WAKF Publication: ALI BIN ABI TALIB (RAA): THE FOURTH KHALIFA OF ISLAM

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  1. The Origins of Islamic Science
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After his death when the relatives read his will they got extremely perplexed and said to each other that how can we divide 17 camels like this. So after a long hard thought they decided that there was only one man in Arabia who could help them: "Imam Ali AS. So they all came to the door of Imam Ali AS and put forward their problem. The Five Loaves of Bread. Zarr Bin Hobeish relates this story: Two travelers sat together on the way to their destination to have a meal.

One had five loaves of bread. The other had three. A third traveler was passing by and at the request of the two joined in the meal. The travelers cut each of the loaf of bread in three equal parts. Each of the travelers ate eight broken pieces of the loaf. At the time of leaving the third traveler took out eight dirhams and gave to the first two men who had offered him the meal, and went away. On receiving the money the two travelers started quarrelling as to who should have how much of the money. The five-loaf-man demanded five dirhams. The three-loaf-man insisted on dividing the money in two equal parts.

Imam Ali AS requested the three-loaf-man to accept three dirhams, because five-loaf-man has been more than fair to you. The three-loaf-man refused and said that he would take only four dirhams. Each loaf was broken in three parts. Therefore, you had 24 equal parts. Your three loaves made nine parts out of which you have eaten eight portions, leaving just one to the third traveler. Your friend had five loaves which divided into three made fifteen pieces.

He ate eight pieces and gave seven pieces to the guest. As such the guest shared one part from your loaves and seven from those of your friend. So you should get one dirham and your friend should receive seven dirhams. Imam Ali's Answering Difficult Questions.

He asked, "Imam Ali you say you know everything in the world, then tell me which animals lay eggs and which animals give birth to their young ones. Appointment of Imam Ali A. Scholarly Marja'iyyat of Imam 'Ali A. I mam Ali A. The Mushaf of Imam 'Ali A. Imam Ali bin Abu Talib A. The Holy Prophet S. Made Enemies. In The Qur'an And Sunnah. Imam Ali bin Abi-Talib A. Said About Imam Ali A. In reality, this is an ocean so vast and deep that it is impossible to define its depths. The more one tries to enumerate them, the more one struggles in this mountainous endeavour.

Despite this, the east and the west bear testimony to his virtues. We have sourced all traditions from the books of the Ahle Sunnah because that praise is most sincere which emanates from the rivals. How can one not be perplexed about the personality whose very mortality is debated? Some considered him to be God and worthy of worship, while at another extreme, some wondered whether he was as pious and God-fearing as projected.

The latter were shocked to learn that Imam Ali a. Indeed only Allah and His Holy Prophet s. The Holy Prophet s. In another instance, he s. Holy Prophet s. Ibne Abbas narrates from the Holy Prophet s. In yet another instance, the Holy Prophet s. If someone confesses to even one of these merits and narrates it accordingly , Allah will forgive all his sins of the past and the future.

And if someone listens to even one of his merits, Allah will erase all the sins that he has committed with his ears. And if someone glances at even one of his merits, Allah will erase all the sins that he has committed with his eyes. It is not surprising therefore that none except the Holy Prophet s. The illustrious Sunni scholar, Baihaaqi, in his compilation has recorded the prophetic tradition:.

This tradition appears twice in Manaqib as follows:. To admire perfection and the one who embodies it is part of human nature. That is why the Holy Prophet s. On the same lines, Imam Ali a. A person asked the Holy Prophet s. There is a tradition recorded in Manaaqib along with a chain of narrators:.

Who are they? Even we would like to be included amongst them. Ayesha narrates: When the Holy Prophet s. Seeing Abu Bakr, the Holy Prophet s. I said that the Holy Prophet s. The people summoned Imam Ali a. When the Holy Prophet s. From each tradition, another thousand traditions were elaborated for Imam Ali a.

