leader. Yet outside the Muslim world, he remains virtually unknown. Associate professor of history at Creighton University, John Calvert, states that “the Al Qaeda threat” has “monopolized and distorted our understanding” of Qutb’s “real contribution to contemporary Islamism.” Every prophet might as well place a rider about his life and works with this caveat,’ save me from my disciples!’ Likewise man whose only credentials is his thoughts may put them in words lest he should be misinterpreted. Even so he requires such a caveat. Qutb in his work Fi Zalal al-Koran (In the Shadow of the Koran), a commentary on the Koran in 30 volumes which began to appear in 1952 has been vilified for espousing a pernicious doctrine for which the blame lies elsewhere. What is his work? In writing already certain paraphrasing has undergone from what he had in mind, but for which think how clear the Quran would be to render any commentary as superfluous? Syyed Qutb suffers for this reason and his doctrinal position is an exposition of the explanation of Islam scholars who have already claimed their position as uncontestable. Is this what the blessed prophet had in mind? Your guess is as good as mine.
benny

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Man is a social animal and as such thrust of his progress can be measured in terms of the society, created by him.
If it is created measure of his success can also be determined in how sociable he has become. In the evolution of our ape-ancestors to the modern man we hold no distinction between Australopithecines, Homo erectus (which inhabited Asia, Africa, and Europe) and Neanderthals (either Homo neanderthalensis or Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) (which inhabited Europe and Asia). We carry however in our genome something of those groups that have died out. We are humans and our achievements are part of our common experience. In short despite of evolutionary twists and turns of our origins we bear the bequest of those who did not make it. Family beginnings of modern man go far back as 400,000 and 250,000 years ago. In terms of biology we humans do not demonstrate in the least any particular divine favor that a Christian, Jew or a Muslim claim as special for himself.
But looking at our social structure we see we are fragmented in the way we have chosen to show our identity in terms of our race, religion and economic status. We went about creating a family of man and became a creature of our own conceit. Perhaps this paradox is ever in our consciousness and that would explain the perennial popularity of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein.
We choose the society that we can relate to and not other way around. In accommodating members with various life experiences and interacting with them we infuse vitality into it. We broaden our horizons as a result. Nature has divised ways which would seem to follow this formula: like repels like; and opposites attract. History is replete with instances where societal collapse owed to the failure in heeding Nature’s warning. Inbreeding of Pharaohs in Egypt sowed their eventual demise and one of the serious consequences of Islam lay in the cultural stagnation. Dar-ul Islam or Global Islam means that all nations would be ruled under an Islamic theocracy, which is simply a national government set up under the rule of Allah’s divine sanction as expressed in the Qur’an and Shari’ah law. It did not happen. Historically Muslims failed to make their initial successes in world conquests to something permanent or significant. Mongol Invasion of the 13th century and Black Death had curtailed their mission. In their falling back to their old ideas a way of life they were comfortable they denied further growth. Compare between the period of Ottoman Empire at the height of its glory during the reign of Suleiman the magnificent, and the decades prior to the WWI (when it was called the Sick Man of Europe) is a sad commentary of a society that had run of ideas. It ceased to grow.
ii
Islam as a religion can be authoritatively dated and the flight of Mohammed is a historical date. Let us consider Islamic tradition relates Prophet Muhammad in 610, when he was 40 years old first heard the voice of the angel Gabriel, who recited to him the word of God, today written down in the Muslim holy book, the Qur’an, meaning “recitation.”
It is significant that Muslims believe that what Gabriel told Muhammad came directly from God;by the same token the Jews believe the promise of Israel was given by God to Patriarch Abraham indicating the extent of their promised land.
One cannot be true and the other false.
Islam says that the message was similar to those received by the early Hebrew prophets: that God is one, he is all-powerful, he is the creator of the universe, and that there will be a Judgment Day when those who have carried out God’s commands will enjoy paradise in heaven, and those who have not will be condemned to hell. As we have seen, these ideas were also part of the Zoroastrian religion. When certain ideas are common experience of man there must be something to it. But in the way these ideas are coined and given value we need to be clear that such value system is man-made and as currency holds limited use. The correspondence principle states that if one man’s revelation is accepted as true on the same scale every belief must be accepted as true.

