Islam and Science


Youtube link of the BBC documentary, Science and Islam: [link]

After watching this BBC documentary series, I realized that I have really underestimated Islam and the Muslims. I am not proud of this but I thought they were just a group of people that liked to bomb and terrorize things. Little did I know that “algrebra”, “algorithm”, and “alkaline”, were Arabic words, and that the Hindu-Arabic numerals (although it’s already obvious) came from them. I was also amazed that their religious belief that “God did not send down a disease without also sending down its cure” led to their intensive research in medical science; since most of the time, science is thought to be not compatible with religion or spirituality. Another thing that I liked most in their discoveries shown in the documentary is about the four kinds of fluid in our body and the four temperaments that correspond with each bodily fluid. Too much blood in our body makes us sanguine, too much phlegm makes us phlegmatic, too much yellow bile makes us bilious or angry, and too much black bile makes us melancholic. I just like how they approach science as interrelated with other fields of knowledge, because science, as I see it nowadays, sees itself as its own institution.

I was also very interested with their art of alchemy and astronomy. I am not a fan of chemistry, but these ancient practices including astrology, which I try to study in my college years, are very intriguing since they were associated with black magic or the occult. These ancient sciences also are not as snobbish as the modern science, because they relate their sciences with the divine. Planets, comets, moons, and other celestial objects were named after Greek and Roman deities and that, for me, speaks a lot. They were even endowed with the personalities of these deities as if they were the gods themselves. Today we hear about mercury retrogrades, galactic alignments, another earth which is fourth dimensional – and if only ancient scientists would examine this, they would not be biased whether this would be seen as only superstitious and non-scientific. I love astrology – be it western, Chinese or Vedic; and I love the fact that it relates to science, history, and literature (Greek and Roman mythology).

I think I did well in mathematics and science when I was in elementary school; but when I got into high school, I started to hate them both. I couldn’t see their importance, and how they make us appreciate the universe, because they seemed to me as snobbish bodies of knowledge that only geniuses could understand. That’s how we were conditioned anyway. However, as I watched this documentary, I started to appreciate those hated subjects and I just accepted that I wasn’t meant to be in those fields but it doesn’t mean that I have to have aversion to them. Also, most of the time, the ones who discover things are Asians, but the Westerners are the ones meant to be in the spot light. It is sad that the credits go to them, and that the world only recognizes them, when in fact they owe a lot to the Asians. If only colonization did not happen to Asian or non-western countries, maybe we still have a chance to be at par with the first world countries now. I think science is also responsible that there are hierarchies among nations – because science and money go hand in hand. And science is nowadays is being held in the neck by the western world. 

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