Ibne Abbas narrates that the Holy Prophet s. Mentioned below are some of these virtues:. Imam Ali a. Hence his knowledge is deemed superior to his peers. Some traditions have been quoted in this regard:. Abdullah ibn Masood narrates from the Holy Prophet s. Of this, Ali has been granted nine parts and the rest of the people have been granted only one part. All the progress in this world can be attributed to the part of wisdom granted to the people. This is because the source of his wisdom is the Holy Prophet s. Then one who wants to acquire knowledge must enter through its gate.

Ayesha narrates regarding Imam Ali a. How we wish that Ayesha herself had acted on this tradition. If she had done so, the Battle of Jamal could have been averted, sparing the lives of many innocent Muslims. He is the most knowledgeable of them in knowledge and the most superior among them in virtue and the foremost among them in Islam.

Today, Allah, the Almighty has granted your brother and your vicegerent with an honour that has pleased me. By way of illustration, we relate one tradition:. Ziraar b. His cries are ringing in my ears even now:. The paths are terrifying and the destination is lofty. Hearing this, Muawiyah was moved to tears. He wiped his tears with his sleeves. Even the audience wept on hearing the account. Apart from this, there are several traditions in the books of the Ahle Sunnah that categorically state this fact.

Imamat based on such traditions. Some of them have been mentioned below:. Which ring should I wear? Even the mountains are aware of the fact that Mastership belongs to Imam Ali a. Ibne Buraidah narrates that the Holy Prophet s. Amr b. Maimoon narrates from Ibne Abbas that the Holy Prophet s. Being the beloved of the believers has no meaning.

On several occasions, he established Imam Ali a. Once we find him raising Imam Ali a. The two shall never separate. At times he s. The two shall not separate until they meet me at the Pool Howz on the Day of Resurrection.


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Many scholars of the Ahle Sunnah and their exegetes interpreters of Quran have adjudged several Quranic verses as being associated with Imam Ali a. They have advanced these verses in support of many traditions of the Holy Prophet s. Ibne Abbas narrated the following tradition from the Holy Prophet s. In the post-Prophet era, it is the responsibility of the people to submit only to him to the exclusion of all others and observe his proclamations and announcements.

Obeying him is not optional; rather it is a compulsory obligation on all people in general and on the Muslims in particular. The traditions that the Holy Prophet s. We have narrated a few over here. Janab Salman r. So love him. He is your superior, so adhere to him.

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He is the scholar amongst you, so consider him noble. He is your leader towards Paradise, so respect him. When he invites you, accept his invitation. When he commands you, obey him. Love him like you love me. Consider him noble like you consider me noble. This tradition is too manifest to require an explanation. If the Muslims had paid heed to just this one tradition of the Holy Prophet s. They abandoned Imam Ali a. Love is an important factor to evoke obedience and submission.

In fact, unyielding adherence is not possible without love. Love makes easy the rigours of obedience and adherence. Traditions abound with the merits of loving Imam Ali a. We take this opportunity to list a few of them:. The one who wants to lead a life like mine and wants to die like me and wants to reside in that Paradise whose trees have been planted by My Lord then he should love Ali and his lovers.

After me and Ali obey his children who are the Imams. They are from my progeny. They are my sons and have been created from my clay. Allah has granted them sustenance and knowledge. Hell is the abode of the one who denies their greatness and excellence. I have no affiliation with such people, and on the Day of Judgment Allah will deprive them of my intercession. Janab Jabir ibn Abdullah Ansari r.

Abu Barza relates: We were seated with the Holy Prophet s. In response, the Holy Prophet s. Manaqib relates this tradition with its own chain of narrators that the Holy Prophet s. He will never enter Paradise. After the multitude of traditions on love for Imam Ali a. Only those can bear enmity towards Imam Ali a. No one from the Ansaar Helpers will have enmity towards you except those who are Jews.

