The West’s Debt to Islam That”s Not Recognize

Islam contributes to world civilization – Western civilization was born from the womb of Islamic civilization. This is a fact that the West is reluctant to recognize except for a handful of thinkers who are willing to be objective such as Montgomery Watt, Sigrid Hunke, Max Vintéjoux, Thomas Schuetz, Fuat Sezgin, and a few others.

The author of the book “The Miracle of Arabs” catches there is a deliberate disregard (in part discussing it with a ‘silent conspiracy’) to the role and influence of Islam on Western civilization. It is as if the progress made by the West today is a direct extension of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations.

Even if anyone recognizes the role of Muslims, it is nothing more than an intermediary. It should be noted that the West was able to enjoy the thoughts of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and other Greek philosophers thanks to the works of Muslim scientists such as al-Farabi, Ibn Sina, and Ibn Rusyd. It was they who were instrumental in introducing the ancient Greek figures to the world, including to the West itself.

The most instrumental figure in transferring Islamic sciences to the West was Frederick II, the Roman emperor and King of Sicily in the 12th century AD. He was very interested in all that had the nuances of Islam. To the point that he had a company of special forces that were all Muslims. He is even more fluent in Arabic than German, his mother tongue.

He founded the University of Naples which is rated as the first University in Europe. Almost all Islamic sciences are taught here. Starting from medicine, pharmacy, astronomy, even literature, art, fashion design, to how to cut hair. All were adopted from the works of Muslim scientists. No wonder some say that the University of Naples is actually an Islamic University.

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Kevin Reilly in his book “A Topical History of Civilization” says Frederick II was the first European figure to be heavily influenced by Islam. At his palace he hosted Muslim scientists who were close people of Sultan Shalahuddin al-Ayyubi.

Because of his fondness for Islam, he was hostile to the Church. Even twice they imposed the law of excommunication on the King. Especially when he resisted the Church’s insistence on launching the Crusades into Muslim territory.

So when he died in 1250 AD, the church deprived and controlled all the books and manuscripts he had, most of which were the work of Muslim scientists, both in Latin and Arabic. The books they kept in a secret place for more than 1 century.

The books have been translated into Latin. However, the author’s name was deliberately not loaded. The books are actually the works of Ibn al-Haitsam, Walad az-Zarqiyal, Ibn Sina, ar-Razi, al-Bathruji (in Latin Alpetragius), Ibn al-Baithar, Ibn Zahar, and other Muslim scholars. The first page of the book was deliberately torn apart in order to dispose of the original author’s name. Today there are several scientific institutions in the West that are beginning to recognize this.

When these books were opened to the audience, after imprisonment for more than 1 century, the ideas and thoughts in the books were annexed by such famous Western scientists as Galileo Galilei, Leonardo Da Vinci, and others. So acknowledged Thomas Schuetz in the documentary on “The Saved Sciences”.

A Western researcher wrote thus, “Found a 1350-year-old manuscript that has been translated from Arabic to Latin. The manuscript contains the work of the greatest astronomical scientist of the time, al-Kha wajah Nashiruddin ath-Thusi who built the Maragha observatory (located in present-day Azerbaijan).

Ath-Thusi gave birth to a theory known as “Muzdawaj ath-Thusi”. A near-perfect theory of the solar system. It was this theory that inspired the famous astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus to whom he was preached the greatest scientific revolution in history.

When we compare this manuscript of ath-Thusi with the theory of Copernicus -until the data and symbols used, it turns out to be very precise. Copernicus himself only appeared into the world 150 years after ath-Thusi.

This proves that Muslim scientists are at the forefront of even the empirical sciences. Priffult in his book “Making of Humanity” objectively says, “Indeed, the empirical method of scientific research is an advantage of Muslim scientists that was never known before them.”

Not only in the field of science, but the West’s debt to Islam has penetrated other fields such as literature and art. Dante Alighieri who is very famous for his “The Divine Comedy” takes his ideas from the book al-Ghufran by the famous Arab literati Abu al-‘Ala’ al-Ma’arry.

Goethe, a German philosopher, literati and scientist, before writing his work West-ostlicher Diwan, had read Ibn al-Muqaffa’s Alf Lailah wa Lailah’ and the works of Hafizh asy-Syirazi. Rene Descartes, a French philosopher, in his phenomenal work Discourse on the Method plagiarized the thoughts of Imam al-Ghazali in al-Munqidz min adh-Dhalal.

Therefore, a famous English philosopher, Roger Bacon, was surprised that there were people who wanted to master science and philosophy but did not understand Arabic. Because he thinks Arabic is the language of science and civilization.

If so, why is the West reluctant to recognize the superiority, merit, and influence of Islamic civilization on Western civilization? Perhaps the most appropriate answer to this question is Mark Graham in his book “How Islam Made The Modern World”. “Because so much we take from them (Muslims), we are finally reluctant to admit that we take from them, because what we take is not small.”

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