Who is going to nail ‘95 Theses’ on Alazhar or or Qum?


Who is going to nail ‘95 Theses’ on Alazhar or or Qum?
by Iqbal Latif

'Cometh the hour, cometh the man.'
On why some nations flourish whereas others stay trapped in debauchery of intelligence! The preeminence of ‘Mullahs and Ayatollah’ is the principal test that the nation of Islam faces within the crescent of crisis that extends from Atlantic to Indian Ocean. It is the software that determines the performance of the hardware; it is the problem with the corrupted software that allows nothing to improve.
I wrote: ''The banking and finance capitals that could have emerged in the coastal cities and regions of Alexandria, the Yemen and Sumatra, as rivals to Europe were stemmed in their infancy; risk and calculations associated with risks were considered haram; without insurance no shipping and trade is possible. The progress of Islamic Empires was limited to and around the lake of Mediterranean instead of Ocean faring by Spain, Portuguese and others. Any belief that employs "guardians of truth'' on shaping of landscape of intellect will implode.
In responses Zack asked me - 'This is such a provocative thought; I could never have imagined that these trading ports had the potential to become banking institutions on the scale of London or Amsterdam...'
Not exactly replicating the spirit of the book, I am presently reading 'Freedom's Daughter: Letters between Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, 1922-39.' I thought Zack deserved a stimulating answer to what he considers a provocative reflection. Innocuous statements like this are burdened with huge weight of history. I want Zack to know what I really meant when I wrote this...
Progressive evolution of 'intellect and prosperity of any nation' is directly proportional to emancipation and inversely proportional to terrorization. It is the 'Priest and Professor' together chart the contours of development of a nation. Where priests are distorted and professors lead the nation one way to 'heavens' nothing comes out of such a land. London and Amsterdam don't appear in vacuum, human history is checkered with instances when great strides are accelerated as a result of 'Cometh the hour, cometh the man.'
Someone has daringly to nail the ‘95 Theses’ edict on the door of Alazhar or Shiite marjah in Najaf or Qum. The slumber that the faithful are enjoying is a sleep that is letting time go by. It is the 'Priests and Professor' together chart the contours of development of any nation. When Professors and priests have a common objective of puritanical heavenly returns the fortunes of nations decline this is the unapologetic narration of the times gone by of the world. Where Priests are corrupt and Professors guide the nation on the ideological path of "only one way to heavens," the nation stagnates and dies.
Nations who miss the train really miss the train... Without free man no trade is possible, without extrovert, gregarious national trait no advancement is possible. Proprietary rights stem from free title of property and ability to reconstruct from ashes if calamity struck. That is what is known as insurance. No trade and shipping is possible without insurance industry. Predestination and will of God destroys the idea of risk taking that is at the fore of entrepreneurship. What were the causes of technological creativity within human society is a question that confronts every human mind?
"The Lever of Riches", written by Joel Mokyr weaves a splendid account of the economic obscured story called technological progress. Other imposing contemporary economic commentary that are recommended David Landes's "the Wealth and Poverty of Nations" and Jared Diamond's sublime "Guns, Germs and Steel".
Mokyr in 'The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress' differentiate between the connection of inventors and their physical environment, that determined their willingness to challenge nature and the social environment. Creativity and fresh ideas are slave of examination and lack of restrictions. Free thought is nurtured in womb of liberation, take emancipation away and ideas are still born. East maniacal fixation with what is enjoined by 'writ of heavens' neglect all these points. This has been the source of dominant anxiety for nations that so far are struck with talbenised medievalism.
How does technological creativity occur? There are two elements necessary in the invention-innovation sequence: "technical problems involve a struggle between mind and matter, that is, they involve control of the physical environment." The other component is social: "For a new technique to be implemented, the innovator has to react with a human environment comprised of competitors, customers, suppliers, the authorities, neighbours, possibly the priest." It is the 'Priest and Professor' that twins together the chart of progress of a nation. Where Priests are corrupt and Professor is leading the nation only one way to 'heavens' nothing comes out of such a nation. Papal supremacy had to be abolished for renaissance and age of discovery to take firm hold. Without Martin Luther 95 Theses edict nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg church doors an event now seen as sparking the Protestant Reformation the nations would have remained struck in medievalism. Luther confrontation changed the course of Western civilization. The supremacy of 'Mullah and Ayatollah' is the biggest challenge that present nation of Islam faces in the crescent of crisis. Someone has to nail the '95 Theses' edict on the door of Alazhar or Shiite marjah in Najaf or Qum?
According to Mokyr 'Economic growth is the result of four distinct processes: Investment (increases in the capital stock), Commercial Expansion, Scale or Size Effects, and Increase in the Stock of Human Knowledge (which includes technological progress proper as well as changes in institutions).' European intellectual and scientific traditions may also have favoured the emergence of industrial technology. Whatever factors responsible, Mokyr concludes that the emergence of industrial technology was probably an unusual and highly dependent incident.
Joel Mokyr correlates technological creativity with economic progress throughout classical antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, and then into the later 19th century. Mokyr starts with the technologies of Greek and Roman relic, then moves on to the abandoned breakthroughs of Western Europe's Dark Ages (the horseshoe, the horse collar, the waterwheel) and the Islamic Golden Age. But his narration obviously center on the Western European technological zenith that began around 1400.