Man who dreams the impossible is everywhere persecuted. It is not the dream but how that dream is realized for the betterment of society is the main point. Prophet Mohammed fled to Medina and his dream was put into reality by his followers. How one would make a case for the Mormon sect, which was also founded on a spiritual experience?
This sect was founded in 1830. The Mormon pioneers were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as Latter-day Saints, who migrated across the United States from the Midwest to the Salt Lake Valley in what is today the U.S. state of Utah. At the time of the planning of the exodus in 1846, the territory was owned by the Republic of Mexico, which soon after went to war with the United States over the annexation of Texas.

The journey was taken by about 70,000 people beginning with advanced parties sent out by church fathers in March 1846 after the assassination of Mormon founder Joseph Smith made it clear the faith could not remain in Nauvoo, Illinois — which the church had recently purchased, improved, renamed and developed because of the Missouri Mormon War setting off the Illinois Mormon War. The well-organized wagon train migration began in earnest in April 1847, and the period (including the flight from Missouri in 1838 to Nauvoo) known as the Mormon Exodus is, by convention among social scientists, assumed to have ended with the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. Whether preposterous or wholesome values that a religion may contain man is ready to forsake all for his liberty of conscience. It is the golden key which opens the door to the promised land.
How can Moslems expect others to accept their religion as perfect when they themselves did not keep the promise? History of mankind shall be strewn with the conflict of liberty of conscience and pursuit of pleasure whatever the term ‘pleasure’ may mean. History is not concerned with motives or dreams of man but how their dreams were realized. When the children of Islam fell back from the shared experience of the rest of the world they nullified even what was within their reach to be at the vanguard of progress.
Dreams of a prophet like Joseph Smith or Brigham Young will please many but for me to accept these under coercion would be veritable nightmare. (To be continued)
Parts of this essay was taken from my book Principles of History. B
benny

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The word recidivism is used in cultural context meaning falling back from the general path of development where prevailing trends are frowned upon and resisted. Islam which was in the forefront of learning and thought ceased to develop. In short they fell back from leading Europe and it is their recidivism I am discussing here Please also refer my post Know Your Brethren of 20 Nov.
Throughout the Qur’an one can find a strong emphasis on the value of knowledge in the Islamic faith. The Qur’an encourages Muslims to learn and acquire knowledge, stemming from, but not limited to, the Muslim emphasis on knowing the unity of God. Because Muslims believe that Allah is all-knowing, they also believe that the human world’s quest for knowledge leads to further knowing of Allah. Muslims consequently led the world in their pursuit of knowledge in the medieval period of Islam, from about the 9th to the 14th centuries. The Islamic world at this time was the most scientifically advanced region of the globe, while also making important contributions in philosophy and literature. Part of the Muslim advantage came from the synthesis of ideas from diverse cultures such as the Greek, Persian, Egyptian, Indian, and Chinese, when the Islamic empire expanded in the 7th and 8th centuries. The Muslims made a priority of translating scholarly books from other cultures into Arabic and using them in developing Muslim ideas. The Muslims took Aristotle’s philosophy, Ptolemy’s geography, Hippocrates’ medicine, as well as Persian and Indian works on astronomy and mathematics, and either added to or contradicted them with new discoveries. Every major Islamic city in medieval times had an extensive library; in Cordoba and Baghdad the libraries claim to have had over 400,000 books.
Many Muslim ideas were soon transmitted to medieval Europe, and influenced learning there up until the Renaissance. By the 10th century, Europeans recognised Muslim intellectual superiority, and quickly began translating Muslim works in such fields as medicine, astronomy, mathematics, and philosophy from Arabic into Latin, Hebrew, and sometimes vernacular languages as well. By the 13th century, European students were studying at Islamic universities, mostly in Muslim-controlled Spain. Europeans realised that studying in Seville, Cordoba, Toledo, or Granada was the key to acquiring Muslim knowledge. When Latin translations of Muslim books were not completed quickly enough, universities in Toledo, Narbonne, Naples, Bologna, and Paris started teaching Arabic, in order to facilitate reading important scientific works from the Islamic world in their original language.
The Islamic world also produced many great philosophers in the medieval period, and as in other religions, a rift between philosophy and theology soon developed. The debate largely revolved around the nature and existence of Allah, and the legitimacy of the prophecy. Many Muslim philosophers were influenced by the works of Aristotle and Plato, and struggled to apply the principles of these ancient Greeks to the Islamic world. the Golden Age of Islamic learning ended with the Mongol invasions of the 13th century. As they made their way across Central Asia, the Mongols destroyed Muslim libraries, observatories, hospitals, and universities, culminating in the sack of Baghdad, the Abbasid capital and intellectual centre, in 1258. Many scholars perished in the ensuing mass murders. The following era saw a rise in conservatism, as Muslim leaders tried to preserve what remained of their civilisation. Innovative and original ideas were not welcomed the way they had been before the invasion, and philosophy was the first branch of learning to suffer. The sciences soon followed. Failure to keep up with the latest trends and from the mainstream creates a chasm. The rate in which you lose whatever gains made is incalculable. (ack:http://www.ucalgary.ca/applied_history/tutor/islam/beginnings/)
I shall quote a memorable line from Lewis Carroll.
The Queen: It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backward….’
Now here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!’
(to be concluded)
benny

