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 Topic: The Golden Age of Islam and Islam

 (Read 20431 times)
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  • The Golden Age of Islam and Islam
     Reply #90 - July 10, 2020, 12:59 PM

    Faith & mathematics by  Iftikhar U. Hyder Jul 10 2020

    IN 1079 AD, Omar Khayyam calculated the length of the year to be 365.24219858156 days, astonishingly accurate to the sixth decimal, an inaccuracy of a fraction of a second of the true length calculated in the 20th century using atomic clocks, computers and the Hubble telescope. Yet, more than 900 years later, some of the greatest academic works chronicling the contributions of Muslims to science, mathematics, society, law, and the arts have been carried out by non-Muslims.

    Most Muslims admire Islamic art. However, it was only recently that a young physicist made a discovery that many of the beautiful patterns in ancient mosques were based on complex mathematics thought to have been first developed in the mid-1970s.

    In 2005, a Harvard doctoral student Peter Lu, was visiting Uzbekistan. He noticed the intricate patterns in some historic mosques. Lu recognised the tiling’s patterns which were known by mathematicians as Penrose Tiles. At first, he could not believe that the tiling was 500 years old since he knew that the mathematics behind these was believed to have been first developed in 1974 by the distinguished Oxford mathematician and physicist, Roger Penrose.

    After returning to Harvard, Lu collaborated with a world-renowned Princeton physicist Paul Steinhardt, who in 1984 had proposed the existence of three-dimensional analogs of Penrose Tiles, shrunk to the atomic level. Steinhardt had named such structures ‘quasi-crystals’. After meticulously reviewing historic Islamic mosaics and manuscripts, they published a paper in February 2007 in Science, a journal published by American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in which they showed that Muslim mathematicians had made the geometric breakthrough behind Penrose Tiles about 500 years before Penrose did. They wrote in their paper, “ the 15th century, the tessellation approach was combined with self-similar transformations to construct nearly perfect quasi-crystalline Penrose patterns, five centuries before their discovery in the West”.

    Tessellations are repeating patterns made of one or more shapes without gaps or overlaps. They generally tend to be tilings in which patterns are repeated (‘periodic’), meaning one can easily predict the next pattern. It was well known that surfaces could be tiled with tiles with three, four or six sides but not with only five-sided tiles.

    Penrose had shown that it was possible to build geometric patterns using a small set of tile shapes that may have both fivefold rotational symmetry, ie shapes that look the same if turned one-fifth of a circle such as a five-pointed star, and reflectional symmetry, ie shapes whose reflection is the same as the pattern. Penrose Tiles can also form a non-repeating (‘aperiodic’) pattern. Regardless of how long one walks on tiles with aperiodic patterns, the next pattern cannot be predicted.

    In 1982, Daniel Shechtman, a scientist at the US National Bureau of Standards announced that he had discovered a crystal whose patterns at the atomic level seemed to show fivefold symmetry similar to Penrose Tiles and its pattern was non-repetitive. However, at that time, scientists had assumed that arrangement of atoms in a crystal must have a repetitive pattern. After announcing his discovery of crystals against the established scientific belief, Shechtman was asked to leave his position. Nevertheless, he was able to publish his paper in 1984.

    In 1987, Shechtman’s discovery was verified by scientists using X-rays. He was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in chemistry. The announcement of his Nobel Prize, said, “Aperiodic mosaics, such as those found in the mediaeval Islamic mosaics of the Alhambra Palace in Spain and the Darb-i-Imam Shrine in Iran, have helped scientists understand what quasicrystals look like at the atomic level”.

    Muslims in Islam’s golden age knew that a surface cannot be tiled with just five-sided tiles. Why then were they not content with designing elegant patterns using tiles with three, four or six sides whose patterns are periodic, that is, whose next patterns are predictable? Why was it important for them to use complex mathematics for tilings with fivefold symmetry and which were aperiodic, ie their next pattern could not be predicted? Perhaps, to them, fivefold symmetry represented Islam’s five pillars of faith and the five daily prayers. And, perhaps aperiodic tiling represented human beings’ limited ability, or even an inability, to predict the future which was in the realm of God.