Just rewind forward a little from here, a visit to the age of renaissance in Europe when Ottoman (under Suleiman the magnificent) hit big and monasteries produced art and literature that still remains pride of mankind, when Vinci thought of flying machines, and Medici's supported renaissance took wings of full flight. Lorenzo de' Medici (1 January 1449 – 9 April 1492) life coincided with the high point of the early Italian Renaissance; his death marked the end of the Golden Age of Florence. It is not an incident that "The Age of Exploration"; Christopher Columbus would reach the "New World" only six months after Lorenzo de' Medici . Lorenzo's court included artists such as Piero and Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Andrea del Verrocchio, Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Michelangelo Buonarroti who were involved in the 15th century Renaissance. Michelangelo lived with Lorenzo and his family for several years, dining at the family table and attending meetings of the Neo-Platonic Academy.
Ideological and racial shyness is a worst crime that a land can perpetrate. Nations who become recluse drop out in long run. The failure of China to develop an Industrial Revolution remains a persistent puzzle. By about 1400, Chinese civilization was the world leader in many key technologies but then slides back and is eventually overtaken and then explosively surpassed by Europe.' An example of general introversion is Chinese decision after Eunuch Admiral Zheng Voyages to lock within, (a kind of claim of supremacy that world had nothing to give to china) they could have been supreme nation today if that decision to look within was not made. Mokyr discusses the role of technical innovation as a motor of economic growth and societal revolution.
Another book '1421 The Year China Discovered the World' by Gavin Menzies narrates how China Discovered the World. 'On the 8th of March, 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen sailed from its base in China. The ships, huge junks nearly five hundred feet long and built from the finest teak, were under the command of Emperor Zhu Di's loyal eunuch admirals. Their mission was 'to proceed all the way to the end of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas' and unite the whole world in Confucian harmony. The journey would last over two years and circle the globe.
When they returned Zhu Di lost control and China was launching its long, self-imposed remoteness from the world it had so freshly embraced. The great ships rotted at their moorings and the records of their journeys were destroyed. Lost was the data that Chinese ships had reached America seventy years before Columbus and circumnavigated the globe a century before Magellan. They had also discovered Antarctica, reached Australia three hundred and fifty years before Cook and solved the problem of longitude three hundred years before the Europeans." Startling new evidence suggests that not only was America discovered by the Chinese the Eunuch Admiral that discovered it supplied the world maps to the King of Portugal to give to Columbus!'
Mokyr presents some tempting results. 'Technological innovation is not driven primarily by ordinary market forces. The Industrial Revolution was the culmination in many centuries of technological innovation dating back to the Middle Ages. Emancipation and liberty is fertilizer of intellectualism that breeds innovation. Timeline of philosophy is sparsely populated from 600 BC to 1600 AD we can count nearly 100-120 great minds, yet from 1600 onwards the productivity of minds took a new trajectory, one sees unprecedented proliferation of minds in a new uncharted territory.
An important point made by Mokyr is that 'no nation or culture was a perpetual locus of technological innovation. In Europe, innovations were most common in Italy during the Renaissance, followed by major sites in the Low Countries and Germany, followed by the British explosion. Europe, with its divided polities, may have been more conducive to the development of industrial technology.'
Technology interweaved with religious zeal is behind the age of discovery of new lands. When Columbus made his pleas for funding of trips across Atlantic it was Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon who approved the voyage by Christopher Columbus that ultimately led to the "discovery" of the Americas. By their marriage in October 1469, Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella of Castile initiated a confederation of the two kingdoms that became the basis for the unification of Spain. By their support of the explorations of Christopher Columbus, they also laid the foundations for Spain's colonies in the New World. Consequently, together with Ferdinand, Isabella initiated the chain of events that would lead to the Golden Age of Spanish imperialism. As a legacy of this empire, Spanish is the fourth most spoken language in the world after Mandarin, Hindi, and English.
"In the love of Christ and his Maid-Mother," she says, "I have caused great misery. I have depopulated towns and districts, provinces and kingdoms." They were religious zealots but were patrons of voyagers, scholars and artists. Religious persecution which is inward driven leads to disasters. History shows that religious persecution that encourages patronizing of art, culture, science and adventure led to greater successes of nation. The course of human history would have taken a different trajectory. Why Brazilian speaks Portugese?
It is because of the Treaty of Tordesillas. The easternmost part of current Brazil, when it was discovered accidentally in 1500 by Pedro Álvares Cabral, while on route to India, was granted to Portugal. The Papal Bull Aeterni regis was issued on 21 June 1481 by Pope Sixtus IV, simply confirmed the substance of the Treaty of Alcáçovas, thereby reiterating that treaty's confirmation of Castile in its possession of the Canary Islands and its granting of all further acquisitions made by Christian powers in Africa (and eastward to the Indies) to Portugal. On May 4, 1493 the Spanish-born Pope Alexander VI decreed in the bull Inter caetera that all lands west and south of a pole-to-pole line 100 leagues west and south of any of the islands of the Azores or the Cape Verde Islands should belong to Spain, although territory under Christian rule as of Christmas 1492 would remain untouched.
The Portuguese King John II was not pleased with that arrangement, feeling that it gave him far too little land — it prevented him from possessing India, his near term goal (as of 1493, Portuguese explorers had only reached the east coast of Africa). He opened negotiations with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to move the line to the west and allow him to claim newly discovered lands east of the line. The treaty effectively countered the bulls of Alexander VI and was sanctioned by Pope Julius II via the bull Ea quae of January 24, 1506. The Bull is the legal basis of Don Christopher Columbus's authority as vice regal agent of the Spanish crown in the Americas and one of a series implementing the intent of Romanus Pontifex which was rescinded/redacted by Sublimus Dei.1*