No one from the rest of mankind will have enmity towards you except those who are forsaken. Birth On the 13th of the month of Rajab , twenty-three years before the migration of the Prophet P. Sunni Reference Shah Waliyullah in his book 'Izaalatul Khifa' mentions that this distinction of Imam Ali as is that no one was born before or will be born after him in the Ka'aba We ran terrified and trembling to our houses to send our women into the Kaabah for the help and assistance of Fatima. Death In the 40th year of Hijrah, in the small hours of the morning of 19th Ramadan, Ali was struck with a poisoned sword by a Kharijite while offering his prayers in the mosque of Kufah.

Shi'ite Islam M. Successor and Caliph According to the Holy Qur'an, Prophets and Apostolic Imams are chosen by Allah and not elected, selected, nominated or appointed by men. Persecution Gone were the days of tranquillity and peace. Hijrah Emigration In Mecca, life for the believers and the Apostle became unbearable owing to the cruelties and persecution of the unbelievers; so the Holy Prophet decided to emigrate to Medina.

Warrior 'Ali executed every order, command and injunction of the Holy Qur'an and the Apostle, as it should be done and none was his equal. Badr The idolaters of Mecca would not allow Islam to grow and spread in peace. Uhud Next year Abu Sufyan came again with 10, men.


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Khandaq The battle of Khandaq took place because Abu Sufyan collected many infidel tribes against the Prophet and invaded Medina. Khaybar The Jews of Khaybar breached their agreement with the Prophet and started harassing and killing the Muslims. On this occasion the Apostle of Allah said: Ali's position with me is the same as Harun's was with Musa, with only this difference that there will be no prophet after me. Lindsay, James E. Lowe, John D. Petersburg, , pp.

The Origins of Islamic Science

Madelung, Wilferd, and Paul E. Alinaqi Monzavi. Cairo, , Cairo, and Alexandria, Mamour, P. Oxford, and New York, Margoliouth, D. Martin, B. Hamburg, Mayerson, P. Minneapolis, Messier, R. Miles, George C. Miquel, A. Mones, H. Mousa, N. Bonn, Nasr, Seyyed H. Nicol, Norman D. Oddy, W. Orak, A. Pauty, Ed. Petry, Carl M. Poncet, J.

Poonawala, Ismail K. Malibu, CA, Cairo, ; 2 nd ed. Cambridge, MA, Quatremere, E. Rabie, H. Combe, J. Sauvaget, G. Wiet, et al. Richards, D. Russel, D.

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Nasr, ed. Sacy, S. Paris, ; reprint Paris, Croyden, Surrey, Dissertation, University of Chicago, Bosworth, et al. Beirut and Stuttgart, Cairo, ; 2 nd edition, Cairo, Scanlon, George T. Richards, ed. Seipel, Wilfried, ed. Vienna, Setton, Kenneth M. Philadelphia, Sourdel, D. Stern, Samuel M. Stillman, N. Cairo, , , Cairo, , , , Thiry, J. Traboulsi, Samer F. Troupeau, G.

Vajda, G. II: Syrie du Sud, vols. Van Reeth, J. Vatikiotis, P. Lahore, ; 2nd rev. Lahore, Vermeulen, U. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta Walker, Paul E. Petry, ed. VI, pp. Arabic trans. Ismaili Heritage Series 7. ISBN Paperback: 1 4. Keywords: Paul walker Islamic Empire. Haydarabad, Al-Imad, Leila S. Berlin, Berchem, Max van, see van Berchem, Max. Berkeley, They built institutions, such as the Academy, the Lyceum and the Museum. With the closure of the Academy and Lyceum in CE, followed by the Museum, the Greek epoch in the history of science ended.

However, their influence spread far and wide for at least another millennium. This is MS Leiden Or. Sallam al-Baghdadi d. The earliest Greek scientists were Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes. Thales ca BCE believed that water was the essence of natural phenomena. To him, matter came in three forms: mist, water and earth.

