Author Topic: Decline of the early Islamic intellectual revolution...  (Read 5744 times)


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Decline of the early Islamic intellectual revolution...
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2003, 11:13:18 AM »
Quote from: "unshining"
... Don't be fooled into thinking the laws of physics are unique....they are not.  These laws are just the way we choose to describe the system and since it is easier to build on previous work, the foundations rarely change.  

The way that a planet orbits a star (a natural law) has nothing to do with how we describe it or previous human work. The ?true? way that a planet orbits the star will continue to be so with or without humankind. What you are saying implies that if we don't (attempt to) describe the laws of physics, then those laws would somehow change or disappear.

Quote from: "unshining"

Now, I am not a post-modernist and do believe there are absolute truths, but I think these truths transcend human laws.  Even laws that a person argues are Quranic, are never absolute, they are based on that person's application of the Quran.  

I agree.

Quote from: "unshining"

Like I said, the message I take from the Quran is the dynamic one.  Take, for example alcohol in the Quran.  Early verses simply state that one should not perform prayer while intoxicated, later there are warnings of it having good and bad effects on people and finally, it appears to be banned.  I take a message of different rules are applicable to different situations from this, not one that says alcohol is permanently banned.

Alcohol is not and cannot be banned in the Quran or anywhere else (you cannot ban the natural process of fermentation). There is only one rule specific to alcohol in the Quran which is that it is to be "avoided". What direct evidence do you have about the order of revelation of the verses?

The reason why the message we take from the Quran is a dynamic one (valid for the past and the future) is not because the laws are changing in the Quran. It is a dynamic message for the same reason that the laws of physics are dynamic (valid for the past and the future): it is the TRUTH.




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Science and the Qur'an
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2003, 09:42:11 PM »
Science is Knowledge (from the latin Scientia) and knowledge is Belief. Even what we call science is what we believe about aspects of reality. (Natural Phenomena, Economics etc.) We come up with methods to help us better approximate our knowledge (belief) of something to that real thing. I know that the Qu'ran is not an Islamic work and Islamic doctrine has verylittle to do with the Qur'an. The Qur'an as Wakas pointed out promotes observing Reality and using discernment, logic, intellect, sincerity and prudence. So if Averroes and others had to disregard Islamic doctrine it is not because of the Qur'an it is because of Islamic doctrine. The Qur'an is on a whole different level. If the Qur'an says that it is for 'ulool-al-baabi i.e. People of understanding through intellect' then those who read it will be inspired to become men of understanding through intellect. If the Qur'an says that it is for ulool-&ilmi i.e. people of discernment' then people who read it will be inspired to discerment. But as the Qur'an is not Islamic I object to the Qur'an being lumped together with Islam. The Qur'an is the main reason why I intend to dedicate myself to becoming a person of understanding through intellect, discernment, logic and prudence. The Qur'an has never said that it exposes every phenomenon of Reality, as far as I have read. As far as I've seen it promotes that we study it and other aspects of Reality and strive to better ourselves and promote good and well-being. So I cannot speak to the possibility that the Qur'an encouraged those well-known Muslim knowers/scientists. I cannot speak to whether there was every such an ideal Qur'anic society. However, whenever it was it quickly disintigrated in place of more traditional forms of rule and religous belief. To them and to just about all Muslims, religion is more than the Qu'ran and considering the religious doctrines of Islam it is no so suprising that such knowledgeable men would say such things.

For an interesting article of mine read:



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Scientists, Sorcerers and islamic scholars
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2003, 03:23:51 PM »
Scientists, Sorcerers and Islamic Scholars
The battles of Civilizations

The forces of Christianity, Materialism, Professionalism and Ignorance have conspired against the serious sorcerers or magicians who are not entertainers. If one thinks in logical terms, the sorcerer or magician that heals is no different from the doctor, the sorcerer that puts his effort towards controlling things, is no different than an engineer and the sorcerer that tries to better his understanding of the world no different than a philosopher.

There is much propaganda in the world used in uplifiting the sorcerers of one civilization and debasing those of another. ANd by this, concentrating authority and power into a few sorcerers' hands, who become blessed by the ruling power as guiding forces of a civilization. This is also why I believe the terms sorcery, magic, wizards and witches are now used with such disdain and pejoration. The new sorcerers, magicians, wizards and witches are now the doctors, scientists, engineers and so forth. Now, gladly enough, there is not talk of the super-natural because of the doctrine of materialism preached by a few certain (unwise) philosphers.  Now what is spoken of is the super-logical (sometimes even the illogically logical), in order to say that only special minds, specifically not the minds of the general public, can grasp the complexities of Reality.

