Muslims and their contribution to science
If you ask a Muslim about how his brethren have contributed to the scientific progress of man, he’d blithely mention scientists like Jabir Bin Hayan, Ibn-e-Sina and Omar Al-Khayyam. Such Muslims have, without doubt, contributed generously to science.
But that was centuries ago, all the way back in the middle ages. When it comes to modern science, Muslims have little to be proud of. A few names are worth mentioning – Dr.Abdus Salam being one of them – but beyond that, there isn’t much.
For a religious group that constantly talks about how “scientific” Islam is, and persistently attempts to prove the authenticity of Quran as divine writ by pointing out the “scientific miracles” mentioned in it, the reality doesn’t quite concur with their beliefs.
Here’s are a few fact about Muslims and their contributions to science in today’s world:
Average percentage of GDP spent globally on scientific research: 2.36%
Average percentage of GDP spent by members of OIC on scientific research: 0.34%
Average number of scientists per population of thousand globally: 40
Average number of scientists per population of thousand in Islamic countries: 10
Total number of scientific publications by the 17 richest members of OIC: 13,444
Total number of scientific publications by Harvard University alone: 15,455
Percentage population of Muslims in the world: 18.1%
Percentage of research papers published by Muslims among total: 1.1%
The Arab oil states possess the kind of wealth that much of the developed world yearns for. Yet, these monarchs of these countries, quite brazenly, keep wasting their nations’ assets on expensive indulgences – palaces, fleets of luxurious cars, and even entire legions of wives and their their children. Meanwhile, many other Islamic countries are spending extravagantly on military. Pakistan has the fifth largest army in the world, but unless it intends to feed its people gunpowder and replace the faculties of its universities with batmen, it needs to seriously consider diverting a large chunk of the budget towards education and healthcare.
Saudi Arabia earns 27 billion riyals from Hajj alone each year, and the profits are on the rise with the increase in the number of pilgrims. A mere quarter of these earning, if spent wisely on scientific development, should be enough to turn the tide for the country and give rise to a whole lot of new-age Ibn-e-Sina’s.
The Muslim world, currently, is to science what the Backstreet Boys group is to music: a has-been. And it shows no sign of returning to its former glory. In fact, there’s every reason to expect the downward trend to continue for a long time.
“Of all civilizations on this planet, science is weakest in the lands of Islam. The dangers of this weakness cannot be over-emphasized since the honourable survival of a society depends directly on its science and technology in the condition of the present age.” – Dr. Abdus Salam
It’s time for urgent and ambitious reforms.