He also thought that the stars were made of water. His pupil Anaximander, ca BCE was believed to have written the earliest book on science, which claimed that life originated in the sea. Anaximenes ca BCE , a pupil of the former, thought that air was the essence of the universe, and that a rainbow was a natural phenomenon and not a divine sign. Aristotle is generally thought to be the father of life sciences. He studied plants and classified plants and animals.

He also wrote on embryology. Aristotle believed that the earth was the centre of the universe. The greatest Greek contribution to medicine was made by Hippocrates of Cos, an author of many books, whose Hippocratic Oath is still used as a code of ethics by the medical profession. He freed medicine from superstition and religion. Greek medicine also spread to Rome, where the physician Galen, through his teaching and prolific writings popularised it. The Greek scientist Empedocles formulated the idea of the elements air, water, earth and fire , which were adopted by Plato and Aristotle.

To Plato, geometry was the most suitable method of thinking about nature. Euclid of Alexandria, the author of the Elements , was the most influential Greek geometrician. The Greeks made important contributions to mathematics, which is a science based entirely on reason, with no need for observation or experiment. Pythagoras 5th century BCE regarded mathematics as the most important branch of science.

Archimedes founded mathematical physics and discovered the laws of hydrostatics. He also invented the Archimedian Screw, a device designed to raise water for irrigation. The Alexandrian engineer Hero was credited with the invention of a series of automata. The Greeks also built a water-carrying tunnel through a mountain.

Aristotle thought that motion is created by an object trying to reach its natural place. Ctesibius was thought to have been the founder of the Alexandrian school of engineering. Philon was credited with some technical achievements, including a force pump, and a mechanically driven water clock. Ptolemy, a great Greek astronomer from Alexandria, wrote the Almagest , which described the planetary motion and placed the Earth as the centre of the Universe, with the Sun and the Moon revolving around it.

He also emphasized that all other planets revolve around the Sun [3]. Greek and Hellenistic sciences reached West Asia and elsewhere in the wake of Alexander's conquests. Various influences in Pre-Islamic Arabia. Some of the ancient buildings of Mada'in Salih in Arabia and the Dam of Marib in Yemen are reminders of how the influence of ancient technology reached Arabia.

In the 7th century, the Arabs already had a calendar with twelve months named in Arabic e. The Arabs had no schools or educational institutions in the pre-Islamic era, but these existed in Alexandria, Antioch, Edessa and Harran in Mesopotamia and Persia where some of them were employed at the medical school of Jundishapur in south-west Persia during the 6th and 7th centuries. From here, Greek science and learning spread to the East and the West. Among the Syrians were two Christian sects. The Nestorians taught Greek science and philosophy in their schools and translated Greek books into the Syriac language and these were translated into Arabic during the Islamic period.

Nestorias held theological views contrary to those of the patriarch of Constantinople and consequently they were banned in C. Nestorias and his followers fled Byzantium for Syria, but on being persecuted there some of them escaped to Mesopotamia, and few of them were employed at the medical school of Jundishapur which was founded by the Sassanian King Khusraw Anushirwan in the mid-6th century CE [4].

Thus education in one form or another was available in Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia at the time of the advent of Islam in the 7th century, though the inhabitants of Arabia, on the edge of civilization, remained in ignorance of them. To see education in perspective we should now turn to some Arabic sources. Some taken from Ibn Qutaybah's d. Al-Khwarizmi's book is regarded as the first attempt to survey the Islamic sciences. Knowledge of ancient arts, sciences and technology was transmitted to them from their wisemen hukama' and elders in the form of folklore, tales and myths, and was passed on from generation to generation, although it is hard to determine exactly how much information was transmitted to the Arabs before the rise of Islam.

As we have already indicated, the Arabs until the 6th century CE transmitted everything orally, including Arabic poetry. We learn from Ibn Qutaybah in al-Ma'arif every ancient thing known to the Arabs. The book begins with a chapter on the creation myth, which cites the Genesis in the Old Testament as a source narrated by Wahb ibn Munabbih. The interpretation of Islamic history begins with the story of Adam and Eve and proceeds to narrate the role of the Prophets and Messengers chosen by God from their children as part of the process of passing divine guidance to mankind from generation to generation.