In Islam, this new class of sorcerers became the ulemaa' who on the most part consumed themselves with religion and God as being separate from Nature. They believed and still believe that God is only communicative through the Quran, and more specifically the Popular Rumor of Muhammad, Godbless him, (the Hadeeth). In those two souces the Ulemaa' believed, and still believe, that they would find all knowledge, and in these two sources ulemaa' have consumed themselves in study.

It is my belief that those technologies that came about in the muslim world were spin-offs from the civilizations that preceded Islam in those areas. The ulema' had already co-opted the term scientists (&aalimun) from the term &ilmun( knowledge via discernment) just like the scientists of our age have co-opted the term science and scientist from the latin term scientia (knowledge). Both the ulemaa and the scientists have co-opted these terms to the exclusion of others not in their professional clique.

Furthermore, the ulemaa' of Islam downgraded almost everything un-islamic (in their bias) and pre-Islamic (also per their bias) as pagan ( which they call shirk/mushrik, which is representative for ishraakun billahi: making equals with God), ignorance (jahileeyah) or infidelity (al-kufru. By which they mean "infidelity to God," which is correctly al-kufru billaahi or kufrullaahi)
In doing this the ulemaa' gained full authority and great fame, as well as the backing of empires. Scientists have done this in the same way using terms like quackery, unscientific and the like to downgrade those things outside of their professional cliques knowledge base or acceptance. They have downgraded other competing civilizations' terms for knowledge and knowledgeable people: shaman, guru, sheikh, wizard, sorcerer, witch etc. They were also helped by the church's struggle for power and absolute authority in the earlier parts of this milennia.

So be careful not to take one culture and civilization's scientists as an unwavering and fully correct authority for another culture's scientists.
They are all sorcerer's and magicians, all trying to understand Reality and use it to their advantage. They are all students of the world and of God.

Interesting words and their roots:

scholar is from the latin SCHOLARIS sharing it's root with school and scholarship. It literally means 'STUDENT'

Philosopher has its root in the greek phile: to love,  AND sophia: wisdom.
A philosopher is really a 'lover of wisdom.' Not our professionalized modern meaning (which can definitely change).

Profession has its root in 'professare' which means 'to profess something.' It shares this root with our "profess". It litterally means 'what you profess." Compare it's usage with protestant's root and usage. Protestant comes from Protest.

Science comes from Scientia meaning knowledge. It share's its root with conSCIENCE and omniSCIENCE.

&ulemaa' comes from &aalimun whose root is &alima which means litterally 'to discern.' sharing it's root with &ilmun and &aalam. &ulemaa' literally means 'knowers or discerners.'


It is important to know where words come from. Strange and Foreign word are usually used to create mystery in order to gain power and prestige. Many of these terms are facades intended only for those in a particular professional clique to understand.

There is no reason for a separation between the general public and &lmun or scientia. It is unquranic for there to be any specialized group to be knowlegeable to the exlusion of the rest of the public.


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Decline of the early Islamic intellectual revolution...
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2003, 06:19:07 AM »
peace all,

Below is quite a bit of conjecture, but provides a rough timeline. Its not proof or anything, but its interesting.

632 = prophet Muhammad's death
860 = tradition/hadith based teaching becomes formal view.
870 = Bukhari's hadith book/collection completed
915 = 6 hadith books complete

Thus, A Quran alone basis had at least 230 yrs dominance.
If we assume the tradition/hadith based teaching needs the same amount of time to become fully established into society (i.e. 230 yrs), then look at Islam 460 yrs after prophet Muhammad's death we see a major decline in the "golden age" of Islam.

The above is not a rock solid assumption, although I have read that by 1005 the 5 schools of Islamic law became widespread throughout the Muslim countries, which seems to roughly support the above assumption.

So do the research, and if you see a decline in the "golden age" of Islam after 1092 (632+460) you'll know why...


Some interesting dates:

751 = Battle of Talas: Arabs learn papermaking from Chinese prisoners of war
780-833/847 = Al Khwarizmi - the greatest Arab mathematician
827 = the authority of the state supports the theological teaching of the Mu'tazila, especially the dogma of the 'createdness' of the Koran. The traditionalist Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780-855) is persecuted as the representative of the opposition (ahl al-hadith) to rationalist theology.
813-33 ?cultural and scientific heyday? ?Suppression of the traditionalist piety of the ahl al-hadith in favour of the rationalistic dogmatics of the Mu'tazila.?
868 Death of the author al-Lahiz master of Arabic prose and of anecdotal encyclopaedic adab literature.
870 (?) Death of al-Kindi, the first great Muslim Arab philosopher and scientist.
873 = Death of the Nestorian Hunayn ibn Ishaq, who led the most active phase of translating medical, scientific and philosophical works from Greek into Arabic.
925 Death of the physician and philosopher Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariyya al-Razi (Rhazes)
929 = Death of the astronomer al-Battani (Albatenius)
930 The Bahrayn Carmathians attack Mecca, massacring pilgrims and carrying off the Black Stone of the Ka'ba.
950 Death of the philosopher al-Farabi, commentator on Aristotle
956 Death of al-Mas'udi, world traveller and historian, author of an encyclopaedia on history, geography and sciences.
965 - 1039Abu Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Haitham (physics)
973 - 1051Abu Raihan al-Biruni (physics)
980-1037 = Abu Ali ibn Sina, philosopher, physician, theologian and mathematician


