Greek Culture and Arab Culture

It is en vogue nowadays to act as if Arab or Islamic cultures had made some kind of huge contribution to science. I think that from an objective point of view we have to say that any such contribution was fairly modest, and tends to be grossly exaggerated by folks who want to give our Muslim friends better self-esteem, or something like that.

A quote from Ibrahim Al-Buleihi, from Saudi Arabia:

Those individuals in whom we sometimes take pride, such as Ibn Rushd, Ibn Al-Haytham, Al-Razi, Al-Qindi, Al-Khawarizmi, and Al-Farabi were all pupils of Greek thought. As for our civilization, it is a religious one, concerned with religious law, totally absorbed in the details of what Muslims should do and shouldn't do in his relations with Allah and in his relations with others. This is a huge task worthy of admiration, because religion is the pivot of life. We must however recognize that our achievements are all confined to this great area. Let us not claim then that the West has borrowed from us its secular lights. Our culture has been and continues to be absorbed with questions of the forbidden and the permitted and belief and disbelief, because it is a religious civilization…

Other posts on the topic are here, here, and here.


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