Ibn Qutaybah claimed that before the advent of Adam and Eve, the earth was inhabited by spirits Jinn. According to Ibn Qutaybah, Adam had tilled the soil and Eve had woven cloth and by so doing the pair had provided the essential first steps towards a civilized life.

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Adam's son Qabil became a farmer, and his brother Habil a shepherd [8]. Adam had 40 sons and 20 daughters. Adam was seen as a Prophet of God who received divine revelations. Among the revelations he received were ones which prohibited the eating of dead flesh carrion. He also learnt from God about the alphabet and writing e.

Whether or not writing originated with Adam, we know from ancient inscriptions in Mesopotamia that some form of writing came into existence during the civilization of Sumer in the 3rd Millennium BCE. Among the descendants of Adam were many Prophets including Seth Arabic Shith who, it is claimed, lived years and received fifty revelations; then came Noah, whose descendant was Idris Enoch [9]. Noah is associated with the story of the Flood and the construction of an Ark in which a pair of every living creature was saved from extinction.

According to the same author the total number of Prophets as educators of mankind was , The stories of these Prophets served as illustrations of the divinely inspired educators of mankind. On the whole, Islam upholds the theory that every creature in heaven and on earth was created by God Almighty. This resembles the theory of divine creation ex nihilo. Therefore, mankind should offer praise and prayer to Him as an act of thankfulness and gratitude.

From an Islamic perspective, there is no support for Darwinism. The First Occurrences Awa'il. A number of Arabic books on the subject of Awa'il or the first occurrences refer to things dating from antiquity. According to Qalqashandi and Hajji Khalifah, the science of Awa'il introduces the first occurrences and events awa'il al-waqa'i' wa-'l-hawadith [14]. Such books cover religious as well as secular subjects [15]. The origins of things relating to the Islamic period are usually reliable, but the same cannot be said with certainty about events in the remote past, which could be merely legends or myths.

Some of the topics are also of scientific interest. Idris was also credited with the invention of writing. Similarly, the Jewish Prophet Joseph Yusuf was said to have used papyrus for writing on. Soap removes dirtiness and promotes cleanliness. Hippocrates is regarded by some Arabs as the earliest Greek writer on medicine [19]. He was the first Arab to have books of astronomy al-nujum , medicine al-tibb and alchemy al-kimiya' translated into Arabic [20].

Manuscript on paper, 56 leaves, 13th century. The achievements of these ancient people in science were celebrated in the genre of the Awa'il. The curiosity and innovative spirit of early Muslims especially following the conquest of the ancient cities of the Fertile Crescent was limitless.

A result of this interaction between the Islamised Arabs and non-Arabs was cross-fertilisation. The rapid cultural expansion of Islam resulted in many conversions from ancient faiths. In turn, Muslims became acquainted with the culture, history and sciences of the ancient civilizations. For instance, an Arab prince named Khalid ibn Yazid b. He encouraged a number of Egyptian scholars to translate books on alchemy, medicine and astronomy from the Greek and Coptic languages into Arabic for his private library.

In this enthusiasm for alchemy, Khalid was aided by an Egyptian monk named Stephens or Maryanos. Khalid is also remembered as a writer on science [21]. By the end of the 8th century scientific curiosity was recognised. A foundation had been laid and in the following century many scientists achieved distinction in Islamic society. The 7th century witnessed the intellectual and cultural transformation of the Arab people principally as a result of some unique events that occurred in Arabia. For the first time they were exposed to a set of new ideas on the creation, the Supreme Creator, the purpose of life on Earth and in the Hereafter, the need for a code of ethics in private and public life, the obligation to worship the one and only Lord Almighty of the Universe Allah , through ritual prayers on a regular basis and sessions of remembrance dhikr , plural adhkar or meditation, and to pay homage to a religious and political head as personified by the Prophet Muhammad and, to his Successors or Caliphs Ar.