All information in my posts is correct to the best of my knowledge only and thus should not be taken as a fact. One should seek knowledge and verify: 17:36, 20:114, 35:28, 49:6, 58:11. My articles


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Decline of the early Islamic intellectual revolution...
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2003, 12:52:36 PM »
Peace everyone...

I was wondering if anyone knew when the intellectual/scientific revolution fuelled by The Quran within early Islam began to decline? It probably was a gradual process but I was curious to see if it happened to coincide with the introduction and acceptance of the Hadith books?
How long did the "golden age" of Islam last roughly? When did the Hadith books gain majority acceptance? (Wakas)

Here's my understanding till now...

The argument between Al-Ghazali and Ibn Rushd was the last serious attempt to confront present-day Orhtodox Islam. The major issue since the beginning had been whether the Quran was "created" or "eternal". WHat later came to be known as Sunni Islam thought it was "eternal". The people who came to be called Mutazalites argued it was not. Mamun was the last Caliph to agree with the Mutazalites and that was around 210 AH. After Mamun they were persecuted. It was around this same time that Shaf'i gave his famous decision which reversed ejtehad-ijma to ijma-ejtehad. It was, incidentally, between 210 and 290 that atleast four of the six 'authentic' hadith books were collected. And I think all six were complete by 310 AH.    

Here's a little something on the Mutazalites and their views:



This school held that reason alone is sufficient to understand the nature of Allah ("God") and existence, and guide man's actions to right or wrong results, and to perceive the difference between morality and immorality. Prophecy and revelation were thus not absolutely essential to perceive the truth, and men in general were free to do as they wished.

They were in general supportive of early Greek philosophy and reacting to kalam, the traditional process of interrogation, that had dominated Muslim thought since its beginnings. Many Muslims saw them as defying the revelation of the Quran.

Most consider Al-Kindi (d. 866) the founder of the school. His encyclopedic output of 270 books laid the foundations for the later work of Al-Farabi (d. 950) who wrote on the state, for Ibn Sina (d. 1037) on medicine, and Ibn Rushd (d. 1198). All wrote commentary on Aristotle and are widely considered to have influenced Aquinas to a great degree.

The Mutazilites are widely considered to have extended ijtihad beyond religion into predecessors of what we today know as the scientific process. They were willing not only to quote but to correct Aristotle (unlike Aquinas), compare his work with that of others, and think critically on their own. This sets them apart from predecessors, contemporaries, and their immediate successors, both in the Muslim and Christian community.

The Abbasid Caliphs were generally supportive of their work, in part due to the additional latitude of action that was implied by their philosophy. A ruler who did not need to consult the religious authorities (ulama) was better able to respond to events, they thought, and indulge his whims. Perhaps for this reason, the Mutazilite school was very strongly opposed.

The Caliphs may also have realized that mastery of science implied mastery of technology and thus weaponry. Perhaps for this reason, the school was extremely influential, and was not truly extinguished until "The Incoherence of the Philosophers", by Al-Ghazali of the Asharite school, the fiercest opponents of the Mutazilites, became the dominant theory of Islamic thought.

The eloquent defense of rationalism by Ibn Rushd was the last gasp of the Mutazilite school. It included the notable line "to say that philosophers are incoherent is itself to make an incoherent statement", which sounds more or less like a modern view. It was, although still not a popular one.

By the dawn of the 13th century the Asharites were clearly in ascendance, due in part to the increasing diversity of Islam and the difficulty of maintaining a coherent discourse in the Arabic language that would reach all Muslims everywhere. The local ulama and tarika had a clear advantage in that they were trusted by their neighbors, even to translate texts into the non-Arabic languages. They gradually "closed the doors of ijtihad" and instituted taqlid ("imitation" or "precedent") as the way shariah judgements were justified in fiqh, leading to the schools of classical Muslim jurists. Mutazilites were forgotten, although their works were translated and some were later influential in the European Renaissance.

Enter the realm of light


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Decline of the early Islamic intellectual revolution...
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2003, 01:23:25 AM »

* the Divine suffices as observer - appreciation is the message of the Divine - and those who are with it are harsh on concealment and nurture between themselves *