Bush says Islam is a great religion

You’ve all heard that before.

In this thread, I ask posters to refrain from commenting negatively on Islam or comparing Islam to other religions. What I like to see here are clean examples of the positive contributions that Islam has made to the world. These positive contributions could be cultural, technological, and philosophical.

For example I just learned that based on the prohibition of alcohol, Yemeni initiated the popularization of the coffee bean which they imported from Ethiopia.

I am not sure you can lay many of the Pan-Arab advances at the feet of Islam. Islam is simply the religion practiced by the people.

That being said, in the Crusades the Christians learned about treating the sick in hospitals and giving them a nutritious diet in order to boost healing.

That being said, it was not Islam that brought this about, but the Arab culture itself, of which Islam is a part.

Our present numbering system, mathematics, astronomy, architecture, there are so many things we got from Muslims that I coulnd’t list all of them. Oh, and I’d be doomed without my coffee.

Well, I hate coffee myself, but I’m willing to forgive them for that.

Muslim civilization retained many works from the ancient world that would otherwise have been lost. It also produced new and original science that sometimes seems far ahead of its time – works in optics, astronomy, and medicine. They did some pretty impressive mathematics and mechanical engineering.

They produced impressive artwork. Even with the strict Koranic prohibition on making images, they produced calligraphy that is startling, even if (like me) you haven’t a clue what it means. It also gave us great tesselations.

There’s plenty of literature, as well. I know I only scratch the surface , but I have an unabridged 1001 nights, and multiple translations of the Rubaiat.

But is this really Islam’s contribution? These are contributions made by civilizations that were chiefly Muslim. It certainly guided and nurtured those producing these. Calling these Islam’s gifts is like calling the contributions of the Middle Ages “Christian” gifts. Maybe they were, but I’m not sure how much credit you give to the belief system.

All true. OTOH, the Islamic civilization created very little of value. Their role was to preserve the knowledge of the past and to transmit things from one culture to another. “Arabic” numerals were invented in India and traveled west, where the Europeans eventually learned them from the Muslims. Many works of classical Greek literature survive today only because Muslim scholars preserved them. Muslim science never came close to reaching the take-off point of progress building on progress; that happened in Europe, starting with the Renaissance. As for architecture . . . meh. Pretty mosques, blah houses.

This is a debatable point. They made many original contributions in science. I know optics best, because it’s my field, and in particular I’m impressed by al Shirazi and al-Farisi, who experimented and worked out the way the rainbow works, using glass b alls and spherical flasks of water and screens with holes punched in them. They made the first known observations of tertiary and quarternary rainbows.

You may have hweard of a French/German monk who did the same thing – Dietrich/Theodoric of Freibourg. (James Burke included him in “The Day the Universe Changed”). His work was 20 years after that of these guys. There’s no evidence that Theodoric knew about al Farisi and al Shirazi, and they were 1000 miles apart, but I’ve always had a suspicion that their work somehow became known to him. In any case, aside from these three guys, nobody else had a clue about the real workings of the rainbow for another 300 years or so.

The European Renaissance commenced from books that had been collected in Moorish Spain.

Many of these were original works of Arabic and later Islamic culture. Optics, Algebra, Medicine & Surgery, Metallurgy, Navigation, Textiles & etc.

It is a substantial and immeasurable list.

Certainly is. Not much since then.

And not surprisingly

And most of arab and non-arab islamic countries have been ravaged by colonialism for centuries on top of this wilful ignorance.

I’ve seen some interesting Iranian and Iraqi films.


And algebra has an Arabic name for that reason. But the Arabs did not discover/invent algebra. Diophantus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diophantus) came before al-Kwarizmi. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algebra#History


(my emphasis)

One Islamic cultural contribution of lasting value: The tales of the Incomparable Mullah Nasrudin! :slight_smile:





The Muslims of Afghanistan gave the world fuzzy knitted blankets, so that the little old ladies of the world would have something to do.

Even in Happy Valley, Pennsylvania, you can ask the little old ladies, “Did you knit any lions?” and they’ll say,“No, but we’ve got some very nice Afghans.”

It ended the practice of female infanticide in the Arabian penninsula. If it did nothing else, ever, it deserves credit for that.

How does Islam, or for that matter any other worldly religion, contribute charitably?
Being in my ignorant bliss of middle America all I get to see are the various christian charities that help those in need domestically and worldwide.
How do other religions do?

I don’t know how it works out in practice, but charitable giving is very heavily emphasized in Muslim teaching. Arguably moreso than Christianity.

Interesting. So, are there examples of say an Islamic children’s fund that sent aid to tsunami victims (just as a hypothetical example).

The OP’s question is based on a false premise. Since when do we measure the “greatness” of a religion by practical inventions? By those standards, Thomas Edison must have been one of the greatest religious sages in history.

I don’t think you read the OP:

But that’s a false premise. The Islamic civilization has made valuable contributions to the world. But the Islamic religion, which is what the OP specifies, has not, except by making the distinctive Islamic civilization possible. The same is true of Christianity.