Khulafa' as leaders of the new community ummah. All this was new to the Arabs. The whole package of Islamic teachings was propagated by the Prophet and accepted by his fellow Arabs within a generation CE. The Prophet Muhammad taught the peoples of Arabia a great deal. Before the advent of Muhammad, the Arabs had no books and no sacred scriptures.

The Qur'an was the first Arabic book and the first scripture in the Arabic language. Its chapters and verse were unique in style and substance in purest Arabic. The Arabs who, from time immemorial, had memorised poems and proverbs, found it easy to learn a part or the whole of the Qur'an for ritual prayer.

For the Arabs, the Qur'an, it would seem, was a substitute for old Arabic poetry. The difference was that poetry was recited at home and in the market, whereas the Qur'an was recited only after ablution and reverential devotion. It is essentially a book of revelation from God, embodying Islamic law and ethical code. Through an understanding of the Qur'an, the Arabs began to think and behave differently from their polytheistic ancestors mushrikun , becoming more like Jews and Christians in their monotheism.

Thus they had begun to reflect on the mysteries of the universe and the importance of being imbued with a sense of brotherhood. For the first time their lives were regulated by a book of revelation and were turned around by it. These teachers were sent to various parts of Arabia and beyond. Islamic education begins with the lessons of the Qur'an. It is a religious duty and an obligation for every Muslim to preach and teach to his fellow Muslims and non-Muslim acquaintances what he knows of the Qur'an and the Traditions. Such a process of informal mass education and Islamisation began in the Arabian Peninsula during the Prophet's last years and the process was carried forward under his successors.

These early Muslims also became familiar with the life style of the Prophet Sunnah. Everything the Prophet said, did, approved of, condemned and encouraged others to do became the source of inspiration for Muslims and the Sunnah custom, or Islamic way of life for the Muslim community. To Archangel Gabriel's command, Muhammad replied that he was unable to read, a clear indication of his illiteracy, his knowledge of Jewish and Christian religions being based on what Gabriel communicated to him directly.

This explains how letters he dictated to his amanuenses were signed by him. Therefore, by the end of his life Muhammad was literate. The collection of Muhammad's words and thoughts and his tacit approval is known as hadith plural ahadith. This hadith became one of the basic sources of Islam.

The Islamic Background to Intellectual Activity. The learning process of the Arabs began with the Qur'an and everything else followed accordingly. The Prophet told his disciples: "Wisdom Hikmah is the object for the believers" [26]. Thus Muhammad created an incentive to pursue all kinds of knowledge, including science and philosophy. The Prophet Muhammad, like all the Semitic Prophets before him, was an educator and spiritual mentor. This statement unmistakably attaches the highest priority to knowledge and encourages Muslims to be educated.

Another statement praises religious knowledge even more highly, maintaining that it is a key to various benefits and blessings and that those who teach the Qur'an and Hadith have inherited the role of the ancient Prophets [28]. In praise of knowledge, the Prophet also said that the pursuit of knowledge is superior to ritual prayer Salah , fasting during Ramadan , pilgrimage Hajj and the struggle for Islam Jihad in promoting the cause of God [30]. This last Tradition is often misinterpreted by some Muslims who think quite mistakenly that religious learning and the pursuit of science exempts them from prayer, fasting, pilgrimage and Jihad.

This is not at all the intention of the statement. What it emphasizes is that religious education is no less important than the time and efforts devoted to Salah , Sawm , Hajj and Jihad. Thus learning gets priority over those usual duties of a believer. The concept of science and knowledge was also widely diffused in the Prophet's Traditions and in Arabic belles lettres adab.

It only proves the point that Islam inspires its adherents to think of science or knowledge not only for its spiritual and utilitarian value, but also as an act of worship. Some of the sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad elevated the pursuit of knowledge as an act of worship. Unity of Knowledge: Religious, Rational and Experimental.

