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Teach me the positives of Middle Eastern philosophy

  1. Jun 2, 2004 #1
    Being generally ignorant of Middle Eastern philosophy, but admiring their art, history, science, society and scholarship, I would like to know what sharing of knowledge you would volunteer as mutually beneficial to both their and my (Western) peoples.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2004 #2

    Not withstanding the stickie on religious topics, here's something you might reflect on:

    Take one step toward Allah, and Allah will run toward you.

    (moosa ducks for cover! ) :smile:
  4. Jun 3, 2004 #3
    I hope Kerrie, Loren and Hypna would indulge me a little as well.

    :smile: Really? Buddhists believe buddhas and bodhisattvaes are so immensely compassionate they will respond immediately to anyone who invokes them as well. And from my personal experience, they do.

    Do tell us more, Moosa. :smile:
  5. Jun 4, 2004 #4
    What you mean by Middle Eastern philosophy?

    As you know most of old world civilizations started in Middle East, also the two largest religions.
  6. Jun 4, 2004 #5
    The traditional philosophy, from that geopolitical region, which is generally missing from studies of Western Civilization but has directly influenced it through interchange of ideas over millennia. Islam, its similarities and contrasts with respect to Judeo-Christian world outlook (as I mentioned: art, history, science, society and scholarship rather than just religious belief), would be one major component to Middle Eastern philosophy.

    What I am trying to develop is an understanding between cultures, which at the moment are mostly turning a blind eye toward a common heritage of scholarly belief, and thus further a shared path toward possible world peace.
  7. Jun 4, 2004 #6
    Dear Loren,

    I will summarize some points about Islamic civilization-culture, also I will give you link to informative in formation. I am sure the topic will be so long, but I will do my best to organize my answers, so you can understand it better. Beside that, I am afraid that I will not have time to answer continuously.

    As you know, Islamic civilizations rise in the 7th century, and start to fall dramatically in the 14th century for many reasons.

    When we discuss the history of this civilization, you could understand that fact.

    Before start to talk about contribution of Islamic civilization in human civilization, I would like to present some historical facts, also some ‘’western’’ references:

    Here are some interested points:

    - Baghdad was the center of the world in the 9th century. It population around two millions.

    - The first translation university was built in Baghdad in the 9th century. It was called (Dar Al Hikmah) or Wisdom House. They translated hundred thousands of Greek, Persian, Roman, Hebrew, and Indian documents and books to Arabic.

    - For the first time, Jews, Muslims and Christian succeeded to live in peace in liberal (semi democratic society) in Spain in the 10th century.

    - Many schools of laws were established in 11th and 12 century.

    - The largest Islamic State is Indonesia (20% of Muslims in the world), no Islamic army reached this State. The people converted to Islam due to economical relations, the same as Malaysia and SE Asia.

    The collapse of Islamic civilization could be concluded by these reasons:

    - Crusaders wars: 200 years of religious catholic wars against Muslims, Jews and orthodox Christian. These wars exhausted the ME societies.

    - Mongolian wars: Before the end of crusaders wars, Mongolian invaded the East. They destroyed Baghdad, killed 800000 people and burn its well known library.

    - Fall of Spain: Muslims lost Spain in the end of 15th after 800 years of great civilization. Spanish changed the trading from ME to South Africa, which had great economical impact.

    - Islamic scholars stopped developing the laws since 14 century, which made many of them not suitable for modern societies.

    - Ottoman Empire, ruled the Islamic world recently. They involved in many wars with Russia, Romania, Balkan, Greece, UK, France , Egypt … which converted it to military State.
  8. Jun 4, 2004 #7
    Islamic civilization and Science

    Specific Muslims scientists and their contribution in human civilization:

    - Alhazen, is considered as the father of modern Optics:


    -Sample of Muslims scientists and their contribution in different fields:

    -The first world map by AL-IDRIS
    http://www.soundsofislam.com/idrisi.html [Broken]

    - Islam and medicine:

    Guardian Newspapers, 9/10/2003
    http://www.buzzle.co.uk/editorials/9-10-2003-45271.asp [Broken]

    Chemical medicine


    Chemistry or al-kimiya


    Muslims and Weapon

    http://www.sfusd.k12.ca.us/schwww/sch618/War/Weapons2.html [Broken]

    - Mathematics

    History of mathematics: you can choose from 500 to 1300, most of scientists have Arab or Islamic names:

    About 810
    House of Wisdom set up in Baghdad. There Greek and Indian mathematical and astronomy works are translated into Arabic.

