Hameed Naseem: Golden Age sent wisdom across world

Faith Matters: Hameed Naseem

Allah instructed Muslims to learn by Hameed Naseem | November 6, 2021

Growing up in a small town in the province of Punjab in the ’60s, one was not expected to know who the giants of science and philosophy in the Golden Age of Islam were. But my father would visit the Ahmadiyya Central Library to look for books on the life and works of great polymaths. He would then have some of these books copied by hand and bound for his own library and for us to read.

The first revelation of Allah that was received by the Prophet Muhammad through Archangel Gabriel in the caves of Hira is codified in the Holy Qur’an as teaching for all Muslims to follow. It says (Ch.96, V. 1-6):

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In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.

Read in the name of thy Lord Who created,

Created man from a clot of blood.

Read! And thy Lord is Most Generous,

Who taught by the pen,

Taught man what he knew not.

The Prophet Muhammad was unlettered, but Allah taught him and granted him wisdom. Early Muslims understood this Qur’anic instruction well. They set up a great tradition of learning and proliferation of knowledge using the pen as a divine instrument to enlighten mankind. This knowledge was not restricted to the religious but included secular as well.

Early Muslim rulers became great patrons of the knowledge of science and philosophy. They set up schools and academies and collected books from the East and the West in great libraries and developed technologies to promote writing and translation of books. This brought about the Islamic Golden Age that lasted for centuries starting from the eighth century. Baghdad and Basra in the Islamic East and Cordova and Granada in the Islamic West became centers of higher learning to which scholars thronged from distant lands.

Greek knowledge of logic and rhetoric, science and philosophy, math and astronomy as taught by Plato and Aristotle was translated into Arabic and taught and learned throughout the Muslim empire. Great names among the Eastern Islamic philosophers include al-Kindi (801-866), al-Razi (860-925), al-Farabi (870-950), Ibn Sina (980-1037) and al-Ghazali (1058-1111). The Western Islamic philosophers include ibn Tufayl (1100-1185), ibn Rushd (1126-1198), and Aven Maimun (1135-1204). These were not just translators of Greek philosophy as is usually thought in the West. Rather, they developed and synthesized these sciences and took them to new heights.

Ibn Sina is known in the West by his Latinized name Avicenna. His encyclopedic five-volume book of medicine was translated into Latin in the 13th century and used in the European universities to teach medicine until the beginning of 17th century. His books on philosophy and metaphysics were partially translated into Latin and were available in Europe long before the European Renaissance. The book of Ibn Rushd or Averroes on Aristotelian philosophy were translated into Latin in the 14th century and were received favorably in Europe. His medical treatise was used in the West for centuries.

Hameed Naseem is the Director of Outreach for the Tulsa Chapter of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, USA. He is also the faculty adviser of Al-Islam Students Association at the University of Arkansas. Contact him at hanaseem@gmail.com.

source https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2021/nov/06/hameed-naseem-golden-age-sent-wisdom-across-world/

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