The Arabic language was classified by Ibn Khaldun as an auxiliary science to explain the terminology of the Qur'an [31]. It would therefore appear that during the 1st and 2nd Hijri centuries a number of new subjects were gradually developed to explain the Qur'an, the Traditions and Islamic history. On the whole the study of basic religious sciences was given priority over other subjects. The Islamic scholar Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi'i d.

In the hierarchy of science Islamic scholars placed religious subjects at the top of their list, although secular sciences, such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy and philosophy were recognised as useful branches of knowledge. In fact, religious and philosophical sciences developed in parallel. More often than not, it seems quite clear that there was no clear division between sacred and profane sciences. This astrolabe is signed "Husain b.

It is probably North African in origin, and is made of brass. It has four plates for the front of the astrolabe, representing the projection of the celestial sphere and marked with lines for calculation , each for a specific latitude, and 21 stars marked on the rete the star map, with pointers, fitting over the plate. Many outstanding scholars emphasized the unity of knowledge. Thus scientists of the calibre of Jabir ibn Hayyan, al-Kindi, al-Khwarizmi, al-Razi, al-Biruni, al-Farabi and Ibn Sina were as adept in the religious sacred sciences as in the profane sciences of medicine, philosophy, astronomy or mathematics.

They were conscious of the various dimensions of science. The Prophet Muhammad was credited with a number of statements regarding cleanliness, health and medicine. These were collected together and became known to Muslims as the Prophetic medicine al-tibb al-nabawi. A number of books bear this title, including one written by Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah [36] and another by al-Suyuti [37]. These books contain some authentic statements of the Prophet and include herbal medicine and natural cures.

Drinking honey and reciting the Qur'an are recommended as a panacea for all kinds of ailments. One such Tradition asserts that every disease has a cure [38]. In other words, God has provided cures for all kinds of disease. Commenting on this and other Traditions, Muhammad Asad says that when his followers read the Prophet's saying quoted in al-Bukhyii : "God sends down no disease without sending down a cure for it as well".

They understood from this statement that by searching for cures they would contribute to the fulfilment of God's will. So medical research became invested with the holiness of a religious duty [39] Ibn Khaldun, while commenting on the Prophetic medicine, said that it resembled medicine of the nomadic type, which is not part of the divine revelation, and therefore is not the duty of Muslims to practise it [40].

It is generally believed by Muslims that no contradiction exists between religion and science. However, this is not the case in Europe, as we shall see. Maurice Bucaille's Theses. The relevance of science to scripture has been examined by a French scholar, Maurice Bucaille, whose study The Bible, the Qur'an and Science an English version of his La Bible, le Coran et la science [41] is relevant to our discussion.

Bucaille, aware of the fact that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are Abrahamic religions, makes the following observations. The Old Testament, he claims, was composed by different authors over a period of nine hundred years. The Gospels, on the other hand, were the work of different authors, none of whom witnessed in person the life of Jesus. The latter merely relayed what happened to Jesus. Islam has something comparable to the Gospels in Hadith , which are collection of sayings and descriptions of the Prophet. Comparing the Gospels with the Hadith Bucaille says: "Some of the Collections of Hadiths were written decades after the death of Muhammad, just as the Gospels were written decades after Jesus.

In both cases, they bear human witnesses to events in the past [42]. Some Western scholars, including Ignaz Goldziher and Joseph Schacht, have argued against the authenticity of certain Traditions. Such reservations inevitably offend Muslims, because the Traditions enshrine the moral and spiritual values of Islam.

However, the author is equally critical of the four Canonic Gospels and cannot therefore be accused of bias or prejudice. In fairness to Bucaille, it should be said that he was studying the Scriptures from the point of view of science and not vice versa. His objectivity, though inevitably hurtful to some, is rare even in modern scholarship. Islam, however, has the Qur'an, which fits this description' [44]. The Qur'an is an expression of the Revelation from God delivered by the Archangel Gabriel to Muhammad, which was memorised, written down by the Prophet's amanuences [45] and recited as liturgy.

