Islam, Science and Renaissance
by Syed Akheel Ahmed, Ph.D., Syed Sharief Khundmiri, M.A., B.Com
Trafford Publishing

"In brief, Muslim scholars' contribution to exact science is considerable... joining great intellectual curiosity to a love of knowledge..."

This large volume is actually two books in one. The first, by Syed Sharief Khundmiri, is an exploration of the religion of Islam and its relationship to the world of science. The second, by Syed Akheel Ahmed, looks at Islamic scientific achievement. The first portion of the book tells the story of the life of the Prophet Muhammed, with frequent quotations from the Quran. Khundmiri seeks to dispel the impression that Islam is resistant to modern scientific ideas, by pointing out that the Quran itself speaks of such vital issues as, for example, ecology and the possibility of global, weather related catastrophes. The Quran describes the formation of clouds, lightning and other water-dependent phenomena, and warns: "Say: See you? If your stream is lost in any morning, who then who will supply you with clear flowing water?" Khundmiri states that because Allah created a perfect ecosystem, "human beings should not disturb this equilibrium at any cost…"

In the second portion, Ahmed recounts various Islamic scientific disciplines and their practitioners. In this portion there are fewer Koranic quotations, and more historical data. One major scientific stream for which Islam is noted is not today considered important: alchemy. Ahmed points out that alchemy failed because it was a flawed theory, because man cannot change what God has created. He states that there is "an abyss" between alchemy and modern chemistry, because in alchemy, nature was sacred, whereas to study chemistry "substances… were deprived of their sacred character."

In the early development of Islamic thought, Muslims mainly protected knowledge offered by the Greeks; later they made their own significant contributions, especially in geography and cartography, because Muslims traveled extensively in Europe, Asia and Africa. Muslim intellectuals certainly excelled in mathematics and contributed to the sciences of astronomy and medicine. Ahmed seeks to make the case that modern science is "bound up in materialist theories" while Islam has always promoted and revered the expansion of knowledge without separating science from religion.

This book will answer many questions that non-Muslims may have about Islam and the thinking of its proponents, serving as valuable tools for those seeking to understand the how and why of a great world religion.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home