Purdah from the world is/was a disaster. Adoption of technology with the aim of 'total victory over enemy' led to ocean going ships, galleys were replaced by carracks, at battle of Lepanto Turks lost because of 6 superior Venetian ships had far better fire power. Ocean going ships not only led to overturn the threat of Turks but spread of Gospel/Christianity in the lands far away, after all Incas and Aztecs have no idea about Jesus, it was Spanish invasions that brought them under the tabernacle of Christ. Imagine 'Saladin' or 'Ottoman Suleimen' was able to cross the Atlantic with their zeal and passion.'Cortes' conquering Aztecs with Iron swords they had never seen could have been easily 'Mehmed' if he had the technology and the ships. After all even with the smaller ones they had Spain. Gibraltar comes from Jabal is Arabic for mountain. The rock/mountain of Gibraltar was named Jabal Tariq, after Tariq bin Ziyad, Moorish military leader who took his army from Morocco over to Spain. He took his ships to this mountain and burned them. The army then knew that there was no retreat.
It was technological innovation added to military abilities mixed with religious zeal of Papal holy authority that helped 'west' to control in all seven seas the sea borne trade and acquire 10 million sq mile of land from1878-1914. In 1800 the west controlled 35% of he world land mass, by 1914 they had increased the total to almost 85 percent. One book I would refer is 'The Cambridge Illustrated History of Warfare' it provides a unique account of Western warfare from antiquity to the present. The book treats all aspects of the subject from the Greeks to the nuclear age: the development of warfare on land, sea and air; weapons and technology; strategy and defense; discipline and intelligence. Throughout, there is an emphasis on the socio-economic aspects of war: who pays for it, how can its returns be measured, and to what extent does it explain the rise of the West to global dominance over two millennia?
Samuel P. Huntington wrote that "The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do." Open minds, massive innovation and entrepreneurship leading to technological breakthroughs all collectively helped them lay the ground work of unprecedented permanent ideological expansion from 1492 to 1914. Preponderant role of west has continued from Salamis (480 BC), Lechfiled (955 AD), Tenochtitlan (1519 -21), Plessey (1757) based on superior technology and its ruthless application to wipe the opposition clean.
Coastal sea faring was the safest for 'weak ships' before advent of technology. It is for this reason world greatest cities are either coastal or on the banks of river. Those who failed to adopt technology like Turks or Arabs remained although they were early sea farers remain confined to Mediterranean they never crossed the oceans they didn't have the ships. Superior Ocean going power for a world dominated by coastal living was the key of success. Mediterranean and riparian societies developed because of that- fresh river and coast combination was ideal for 'excess food' that was needed for freedom of man to engage in pursuit of warfare. After all, Hittite and Sumerians engaged in war fare only after they created enough excess food.
Technology with relative higher freedom of minds seeded the progress of Europeans over other societies. In a world of supercomputers, genetic engineering, and fiber optics, technological creativity is ever more the key to economic success. But why are some nations were creative than others and why do some highly innovative societies--such as ancient China, Ottomans --pass into stagnation? It was introversion, lack of freewill and disdain for technology. In Ototmans Mehmed the Fatih, Suleiman the Magnificent and Selim 1 and some other 15 minor Caliphs provided the bulk of fodder of impulse that kept the Ottomans going for 700 years. Others were left rottening in the kafes. Lack of new technology killed the Ottomans. Beginning with a fascinating, concise history of technological progress, Mokyr sets the background for his analysis by tracing the major inventions and innovations that have transformed society since ancient Greece and Rome. What emerges from this survey is often surprising: the classical world, for instance, was largely barren of new technology, the relatively backward society of medieval Europe bristled with inventions, and the period between the Reformation and the Industrial Revolution was one of slow and unspectacular progress in technology, despite the tumultuous developments associated with the Voyages of Discovery and the Scientific Revolution.
If history serves any lessons, the militants across the Islamic world should take heed from the fall of the Muslim rule in Granada, Spain, in 1492. It provides a good example of the elimination of a system not keeping pace with the march of events of the period. The Muslim rule over the bulk of Spain spanned over seven centuries (711-1492) The orthodox Muslims say that Granada collapsed because the Muslims there had deviated from their faith and had become corrupt and luxury loving; they were weakened by internecine struggle for power. That is correct but only partly. The real reason was that the whole of Europe had entered a new era. New ideas, new technologies and new political systems were beginning to herald the new age. Reformation had taken roots and the concept of nation state was fast developing. This new concept was supplanting the system of different, often warring, tribal lords and kings.
The inability of Ameer Abul Hasan of Granada to see clearly this new reality and adjust his response accordingly in his domain that was already suffering from a triangular strife for power between him, his brother and son, ensured the end of the Muslim rule of over seven centuries. Abu Abdullah, the last king of Granada, and his family were exiled to the hills. As he looked at the majestic palace of Alhambra, a name still linked to Spain Islamic Era for the last time, tears came into his eyes. At this, his aged mother Aisha said scornfully, 'Abu Abdullah, cry like a woman for a Kingdom you could not defend as a man.'
Alas part of the world still remains with what is 'enjoined and promised' in the next world and fancy to adjourn the possibilities of 'this world' to inferior man who they called a 'worldly man,' their Jihads are aimed at conquering 'man minds' and to subject them to will of Allah. The only thing that conquers mind is liberation from tenets and creed.


