Haram Month #16 – The golden age of Islam?

I find it hard to believe there was ever a time when Islam made a civilization great. If anything, the history of the 20th century suggests to me that it made countries in the Middle East worse. Iran, for instance, went from a secular pro-Western nation to an Islamic theocracy during the late 1970’s, and we all know what Iran is like nowadays. Yet there are those who believe that, at one point in time, there was an Islamic “golden age”, where science, knowledge and social progress flourish while Christian Europe languished in the dark ages.

It’s funny to think how people can claim that all that makes the modern world was predated by Islamic (they actually mean Arab) civilization, while the Islamic faith and its teachings (contained in the Quran and the Hadiths) are by and large at odds with and diametrically opposed to these things. Science is seen as subservient to the teachings of Islam, because it is seen as the work of Man, and any scientific findings that contradict this are seen as blasphemous. That at least is the case in the Middle East, where one might find clerics who deny that the Earth revolves around the Sun. The idea that a woman is equal to a man is contrary to Sharia law, which considers the testimony of a woman to worth half that of a man – which also means that the Western concept of human rights finds no support in the teachings of Islam. And where would the progressive narrative be without tolerance? Well let’s just say the Jews didn’t exactly feel any of that tolerance. You can also forget the idea that Islamic civilization was somehow better than “Western colonialism and imperialism” considering that Muhammad, the man from whom the teachings of Islam are ultimately derived, established Islam through the conquest of pagan Mecca.

Oh and let’s not forget the Arab slave trade, which had gone on for centuries and very often targeted Africans, and the fact that slavery was permitted by the Quran and the Hadiths.

Allah presents an example: a slave [who is] owned and unable to do a thing and he to whom We have provided from Us good provision, so he spends from it secretly and publicly. Can he be equal? Praise be to Allah! But most of them do not know.” Surah An-Nahl 16:75

And [also prohibited to you are all] married women except those your right hands possess. [This is] the decree of Allah upon you. And lawful to you are [all others] beyond these, [provided] that you seek them [in marriage] with [gifts from] your property, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse. So for whatever you enjoy [of marriage] from them, give them their due compensation as an obligation. And there is no blame upon you for what you mutually agree to beyond the obligation. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.” – Quran An-Nisa 4:24

A man decided that a slave of his would be manumitted after his death and later on he was in need of money, so the Prophet took the slave and said, “Who will buy this slave from me?” Nu’aim bin ‘Abdullah bought him for such and such price and the Prophet gave him the slave.” – Bukhari Volume 3, Book

For one year I wanted to ask ‘Umar about the two women who helped each other against the Prophet but I was afraid of him. One day he dismounted his riding animal and went among the trees of Arak to answer the call of nature, and when he returned, I asked him and he said, “(They were) ‘Aisha and Hafsa.” Then he added, “We never used to give significance to ladies in the days of the Pre-lslamic period of ignorance, but when Islam came and Allah mentioned their rights, we used to give them their rights but did not allow them to interfere in our affairs. Once there was some dispute between me and my wife and she answered me back in a loud voice. I said to her, ‘Strange! You can retort in this way?’ She said, ‘Yes. Do you say this to me while your daughter troubles Allah’s Apostle?’ So I went to Hafsa and said to her, ‘I warn you not to disobey Allah and His Apostle.’ I first went to Hafsa and then to Um Salama and told her the same. She said to me, ‘O ‘Umar! It surprises me that you interfere in our affairs so much that you would poke your nose even into the affairs of Allah’s Apostle and his wives.’ So she rejected my advice. There was an Ansari man; whenever he was absent from Allah’s Apostle and I was present there, I used to convey to him what had happened (on that day), and when I was absent and he was present there, he used to convey to me what had happened as regards news from Allah’s Apostle . During that time all the rulers of the nearby lands had surrendered to Allah’s Apostle except the king of Ghassan in Sham, and we were afraid that he might attack us. All of a sudden the Ansari came and said, ‘A great event has happened!’ I asked him, ‘What is it? Has the Ghassani (king) come?’ He said, ‘Greater than that! Allah’s Apostle has divorced his wives! I went to them and found all of them weeping in their dwellings, and the Prophet had ascended to an upper room of his. At the door of the room there was a slave to whom I went and said, “Ask the permission for me to enter.” He admitted me and I entered to see the Prophet lying on a mat that had left its imprint on his side. Under his head there was a leather pillow stuffed with palm fires. Behold! There were some hides hanging there and some grass for tanning. Then I mentioned what I had said to Hafsa and Um Salama and what reply Um Salama had given me. Allah’s Apostle smiled and stayed there for twenty nine days and then came down.” – Bukhari 7, Book 72 Number 734

So yes, I find the idea that Islam brought about some kind of golden age of civilization hard to believe.

And with that, this year’s Haram Month is concluded. There will probably be another Haram Month on this blog, assuming our society continues its dishonesty on the subject of Islam.

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