    Designing tiles which were in harmony with their faith was imperative, even if it required the use of complex mathematics. It was possible in that era because two-thirds of the world’s most renowned mathematicians who lived between 650AD and 1300AD were Muslims. Such symbiosis between faith and learning existed for centuries when Muslims treated learning as an act of faith.

    well that is supposed to be golden age of Islam .. it is written by Iftikhar Hyder in today's dawn., The writer is a finance professional based in the US.

    well let me read through it again

    Do not let silence become your legacy.. Question everything   
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
  • The Golden Age of Islam and Islam
     Reply #91 - July 12, 2020, 10:13 AM

    there may have been a golden age of arabs and persians, but not of imaginary muslims.
  • The Golden Age of Islam and Islam
     Reply #92 - July 12, 2020, 11:24 AM

    Or a golden age of Arabic literary culture involving many people who weren’t Arabs and many who weren’t Musllim.
  • The Golden Age of Islam and Islam
     Reply #93 - July 12, 2020, 11:29 AM

    Already posted on the Random Islamic History thread but relevant here.

    1001 Distortions: How (Not) to Narrate History of Science, Medicine, and Technology in Non-Western Cultures
    The contributors to the exhibition and publication that we focus on in the second part of this book are British engineers, scientists, and physicians, mostly from a Middle Eastern and South Asian background. They established and run the Foundation of Science, Technology and Civilisation, based in Manchester, and created the touring exhibition 1001 Inventions with its companion book. 1001 Inventions claims that the sciences, medicine, and technologies of our contemporary world are anchored in the activities and achievements of medieval Muslim scholars. This is an effective, ingenious, but fundamentally wrong idea. The story told in 1001 Inventions is replete with 1001 errors, due to the amateurish telling. But it is more than mere lack of professional expertise. For many years, academic historians of science in Islamicate societies tried to correct the most outrageous of these errors. Between December 2014 and May 2015, we even managed to establish a cautious and polite cooperation bringing some of the panels of the exhibition closer to the sources of the past and their academic interpretation, without forgetting their different format as popularized historical information. By now, this cooperation has come to a standstill despite our repeated efforts to revive it. The truth-value of their story obviously is not at the forefront of the amateur narrators. We had the same experience with some of the Museum directors in Great Britain and Norway who showed 1001 Inventions or its offspring Sultans of Science, or journalists who repeat without thinking the new glorious but false narrative.

  • The Golden Age of Islam and Islam
     Reply #94 - January 24, 2021, 10:41 AM

    well this is important folder where young Muslim  kids try to dream to build Islamic societies with golden age past where unquestionable unproven historical stories float around that are full of golden gooses and gulden eggs..

    on that Dr Naazir Mahmood   wrote a wonderful article .   Dr Naazir holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham, UK and works in Islamabad. 

    How to make an intellectual wasteland   let me throw some nuggets from it here as it deals with Golden age
    Three-quarters of a century is a long time to make an intellectual wasteland. Perhaps, you can do it in just a few years, provided you remain persistent in your attempts. And what attempts? You don’t need major efforts if the minds where an intellectual urge supposedly thrives are already poisoned.

    If there are uncertainties on the land you live, you may start by turning back to the certainties of the Golden Age. Well, uncertainties are everywhere and each society responds to them in its peculiar way. In those societies where state institutions are not stuck in the past, they allow successive governments and the people to look to the future. .................
    But for that, your intention should be clear. If the intent is to cultivate the harvest of innovation, you need plenty of patience and tolerance to face the uncertainties that your people will learn to resolve. Since that may result in people’s empowerment, an alternative path is to lead – or rather mislead – your people to the certainties of the Golden Age, which probably never existed. Doing so you don’t need to struggle much; you simply ask people to reflect on their distant past that is hard to verify – and goad them to keep locking back.

    An intellectually fertile nation is conscious of its history but does not live in it. An intellectual wasteland is where you cannot challenge historical accounts. There is nobody left to question the dominant ideas and ideologies................

    An intellectual wasteland is full of zombies who are unable to think but are able to attack and eat all those who love light. Since the past is another country and is shrouded in darkness, zombies love that darkness.

    The Golden Age is where our ancestors lived like kings and queens; they marched across the globe with swords in their hands and religious sentiments in their minds. They terminated dissent wherever it raised its head. They built skull towers of infidels, and not so infidels. They butchered traitors – and suspected traitors – because that’s how you build an empire. Even if there was a Golden Age,

    ..........our heroes are not Muslim authors, intellectuals, scientists, and thinkers. We don’t make dramas and teleplays on Ibn Khaldun and Ibn Rushd, because that will not make an intellectual wasteland...........