more from Iqbal Latif
Iqbal Latif

@Not to mention the Mongol invasion catastrophe in the East.

by Iqbal Latif on

Dear Hass, I am really grateful to ask me 6
liner abundantly intelligent question that needed so many replies. 
In Harvard the
first thing that is taught is not the 'answer' but the quality of the
'question' that marks an intelligence of a  person.. I had forgotten to
deal with your last line..


@Not to mention the Mongol invasion catastrophe in the East.

'Predestination' has been the bane of the Islamic societies since inception!

The fall of Baghdad to Mongols invaders led by Hulagu Khan! Hulagu Khan (ca. 1216-1265) was a Mongol conqueror and the founder of the dynasty of the Il-Khans of Iran.

He also suppressed the Ismaili sect (hashshishayooon or the word Assassins originated from this sect) and defeated the last Abbasid caliph. ''Caliph was locked in his treasury and was brought gold rather than food. When the Caliph protested that he could not eat gold, Hulagu asked why he hadn't spent his treasury on providing for his army and defense to which the Caliph cried "That was the will of Allah". In response Hulagu replied, "What will happen to you is the will of Allah, also," leaving him among the treasure to starve. ''

Though some historians differ and think that the story, familiar from the pages of Marco Polo and Longfellow's Kambalu, of the Caliph's being left to starve in a tower full of gold and silver is apocryphal; he was probably rolled in a carpet and beaten or trampled to death in order not to shed royal blood, such being the Mongols' custom in the execution of their own princes.

The last history states that Hulagu, fearful of spilling the sacred blood, wrapped the Caliph in carpets and had horses gallop on him. Unlike Karbala where Yazid sprinkled the bluest of the blood that of grandson of the prophet mercilessly on the desert plains at least Mongol were polite enough not to let the pedigreed blood from the lineage of Banu Abbas to be spilled. They made sure to avoid the possible wrath of God as their counsels advised that holiest of the blood be soaked in the thick silk forms of the Caliphs flamboyant carpets.

The traumatic scar of the deeds perpetuated toward the capital and the sovereign of Islam persist to such an extent that in a book on Arab cultural identity, published in the nineteen fifties, a Syrian government official is quoted as saying that had the Mongols not destroyed the libraries of Baghdad, Arab science would have produced the atom bomb long before the West.

The lessons from history: Why one should not leave everything on the 'Will of Allah?'

With the will of Allah sufficing to explain everything risk no longer mattered and Muslim commerce began to dramatically suffer. Thus the civilization of Islam began to falter as 'Destiny' persevered over 'reason and logic'-and lenient ecclesiastical and priestly control once again tightened over the 'free will' of Muslim people.

The banking and finance capitals that could have emerged in the coastal cities and regions of Alexandria, the Yemen and Sumatra, as rivals to Europe were stemmed in their infancy.

Muslims who could not take out insurance because of 'destiny and fate,' Mashiat -e-ezdi or 'iradutul-allah' ruined incentive and enterprenership; it was considered 'Haram!' Risk management was believed to be intrusion in the ‘Will of God, ‘until today Insurance remain haram. This led ot the decline of trade and commerce. Where lack of risk management aborted an infant financial industry that could have provided commercial support to trade and sea-faring voyages were instead confined to the Mediterranean, a Muslim lake, instead of venturing out like Christopher Columbus. In Salamanca universities and insurance supported the voyages into unknown dark of the Oceans. In Islam disasters were considered as ‘Will of Allah.’

Iqbal Latif

Enlightened free minds extend the frontiers of human knowlede!

by Iqbal Latif on

 Egypt’s own Naguib Mahfouz, a rare Arab Nobel Laureate (in literature), poignantly said in his acceptance speech, “I am the son of two civilizations that at a certain age in history have formed a happy marriage. The first of these, seven thousand years old, is the Pharaonic civilization; the second, one thousand four hundred years old, is the Islamic one. One day the great Pyramid will disappear too. But Truth and Justice will remain for as long as Mankind has a ruminative mind and a living conscience." Enlightened and free minds extend the frontiers of human knowledge and understanding. Puritanical adherence to dogma kills the spirit of inquiry.

Today, students at our seminaries rarely study the works of Avicenna, Al Kindi or Averroes. When scholars and “free thinkers” are termed as ‘heretics,’ the intellectual capacity and capability of man is destined to go nowhere but down. What most leaders in the Arab World don’t realize is that freedom of thought, pursuit of knowledge and tolerance, not bigotry, is the answer to the crisis the Islamic societies face.  Some Muslims have lamented the fact that despite being 19.6 percent of the world's population, the Ummah has produced only three Nobel laureates whereas Jews — only 0.2 percent of the world's population — have produced 122. The explanation is simple. Once orthodoxy choked off the rationalist initiative, intellectual decay took hold. Prof Ahmed Zewail, the only Arab to ever win a Nobel Prize for science, has said: "The end will begin when seekers of knowledge become satisfied with their achievements."

Yet, our renaissance was extinguished not by the complacency of the scientist but by the intolerance of the dogmatist. Revolutions are inspired by these prophets and so-called “heretics” of 'Enlightenment.' Until Iranian/Arab enlightened philosophers are brought ahead of the sacred writings no 'revolt' is possible. Revolutions only succeed when a society is able to embrace new realities. If society chooses to live in space of decadence and old thought, any revolution will only be a tool to accelerate its fall to ignominy and disasters.


