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IAGD: All Western Culture and Science Is Built on the Work of Muslims

March 12, 2009 by  


By Adil James, MMNS

P3077910

Rochester–March 7–Greek culture and learning transmitted to West by crusades? Not true!

The Edgar-award winning author Mark Graham, who wrote the book How Islam Created the Modern World, explained at length the deep debt owed to Muslim scientists and culture by the Western world, in explaining the historical underpinnings of his book this past Saturday night at IAGD.

About 400 people attended the event, at which Mr. Graham gave a detailed explanation of how the Muslim world passed knowledge which was assimilated into Western Europe.  He also showed the deep assimilation of Muslim science and culture throughout Europe–showing in fact that Islamic culture was at that time the most sought-after and most refined culture.

He debunked the extremely popular myth that the Muslim world’s primary contribution was to transfer the knowledge of the Greek world back to Europe after the Dark Ages, a few centuries during which Europe’s scientific and cultural accomplishments were relatively very weak. 

Rather, Graham explained that in fact this process was not a result of the crusades, but rather in large part because of the trade of the Europeans, especially the Venetians, with the Arabs across the Mediterranean.

As but one example among the many, he showed an old European painting of a library, which showed in his words, “texts by Greeks, and Ibn Sina, and Razi.”  He cited many books written by Muslim scholars that were, for centuries, the standard textbooks for medicine and science.

Graham cited Razi, whom he called “one of if not the most important medical writer in the Middle Ages,” citing him as the first to accurately study infectious diseases and the first to use alcohol as an antiseptic.

Many Muslims have heard of the scientific contributions of Muslims, but perhaps more startling was the vital cultural role Muslims.  The European cultural element of troubadors and love songs and chivalry all emanated from the Islamic culture of Andalusia.  The Muslim storytellers of that time worked in European royal courts and gave birth to that tradition.

Graham argued that even the act of writing the European languages stemmed from this seminal event of troubadors singing and recording songs of love in imitation of Andalusian Muslims.

He showed the foundations of modern Western philosophy in the writings of Al-Ghazali, saying that even the very examples cited by Descartes in his philosophical arguments are the very examples previously used by Imam Al-Ghazali (Q) in Deliverance from Error, written hundreds of years before Descartes was born.

Graham showed also portraits picturing ornate fabrics imported from Muslim lands–identifiably Muslim because sometimes a Chrisitan painting of Madonna and child, for instance, would have the Muslim testimonial of faith written in Arabic letters in the stitching of Mariam’s robe.

He gave many many other fascinating examples which you will have to read in the book!

You can buy Mr. Graham’s book for $17.56 on Amazon.

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