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Man fears what he dares not understand. He foresees all sorts of difficulties instead of taking the problem by the throat. Why the west should come to grips with Islamophobia? It is one way of asking why should not we try to understand our brothers? Especially we pride ourselves of our liberal traditions let us be fair in trying to understand why we fear them. We Christians follow monotheism same as Moslems who follow one God. Only in details we show up our differences. If we are only following our religion nominally this should not be posing any difficulty in understanding them. Should it?
We follow a failed religion even as they. Look at the way we uphold the teachings of Jesus? At every step of the way we have distorted his teachings. What of Moslems? In the way they blast the innocents and their perceived enemies away show how they set example to their religion. In short religion should not be what keeps the gulf between us and them.
Think of the founder of Islam. Among his circle of acquaintances were Christians and Jews. He wanted to forge something new from both religions that had failed the test of every day reality. Tragedy of this new religion lay squarely in the manner his teachings have been aborted within hundred years since his death.
ii
Great prophets and teachers have merely set truth of our existence in certain form; and sects have ever since thrived each laying stress on a certain aspect; and traditions have fenced them about as sacred. Donkeys bear the burden least concerned what precious truths they carry about. All they are concerned is to avoid the whip and munch happily whatever they are given. They also find a place to park their weary bones as their load. Life is bearable as long as they observe certain rules that encompass their narrow existence. Jews, Christians and Moslems are brethren and the only difference is that donkeys know their masters and other beasts of burden as well. In our case we fail miserably on the core value of a religion. Some fools sit in vigil, prayer vigil it is and they keep at it for 24 hours to drive out ‘demonic presence’ of another religion.
Even in the best times when Islam was at the height of their world conquests they allowed Christians and Jews to live unmolested in the special quarters. Spain decimated Inca empire and Mayan civilization by fire and sword and made the poor natives know the incomprehensible love of God . We let Spain Portugal do their worst in the Americas. They went berserk for the 3 Gs-Gold, Glory and God. They are the example of religion that upholds love.. Did we make American natives any better for it? The children of Islam did similarly by destroying churches, temples and defacing cultural heritages. They made Moslem converts by sword wherever they overran. Here it cannot be the case of pot calling the kettle black. This begs the question: why we cannot see the Moslems as our brethren?
My thesis is that our controversy stems from the point of culture. Let us look back into history.
The children of Islam did not gather with us as we moved from the medieval ideas onto the Enlightenment and liberal traditions. We took the challenge of liberal ideas instead of scholasticism and coped with Industrial revolution to make a new world order. The Moslems did not and instead they fell back on their religion.
‘He who does not gather with me scatters’ Of this I shall discuss in the next section.
iii
We carry about us our broken faiths and also promises and yet when we cannot coexist with our brothers.
Here is an interesting puzzle. How come Children of Islam who had it all going in their favor became backward and ended up in secondary position? In the Medieval Europe universities were modeled after madarassas and latest ideas in algebra, medicine, philosophy came from Islam. This thirst for knowledge was pursued keenly by Moslems on the injunction of their most blessed Prophet. Since Allah was all-knowing it was the duty of every believer to know his world. It was thus till the Mongol invasion in the 13th century. Abruptly as a reaction to the threats from outside learning became suspect. philosophers of all hues were put to sword, science and everything that seemed a threat to their world were expunged. Their shrinking world was totally dedicated to read their scriptures and follow their peers. No wonder there was nothing they could teach the west or match them in cunning or in learning. It was a suicide of the grand scale. Like whales beaching or lemmings ending their lives Islam ceased to be in the lead.