Iqbal Latif

Sorry, wrong comparison!!The reason why the West advanced !!

by Iqbal Latif on

@The reason why the West advanced was mainly due to the sudden access to the resources of the New World, not to mention the Mongol invasion catastrophy in the East.

A primary enigma of technological record is why some societies have foregone progress and chosen backwardness by failing to adopt technological advancements. Although the Ottomans were quick to adopt advancements in military technology, they waited almost three centuries to allow the first book to be printed in Arabic script. Imagine if the Internet was disallowed for 3 centuries! What would have been the status of freedom in the Middle East? No revolution is possible without knowledge. Assad, Qaddafi and Mubarak never realised that in an open connected world, the first victims would always be their chained populace. Openness is the nemesis of all closed societies.


In adopting the printing press and gunpowder weapons, often considered the most important inventions of the late Middle Ages, the Ottomans reacted quite in a different way, moving like a pendulum between closeness and openness. The introduction of the printing press was potentially a significant threat to the stability of this process and to the ability of religious authorities to provide legitimacy. Once adopted, mass printing altered the technology of transmitting knowledge and diminished the comparative advantage of religious authorities. The general public could obtain knowledge directly from books or from literate individuals not necessarily affiliated with religious authorities. The authorities lost their monopoly in the transmission of knowledge and their power in convincing the public on the legitimacy of the ruler. Young Turks were products of such a rare openness.


One question every Muslim should always ask is how the Middle East went from being a global hub of civilization to being the global epicentre of terrorism and ruthless killing as it arguably is today.  American evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond in his bestselling book Guns, Germs, and Steelhas listed smallpox, or because zebras are more difficult to domesticate than water buffaloes, for some societies to fail; in case of the Middle East, it is the software that needs an anti viral dose. The main cause of the backwardness is the mindset of the region. The abhorrence of fine arts and preference of violence and conquest over logic and reason as a matter of holy cause and injunctions have led 1.5 billion to be a part of a stifled society that detests beauty of expression, expressive art or music.

Why Did the Golden Age End?

If we look at Islamic history, there is much to be proud of, a great legacy of literature, knowledge and achievement. Yet these achievements (in the first few centuries of Islamic history) coincided with the point of greatest open-mindedness to and cooperation with other civilizations like Greek and Indian civilization. It was a time when Muslim scholars studied and incorporated the great works of other civilizations, interacting with their scholars and incorporating their philosophies. The greatest scholars of Muslim history like Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd had a great fascination for the traditions of other civilizations, and for that result were condemned as heretics by the clergy.33 Iqbal Latif, "Why the clergy has made our heroes our heretics?" in Global Politician, Nov 26, 2006.  Al-Haitham's works were burned by clerics for their astronomy,34History of Philosophy in Islam, by T.J. de Boer (1904), p153.  and Ibn Rushd was banished for his unorthodox embrace of philosophy. [Incidentally, the early authoritative Qur'ānic commentators of Islam's Golden Age such as Tabari, Qunubi, Razi, Ibn Taymiyya and Qutb, had a very high view of the scriptures of the Christians and Jews, asserting that true Qur'ānic teaching confirms the continued textual integrity of the Injīl and Tawrat, and that Jesus may well have been crucified and resurrected as the Injīl teaches.]

Opposing "Jahiliyya"
Al-Ghazali wrote a scathing criticism of the period's greatest scholars for their fascination with "un-Islamic" Greek scholars rather than the Qur'ān. Eventually Al-Ghazali's opinion won out and the clergy censored all outside learning as "Jahiliyya" ignorance and temptation and demanded that the scholars only study "pure" Islamic subjects. The Imam described mathematics and medicine as Fard-E-Kefaya;35i.e. not something obligatory for everyone to study but a ‘group obligation' which someone in the community should learn about.
36Iqbal Latif, "Why the clergy has made our heroes our heretics?" in Global Politician, Nov 26, 2006.

 He decisively placed those as secondary to religious-Ilm.36Iqbal Latif, "Why the clergy has made our heroes our heretics?" in Global Politician, Nov 26, 2006.  We find Ghazali's mindset continuing today in the form of fundamentalist Bucailleists like Zakir Naik who are obsessed with finding science exclusively in the Qur'ān and Islamic history, while showing antagonism to people of other faiths. The great irony is that though they boast most loudly about the Golden Age of Islam, it is precisely their mindset that deprived the Golden Age of its openness and led to its decline. An example of this opposition to outside ideas and learning is seen in medieval Islam's response to the printing press.

Iqbal Latif

Sorry, wrong comparison!Mr Latif doesn't seem to realize..

by Iqbal Latif on

@ in fact multiple theological "schools" co-exist in Islam.

The treacherous battle of Shiite and Sunni Islam in the heartland of Islam is another unique example of this hysterical exposition of internecine abhorrence. Zarqawi's detestation of Shiites in Iraq and his war of freedom for Iraq by mass elimination of Shiites resulted in emergence of the equally ruthless Sadr; the two were fighting for freedom of Iraq and freeing Iraq of Iraqis at Godspeed. People of peace and advocates of inter-sectarian unity have been totally sidelined. The mass frenzy of carnage has overtaken the hotspots of the Islamic world, and no one seems to notice that this is actually the consequence of continuous chastisement of 'hatred against mankind' that is now revealing its full impact on fledgling societies. The so-called blood infested freedom struggles have come to a full circle and are now consuming the children of Jihad; the first victim of misplaced revolutions, rather, all revolutions, has been its own children.