    About 810
    Al-Khwarizmi writes important works on arithmetic, algebra, geography, and astronomy. In particular Hisab al-jabr w'al-muqabala (Calculation by Completion and Balancing), gives us the word "algebra", from "al-jabr". From al-Khwarizmi's name, as a consequence of his arithmetic book, comes the word "algorithm".

    About 850
    Thabit ibn Qurra makes important mathematical discoveries such as the extension of the concept of number to (positive) real numbers, integral calculus, theorems in spherical trigonometry, analytic geometry, and non-euclidean geometry.

    About 850
    Thabit ibn Qurra writes Book on the determination of amicable numbers which contains general methods to construct amicable numbers. He knows the pair of amicable numbers 17296, 18416.

    About 900
    Abu Kamil writes Book on algebra which studies applications of algebra to geometrical problems. It will be the book on which Fibonacci will base his works.

    About 900
    Abu Kamil writes Book on algebra which studies applications of algebra to geometrical problems. It will be the book on which Fibonacci will base his works.

    Al-Battani writes Kitab al-Zij a major work on astronomy in 57 chapters. It contains advances in trigonometry.
    About 960
    Al-Uqlidisi writes Kitab al-fusul fi al-hisab al-Hindi which is the earliest surviving book that presents the Hindu system.

    About 970
    Abu'l-Wafa invents the wall quadrant for the accurate measurement of the declination of stars in the sky. He writes important books on arithmetic and geometric constructions. He introduces the tangent function and produces improved methods of calculating trigonometric tables.

    Codex Vigilanus copied in Spain. Contains the first evidence of decimal numbers in Europe.
    About 990
    Al-Karaji writes Al-Fakhri in Baghdad which develops algebra. He gives Pascal's triangle.

    About 1000
    Ibn al-Haytham (often called Alhazen) writes works on optics, including a theory of light and a theory of vision, astronomy, and mathematics, including geometry and number theory. He gives Alhazen's problem: Given a light source and a spherical mirror, find the point on the mirror were the light will be reflected to the eye of an observer.

    About 1010
    Al-Biruni writes on many scientific topics. His work on mathematics covers arithmetic, summation of series, combinatorial analysis, the rule of three, irrational numbers, ratio theory, algebraic definitions, method of solving algebraic equations, geometry, Archimedes' theorems, trisection of the angle and other problems which cannot be solved with ruler and compass alone, conic sections, stereometry, stereographic projection, trigonometry, the sine theorem in the plane, and solving spherical triangles.

    About 1020
    Ibn Sina (usually called Avicenna) writes on philosophy, medicine, psychology, geology, mathematics, astronomy, and logic. His important mathematical work Kitab al-Shifa' (The Book of Healing) divides mathematics into four major topics, geometry, astronomy, arithmetic, and music.

    Ahmad al-Nasawi writes al-Muqni'fi al-Hisab al-Hindi which studies four different number systems. He explains the operations of arithmetic, particularly taking square and cube roots in each system.

    Al-Khayyami (usually known as Omar Khayyam) writes Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra which contains a complete classification of cubic equations with geometric solutions found by means of intersecting conic sections. He measures the length of the year to be 365.24219858156 days, a remarkably accurate result.

    Jabir ibn Aflah writes works on mathematics which, although not as good as many other Arabic works, are important since they will be translated into Latin and become available to European mathematicians.

    Adelard of Bath produces two or three translations of Euclid's Elements from Arabic.

    Al-Samawal writes al-Bahir fi'l-jabr (The brilliant in algebra). He develops algebra with polynomials using negative powers and zero. He solves quadratic equations, sums the squares of the first n natural numbers, and looks at combinatorial problems.

    Arabic numerals are introduced into Europe with Gherard of Cremona's translation of Ptolemy's Almagest. The name of the "sine" function comes from this translation.

    Al-Kashi writes Compendium of the Science of Astronomy.

    Al-Kashi writes Treatise on the Circumference giving a remarkably good approximation to  in both sexagesimal and decimal forms.

    Al-Kashi completes The Key to Arithmetic containing work of great depth on decimal fractions. It applies arithmetical and algebraic methods to the solution of various problems, including several geometric ones and is one of the best textbooks in the whole of medieval literature.

    will be continued ..............
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  9. Jun 5, 2004 #8
    Thanks, Bilal. I am especially intrigued by the physical-scientific and mathematical discoveries which presage many European "innovations." No doubt Eastern Asia also has such contributions later trivialized by the West.
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