    We want to revert back to the so-called Golden Age where warriors galore and metaphysics – not physics – prevails. Paranormal and supernatural forces descend to guide the gullible. Risk-taking is allowed, but only in military adventures, not in cerebral ones. The intellectual wasteland inhibits all blooming flowers and you see stumps of felled trees all over. If you have such an ideal, make sure there is no room for academic excellence and curiosity and you relegate them to a subordinate role. The vision of a wasteland is the vision of a place where merely old-fashioned thinking prospers, and pigmies outnumber and stymie towering thinkers


    Thinkers are a dangerous breed for a wasteland so you discourage, and even dismember, them even if they are holding a candle in a faraway place. Abort all flights of imagination that may lead to a broader vision. A tunnel vision is best for an intellectual wasteland so allow people to consider only one part of the problem or situation. Try to forge a single set of opinions among the masses and sacrifice diversity at the altar of uniformity: be it the diversity of creed, ethnicity, or nationality. Banish the brave and cultivate the coward who is compliant.

    To create an intellectual wasteland you glorify oppressive leaders, and project them as the strongmen we need. They are the ones who can crush the people’s rage against injustices. If the inhabitants of your wasteland despair of their plight, promise them change. If they complain that the promised change was not for the better, target those who expose you

    . An intellectual who says that the promised Golden Age was a hoax is trying to disseminate discontent. Nobody can protect such thinkers and they are not welcome in the wasteland. Society must eliminate their potency for thinking.

    Oppression leads to paranoia, but that is all right. Anxiety and beliefs of conspiracy are the best companions of the paranoid, so facilitating an infusion of anxiety and beliefs of conspiracy are ideal fertilizing agents for an intellectual wasteland. Such land is ripe with delusions and fear, and promoting them is a good idea. The more delusional people become, the more they are bereft of rational thinking. Inculcate fear so that they remain irrational. Such irrationality you can also promote by stifling the liberal and progressive media, both electronic and print.

    Civil society is an anathema to intellectual wastelands; be it Egypt, Pakistan or Turkey, the potentates are all powerful. These potentates see no use for the civil society, which to them is counterproductive. Any flicker of dissent must be snuffed out fast. That’s why an intellectual wasteland does not allow the civil society to spread its wings. If somebody is much given to learning and thinking, he or she is a menace to your wasteland. Let intellectual contraction become the new normal so that regression continues in the whole population.

    Liberal democracy is not compatible with the wasteland; in fact, it tries to transform the wasteland. That is why it is advisable to defame the democrats and denigrate liberal democracy, especially if it is of a parliamentary sort. Democracy and respect for human rights take a back seat, so be it. Such luxuries are for citizens, but wastelands have subjects, not citizens. If there has to be any revival, it must not be of any blue sort. The revival of the ignorant and the glum is all you need, go for it.

    Let the ignorant sashay up the stairs of power, where they can have a stupendous view of the intellectual wasteland. For obvious and odious reasons, they fail to see the wasteland, while they savour the canapés with their guests. They know that they are shaping history, but they know not in what distorted manner. One reason why intellect is hard to conquer is that it tries to protect itself by resistance; the resistance that is not regressive but progressive, so the ignorant dig marshes to bog the intellect down, and they keep doing it decade after decade.

    To make an intellectual wasteland you may also issue puritanical decrees to suck the joy out of life. Evolution – be it biological or intellectual – is against the norms, so discourage it. Turn heroes into villains, and the other way round. Populate the land with villains and eulogize them so that their flaws become virtues. Weave myths, and build universities to teach those myths. Delineate the contours of a so-called spiritual life, and ask people to follow it. When the people start pining for it, intoxicate them with more of it.

    Lastly, an intellectual wasteland cannot be complete without a penumbra of informers; carefully cultivate them and build an image of their invincibility. They must have an obsessive need to be at the scene of all intellectual activities. They must spot all the intellectual leading lights of society and inform on them.

    These are the sure ways of making an intellectual wasteland. If you do all these you are more likely to succeed. But remember: a wasteland is a barren land, where nothing grows. And if that happens, the makers of the wasteland too can’t survive for long.

    The writer holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham, UK and works in Islamabad. Email:


    that is a wonderful article every kid must read  specially Muslim kids

    Do not let silence become your legacy.. Question everything   
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
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