Such naked and barefaced vengeance has seen very few parallels in modern history. Medieval world had seen Protestants and Catholics war on the lines of Shiite and Sunni war between Iraq and Iran. But within the Middle East, where these communities are so intermingled in modern day and age, the spectre of inter-sectarian violence at this height is a new threat to regional balance and economic stability of the world as far as energy goes.

For the consumption of these bloodthirsty tyrants who want to claim universal 'Caliphate' by waging a war against their own brethren, let us take a whirlwind tour of history; let us se e how bloody and forceful it was the last time when Selim I united the Caliphate of Islam. The Ottomans under Selim at the Battles of Marj Dabiq and al-Raydaniyya destroyed the Mamluk Sultanate, which led to the annexation of Syria, Palestine and Egypt. It was he who extended Ottoman power to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The holiest sites of the Islamic world - the Great Mosque in Mecca and the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina - fell under his dominion when the Turks took Egypt and her Arabian provinces from the Mamluks. The title which 'King Fahd' took in the 80's, that of Khadim ul Haremeyn, or The Servant of The Two Holy Shrines, was originally instituted by Selim I. Instead of styling 'Hakim ul Haremeyn,' or The Ruler of The Two Holy Shrines, he accepted the more pious title Khadim ul Haremeyn, or The Servant of The Two Holy Shrines.

It was after the conquest of Egypt and the Holy Cities, Al-Mutawakkil III (1509–17), the last Abbasid Caliph in Cairo, formally surrendered the title of Caliph and its emblems, the sword and the mantle of Muhammad to Selim. Once cementing his claim to the position of the "Guardian of the Faithful", Selim waged a war against Persia, whose ruler Shah Ismail I claimed to be Caliph as well. The triumphant crusade which followed was a victory for Selim, whose determination and bravery overcame the insubordination of the Janissaries, the household troops of the Ottoman dynasty.

After assuming the Caliphate, Selim assumed the title Malik ul-Barayn, wa KhaKhan ul-Bahrayn, was Kasir ul-Jayshayn, wa Khadim ul-Haramayn - that is, King of the Two Deserts, KhaKhan of the Two Seas, Conqueror of the Two Armies, and Servant of the Two Holy Shrines. This designation alludes to his dominions in Africa and Asia (namely, Egypt, Anatolia , and much of the Fertile Crescent), his rule over the Mediterranean and Black seas, his conquest over the Mamluk and Safavid armies, and his guardianship of the shrines of Mecca and Medina. It was Selim who expanded the 2,500,000 km² of Ottoman land to 6,500,000 km². After completely filling the royal treasury, he reportedly locked it with his own seal and decreed that "he who will fill the treasury more than this, may use his seal to lock it." The treasury remained locked with Selim's seal until the collapse of the Empire 400 years later.

One problem that is faced by the Islamic world is the distrust and infighting between them; the violence within communities is extensive. In the face of huge diversity of religious and political systems in the Middle East today, no such 'messianic' figures are on the scene. Selim-kind of power and figures do not exist anymore; it is decentralising of authority where every state within the Arab world wants respect and authority. The massive schism between Sunni and Shiite Muslims who argue bitterly over the first four caliphs (632-661 AD) to succeed the Prophet (PBUH) makes this dream of a universal caliphate even more part of a fairy tale.

Shiite Iran has its own form of Islamic government where supreme authority lies with an Islamic jurist chosen by a body of senior clerics to rule in the place of a disappeared line of descendents of the Prophet (PBUH). In Saudi Arabia, the adherents of an austere school of Sunni Islam , known as Wahhabism, give their allegiance to the Saudi family to rule as kings in return for wide latitude to enforce their version of sharia, or Islamic law. "I can see the whole Arab world falling into sectarian violence, so I can't see this caliphate happening," said London-based anthropologist Madawi Al-Rasheed, referring to Sunni-Shiite tensions in Iraq and Lebanon. "This is just part of (Al-Qaeda's) war of slogans."

These brewing struggles are suggestive of a roadmap of insecurity, all through the crescent of volatility from Morocco to Afghanistan. The internecine wars have to be stopped. Continuous fanning of the message of 'Jihad' against the infidels have to be revisited and abolished once for all; sowing hatred breeds hatred, sowing bullets leads to a harvest of bullets. Eventually the Muslim world should wake up to realize that this 'Jihad' is being fed by the blood of its own children. Guns, dynamite, venom and poison have no boundaries. They flourish on the easiest of preys, and when these guns fail to find the 'infidels,' they can easily find unarmed civilians in their own neighbourhood with whom they don't agree ideologically and they become the new target. Hamas and Hezbollah and Alqaeda deliver messages of poison that need continuous feeding of blood to sustain their efforts. The best antidote is 'peace.' That means death to them; if they are contained they start gulping their own children with equal ferocity. It is their brand of ideology that matters and in absence of their brand being accepted every other shade of human thinking is discarded.