The Qur'an was thus fully authenticated. The Revelation lasted around twenty years. Debates between the Biblical Exegists and Western scientists have arisen as a result of discrepancies between the Scriptures and science [46]. In contrast, many verses of a scientific nature can be found in the Qur'an. Bucaille asks: "Why should we be surprised at this when we know that, for Islam, religion and science have always been considered the twin sisters?

From the very beginning Islam directed people to cultivate science; the application of this precept brought with it the prodigious strides in science taken during the great era of Islamic civilization, from which, before the Renaissance, the West itself benefited [47]. Islamic astrolabes have calendar scales on them that enable the positions of the moon and the dates of the lunar calendar to be calculated easily.

According to Bucaille, some verses of the Qur'an have puzzled interpreters until the discoveries of modern science attested to the truth. The range of the scientific data contained in the Qur'an is explored in the following pages. The creation of the heaven and earth and everything in them happened in six days [48]. The term six "days" is interpreted by modern exegetes of the Qur'an as six "periods" or "stages". The Qur'an also refers to a day as being equivalent to a thousand earthly years [49]. In another context, a day is described as being equivalent to 50, years [50].

There are references to navigation in the seas [52] ; and God created meat fish [53] for food, and precious objects, such as coral [54] marjan and pearls [55] for use as jewellery; that God created an orderly cosmos in which every planet, including the sun and the moon, moved along its prescribed orbit [56].

For instance, the sun does not overtake the moon [57] ; and that God created male and female for humans [58] as well as for vegetables and animal kingdoms [60] ; that man was created through the sex [61] act and that women's menstruation [62] is a time for sexual abstinence; that God created everything out of water [63]. God sends down rain [64] to revive the dead earth to produce and for growing grains, fruit and vegetable; and that He let the earth produce all kinds of food [65] ; that God created cattle to produce milk for humans [66] ; that He created horses, mules and donkeys as working animals [67] ; that He created the constellation [68] , and the sequence of day and night [69] as natural phenomena to remind people of God's majesty and power and to encourage them to study astronomy.

There are many more examples, but these should suffice for our purpose. Nowhere in the Qur'an is there anything which has been proven scientifically untrue? Thus Maurice Bucaille, after considering all the scientific data in the Qur'an concluded as follows: "In view of the level of knowledge in Muhammad's day, it is inconceivable that many of the statements in the Qur'an which are connected with science could have been the work of a man. It is, moreover, perfectly legitimate, not only to regard the Qur'an as the expression of a Revelation, but also to award it a very special place, on account of the guarantee of authenticity it provides and the presence in it of scientific statements which, when studied today, appear as a challenge to explanation in human terms [70].

Imbued with the values of the Qur'an, the early Muslims were psychologically ready to travel widely in search of all kinds of knowledge and were urged to study nature. Books were written and maps were used as illustrations. As a result of the study of science in other cultures through the translation of books in Greek, Sanskrit and Middle Persian at the institutions like the Bayt al-Hikmah in Baghdad from the 9th to the 11th century CE, the incipient scientific movement among the Muslims received a boost and contributed to the further development of science in the lands of the Caliphate.

The Seeds of Islamic Science. Some Chronology. The spread of the early Islamised Arabs and Muslim from other ethnic origins over a far-flung territory in Asia and Africa enabled them to come into contact with the natives of those regions and thus initiate a process of gradual conversion to Islam. As Muslims advanced into foreign territories, they were exposed to various cultural influences.

At first these influences had no effect but after a while cultural integration resulted in the burgeoning of an active interest in the scientific and intellectual achievements of the older civilizations. Although the translation of foreign books began on a modest scale during the first Islamic century, it increased during the second and by the 3rd 9th century CE , it had had a profound effect on the intellectual milieu when Greek, Persian and Indian sciences became available in Arabic translation.