The Influence of Islamic Learning on the Western Civilization: The phenomenal influence of Islamic learning on the West has been summarized in Encyclopedia Britannica: “The decline of Muslim scholarship coincided with the early phases of the European intellectual awakening that these translations were partly instrumental in bringing about. The translation into Latin of most Islamic works during the 12th and 13th centuries had a great impact upon the European Renaissance. As Islam was declining in scholarship and Europe was absorbing the fruits of Islam’s centuries of creative productivity, signs of Latin Christian awakening were evident throughout the European continent. The 12th century was one of intensified traffic of Muslim learning into the Western world through many hundreds of translations of Muslim works, which helped Europe seize the initiative from Islam when political conditions in Islam brought about a decline in Muslim scholarship. By 1300 C.E when all that was worthwhile in Muslim scientific, philosophical, and social learning had been transmitted to European schoolmen through Latin translations, European scholars stood once again on the solid ground of Hellenistic thought, enriched or modified through Muslim and Byzantine efforts.” Quotations of some Western scholars further highlight the contribution of Islam, Will Durant states; “For five centuries , from 700 to 1200 (C.E), Islam led the world in power, order and extent of government, in refinement of manners, scholarship and philosophy”. According to Professor Gibb, “No other society has such a record of success in uniting in equality of status f opportunity and of enduring so many and o various races of humanity.”
Detailed related article: Initial impact of Islam on Christianity: http://wp.me/PCgrB-ec
Contribution of Islamic Civilization in Development of West :
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Contribution Towards Enlightenment and Renaissance: The Christians out number followers of any single faith, they are around two Billion, predominantly developed Western Civilization controlling the world. It is not due to superiority of their faith, (Church was separated form the state, faith is now considered as a personnel matter) but on account of advancement in science and technology as well as social sciences through ‘Enlightenment’: The philosophical movement of the 18th century that emphasized the use of reason to scrutinize previously accepted doctrines and traditions. The roots of ‘Enlightenment’ are also linked with the Muslim Spain (Moorish) trough Renaissance. Europe was plunged in the dark at medieval time (476 to 1453 C.E) while Knowledge in science and technology, social sciences, philosophy and medicine was at its zenith in the Islamic world including the Muslim Spain. Thus Europe got the basic modern scientific, philosophical and sociological treasure of knowledge through Muslims scholar and universities of Spain(which also included the lost knowledge of Greek philosophers & scholars), contact with the Muslim world during Crusades (1095-1291 C.E) and thereafter. According to Encyclopedia Britannica; “The entire structure of European society changed during the 12th and 13th centuries, and there was a time when this change was attributed largely to the Crusades. Historians now, however, tend to view the Crusades as only one, albeit a significant, factor in Europe’s development. The sectors acquired by burgeoning Italian cities in the crusader states enabled them to extend their trade with the Muslim world and led to the establishment of trade depots beyond the Crusade frontiers, some of which lasted well beyond 1291.” Keeping in view the social and economic benefits, the Crusades brought to the West, the scars of war and antagonism against Muslims also came in.
Protection and Fair Treatment:
Islam, while upholding balanced views in general, enjoins the most solicitous care for the weak and oppressed. The minorities, specially ‘The People of The Book’ are to be treated with justice in every way-in rights of property, in social rights, and in the right to opportunities of development. The non-Muslim living under the protection of a Muslim state is referred as Dhimmi, a free non-Muslim subject. They are exempt from duties of Islam like military service and zakat, instead they are required to pay jizyah (poll-tax). Historically some Islamic governments paid this poll tax for poor non-Muslim subjects or reduced it to mere symbolic tax. If the State cannot protect those who paid jizyah, then the amount they paid is returned to them. Islam guarantees full protection and security of the State including freedom of religion to all. The killing of innocent people is strictly prohibited, according to Qur’an: “..if anyone slew a person unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land it would be as if he slew the life of all mankind: and if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear Signs yet even after that many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.”(Qur’an;5:32). Narrated Abdullah bin Amr : The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever killed a Mu’ahid (a person who is granted the pledge of protection by the Muslims) shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise though its fragrance can be smelt at a distance of forty years (of traveling).”(Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith:9.49).
Islam has a special place for the Juedo-Christian civilisations, due to common ancestor –Abraham. In the Islamic world the Jews, and Christians, and others lived in safety and justice under a system based upon tolerance and cooperation. The misconceptions about Islam have been created to justify their hostility towards Islam. Islam is not a threat to the West, which owes it renaissance and scientific developments to the Islamic scholarship, gained through Muslim Spain. However the Muslim world feel threatened by the West, who want to control their natural resources. Historically, the relation between Muslims and Jews had its fluctuations but not that Islam harbored animosity to Judaism as a faith but in their failure to practice the commandments of God in true spirit under the notion of their racial superiority as a chosen race, the honour God ultimately shifted to the Children of Isma’il by appointing Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the last messenger for the humanity. The Advent of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been prophesied in the Bible, but they concealed it. They are commanded to believe in the last scripture Qur’an and the last Prophet. The confrontation between Judaism and Islam, as that with Christianity, was colored by political and social considerations both before and after Islam spread from Arabia to build a world wide community of its followers. In 1492, the Jews along with Muslims were expelled from Spain, they were welcomed and settled in the Ottoman empire. Jewish have gained power and influence through USA and the West, which they are using to oppress the Palestinians, the main cause of conflict and threat to peace. Islam is the only faith other than Christianity which regards Jesus in very high esteem. Muslims believe in Jesus and his Mission as he himself attributed to have declared in Mathew;5:17-20. Islamic civilization has significant contribution in the development of West through the Influence of Islamic learning. Keeping the commonalities in Abrahamic faith worshiping same one God, a dialogue can bring them closer for world peace. In the words of Duncan Greenless, the renowned Western scholar, “The nobility and broad minded tolerance of this creed (Islam) which accepted as God inspire all the real religions of the world will always s be glorious heritage of mankind”.
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