That is what is exactly happening. Unable to launch their global campaigns of terror, the fangs of terrors are now demanding new blood to sustain its tentacles. In Gaza, the Palestinians are now victims of the Hamas or the Palestinian security forces, political expression bastardised to the highest level of corruption. When politics are at the back stage and guns in front, naturally every dispute is handled by guns, even a shoddy attempt of formation of a bipartisan government. Last week they were talking of a coalition government; yesterday they were killing each other like nobody's business. The problem is that when a 'gun' is relied on for so much, even a family feud, then it becomes a gun-based feud. The family of Islam is tearing each other apart; the message of tolerance and communal coexistence has been lost. It is important it searches from the moments of history where tolerance led to peaceful eras.

Hezbollah should avoid making attempts to plunge Lebanon into the ignominies of bloodstained days. Al Fatah and Hamas, ready to get on to each other's throats to bury the façade of brotherhood and unity once and for all, should avoid the dance of death amidst them. Mature societies respect life and respect law. These signs of medieval immaturity need to be buried; the Middle Eastern media should join hand s to denounce this vain violence all around us. It is not the enemies who are killing Muslims, once again, it is the Muslims killing each other and if unchecked it will be the biggest unfolding tragedy. There are hundreds of regions where fragile balance between communities can dribble over to bloodshed.

It was not an Arab freedom fighter like Arafat or Osama bin Laden, but Lawrence who as a great military leader and strategist got them freed from the 'yoke of Caliphate..' Today's demands of Caliphate are expedient tool to find the cannon fodder of the Islamic Jihad, find new suicide bombers in hope of a vast Caliphate land. Islamic global unity brings out a lot of emotion and lot of anger. Lawrence of Arabia organized the national rebellion of the Arab peoples and gave them the first opening in 400 years to become a significant Middle Eastern power. It was overthrown by the French with considerable bloodshed. Feisal, having been robbed and deposed of his kingdom in Syria was awarded with Iraq. On his death Sheikh Hamoudi of Aleppo exclaimed in his grief: "It is as if I had lost a son. Tell them in England what I say. Of manhood, the man; in freedom free; a mind without equal; I can see no flaw in him."

Iqbal Latif

Sorry, wrong comparison!Mr Latif doesn't seem to realize..

by Iqbal Latif on

@Mr Latif doesn't seem to realize that Islam is not comparable to Catholicism, as there's no "Pope" of Islam


I am discussing the history of evolution free thought over 1000 years in contextual terms here. Yes there is no Pope. But institution of Caliphate is/was far stronger than and as damaging as Papacy. Free thinking was punished in Islam and continues to be blocked. Imams from all schools of thought have encouraged orthodoxy and dogmas over rationalism and logic and reason. My opinion is that dogma within Shiite and Sunni Islam is not overnight phenomena that have happened as a result f Khomeini and Mullah Omar rather Khomeini and Mullah Omar are product of the decadence that orthodoxy and school of ideology encouraged over last 1000 years, a race to bottom. Renaissance was always stilted in the nation of Islam.

I have tried several times to highlight the rise of dogma over Mutazalites, the rise of Ashariya made dogmatic philosophy of Salafis led by Imam Hanbal and Ibn Taymiyyah flourish as neo- Socratic thouight was banished. Here in the Middle East, the long and dark shadow of the 'Iron Curtain of ideology and despotism' has unfortunately not left a cadre of millions of secular democratic enlightened minds looking for the chains to be broken so that they can join the world of free thinking. No revolution process would be completed if the Middle East is not ready to break its chains from ideological underpinnings of political Islam; this 'Dechristianisation' is the most important factor to consider.

Until Iranian/Arab world is not ready for enlightenment and 'Dechristianisation' process like that of France during the French Revolution and Civil Constitution of the Clergy.' The French Revolution brought about a massive shifting of powers from the Roman Catholic Church to the state. Is the Arab world ready to take the powers of the clergy/Mullah away? If this happens, revolution in the Iranian/Arab world will be a real exclusive event. So far it is an uprising against entrenched dictators. Given the tendency of Islam to rely upon the strong man, one group of strongmen will be replaced by another. Probably that will be the nutshell of these revolutions in the Middle East. The revolutions also have distinctive character based on geography and culture. The Maghreb revolutions are different from Egyptian category and so will the Spring of Saudis and Iranians be. Iranians are ready to revolt against the 'selected' autocratic regime; they are 35 years ahead of any other Middle Eastern country, i.e., being incarcerated by the chains of ideology. Iranian spring is the most viable amongst all that we talk about; this uprising has the seeds and elements of Dechristianisation i.e. a revolt against the Islamic republic.

Iran is one country that is ripe for a real revolution, lock stock and barrel, it is possibly the revolt against Mullahcracy. What is more important is to know what happened to the Muslim world where wafts of freedom over dogma have taken new momentum. Why did it set off into a self-destructive dichotomy leading to a coiled decline from 14th century onward that it was and is unable to resolve. Pluralism of Ideas and the prosperity of any land are intertwined. Freedom of minds and skill of intellect to ‘think the unthinkable’ is how humanity has progressed; when minds are incarcerated nothing endures.The Ashariyya led by Ghazali and Rumi rejected the rationalists Mutazilis whom, in theirview, had forsaken religion and had detracted from God and His revelation. In absence of Ashariyya, our history might have evolved differently. When Ibn Khaldun in his 'Introduction in absence' (Mogadameh) mentioned that Africans are black because of geographical and environmental conditions, it was the Ashariyya who ended such scientific observations by declaring people are black because God created them as such. When Physicians tried to find the connection between the brain and hand's movements, it was Ghazali who mocked scientific inquiry and stated “hands move because God wants them to move" (Alchemy of Happiness, Kimiyaya Saadat).