On the other hand one essential characteristic of the Jews was in their ability absorb the prevailing mathematical, medical and philosophical lore of the Arabs and the host country and work with them without discarding their own culture. They were culturally distinct yet they were open-minded to the breathe the winds of change in whichever place they found themselves in. In the 12th and 13th centuries they played an important role in transmitting ancient and oriental culture to western Europe.It was at Cordova Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) the greatest physician of the age wrote his commentary the Guide to the Perplexed. In this long line of achievers we may place the services of Chaim Weizman who invented the ABE process of making acetone through bacterial fermentation. What was so significance of this process? It is a primary source for the making of cordite and it would come very useful in the WWII. Industrial exploitation of this process became possible in 1916. Such services and of vital importance made Chaim Weizmann on friendly terms with important personalities of the day. ( it is one of history’s curiosities that Jews could lend a push to the furthering of great events in Europe because of the Diaspora. They compensated their loss of homeland in such small but steady support to be connected with momentous events in European history. For example Columbus voyage’ was funded by Jews in Genoa)
In 1917 Weizmann became president of the British Zionist Federation and worked with Arthur Balfour to obtain the milestone Balfour Declaration. It stated in part that the British government ‘views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people…’ Balfour intellectually brilliant but noted for lassitude and aristocratic disdain for industry did not care much for causes least of all for Jewish question. He even did not care if the Jews were resettled in Uganda or in Australia. But despite of all these circumstances strangely did conspire to help them.
Beyond any statesman’s power the idea of homeland for the Jewish people had gathered momentum and there was a perception growing even before the 19th century began of the Jewish question. The continued anti-Semitism despite their cultural assimilation was a blot on the enlightenment ideals that marked a European man of culture. As a result assimilation for the Jews into society was allowed in Europe. Theodore Herzl published a book Der Judenstaat (1896) placing all their unfulfilled hopes into print and it was the writing of the wall on the European consciousness. How sincere was the idea of European Enlightenment would be judged in the way it was answered. The United Kingdom was the first world power to endorse the Establishment in Palestine a homeland for the Jews. In 1916 the Picot –Sykes agreement had given Great Britain the mandate over Palestine and the rest is history.
How come the people of Palestine were forgotten while the wandering Jew got his wish fulfilled? God, in whichever garb, does not play games we play.
Man makes problems and is for man to solve them. Jews were cast out by world empires of Assyria, Babylon and Rome. Law of Negation created the Jewish diaspora and law of Compensation made Palestine available to the Jews. It is purely man made problem and solution where the Moslems only need to kick themselves for the default. They had negated the spirit of enquiry and learning in the 13th century and their neglect had caught up with them to deprive them of their rights.
(The above mentioned ideas I had first formulated in Principles of History-for example laws of Compensation and Negation explain how history is made. In this book I have given many historical events where certain principles work beneath the surface and go unnoticed. For any serious student it will be a valuable guide.)

benny

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