Legitimacy of so-called 'established truth' is the cause of intellectual self-indulgence and degeneracy of ideas. What is fossilisation of mind? It is the worst ailment that affects most of us, but we rarely go to any specialist to seek help. Our clergy and soothsayers become our authority to seek remedies from malady of thoughts; they straitjacket us into thousands of years-old hold of incoherent fables and ask us to follow those for eternal nirvana; we create our own divisions of man based on antiquated ideas from scriptures, though it is just a matter of time we all as humans shall be one.

It is stagnation of mind that destroys balance of humanity. It is the established wisdom that needs to be questioned; any thought that abhors free enquiry based on rationalism and reason does not deserve to survive. Hierarchy of deceit that is imposed by the orthodoxy of established clergy is first to be challenged on all occasions. When someone talks about progress of a society I will ask them where their philosophers, thinkers and writers are; why are they not questioning; where is enquiry sitting on the list of their priorities. If one doesn't openly question the root of ills of our society, he becomes part of the ill. Anyone who is liked by everyone has to question this universal likeness. Once someone showed me how universally he is liked and I saw a coward right in front of me; idol smashers are not conformists but iconoclasts.

Today we need to talk about precise, surgical operations that are needed to cleanse this rampant puritanical streak of self- righteousness. It is not Islam-phobia to question cause and effects of delay in the emergence of renaissance and actions to overhaul antediluvian thinking processes; it is only through volte-face and restructuring that we will be able to eradicate from the organic body of 'political Islam' tentacles of its enormous fanatic infrastructure. We need our unwavering resolve to question and condemn the ills of lunatics and fringe killers who have taken upon themselves to make this earth heaven by making it hell for everyone.


Partly disagree with Latif

by FG on

All three statements are true but don't explain as much as you think.

RE; There is no Pope in Islam.

In the early Middle Ages, the Pope may have helped keep things together.  After that he became an obstacle to the progress of national states and the Church's great wealth an obstacle to government revenues required for advancing policies.

RE: multiple theological "schools" co-exist in Islam. 

The West had them to after the Reformation.  The breakup of the church's previous monopoly made subsequent advances easier, just as any reduction in clerical power would aid the muslim world.   Recall what Luther said: Every man his own priest.

RE: The reason why the West advanced was mainly due to the sudden access to
the resources of the New World, not to mention the Mongol invasion
catastrophy in the East.

Absolutely both helped, especially the first.   Earlier the resouces required to keep off the Muslim threat affected ability to advance.  But these alone can't suffice to explain the West's success.

What you miss is that just because wealth is there doesn't guarantee it won't be squandered as in so many oil rich countries today.  Something in western culture, especially a rational approach to nature plus a humanism which  partly goes back to the Greeks and re-emerged in the Renaissance also contributed.

If wealth, a relatively advanced state and a lack of strong external enemies cold naturally produce scientific, artistic, cultural and intellectual revolutions, the muslim world should have accomplished the same things as the West much earlier.  So should other places like China, India or Peru.  Something cultural in the West encouraged open-mindedness.  Remember that unlike any other ancient culture, neither Rome nor Greece develped a clerical class to inhibit free thought.   The Greeks, above all, were the freeest thinkers in the world prior to the modern age.

You can see how Islam actually inhibited advances in many of the above areas, tolerating certain advances so long as they were non threatening.   Islam had the advantage of taking over two well-advanced and highly populated cultures--Persian and Hellenistic. It was this advanced region which had sustained Rome earlier.

Similarly the Catholic Church also discouraged many scientific and technological advances (burning some thinkers alive) earlier while tolerating others seen as non-threatening.  Even today you see right-wing fundamentalists raging against the theory of evolution and stem cell research and seeking to implemenent their views (crazy theories of "Creationism) by political force.




OS not Software ...

by Harpi-Eagle on

Mr Latif, your analogy is good, however it is the entire OS Platform (Islam Itself) that is corrupt.  Meaning this tree is rotten to the core and not just the branches.  Any idealogy that uses murder, rape, and oppression as its methods of gaining followers is doomed to defeat once it has met its match in its propensity for violence (i.e. Moslem hords vs Charles de Martel in Tours).

Haas, you say, "multiple theological "schools" co-exist in Islam", is that why we're having Soonie morons blowing themselves up in Shiite mosques and shiite idiots blowing themselves up in Soonie kindergartens?!!

Until, we as born Moslems can rise above the "Taboo" of calling this backward idealogy what it really is and get above the "Taboo" of being able to call Mohammad himself what he reaaly was (A Narcisist, a Pedophile) as well as the rest of the Sadreh Islam (Also murderers, rapists, extortionists) we will never be able to truely expose this eveil school of thought. 

In my beloved country Iran, fortunately due to the eveil deeds of the Traitor Khomeini, we are close to finally implement our Renaisence once and for all after we bring down the Satanic IRI.

Payandeh iran, out Ahuraie Fatherland


Yeah, also don't

by Cost-of-Progress on

forget the opressive nature of Islam and the fact that it hinders progress.





Sorry, wrong comparison

by hass on

Mr Latif doesn't seem to realize that Islam is not comparable to Catholicism, as there's no "Pope" of Islam and in fact multiple theological "schools" co-exist in Islam. The reason why the West advanced was mainly due to the sudden access to the resources of the New World, not to mention the Mongol invasion catastrophy in the East.